Beating the BBC

Sun October 16, 2011 11:39 am

Our digital sales team from Haymarket are at large looking to convince our partners that our site is a good invesment. What they hear in every meeting, and indeed what a lot of people tell me and my colleagues (including Mark, whose wife Liz is leading the development of our Games-time site) is: “won’t everyone just use the BBC site?”.

Back in 2006 that might have been the case.

According to Neilsen in 2006  the BBC site recorded three times the traffic of FIFA:

But since then official sites have got smarter and better at exploiting their natural advantages.

While we are planning to deliver a  high quality site that makes the most of its four selling points (viz: ultimate authority on the Games (both Paralympic and Olympic) with  comprehensive, unbiased provision of results; a ‘sense of live’ that provides greater access to the event wherever the user is; appealing to all audiences, irrespective of location, ability, age, background, and level of sporting knowledge; encouraging people to interact and engage with the inspiring stories of the Games) the key is discovery. And the key to discovery is search.

Ths track record of comparable sites has been suprisingly strong in recent years:

Vancouver 2010:

 the official site did very well against major North American players:

  • “From Feb. 8 through Feb. 14, which encompassed the opening ceremonies and first two days of Olympic competition, Yahoo’s dedicated Olympics site drew 9.3 million unique users according to comScore—nearly 3 million more unique users than, which attracted 6.5 million unique users during that time period. also outdrew NBC online during the early days of the Games, coming in second with 8.4 million unique users.”
  • In the same period Vancouver 2010 site had 18m unique (Vancouver 2010 Google Analytics) WORLD CUP 2010

These are not directly comparable but FIFA bore up very well against the BBC

 The reason for the relative success of official sites in both cases is very clear. Google accounted for 53% of FIFA’s traffic and 65% of Vancouver2010  traffic. The google “onebox” enhanced search box alone sent more visits (50m) to than the total number of unique users on the site in 2006. 

So there was a massive increase from 2006 -2010 in FIFA traffic and Google was a key part of this

Currently, notwithstanding a worrying dip in September, we are outranking the BBC for the most trafficked search  terms in the UK (and indeed NBC in the US). As most keyword analysers will attest around 34 % of traffic goes to the first link on a Google search return (the SERP) and only 17% to the second.

We have other cards to play: an emerging plan with Facebook to produce a Games Facebook app; a series of visualisations whcih we hope will encouraging social media sharing and participation and links back to our site; making the most of mobile apps which will naturally outrank competitor apps in the places where people find apps  – app stores.

But getting search right is still the most important battle to win.

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