- February 23rd, 2013
- News, Online Marketing
On February 20th 2013 the well known florist “Interflora” was wiped off the Google search results pages.
Interflora had been a big hitter in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) commanding the top spot for broad and lucrative terms such as “flowers”, “florist” and “flower delivery”.
However in a short space of time that all changed and Interflora had ‘vanished’ from existence. The only remanence of Inflora ever existing were the AdWords/PPC adverts.
Please note: the below image is tongue in cheek, so apologies to anyone who may take offence.
Why has this happened?
It’s only a recent event but already there has has been a lot of talk on internet marketing blogs and forums the world over. After all this is a significant event in SEO and SERPs.
Initial reports were mixed; suggestions the “blogger outreach programme” was to blame, and others hinted at thousands of ‘microsites’ being the issue.
However on closer inspection and as further information has come to light, it’s now clear that Interflora paid for an extensive advertising campaign across many regional news sites. These paid links were a mixture of sponsored articles, advertorials and keyword centric links. Unfortunately for Interflora paying for links/link juice contravenes Google’s quality guidelines.
Google has issued a stern warning that selling links on sites that pass PageRank can lead to a penalty in Google.
The biggest indicator of this is the huge PR (PageRank) drop that occurred recently across many, if not all regional and some national newspaper websites.
What can we learn from it?
It’s clear that Google doesn’t mess around when they say they don’t stand for policy infringements.
The first and most obvious caution for any Search Engine Optimiastion (SEO) undertaken by you or on your behalf is to follow Google’s guidance and policies to the letter. So take heed.
And perhaps as equally important is to diversify your SEO work, avoiding any Black Hat practises and don’t ever keep your eggs in one basket.
If you’re currently employing a SEO freelancer and/or SEO agency to improve your rankings the very least you should do is be critical of their work, ask for reports and study up on the expectations that Google has of your backlink campaign.
Stay vigilante, protect your assets (brand and domain name) by holding your SEO to account – and remember, bigger isn’t always better and cheap is rarely cheerful. Optimising your website and increasing your ranking takes time, there are no quick fixes!