Something happened to Expedia’s website ranking on Google searches, making it appear as if it may have been hit by a negative SEO campaign. This is according to an analysis performed by the firm that discovered the problems.
Between January 12 and 19, Expedia lost a quarter of its visibility in Google search. This occurred right after Google clamped down on Expedia’s efforts to boost its traffic through paid links from other websites.
This revelation caused Expedia’s shares to fall as concern about the impact the poor SEO would have on its business.
The CEO of Searchmetrics, the company that found the issue, did a deeper analysis on what occurred that caused Expedia to lose so much visibility. What the CEO, Marcus Tober, found was that the SEO techniques that were used to increase the website’s search visibility were out-dated and clumsy. They were also used too much. Tober stated it would be surprising if the company was responsible for what occurred all by themselves.
Instead, Tober believes that there are three main reasons for the scheme. The first is that Expedia possibly used artificial link building a number of years ago, forgetting that they did this and left the links out there. The second is that the visibility dive is the result of a third party SEO company that Expedia hired that is still using outdated techniques. The third is that an Expedia competitor may have built the links in the past in order to hurt Expedia, which is known as negative SEO. Unfortunately, this is a practice that has become common.
Whatever the reason, Expedia received a very hard hit. It was hit so hard that a search for “hotels” brought up absolutely nothing in the first few pages of search results. Normally, Expedia would be on the first page. In fact, it was common for Expedia to hold the number three spot.
It was also found that the word “hotels” was used as anchor text on many websites and that anchor text linked back to Expedia’s website. For instance, a site about travel to Vietnam had the word “hotels” linked back to Expedia’s hotels page and that is a practice that is not used anymore. This showed that the site was created just for links.
All in all, it looks like Expedia became the victim of individuals who wish to hurt rankings of companies. Now Expedia is in recovery mode.