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TripAdvisor Insisting On Reciprocal BackLink - Panda Defence?

     
7:09 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I run a website for a small hotel that has just been fully refurbished and they applied to TripAdvisor UK today to be listed/linked etc.

That's fine, they said, however they would need a reciprocal link from the hotel.

It's a non-issue and has already been done however I was wondering whether this is their new way of building backlinks as a defence against current and future Panda updates.

It would make sense, has anyone else heard of such requests/demands?
7:47 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It might be a play to increase inbound links altogether, but reciprocals have only been low-level links for a long time. Maybe they "missed seeing the memo."

Why would reciprocal links be useful as a Panda defense? I haven't heard of backlinks being involved in the Panda algorithm - at least not from a trusted source. What I have heard has only been part of the general guessing game.
8:33 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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if TripAdvisor has nofollow then would not be recip
10:06 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I thought TripAdvisor listed whatever properties were in the Hotels-dot-com and Expedia database...period. Are we sure they aren't simply trying to get a link out of you before directing you on to list your property with Hotels-dot-com and Expedia?
1:13 pm on Sept 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm not quite sure what their intentions are since the hotel owner hasn't told me specifically what she's doing with them so for the moment I've given them a link and I'll see what they do!

It's a 5 second job to remove if need be so I'm not overly concerned but her hotel being in Trip Advisor is more important for potential tourist bookings.
2:48 pm on Sept 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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TA have had an extensive program of link exchanges for many years - well before panda came along (as have several other large groups of travel sites I know of).

Years ago I did a link exchange with them myself (removed when they they subsequently made their outbound links nofollow without mentioning it). Even quite recently I had an email from a company in their group asking if I would do a link exchange.

It's only us mere mortals who can't get away with such things any more.
8:07 pm on Sept 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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did you nofollow the link to them? they shouldnt be able to 'force' a dofollow link i think Big G would frown on that and the NY Times would have hayday. I would nofollow and see if they notice, if they do set it back to dofollow and tell us what they say.
10:32 pm on Sept 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@jk3210 - a bit more extensive then just those two. I guess the hotelier, if not already on these guys networks, will be getting an invite to join their network. Then it will be - you are not allowed to advertise on your hotel web site prices lower than you make available on our network.

UK Office of Fair Trading is currently reviewing this.
7:10 am on Sept 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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building backlinks as a defence against current and future Panda updates

Tripadvisor is one of the largest SEO platforms on the web, and it's brand is likely 2nd nature to the Google's algo , editors and SERP crew.

If they got wiped out their defence would be to ring Google, as would half the OTA's in the world. So it's unlikely to be a defence strategy. That said, Google decides what it wants, when it wants it, and how it get's it. So when they decide - that's it.

Tripadvisor has been publicly sensitive to Google scraping it's content, and presumably link partners and whatever else it wants for sometime.
5:53 pm on Sept 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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TripAdvisor does not require (and has never required) hotels to link to us in order to show their property on our site. All hotels that are ‘open for business’ are listed on TripAdvisor, free of charge, and free of any requirements to link to us.
5:58 pm on Sept 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for posting, Dena. And I can confirm that you are "the real deal" - a bona fide employee at Trip Advisor.

So how did this idea get generated, HuskyPup?
6:24 pm on Sept 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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So how did this idea get generated, HuskyPup?


As I originally wrote:

however they would need a reciprocal link from the hotel.


This was the e-mail the hotel owner sent me:

is it possible to put a link to "tripadvisor" on the website please, they will then list us apparently.

i cannot set up an account with them unless i have a URL ? you will know what that means


I'll be seeing her in a few hours and will let her know TripAdvisor Dena's comments and ask her what has happened.

Many thanks Dena.
8:45 pm on Sept 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thought this rang a bell from when I tried to add a property for someone...
[tripadvisor.co.uk...]
says on the page to add a hotel: "We do not include hotel descriptions unless we can verify that your link to TripAdvisor is published on your site when we receive this form."
with linking options given at [tripadvisor.co.uk...]
9:05 pm on Sept 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I think I see where the contradiction comes into play. Dena is with tripadvisor.com and the link requirement is being made by tripadvisor.co.uk
5:41 am on Sept 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

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them damn Brits
5:56 am on Sept 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Dena what is the association between the US and UK - same owners or are they a licensed operator etc?
1:12 am on Sept 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Listed is free; having your description shown costs the link. That's probably the deal.

Personally, I would have nothing to do with such entities.
11:40 am on Sept 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Looks like the UK site simply needs to be updated to match US policy, at least where SEO best practice is concerned. I think they mirror the US data, as does tripadvisor.com.au. The Aussie site does not ask for a reciprocal link.