With Google testing its current beta search engine “Caffeine” its worth having a look at one incredibly competitive market – Car Insurance. It’s interesting to see how the different companies square up to each other now – and how, under the proposed changes of Caffeine, will the rank thereafter. It should be noted that this search engine is very much in development and that the results should, like the engine, the treated as beta.

There are no guarantees that after the new formula has been adopted the results here will be the same. As people comment on the results Google should take those on board and adjust their fire.

Caffeine Google Diff Site
3 1 -2 www.pibasure.ie
4 2 -2 www.pibasure.ie/car-insurance.aspx
1 3 2 www.quinn-direct.com
2 4 2 www.quinn-direct.com/car-insurance
5 5 0 www.insure.ie
6 6 0 www.bestquote.ie
7 7 0 www.fbd.ie
12 8 -4 www.quoteme.ie
17 9 -8 www.moneysupermarket.com/motor
15 10 -5 www.nononsense.ie
14 11 -3 www.aaireland.ie/car-insurance
11 12 1 www.carinsurance.com
19 13 -6 www.aviva.co.uk/car-insurance
10 14 4 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_insurance –
x 15 x www.mansfieldinsurance.ie/car-insurance.aspx –
29 16 -13 www.swiftcover.com/ – Similar –
x 17 x www.autotrader.ie/ – Similar –
x 18 x www.askaboutmoney.com/showthread.php?
x 19 x www.autoquotenow.com
x 20 x www.thegeneral.com/ –
18 21 3 www.iseeq.com/c/car-insurance.htm
x 22 x www.progressive.com/
23 23 0 www.zurichinsurance.ie/
28 24 -4 www.axa.ie/Car-Insurance/AXA-Car-Insurance.aspx –
8 25 17 www.hibernian.ie
x 26 x www.gocompare.com/car-insurance
20 27 7 www.insure4usa.com
27 28 1 www.aib.ie/personal/insurance/
25 29 4 www.tesco.ie/finance/carinsurance
x 30 x www.swinton.co.uk

In the early results there is a small bit of movement. I say small by way of absolute numbers, but those shifts could be worth serious volumes of visitors and money. PIB assure and Quinn-Direct swap positions in the top five and Quoteme and FDB fall out of the first page completely which could be fairly serious in terms of traffic volumes. The term  “Car insurance” was searched 40,500 time in July by their peak was in March with 50,000 searches.

The only evidence of how rank is reflected in click through for a particular position was for AOL data. Applying their statistics and the peak figure for “car insurance” it implied that position one, pibasure,  currently gets 21,000 hits a month for that term. If the Caffeine rules were applied they drop down to position 3 and, with it, a drop to traffic levels of 4,000 a month in that position. Theses figures are possibly a little “academic”. But even taking that into account there has to be a volume difference between position 1 and 3, maybe not as much as the AOL data would lead us to believe, but some difference all the same.

The thinking is behind the move has never been explained (and never will). I can deal with what (theoretically) determines rank now, but what are the changes here – why will some sites be given such a proposed boost under Caffeine? What ‘act of god’ has boosted Hibernian from page 3 to page 1 overnight? If they can get there after the Caffeine formula, why are they not there now? And conversely, why would Mansfield Insurance be knocked off their spot at 15 to find themselves knocking on the door of page three after the purge. Are they better results (as is the acid test with G)? In the beta results for this expression they have included Yahoo Finance and Alliance in the results – which I don’t have an issue with.

But also included in the results is Money Supermarket at #17 (nearly in place of one of our own!) which is ridiculous as it’s for a UK residents only and is as useful to an .ie search for ‘car insurance’ as …. well you know.