Exclusive: Greenlight finds Big Two making strides

Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook are continuing to improve their natural and paid search visibility within the “holidays” vertical, according to Greenlight’s latest report.

The digital agency has issued its analysis of Google search results for February this year. It looked at the results for 3,200 keywords which generated 8.3 million searches in February. The same keywords resulted in excess of 4 million searches in December with 10.9 million January.

Greenlight breaks down the natural search findings into generic, short-haul and long-haul keywords, and ranks brands according to how often they appear of the first page of Google natural results.

Across all the segments, the most visible brand overall was directline-holidays.co.uk with 66%, followed by Thomson.co.uk (66%), holidayhypermarket.co.uk (56%) thomascook.com (46%), travelsupermarket.com (45%) and firstchoice.co.uk (40%).

Thomson has improved by 7% since Greenlight’s last report which covered October 2009. Thomas Cook has improved by 9%.

Generic terms accounted for 3.5 million of February’s 8.3 million searches. “Holidays” and “cheap holidays” accounted for more than half of all generic searches, with 28% and 23% respectively. In October these two keywords totalled 39%.

“Holiday” in the singular accounted for 8%. Thomas Cook took the number one position for this term, with Directline-Holidays ranking highest for “package holidays” which also notched up 8% of all searches.

For short-haul keywords, “Turkey holidays” was the most popular term, with Thomson getting the number one position for this keyword.

Overall, Thomson had an 88% visibility for short-haul terms. Sister brand First Choice came fourth with 49%, an 12% improvement on October.

For long-haul, “Sharm el Sheikh holidays”  was the top term, as it was in October. Thomson topped the long-haul rankings with 66%.

The paid search findings give an insight into which brands are buying traffic.  Using a slightly different methodology for paid search, Greenlight suggests rankings based on “share of voice”. It looks at paid search results for the top 90 of the 3,200 keywords.

Firstchoice.co.uk has the highest share of voice at 49%, with Thomson fourth-placed on 34%. Thomas Cook was third with 37%.

Lowcostholidays.com was placed second with a 46% share of voice, a big hike on October when it achieved only 10%.
Lowcost Holidays was the top brand within the short-haul paid search rankings.

Its 69% share of voice beat both First Choice (59%), Thomas Cook, (46%) and Thomson (25%). For long-haul, Thomas Cook and First Choice shared the top slot with 35% each.

Greenlight combines its natural and paid search findings to come up with an overall search visibility ranking. For February, the top three are Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook. In October the top three were Holiday Hypermarket, Directline-Holidays and Thomson.

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