As previously speculated by many SEO insiders including Search Engine Land, Google today announced the launch of Google Compare for Auto Insurance in the United States.
Google Compare will show up to 14 sponsored results from insurance providers, including rate quotes. It is expected that this number will increase as Google adds more providers to the service. A snippet describing usage benefits for providers explains the advantages of the service:
You can highlight what makes your business unique, whether that’s an “A” rating in customer service or better discounts for safe drivers. And when users adjust their deductible or add additional cars to their quote, you can show updated pricing that matches their needs.
From those sponsored listings, users can then proceed to purchase coverage online, or via phone. The program will initially cover drivers in California, and will roll out to more states including more features including user reviews, ratings, and local representative information in the coming months.
Google: Lead Generator?
Eschewing the normal PPC ad facilitation revenue model, Google is acting as a qualified lead generator, with pricing based on a CPA (cost-per-acquisition) model instead of a traditional clickthrough model.
Despite these changes, Google has clarified that traditional organic rankings will not be affected by the inclusion of sponsored elements in SERPs.
Auto Insurance, at Long Last
Google has operated a similar Auto Insurance quote acquisition program in the UK since 2012 (As shown in the featured photo for this article.) There is analyst speculation that Google may even move to provide and sell their own insurance products through this new vertical.
Auto insurance is only the latest of many retail verticals Google has seen fit to conquer in recent years, joining shopping, hotel accommodations, and flights in an ever-growing list. Google Compare Auto Insurance Services, Inc. has been approved to do business in over 25 states, with more surely to come.