Google Europe Search Hijacking Bug With TripAdvisor, Booking, Hotel.com & More

Feb 27, 2024 - 7:51 am 45 by
Filed Under Google

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Google Search may have a bug in the European regions with hotel listings being hijacked by spammy sites. Google will show TripAdvisor, Hotels.com, Booking.com and other legit sites in its search results but when you click on those listings, you're taken to a different site, a spammy site.

It is hard for me to replicate since this seems to be happening in the European search results. Maybe this is related to the new search interfaces and features for DMA? Maybe some hackers were able to exploit it. I am not 100% sure.

But JC Chouinard an SEO Strategist at Tripadvisor, posted details of this hijacking including sharing screenshots. Google is aware of the issue but did not disclose any details.

JC Chouinard posted on X numerous examples of Google showing a site's URL but when you click on that URL, it takes you somewhere else. I am told these sites are not hacked, but rather, this is an issue on Google's end.

Here are some screenshots showing this issue from JC Chouinard:

Google Hotel Listings Hack

Google Hotel Listings Hack2

Google Hotel Listings Hack3

He posted many other examples on X, but you get the point by now.

Danny Sullivan, Google's Search Liaison, posted on X, "I think John Mueller [a search analyst at Google] seems to be following up on this, so I'll leave it to you both."

I did ask JC if he has been in touch with John and I was told no, he was not - at least at the time I wrote this story.

John did post that he passed along the details:

I wonder how much traffic is being diverted away from legit sites to these scammy sites over this issue? I wonder how big of an issue this is and how this will get resolved. I honestly don't think I will ever find out...

Forum discussion at X.

 

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