Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Where is Ebookers on Google?

Travolution returns from a weekend away and a curious email arrives from the good folk at the Search Engine War blog, alerting us to some rather odd goings on at Ebookers.

It appears the online travel agent is having a few issues with its search engine optimisation.

If users type in Ebookers into Google, Ebookers does NOT even feature on the first page of natural search listings.

This is rather bizarre considering how optimised for organic search one would think a pleading online player would be.

They are, of course, paying for pay-per-click listing on the word “ebookers”, but a hard link into the website does not appear until the fifth entry on the second page.

Carbookers.com, the car hire section of the site, is in fact the top search result, but equally does land users on the homepage.

Rather embarrassingly for Ebookers, a consumer site called Grumble Text, with a string of nasty comments about the company, currently appears in second place.

The problem could be down to pagejacking, as Teddie Cowell at Search Engine War says in his post.

Chris Lake on E-consultancy has set the ball rolling on trying to discover what has happened.

Heather Hopkins at Hitwise UK chips in: “I looked back 8 weeks to the four weeks ending 3 June 2006, and at that time, Ebookers receiving 84% of visits from searches for its brand. This indicates to me that it is likely a result of the recent changes that Google made to the algorithm.”

Cowell adds: “Possibly as part of their duplicate detection, Google thinks that the main Ebookers.com website is now faulty so Big Daddy, which attempts to decide the most appropriate page to show, has defaulted to Carbookers.com instead.”

UPDATE: We have now managed to talk to Ebookers and will be running an update on the Travolution website and here on the blog on Friday 11 August.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

6 comments:

Teddie said...

LOL. "a pleading online player" What are you insinuating about ebookers SEO ability?

:-)

Darren Cronian said...

It's duplicate content alright, anyone checking Google can find that.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=site%3Awww.ebookers.co.uk&meta=

;)

All supplimental results, and anyone into SEO can tell you that these pages are being reduced because of either duplicate content or the Google bots have been stopped from spidering the pages.

Only six pages left in the Google index for Google UK and these all appear to be secure pages (https://)

Looking at the robots.txt file it doesnt through up any ideas why the site could of been dumped from Google.

It'll be interesting following developments on this - I intend to blog about it! Good find!!

Darren Cronian said...

Also, they have a re-direct on the .co.uk domain to direct to .com domain, this could also be a problem if its not a Permanent 302 direct, or if they are using javascript code to direct the .co.uk to .com

Darren Cronian said...

Sorry, also showing a PR0 which is almost certainly a google ban for something, and its worth pointing out that its not just the .co.uk domain thats been banned ;)

Darren Cronian said...

Damn I never knew I wrote so much in these comments! :) Here's my lowdown from a non specialist SEO type person.

http://www.travel-rants.com/2006/08/10/where-are-thou-ebookers/

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Looks like ebookers.com is back.
and is doing quite well on some high volume travel search words - flights, airline tickets and so on.