Comparison site hit by change to Google search

MONEYSUPERMARKET, the price comparison website, yesterday blamed changes to the way Google searches work for slow growth in its second quarter.

In its trading update yesterday for the first half of 2013, the group said that the changes to search algorithms, carried out as part of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns from April, had reduced the number of visitors to its insurance site.

Enhanced Campaigns are designed to provide search results relevant to users intent and context. They include increasing costs for brands that gain paid search placements, such as Moneysupermarket.

Despite the fall in visitors in June, the company still delivered a 10 per cent rise in revenue to around £112m, just short of the £113.1m forecast.

The latest figures are in line with board expectations and the trading update published on 5 June.

In a statement Moneysupermarket said it hopes to get back on track in the second half . “Now the algorithm changes have settled down we are working on regaining our positions in natural search in insurance,” it said.

The company will pay out a dividend payment of £70m to shareholders on 26 July.

Shares in Moneysupermarket, which have risen by 26 per cent since the start of the year, dipped yesterday to close down 1.7 per cent at 200.1p.