The main benefit of a Business Listing on TripAdvisor is the addition of contact details – telephone, website and email.
Recently Tnooz interviewed Steve Kaufer (top dog at TripAdvisor) and posed him the obvious question regarding the Business Listing links on TripAdvisor – why the “nofollow”?
“We really don’t want to ever be accused by Google or anyone else of offering a service that could be construed as buying a link,” says Kaufer, sitting in a conference room at TripAdvisor headquarters in Newton, Mass.
“It’s not going to hurt anyone else’s SEO ranking,” he points out. “It just doesn’t help it. And we never ever imply if you buy a link you’ll do better in search results. It’s irrelevant.”
Steve Kaufer, TripAdvisor CEO
This is a poor defence. Owners and travellers alike have been saying for ages that ALL properties listed on TA should have proper contact details, like phone, email and a link to a website. After all, if TripAdvisor is going to make money out of publishing reviews that feed their other business ventures, the least they can do is give the same properties a decent chance of being found by the poor sap (sorry, TripAdvisor user) who likes the look of a place and wants to contact them.
As the first Tnooz comment by Stuart said:
The whole “We’re wary of being called on paid links” defence is hogwash. Sure that is a valid concern if the link to the property is a part of their paid for business listing thing, but that is why the link should have been there from the get go as a part of a standard free listing.
The original, and still the main, purpose of “nofollow” was to prevent spammers filling blogs with links to their sites via the comments sections. Most blogs now have “nofollow” automatically to protect against this. Here’s Matt Cutts of Google on “nofollow” http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/quick-comment-on-nofollow/
More recently, Google has said it disapproves of purchased links. But many reputable paid listings sites include regular website links and aren’t penalised.
For example, the long established site http://www.skiaustria.com has hard links to the hotels who advertise there. See here: http://www.skiaustria.com/kitzbuel/hotels/tennerhof/index.htm
The link to the hotel Tennerhof is hard AND the page carrying link has PR2 on Google, so no penalties there. But lots of benefit for the owner of the hotel and his website – a decent link far from “irrelevant” as Kaufer claims.
Clearly, TA want other sites to link in to them so they hide keyword rich links in their widgets without telling anybody. But they aren’t happy to link out. All this one way link traffic is good for them but bad news for the hotel/b&b owner websites they feed off.