UK online travel agency Directline Holidays has broadened its routes to market after half of its traffic was wiped out overnight by the Google Panda algorithm update last year.
The agency’s managing director Maria Whiteman told last week’s Advantage Travel Centres conference that Panda forced it into a rethink of where it drove its traffic from.
Directline was particularly noted for its success in search engine marketing and clever use of relevant content and landing pages.
However Whiteman said Panda forced it to look at other distribution channels, including rival search engine Yahoo! and closed user groups, and that this was paying off.
“We were hit by a change at Google which wiped out half of our traffic overnight. Now we are seeing 100% growth on flight searches through Yahoo,” said Whiteman. “We bounced back by using secondary channels.”
Whiteman warned companies could go out of business as a result of an algorithm change by Google. “You have to have control of your business,” she added.
The OTA now gets 12% of its traffic from affiliates and has begun to look at closed user groups for business as a result of the change.
“We have learned not to rely on one medium,” she said. “From social media sites you get better quality traffic. From natural searches, when they do come through, they convert at a better rate.”