Anatomy of Google’s Payday Loan algorithm change | SudoRank

Anatomy of Google’s Payday Loan algorithm change

By: Dale Harries
On The: June, 14th, 2014


Search Engine Land published news of a Google algorithm change for a handful of queries yesterday, mostly the really spammed up ones we all know and love!

  • Payday Loans
  • Viagra
  • Casino

The original post is here:

Watching The Payday Loans Niche

One of the niches I earn a little bit of money in is related to the UK Payday Loan market. I’ve also dabbled in a cheeky bit of Churn & Burn within the niche to boot!

As a result I like to keep a regular eye on Payday Loans in the UK, it’s a good indicator of what might change in the future!

Matt Cutts Meme

So What’s Changed?

I searched for “Payday Loans” this morning (GMT 9:00am) and made a list of noticeable changes:

No 1.

Is still no1, been that way for a while now. It’s a highly branded domain with very good backlinks.

No 2.

Has been an up and coming site for a few weeks now. I’ve charted its rise from Page 14 to Page 2 and now obviously it’s ranking really well!

It’s this domain that could make a good case study for ranking highly after this change!

No 3.

This site has been in the top 10 since the original payday loan update. Google favoured huge comparison sites (And still does) in this niche.

No 4.

No real surprise here, although Martin Lewis’s website is ranking much higher than normal this morning, 2 or 3 places perhaps?

No 5.

A powerful brand with a TV advert campaign behind it.

No 5.

A powerful brand with a TV advert campaign behind it.

No 5.

A powerful brand with a TV advert campaign behind it.

No 5.

A powerful brand with a TV advert campaign behind it.

Corporate Branding

I Guess You Can Spot The Correlation?

The obvious point to pick up right now for anyone in the Payday Loan industry is that brand (And its Budget) means everything right now.

The closest “Non national brand” websites are in at number 14 / 15.

  • London Mutual Credit Union

What About

The most interesting website,, have been quietly rising through the ranks for a couple of weeks now.

Redwallet Ahrefs Profile

If you look at the ahrefs screen grab above it doesn’t show any recent link building efforts at all, weird!

So Is Branding More Important Than Links In Payday Loans?

It’s looking quite like it, for a website to rise to no2 without any new link building is enough to raise an eyebrow plus the fact every top 10 spot is now occupied by either a huge comparison website or national brand.

One thing is for certain, absolutely no churn and burn sites are ranking for Payday Loans.

The problem now is “How the hell do new companies compete when Google seems to be hugely bias in favour of large brands”.

I can feel a full case study brewing in the office somewhere, can I rank a website with nothing but branding / social? Well, it’s something this SEO Website is all about, Read this Article for more info!

16 Responses

  1. John says:

    How redwallet is ranking? The only way i can see to rank is to fake your site as a big brand. You know… fake it till you make it :-)

    1. Dale Harries says:

      They do have quite alot of links, these links seem quite old though.

      IMHO something “brand” related is going on – or social signals I don’t know.

  2. PHPLifer says:

    Nice update, it’s weird not watching all those spam sites in the top10 though.

    Each site was a tutorial in black hat methods on its own lol

  3. IndianSEOz says:

    Thank god Google has not changed all searches to this!

  4. Peter D says:

    Will you do a study on how to put together a branded website on a budget?

    1. Dale Harries says:

      Most likely, it’s probably worth starting a complete case study on it though so will take a while to do.

  5. Anthony says:

    Come on guys, use your imagination a little. Just because its not in Majestic or Ahrefs doesn’t mean it there isn’t a butt load of links going into those sites.

    All the spammers have caught onto the unsophisticated truth that its easy to block other SEO’s seeing whats really going on.

    1. Dale Harries says:

      I actually use the Google command to look for links also.

  6. Charlie Donald says:

    This has me a little confused, looking at all those domains you’ve posted, they don’t seem that competitive. Their PA/DA isnt that high and neither is their TF/CF. Also, they don’t seem to have that many strong backlinks. Pardon my ignorance(I am still learning), do you think if you tried, you could beat those domains?

    I’ve always heard of pay day loans as this big bad wolf that is nigh impossible to rank for, yet those domains look pretty easy competition.

    Could you give me a little technical detail as to why those domains are, in fact, tough competition? Thanks

    1. Dale Harries says:

      Payday Loans is a highly human monitored keyword right now, I would say a Google employee goes through the serps at least once a week knocking off any websites they think are spamming.

      This means that you can’t just rank with spam, unless you’re (were) using churn and burn links.

      That’s what makes payday loans hard, it’s not the power, it’s the fact it has to be whiter than white to get past inspection.

      1. Charlie Donald says:

        Oh okay, so lets say sites for other(not monitored) terms had the same metrics as those sites. How would you categorize that competition, would you say its low, medium, or high competition?


        1. Dale Harries says:

          Medium to Low IMHO – You could easily rank something given 3 – 6 months and a decent social outreach campaign behind it.

          Of course if your going BH – fire up GSA, hit those tiers and a PBN for good measure.

      2. Charlie Donald says:

        Also, why exactly is PayDay loans so monitored and hated by Google? I can think of 10 other more lucrative keywords just off the top of my head.

        1. Dale Harries says:

          Because this happened:

          DoubleUP is probably one of my favourite BHW members – he is a legend!

          Also, there is a big political shift in UK towards banning payday loans – I would be 99% some government lobbying of Google happened too.

  7. Simon says:

    Dale – Google is heavily policing the head phrases e.g “Payday loans”, but if you check the midtail and longer tail phrases there are loads of spam sites still ranking.

    1. Dale Harries says:

      Sweet, had a feeling this was the case but cool to see someone saying it for definite.

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