Why BankRate is so (G)RATE

I admit it — I love using Bankrate.com to find the best savings account rates and to use their online calculators. I’m not the only one, between 3 and 4.5 million Americans use the site every month and that number is growing steadily, up 20% year-over-year.

But my love for the site, has not necessarily translated into universal love for the stock on Wall Street – RATE is down about 27% year to date. But Compete data shows that the company has given investors something to smile about. Recently, Bankrate.com announced the acquisition of CreditCardGuide.com for $44 million in total consideration ($34M in cash, $10M in a two-year earn out). Part of the reason that Bankrate.com management cited for acquiring the company was "CreditCardGuide.com has succeeded in developing a strong organic traffic stream to its site." Indeed they have.

CreditCardGuide.com has consistently been increasing their SEO traffic (natural search referrals) over the past six months. In August, 90% of all search traffic to the site was from natural search. This is right on par with Bankrate.com standards, which is also around 90% SEO / 10% SEM.

Additionally, CreditCardGuide.com receives nearly 30% of all its traffic from Google, a percentage considerable higher than many sites, including Bankrate.com, which receives about 20% of its site traffic from Google.

Based on these metrics, it seems CreditCardGuide.com – which attracted about 180,000 unique visitors in August, growth of 80% year-over-year) was a strong acquisition for Bankrate.com and will continue to help it strengthen its search-based visitor acquisition strategy.

Note: come back next week for our take on RATE’s Bankaholic.com acquisition!

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