Google Takes Aim at Expedia

Legitimate SEO practices continue to remain vital for businesses as one wrong move can spell disaster when Google decides to use the ban-hammer and knock a company out of its search results. The search engine titan is so incredibly important to some businesses that lack of a Google presence can doom some companies.

Reports suggest online travel hub Expedia recently suffered the weight of a Google mishap and was removed from a large percentage of search listings. This search engine problem may have been the cause of a 4 percent drop in Expedia’s stock price. Google plays such an important part in the average company’s visibility that a loss of search engine listings may impact the company financially within hours.

Google’s Algorithm a Subtle Mystery

One of the problems that marketers experience is that it’s impossible to know what’s going on inside Google’s offices because the secretive company keeps some details of their search algorithm under wraps. Each year or so, Google makes an update to its search algorithm and usually publicizes the event, but many marketers are left scratching their heads as to what exactly the search engine will consider bad marketing practices.

Poor SEO Hurts Businesses

One of the biggest sources of search engine problems happens when a marketer creates a poorly written dummy site that’s designed to link back to the home website. These links around the internet are supposed to let Google know that a website is popular and that many people feel the website is authoritative enough that linking is a good idea, although every SEO expert or company will tell you these links are poisonous and likely to destroy the quality of a site’s link profile.

Unfortunately, Google has seen these low quality websites as a threat to good search results and has penalized companies who have a lot of low quality links pointed to their websites. Additionally, some marketers suggest that a rival company could get a competitor knocked off Google’s search results by creating a bunch of low quality sites and linking the rival’s site to those bad pages.

Negative SEO Enters the National Lexicon

The concept of bad marketing and search engine results has become so important to businesses today that the phrase “negative SEO” has become a talking point for marketing experts. Discussions of how companies can detect negative SEO pepper the web, but the practice is difficult to fix because sometimes there’s very little evidence of the perpetrator of this bad marketing content.

Recognizing Bad Marketing Practices

Experts suggest that it’s important to keep an eye out for unauthorized links to figure out whether a company’s own marketing personnel are engaging in bad SEO practices or whether there’s another company out there trying to use unfair tactics to reduce a company’s reputation with Google. One of the best tools to use is Google’s own Webmaster Tools.

This feature allows a marketer to download a list of all the latest sites that have appeared on the internet with a link to the company’s web pages. There are several additional, similar resources that may be used to detect bad linking practices. Many businesses are wholly dependent upon Google search results, so recognizing bad practices and striving to avoid them is essential for continued success and longevity.

Anna Johansson
Anna is a freelance writer and researcher from the Olympia, WA area who loves to obsess about weird topics and then write about them. When she isn't writing, she is outside on her bike and comtemplating her eventual trip to graduate school.

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