Action has been taken by Google against airline deal websites like TripAdvisors, Expedia and others for misusing product rich snippets in their structured data markup. Googled ended up taking manual action against these sites by removing the rich snippets in search results for using this markup when showing price data for fight destination pages.
It was confirmed yesterday morning by John Mueller on a Google Hangout. He said, “So that is kind of what the team took action on there. We noticed that these pages were making up multiple different types of products in a way that you would for one product.”
Here is what was said:
I double-checked about this just before the Hangout, actually. We didn’t actually change anything. What we did notice was a bunch of sites were using this as a way to kind of mark up a variety of products instead of just one product. So we hope that the price markup on a page is specific to one product and you are talking about a page like flights to Berlin, then that is like tons of different products, essentially. Like different flights from different locations going to Berlin, so it is very hard to say, well, it makes sense to mark that up with price rich snippets to show that in the search results because it is essentially all different kinds of products on the same page.
So that is kind of what the team took action on there. We noticed that these pages were making up multiple different types of products in a way that you would for one product.
This isn’t the first time that Google has dealt with rich snippet spam, as they’ve been doing this for years now. This current action appears to have been applied to airline travel websites across the board.
If you’re interested in checking out the question and answer, watch the clip in the video at the 47-second mark of the Hangout.