Tracking the FA Cup final in SEO every 2 hours

The 2018 FA Cup Final generated over 1 million searches last year in the UK. That’s a huge amount of opportunity for both publishers and betting sites alike to increase traffic and ultimately drive revenue.

From 17th to 19th May, we tracked 17 of the hottest terms surrounding the FA Cup Final using our SERP features analysis, revealing exactly how this sporting event played out online in each SERP feature, every 2-hours.

In doing this, we not only have a full view of the changing search landscape, but highlighted previously unidentified opportunities for improving your online strategy.

What SERP features were visible for FA Cup final terms?

Firstly, let’s look at the overall make-up of the SERPs for FA Cup Final terms.

SERP Radar for FA Cup final terms

SERP Radar for FA Cup final terms

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This visualises all the features returning for all 17 terms in our campaign from 17th -19th May.

Other than ‘Classic Links’, we can see that ‘Top stories’, ‘Video carousel’ & ‘Sports results’ features are the most prominent during the FA Cup Final weekend. ‘People also ask’ is being served with these terms. This is an indication of the many searches surrounding the FA Cup Final during this time period.

Using this insight, you can start to build out a content plan for similar sporting events based on the most prominent features. For example, is it worth creating video content as the ‘Video carousel’ is present in the SERPs 36% of the time?

The data presented by the SERP Radar can also help inform reactive content decisions; if you’re not showing in ‘Top Stories’ what content can you produce to infiltrate this feature today?


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What did the SERP landscape look like for FA Cup final terms?

Using our SERP Matrix we can pinpoint the content being served every 2-hours in real-time for any of our tracked search terms.

SERP landscape for ‘FA cup final’

SERP landscape for ‘FA cup final’

Each column represents the composition of page one in Google, at different times of day.

The ‘Top stories’ and ‘Sports results’ remained at the top of page one for the term ‘FA cup final’ throughout the weekend.

The ‘Twitter cards’ feature began to gain visibility as the match was taking place, whilst Google awarded higher visibility to the ‘Video carousel’ feature on the day following the match.


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‘FA Cup Final betting’ returning features

If we imagine we are a gambling site hoping to capitalise on this sporting event, and focus on the term ‘FA Cup Final betting’, we see a very different SERP landscape, with all the action happening a few hours before and after the match.

SERP landscape for ‘FA Cup Final betting’

SERP landscape for ‘FA Cup Final betting’

If we further filter this landscape by URL, we can reveal how well a site is performing for this term:

How well do gambling sites perform for FA Cup terms? 

This chart focuses on Oddscheckers performance in the SERP features.

Oddschecker’s visibility during the FA Cup final

Oddschecker's online performance during the FA Cup final

Although achieving the highest visibility for this term in ‘Classic links’, OddsChecker may ultimately lose out as their competitors are either bidding on this term and showing in the true top position (position 0) for ‘Text ads’, or are making it into the ‘Top stories’.

This is a perfect example of the need to optimise for more than just ‘Classic links’; richer SERP features will have more engagement, and most likely generate more clicks, all because they are favoured at the top of the SERPs and they make for more eye-catching content in Google.

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The SEO opportunity in the FA Cup Final

We’ve seen how the SERP landscape can change drastically within a few hours and how even similar search terms can offer completely different feature results.

Having this rapid overview allows for content ideation, and quick responses to unfolding events, giving a greater chance of offering the right content to reach those top SERP features.


If you want to see a deeper dive into The FA Cup Final, download our Rapid Tracking report, with further insights and a breakdown of our SERP features analysis.

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