TripAdvisor Forcing Hotels To Link To Them?

Sep 1, 2011 • 9:06 am | comments (11) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO
 

TripAdvisor LogoA WebmasterWorld thread has a post from a member I trust. The post is about TripAdvisor's listing policies requiring those who want a listing to link back to TripAdvisor's web site.

He wrote:

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 defense against current and future Panda updates.

It would make sense, has anyone else heard of such requests/demands?

TripAdvisor has a linking information page with detailed instructions on how they want you to link to them. Clearly, there is no nofollow attribute in there.

Tnooz ran a story showing that most of the listings on TripAvisor do not have links from TripAdvisor back to the hotel.

In any event, requiring a reciprocal link, if true, is a bit risky for TripAdvisor.

We know TripAdvisor and Google have had their fights in the past - will this lead to one more?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

Ken Shafer

09/01/2011 01:18 pm

How is it a reciprocal link if there's no link to the hotel from TripAdvisor?

Andy Francos

09/01/2011 01:30 pm

Did anyone ever see the enormous drop at the end of July for TripAdvisor (across the board - UK, US, IT...)? I did this blog just afterwards.  The websites have since recovered, however was it just a coincidence that on the day Google stopped using third party reviews TA dropped? (Also same day Panda filter was applied - cover up?) Blog: http://www.intelligentpositioning.com/blog/2011/07/tripadvisor-takes-a-hit-in-google-over-reviews-row/ 

dfallon23

09/01/2011 01:32 pm

I agree with Ken Shafer that this doesn't seem to technically violate anything.  However, I also agree with Barry that this is risky.  Google could penalize the site easily whether it technically violates any of its rules or only violates them in spirit.

Autocrat

09/01/2011 03:30 pm

Hmmm. If they are Demanding/Requiring a Backlink in return for the listing, then that could be seen as running against the Google Guidelines, specifically the Link Schemes part of it [http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66356].

BobGladstein

09/01/2011 05:29 pm

Did you look at their suggested text links? (Hopefully I've messed up the code enough that it won't actually link out from here.) Read unbiased opinions about [a href="tripadvisor .com/"]hotels[/a] and [a href="tripadvisor .com/"]vacations[/a] at TripAdvisor. They couldn't settle for a single link anchored by "hotels and vacations". They want two single-word links.

Heather Turner

09/02/2011 10:35 am

Tripadvisor requires Hotels to pay a listing fee to put their links on the TA site, highway robbery is what it is. A 12 room inn for example is $850 per year, a 120 room hotel is $4000 per year, I kid you not.

Matin Soler - wihphotel.com

09/02/2011 01:57 pm

Never heard of this and we manage several hundred hotel websites. We wouldn't accept it and all our clients are on Tripadvisor. Some have purchased the business listing but many don't. It's probably a misunderstanding, in that the person at Tripadvisor was suggesting they do this.  I doubt they need this for their SEO. 

Deepesh Agarwal

09/02/2011 03:14 pm

They are definitely asking for link-back and offer you "Featured Property"  lollipop to get them.

Dena Enos - TripAdvisor

09/02/2011 05:57 pm

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.

Manish Singh

09/05/2011 05:22 am

I  agree with Barry that this is risky.  Google could penalize the site easily whether it technically violates any of its rules or only violates them in spirit. http://www.bestsolutionofit.com/

Deepesh Agarwal

04/20/2012 09:54 am

Tripdvisor is not only forcing links to listers but also making sure they dont rel=nofollow it. Have a look at there javascript code (intentionally hidden after top blank space) at - http://www.tripadvisor.com/WidgetEmbed-linkingWidgetWAR?amp;uniq=428&lang=en_IN&border=true&locationId=1585432, they are making the badge invalid if rel=nofollow or rel=undefined is found in linking code. Being such a big highly visible company wouldn't google do something with regards to this forced linking violation of their policies ?

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