Vince Update Hits UK – Brand Update Phase 2

July 6, 2009 // Internet News, Search Engines, seo

Back in February 2009 when the original Google brand update or “Vince update” hit the US there was a lot of talk regarding why this had happened and how long the results would last. In the UK the original update was not a heavily influence in rankings although a few new sites made an appearance in the top 10, these sites would be considered “big brands”. Now after a month or two of this activity all things seemed to return to normal and these big brands returned to the lower depths from where they had risen.

However around the beginning of June 2009 the results in one particular high value industry (travel insurance) changed overnight to match the results seen in the USA back in February. Sites that had been in the top 10 for years all of a sudden have been forced into the depths of pages 2 and 3 being replaced with well known high street brands. I have collected some data which some of you may find interesting if you work in this industry, even if you don’t it’s worth taking note because this sort of activity seems to be spreading.

This first table shows a snap shot of the top 40 websites that rank under the term “travel insurance”, the results are compared from the start of June to the 6th of July. A green arrow indicates a positive increase, red showing a negative drop and a green plus symbol indicating a new entry.


  • Some sites worth mentioning:
  • Post Office moving from position 12 to number 1
  • Tesco’s moving from position 20 to number 7
  • Essential Travel, Go Travel Insurance and more massively dropping

The next diagram actually shows the rankings over the last 5 months for the term “travel insurance”. In this diagram you can clearly see that this update has hugely effected the landscape in this industry.


I have heard this is happening for other financial terms too such as “car insurance” and Job related terms

Matt Ridout

About the author

My name is Matt Ridout, I've been working in digital marketing for 9 years; worked for agencies and currently Head of SEO at fashion startup called Farfetch. Try to test my own theories.


  1. Pingback: June 2009 - Google PageRank update, backlink algorithm change and Vince UK update | Outrider Search Blog

  2. Shane Quigley July 7, 2009 at 3:46 am

    This is happening across the vast majority of “large” industries in the UK from our analysis but the rankings haven’t settled yet. It will be another few weeks before any solid conclusions can be drawn. Some “brands” are benefitting, others are suffering.

  3. I thought it was widely acknowledged that VINCE has nothing to do with favouring brands, this was just a pseudo-side effect and that its really based on trust – also the serps have recently been changed due to the NOFOLLOW update which has recalculated the juice/pr of every site in the index.

  4. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for reading – I have to disagree with you on this, nofollow is a small change which would not influence rankings on this scale. Also it seems too convenient that all the large brands are the only ones not to get hit, while the little guys are affected, when I know most of the sites used in this example didn’t use nofollow anyway.

  5. Vince is one of the major update happened so far in this year.
    It is worth to watch these stats, yes we can witness some the changes in SERP but let us wait and watch for more months.

  6. Pingback: Google Vince Update hits the UK | SEO It

  7. Branding is very important. It’s very imperative in all facets of online business. Interesting data and statistics you have pulled up here. I bet the top keywords are earning great. 🙂

  8. Pingback: How using twitter could harm your brand | SeoUnique Blog

  9. The Google Vince update has had a major input on the serach positions of some of our cleints so blogs like this are extremelly helpful to us as a means of getting updates. Looking forward to any further updates!!1

  10. Online branding is for sure important. And this data and stats you have compiled here are very interesting. I’m sure that the top keywords used are earning a lot!

  11. Looks like the vince update was just a stepping stone towards Google Caffeine!

Leave a Comment