Google’s mortgage site does a disappearing act

Mystery surrounds what has happened to Google’s UK mortgage comparison website, which is no longer appearing at the top of its paid for searches.

In July Mortgage Strategy reported that Google was piloting a mortgage comparison website Compare UK Mortgage, which contained sponsored links from a number of lenders such as Woolwich, ING Direct, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and NatWest.

An external link to the website still works but when key phrases such as ’Google compare UK mortgage’ and ’compare mortgage’ are typed into the search engine, Google’s US service Google Adviser appears in its place.

However, a spokesman for Google has denied the online search giant has made any changes to the site.

He says: “No changes have been made to the site and we are still looking at our options.”

The website asked users to take part in a survey about what they thought of the site and how they usually obtain a mortgage.

Industry rumours suggest that Google has gathered as much feedback as it needs and will use it to relaunch a bigger and better site at a later date. Google bought comparison website BeatThatQuote.com for £40m in March.

Justin Rees, director of marketing and partnerships at LeadPoint UK, says it is common for Google to launch products as a test with no announcement and just run them for a few weeks or months to get feedback on how they perform.

He says: “I expect it to relaunch pretty quickly with a host of new features and improvements based on the feedback it has collected.

“In the meantime I am sure many of the advertisers that spend a lot of time and money on reaching the top of the rankings will breathe a sigh of relief while the comparison site is not active.”