It looks like Google has penalized travel site Expedia, one its competitors, which is part of the FairSearch Coalition, which regularly lobbies for antitrust action to be taken against the search giant.
Popular belief is that the site was likely hit with an unnatural link penalty. Last month, some of the site's link tactics drew some negative attention in the SEO industry, and it looks like they may have caught up with the site.
"What Expedia creates is the huge amount of paid articles filled with fluff content aaaaand…what else?" wrote NenadSEO. "Overly Optimized Anchor Keywords. Yes, that’s what Expedia is doing. They are using Link Schemes to hit the top spots in theSERPs– and they are getting away with this. Nobody is going to punish them."
Or maybe they did.
Google has been cracking down on "link schemes more than ever in recent months". I'm sure you recall the big Rap Genius story from a couple weeks ago. That site didn't stay in the penalty box very long, and seems unlikely that Expedia will either, but I guess we'll see.
Expedia still ranks for a branded search, which is already better than Rap Genius was doing when it was penalized.
Earlier I mentioned the FairSearch thing. Interestingly, Expedia has been accused of breaking antitrust laws in the past itself.
Image via SearchMetrics