Published: August 17, 2012
Edited: December 25, 2013
Several industries have been more affected than others. Among them are e-commerce, the travel industry, the gaming industry, blogging, ezines and newspapers, as well as others...
Now let's see the travel industry's situation...
Because it belongs to the service sector, it's highly dependent on the internet.
Travel agents, airlines, tour operators, hotel booking sites and individual hotels, car rental agencies and other firms are selling their services online, primarily...
Because of the nature of their activity, creating unique and up-to-date contact is a rather difficult task for these companies.
Scores of these sites have been producing travel guides, listing photographs of destinations, selling guidebooks, building communities, reviews platforms, even comparison search engines. Diversification of content, client retention through more interactivity are among the key elements that ensure long-term development.
If we check the travel sites of the web, we'll notice a high similarity among most of them. There are many travel communities, travel blogs, review platforms and a plethora of these doesn't offer anything original. Too much similarity is a negative aspect in Google's eyes.
What's even worse is that most travel agents indeed have poor content, almost nothing appealing, nor engaging enough - beside their booking system and some presentation materials.
Link building efforts were generally put into obtaining backlinks from small personal sites and blogs, travel publications, such as travel destination guide sites. After Panda, the small players were strongly hit, which also brought down some of the big and medium players who were linked to from the affected sites.
A vast number of travel affiliate programs have been producing massive income for the parent merchants running them. Yet, companies such as BookingBuddy, BookingWiz, Booking.com, Expedia and others have suffered because of the effects of Panda indirectly: their incomes got negatively affected following Panda's and Penguin's crashing of the affiliate sites.
As we know, Google has been cleaning their search results up during the past year and sites heavily focusing on affiliate marketing were among the primary targets of Panda and Penguin. The causes were primarily SEO (over SEO-ed content, detrimental link building techniques etc.), as well as little or poor original content, but let's not forget the newly trendy metrics - on which most of the affiliate sites scored poorly (e.g. bounce rates, time spent on site etc).
With the small personal travel affiliate income-dependent sites almost entirely wiped out, the entire travel affiliate industry has suffered tremendously. It will be harder and harder to be small, yet successful. Home-run and other small travel sites earning from such reward programs won't have the importance they've had - under current algorithmic conditions.