• Thomas

    i give the penalty 3 days :/

  • Jatin Chhabra

    Now thats a bummer for those who have participated in Affiliate marketing with Expedia.

  • Ankit Sharma

    Great! Now Seo is still with google, I like it.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Hm. Quantcast estimates that Expedia started losing traffic in August.

  • Mark

    Agreed — big brand favoritism with Google typically prevails

  • http://www.alexseo.se/ Alexander Edbom

    Penalty for a few days makes the link buying worth the “risk”, the risk is that you will have to remove a few of the bought links.

    Google should have a minimum time for this kind of penalty to last, longer than 10 days.

  • John Beagle

    Therein lies the true problem. If Google has to take manual action, it can only see the big company problems. Most of the web is made up of small companies.

  • Tian_Mian

    Unless Google wants to get into the travel business.

  • http://digitizormedia.com/ Debjit Saha

    The question here is will they get back again like Rap Genius if they remove all the links?

  • http://digitizormedia.com/ Debjit Saha

    The question here is will they get back again like Rap Genius if they remove all the links?

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    Expedia will most likely have its site’s rankings back to where they were in a week just like Rap Genius. But the fact that they’re a popular traveling site should make you wonder why they’re so desperate for links.

    Now, as a consumer, I’m thinking if they were so desperate for links, what kind of “deals” are they suckering me in to buying? Not good for their public image at all.

  • Shawn

    This is just a continuation of what is wrong with our industry. Someone makes a post and we feed right into it and link to him. This post about Expedia is fine, but to keep referencing this guys post is exactly why people keep outing. Something Barry who being in the industry for so long I would expect you would know by now.

  • Durant Imboden

    I doubt if it will have much effect on their image, since most consumers don’t read trade-news stories about Google search penalties.

    It may hurt their revenue, though, at least for a few days until the penalty is lifted.

  • http://wtff.com/ JustConsumer

    What to expect next, if it was sort of penalty ?

    1. confirmation from Matt Cutts (to confirm he is fighting spam) ;
    2. vague excuses by Expedia (to confirm nothing) ;
    3. Expedia is back on top of SERPs (to confirm, that some businesses are more equal, than others).

    P.S. At least some SEOs started to do something good for the industry. It’s good when they have a lot of free time, isn’t it ?

  • http://jeffmcneill.com/ Jeff McNeill

    Expedia has been doing this for YEARS. I received a solicitation to sell links to Expedia three years ago. Why does it take Google so long to notice?

  • http://jeffmcneill.com/ Jeff McNeill

    Why would affiliates be penalized? This is for Expedia as an organic search result.

  • Pedram Farsaii

    Then I’m just genuinely curious – how should we aim to build HQ links to our site. I would assume this gust blogging crackdown is truly do to the spammers out there. But, what about us white-hatters who really do seek quality content production that is from good old fashion “relationship building”? I would assume this is still ok – I’m talking non-paid content with the clear end goal of both informing customers/viewers of expertise and, of course, a shoutout to the website/company you represent. What are everyone’s thought on this?

    I agree with the comments that say completely taking away guest blogging goes against a lot of the fundamentals of news distribution and content sharing (think, bringing on reputable newscasters or sports players to speak to your audience on whatever relevant matter, for example). I think all of us SEOs clearly get a little nervous when we read things like this, not because the honest ones are trying to game system, but because we’re often left thinking – hmmm, is our job/market place dwindling out or can we really stick to true methods of content building?

    Thanks!

  • Sweta Srivastava

    Great to know that now Google has started taking action on big brand who have participated in link schemes. This would give a fair chance to small businesses who are going with white hat SEO

  • Gary Lee

    Announced a few days ago, They want to own the travel market and shove out people like Expedia. They have wanted to do it for ages,

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2538531/Ryanair-working-Google-revolutionary-price-comparison-tool-flights.html

  • http://lathesis.com/ Lathesis

    Completely Agree with You Sweta Srivastava

    Really a good sign for those who believe in organic SEO & will improve more concern about white hat SEO techniques.

  • Gary Lee

    LOL you both make me laugh.

    Please think bigger than this. its a terrible idea that Google has done this.

    Also from a trust view, I would rather Google sent me to Expedia than some WEBSITE that has done white hat SEO to get to #1

    All i see in Google results is junk in the first 10 results because anyone with any credibility that has been around and established a brand for 10 years is stuck in some algorithmic devaluation while crappy small companies that have no credibility scam customers until they get enough BBB complaints that they are taken down and replaced by the next scam site.

    You need to re-think what this means. The people being hit hardest are the SME’s as they do not have a hope in hell of recovering at any decent speed.

    This is not meant to sound like I am being rude to you both, just need you to understand that you need to take a step back and think how this affects everyone.

  • Gary Lee

    So this brings us back to negative SEO, an issue I have had for a very long time. After a very long deep think, I would like to agree with Matt Cutts and others that Negative SEO is almost entirely impossible!

    VERY IMPORTANT
    Let me explain….

    If you run a white hat site,chances are you have only been around 1-2 years or have cleaned up your act or the natural accumulation of crap links that you acquired. If someone tried to attack your site with a bunch of bad links it would be very obvious and either algo will spot it or a reconsideration request will solve it very very quickly.

    THAT is why Negative SEO is almost impossible. IF and only IF your site has done no wrong in the past.

    I would be hard pushed to find many sites that do not have a questionable back link profile. This means that the quote by Matt Cutts and Google that Negative SEO is almost impossible does NOT apply to all other sites.

    An example of that would be to look at any sites backlink profile and see if they have done any naughty things in the past. This includes:-
    Almost all Directory links (95% of all websites)
    Press releases
    Guest blog posts
    Profile links
    Blog Comments (even using just your name)
    Forum baiting

    and much more…

    Once you have found a site like this, if someone was cruel they could continue this process and it would alert Google to the idea that this company continues the bad practices of the past. this would force a Manual penalty and cause the business the long heart ache of the recovery process.

    So Negative SEO is not possible but it is possible to alert Google to previous bad practices that a company has done and speed up the process of which it would take to discover the site has done wrong in the past. This would deny that company the chance to catch and clean up the links before such a penalty would have been issued.

    This practice is being performed all the time and is terrible. The bigger the brand the longer it takes to recover. This is why our SERPS are so bad right now. Its full of re-branded businesses and random news ones that have no credibility and history.

    This method of penalizing businesses is hurting consumers in TWO HUGE ways.

    ONE: They are being sent to inferior untrustworthy businesses/brands while the best choice is sunk to the depths of the internet.

    TWO: Those affected are now paying for adwords and increasing the cost of their products to compensate for the lose and passing the cost onto the consumers or even laying off staff to compensate for the adwords spend. A Kind of Google Tax if you will.

    This post may be removed for exposing that a “TYPE” of negative SEO indeed exists , it kind of needs a new name like, exposebadSEO or something.

  • Darpan Ghosh

    I have a strong feeling that Google’s penalty, in this context on generic keywords only, is a clear indicator of emphasis on the newest search algorithm ‘Hummingbird”. Despite it is functional and everyone is talking about it a lot, but in majority of SEO practice generic keyword dependence still continues! I feel Google, throughout 2014, will continue increasing both pressure and penalty over webmasters, specifically those who are reluctant about shifting to natural language search queries in the content, pages, meta-tag and meta-descriptions! If these actions are judged further on a broader spectrum, it would appear that they are actually closing all the possible outlets that in future may encourage production of spammy content.

  • EddNG

    2014, the year of SEO snitching.

  • Divya

    Really… May be Expedia refuse to Buy Google’s services or refuse to sell something to Google… LOL

  • http://www.samharries.com/ Sam Harries

    Honour amongst thieves.

  • Ehsan Rahmatulla

    Older times of ranking improvement through keyword targeting have gone. SEO’s become a waiting exercise for brands who need to build their brand presence by engagement.

  • Jonathan Jones

    Only encouraged by sites like SE Land linking to those dastardly snitches’ websites.

  • djhbaw1

    Typical Google. Squeezing the little guy. And in this case, Expedia is a little guy.

  • Scott Davis

    Google’s already in the travel business and has been for some time. Flight Finder & Hotel Finder…

  • Scott Davis

    Google’s already in the travel business and has been for some time. Flight Finder & Hotel Finder…

  • Scott Davis

    Negative SEO is very much possible, alive, well, and kicking in today’s internet world.

    Don’t delude yourself. Scraping content, buying links for your competitors, posting links for your competitors in guest blog posts, creating duplicate map listings and plus pages, claiming a competitors Google+ page, taking the URL on your competitor’s map listing and plus page….

    I could go on and on about the various things i’ve had to deal with from our competition.

  • Henrik Stenmann

    Hey here is the real problem with Expedia.com and SEO

    https://plus.google.com/114649973169542237747/posts/DrZaB2qUQMG

    See my post

  • Henrik Stenmann

    Hey here is the real problem with Expedia.com and SEO

    https://plus.google.com/114649973169542237747/posts/DrZaB2qUQMG

    See my post

  • Henrik Stenmann
  • http://www.myparisapartments.com/ David

    holly cow, this is big news… and probably worth someone like Cemper to analyse Expedia’s link portfolio with the LRTset and produce a case study report to read the technical nitty gritty of the story…

  • Carly

    Could the decline in search visibility in part, be a result of Expedia stopping their link building- If so, would that not perpetuate the merit of their initial strategy?

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Actually, we generally don’t run around doing posts saying someone else has noted some SEO violation, because that’s all we’d be doing.

    When we report on a penalty, it’s usually because….

    A major publication, say the New York Times, has done a big story about something. That makes it more noteworthy than all the many other cases we could spend time on. See also: JC Penney.

    Google itself addresses the issue is some way, such as when Matt Cutts said he’d look into Rap Genius. That’s again a noteworthy moment.

    When a major brand take a major hit after some discussion of an issue, which is the case here. Expedia and possible paid links has been under discussion since mid-December. We didn’t cover it then because like I said, that would be all we do. But when it took an actual hit, it became relevant.

  • tobryant

    Affiliates are your employees and you are responsible for making sure they abide by the rules of the road. Their spam directly affects your rankings and thus traffic generated from organic search results.

  • tobryant

    wouldn’t worry about quantcast – everybody lost traffic in August according to them – travelocity, vrbo.com, hotels.com etc.

  • FaceOnMars

    While this apparent penalty may in fact be directly related to unnatural linking schemes, it may not necessarily be the primary culprit. I have witnessed several large credible and authoritative directory structured sites take huge hits over the past year. Expedia is essentially a glorified directory with a lot of (very useful) bells and whistles. Perhaps lost in the discussion is the possibility their decline is partly due to the site’s architecture resembling a directory of sorts?

  • Gary Lee

    No you misunderstand my point, negative seo is NOT possible.

    You are confusing it with something else.

    A company with a clean white hat site will not fall victim to such tactics. That is what Negative SEO is.

    The reason I am saying this is so that YOU understand the lingo Google is using to throw us all off.

    It should be called Speedy Penalty or something else. This would describe a process where someone would create poor links to your site to speed up the process of you getting a penalty as a result of previous bad link building practices that had been undertaken by that site.

    When the Google spam team take a look at that site they say OK we can see where the fake link building was done by a competitor but that does not dismiss the fact that they now need to clean up what they did in the past. thus creating a speedy penalty not negative seo.

    By understanding that you will understand Google’s obsession of playing with words to annoy and frustrate people.

    Negative SEO is not possible, what you refer to as negative is not what Google considers it to be. Much like you pointing to an orange and calling it an apple.

    I hope that makes sense.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    “…everybody lost traffic in August according to them…”

    That would approximately coincide with Google’s quiet rollout of the Hummingbird search system.

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    That’s true, but still — if word got out that they were buying and selling links, it would certainly make people wonder why.

  • cbets

    Good to see this. Just waiting for Google/Google Ventures to do the same thing to Retailmenot which has guest posts and links from this same network of sites.

  • http://www.harisbacic.com/ Haris

    So you would rather trust a multi-billion dollar company that cheats the system rather than a smaller start-up that offers the same services except they do everything by the book?

  • http://www.harisbacic.com/ Haris

    So you would rather trust a multi-billion dollar company that cheats the system rather than a smaller start-up that offers the same services except they do everything by the book?

  • http://www.harisbacic.com/ Haris

    Probably because their competitors are doing the same thing to rank higher in the search engines. It’s not like other travel sites are creating some awesome mind-blowing content. They’re all doing the same thing, some are just doing it in a more down-low way as to not get caught or attract attention.

  • http://www.harisbacic.com/ Haris

    Probably because their competitors are doing the same thing to rank higher in the search engines. It’s not like other travel sites are creating some awesome mind-blowing content. They’re all doing the same thing, some are just doing it in a more down-low way as to not get caught or attract attention.

  • Dave

    For “flights” keyword:https://www.google.com/search?q=flights&pws=0&gl=US, the first result is https://www.google.com/flights/‎ and Expedia on 2 page. Is this the current result or I am seeing different due to my GEO location?