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Expedia Books a Painful Trip Down Google's Search Results

Expedia’s plunge in Google rankings threatens its Web traffic
Expedia Books a Painful Trip Down Google's Search Results
Photograph by Sasha Bezzubov/Gallery Stock

Google frowns on websites trying to game its search results—and Expedia appears to have gotten that memo a bit late.

The online travel agency has seen its page rankings drop 25 percent for travel-related searches on Google in recent days, according to Searchmetrics, a search-engine research firm. Losing that much visibility in search rankings almost guarantees a drop in traffic of at least 20 percent to Expedia, says Marcus Tober, Searchmetrics’s founder and president. Such a rapid, sharp drop suggests that Google is penalizing the company for so-called “unnatural links” to Expedia.com that are posted on many travel blogs and other websites.