It's fairly well known that Google punishes websites that try to game the system in order to get better search rankings, but that doesn't stop some from trying.
Today it appears as if Expedia may have earned the search giant's ire. Links to the $9 billion online travel company that normally appear near the top have been relegated to page three.
While what's causing the pushback is unclear, SEO site Search Engine Land says it appears that Expedia was " participating in paid linking schemes that eventually caught up with them." Google declined to comment on the issue. Expedia told the Wall Street Journal that it also had no comment.
Although that sounds like it could be dire, for Expedia it's not, and actually only represents a 1.5 percent drop off in year-over-year traffic and a drop in revenue of 1.1 percent.
Hip-hop startup Rap Genius, on the other hand, saw a massive dip in traffic after it garnered Google's scorn and was kicked from the top rankings last month. After making amends Google ended the punishment, as they've done with other companies in the past such as Overstock.com and J.C. Penney. Both of those companies were also accused of using unscrupulous tactics in order to boost their Google search ranking.
Google continuously evolves and upgrades its algorithms in order to return the most relevant results while filtering out spam and won't hesitate to manually deflate a site's rankings when it breaks the rules.