The Integration of Search with Comparison
Today’s announcement of the $61.5m acquisition of BeatThatQuote by Google will be viewed with interest by Google's search rivals and by other comparison-based businesses.
Assuming Google uses this acquisition to start integrating comparative data into its search results, this acquisition could have far-reaching implications:
1) Improving Search Results
The spread of advanced SEO tactics has allowed high rankings to be achieved by sites with low relevance content. This has led to poorer search result quality and public criticism of Google. Whilst Google must downgrade low quality content farms, it must make sure that authoritative price comparison content ranks highly as this is extremely popular with the modern consumer.
Whilst top comparison sites do perform well on Google search currently, by integrating comparative data into its search results, Google will make it even more prominent, distinct and easy to access.
2) Google Becoming an Active Intermediary
Originally, Google acted as an independent indexer of all online content. This is no longer the case. As an example, when I search for ‘restaurants in Miami’, my Google results page is dominated by Google Places data.
As the war between Facebook and Google for user attention and online business dollars grows, Google’s is shedding its independence and becoming an active intermediary between the user and Internet content. The integration of comparison data generated by Google’s own tools will be a further step in this direction.
3) Starving the Middle Man
Traditionally, the high volume of strong, independent content produced by comparison sites has allowed them to rank higher for natural search on Google than the operators themselves. In order to get a share of search-generated business, operators have used Pay Per Click adverts on Google and they have paid commissions to the high-ranking comparison sites.
Once Google integrates comparative data into its search results, payments from operators to Google will continue and increase, but payments to independent comparison sites will come under severe pressure.Continued on the next page