Travel Site Wars: Now Google Is Punishing Expedia Over Dodgy Paid Links By
PLENTY of small companies out there have found themselves sliding down the Google search results after they paid some consultant or other to improve their web rankings. Because the consultants then go out and buy links from blogs and other websites: something that tricks the Google search engine into thinking that the site is more important than it is.
Thus, Google, when it finds out about such things, deliberately makes the site being linked to appear lower in the search results. But as I say, it’s smaller companies that usually get dinged like this. Yet Google now seems to be going after larger fry as well, like Expedia:
The major travel website, Expedia, seems to have lost 25% of their search visibility in Google according to Search Metrics. It appears that drop was due to an unnatural link penalty, where Nenad called out Expedia over a month ago for possible paid links on article sites.
Expedia.com’s Google Traffic Decline:
Patrick Altoft noticed a drop in Expedia’s traffic today and posted about it on Twitter. If you look at their decline today, it looks like Google has penalized Expedia in their search results.
You can see the sort of thing that companies were trying to persuade websites to do here:
Just a few emails I usually get from Expedia.
“In fact, the article can be about any topic related to your blog, just mentioning at some point something like “find coupon codes for Expedia”, “get some deals in Expedia”.. Do you think that would fit in? Doesn’t have to look very spammy (we don’t want that either). What do you think?
About the price, how much would it be a post like this with maybe 2 links? “
Note that there’s plausible deniability here. These offers don’t come direct from Expedia, they come from “SEO” companies. Who may or may not have told Expedia what it is that they’re doing.
Well, you can believe that as much as you like actually.
The only thing different in this story is that Google is now dinging big companies for this sort of behaviour, not just the small ones they’ve been hitting for ages.
Oh, and guess what’s interesting? Expedia is, of course, a travel comparison site. And Google is rumoured to be launching its own travel comparison site very shortly….