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Interflora Hit By A Google Penalty (Yawn..industry Babbble Babble)


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#1 glyn

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 04:06 AM

Okay  here's  a story gathering online traction:

 

 

Google has pulled the SEO ranking of Interflora for its own brand
name as well as generic related topics such as ‘flowers’, ‘flower
delivery’ and ‘florist’, which would usually have brought the company to
the top of the search list.


The penalty is thought to have been imposed as a result of
'unnatural' link-buidling, backed up by Tweets seen by The Drum that
suggest that the florist has been actively asking for paid-links in
stories to be removed in the last day, indicating that this is what the
company is being punished for. However one industry insider has told The
Drum that he doesn't believe this to be the reason for the punishment,
adding that this tactic was to put Google 'off the scent' of the real
issue, which is still the cause of speculation.

 

source: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/02/22/interflora-seo-rankings-penalised-google-it-loses-top-search-spot

 

In Summary:

- Google isn't saying what happened (helpful)

- There is no way for the brand to remedy the situation short time (any organic penalties are long-term timescales for sorting out: read my business in short term is ruined unless I pay). PPC wins and they are unsurprisingly using it.

- The agency that is going SEO gets hammered by something that they couldn't control (we could argue this but we won't).

- Manipulation of the art holier than thou algo is being touted as a few random tweets suggesting that Interflora "paid" by sending bloggers some flowers and got links out of it.

 

What to do:

it might be a little bit unconventional but the roamap that I know quite a number are now following is:

1. Spam, 2. Spam even harder. and 3. Spam some more. it ironic that now that is simply a case of getting a link (I've been saying spamming is the only way to go for years, just pleased that finally everyone caught up!).

 

Why?

Content is not rewarded in terms of ranking, it costs a lot of money, people will nick it and Google doesn't care. So push a button.

 

Why should it work?

Because Google's is sytematically trying to case study all the practices of effective SEO by scaring people away from tactics and strategies that algorhythmically they cannot actually address.

 

What's happening:

As mentioned in other threads. The high traffic delivering keywords are being hoovered up by Google. I cited travel as a key industry with G's hotelfinder, but there are other products too and more will evolve.  Google flowers will probably popup or some kind of consolidated product in the near future.

 

On a positive note websites that don't have anything to sell should do quite well out of this change and will not be affected by this commercial toying with results.

 

 

G.

 

ps coincidence that position #3 for interflora in Google is a blog post about the SEO penalty!


Edited by glyn, 25 February 2013 - 04:07 AM.


#2 jonbey

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 04:40 AM

ps coincidence that position #3 for interflora in Google is a blog post about the SEO penalty!

 

Probably because everyone writing about it linked him up!

 

I wonder to what extent they were not the victims of a general review in newspapers. They had many advertorials with regional UK papers and apparently these were all clean (as in not nofollow) links. It may not have been their intention to buy links, but to buy advertising. The fact that most, if not all, of the papers which were selling advertorials without adding nofollow have seen a TBPR drop (see one of the latest posts on davidnaylor.co.uk for some data on that) maybe Google is taking a stronger stance on the mainstream media now. Nobody is safe from disobeying Google guidelines. I think the Independent had its PageRank (I know, irrelevant if people are still finding it in search) from around 7 or 8 to 4. Many overs to zero.

 

Of course, it could have been the free flowers to bloggers too. Or something else, such as links back on franchise websites.



#3 bobbb

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:55 AM

I'm with g above. Have thought it forever years but don't say it. "spamming is the only way to go" It must still work.

And it's a chicken and egg thing. If all the other players are doing it then you must just to stay on a level playing field. Interflora just got bit on the bum.

 

This caught my eye:

big brands don’t remain penalised for long so they may appear at the top again in the next few weeks as Google needs them in their index

Operative word "needs". Maybe Interflora was not buying enough ads. G wants it's cut. Do no evil.


Edited by bobbb, 25 February 2013 - 11:01 AM.


#4 iamlost

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:51 AM

I'm fortunate in that (1) my sites are old established with solid even fabulous backlinks built up over the years, (2) I'm not operating in a niche being targeted (in the near term) by Google, and (3) I've diversified my traffic sources 70-80% away from Google. However, it is obvious that:

* both spammy content and spammy links work well even now in the Google-verse.

* that 'brand' or named entity association has been turned way up on the Google algo dial.

Given the above, if I were starting out now I'd be extremely tempted to go the spammy link route - although I'd do it my way and keep my mouth shut. While it seemed difficult at the time looking at what a sole impecunious webdev faces these days makes back then look like a walk in the land of milk and honey.

 

Build for the visitor, market to the user, spam market to Google.

O Google, Google! wherefore art thou Google?


 

#5 bobbb

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:32 PM

Another vote for spam. Yes, content is king but spam is the queen and on a chessboard she has better moves.

 

c'mon people own up



#6 EGOL

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:58 PM

if I were starting out now I'd be extremely tempted to go the spammy link route

 

 

OMG!



#7 iamlost

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

OMG!


 

:D

 

Tempted.

By some definition of 'spam', aka 'unnatural', aka 'unrequested' or 'self-generated self referral' links.

 

Fortunately, I can sit smugly back and enjoy the fruits of labour long past... however, that does not mean that I don't recognise the power of the dark side. A dark side explicitly accommodated and implicitly encouraged by Google until publicised or taken past an amorphous event horizon. To know what is and is not permitted don't just read the ToS or listen to what they say, look at what they commonly allow and what they commonly do.

 

2face.png


Edited by iamlost, 25 February 2013 - 01:27 PM.


#8 iamlost

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:45 PM

Having given a nod to the spam side of things I'd like to be very very clear:

* if one goes beyond being tempted to tread the dark path to Google then (1) be accepting of all consequences, good and bad, (2) do not tread in the footsteps of others: in the dark being unique - and quiet about it - is safer.

 

* InterFlora was so excessively blatent in their behaviour that I suspect Google, however reluctant, simply had no choice but to smack them down. Yes, they merely did what many/most large business and media sites have been doing for years, but they did it all so much so obviously that they imperilled an entire business model:

"Wink wink nudge nudge. Say no more, say no more."

---Eric Idle

 

The truth of the matter will be seen in how soon the penalty is lifted.

 



#9 TheAlex

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:22 PM

Of course, it could have been the free flowers to bloggers too. Or something else, such as links back on franchise websites.

 

That's a good point. Perhaps we shouldn't send gifts or even products out for review anymore?



#10 jonbey

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:28 PM

I read more on this earlier, and it does seem that they were really rather busy with their marketing. It could be any part of it, or all of it, or none of it!

 

Here it is: http://www.irishwond...lora-penalised/

 

although the final point mentions those franchise sites again. 



#11 glyn

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 03:03 PM

let's see a webdev is aced with the worst case scenario as paying for adwords, which seems now innevitable.

 

from what I see interflora's agency did "spamming" (see latest g definition of what that is) while in fact it was probably useful to its users - contextual and relevant.

 

So now they now pay for adwords.

 

How much free traffic did they get again and for how many years.

 

go do the maths.



#12 clandestino

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:03 PM

By not following google's quality guidelines, you're not breaking any laws.  They've got their rules and I've got mine.  I think they should follow mine.

 

It's a business decision balancing risk vs benefit.



#13 glyn

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 03:18 AM

By not following google's quality guidelines, you're not breaking any laws.  They've got their rules and I've got mine.  I think they should follow mine.

 

It's a business decision balancing risk vs benefit.

 

This is so true, but easily overduped overlooked.



#14 jonbey

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:12 AM

As crazy as it may seem, but some companies may get plenty of sales via direct links, especially in these campaigns that run just before their busiest times in all the press. People read the article, think "holy sh*it is it Valentines already?" and follow the link to buy flowers. Maybe.

 

So maybe they are doing OK without Google? They still have the franchise shops, which appear to rank well still.



#15 iamlost

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 11:25 AM

Well... as I said: The truth of the matter will be seen in how soon the penalty is lifted.

 

Apparently the 11 day penalty is lifted Interflora Gets Its Google Rankings Back by Matt McGee, Search Engine Land, 03-March-2013.

 

The truth is: Google blatently discriminates.

Welcome to the back of the slow bus.



#16 bobbb

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:08 PM

Somewhere in my reading on the topic someone (iamlost) said that they will come back because G needs them just as Interflora needs them.

 

And I'll add if for anything just to be believable. Can you just imagine doing a search for florist and not getting Interflora? You probably did the search just to get the Interflora network. You would think "What? Did I accidentally go to Bing?" I'll also add they need all of us because without "our content" they have nothing to show and thus nothing to sell.

 

The truth is: Google blatantly discriminates

Now if that could be proven, there is money to be made... by some hotshot lawyer. It's probably a matter of time before it happens.



#17 jonbey

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:48 PM

Keep up. They came back already. See webologist's latest post for proof, or search for Interflora, or online flowers.



#18 bobbb

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 02:24 PM

Keep up..... latest post for proof

 

Was that for me or in general? If for me, I meant more like proof that G discriminates. Sorta like: "Ok so you can outfox me and my algos and still be on top and not have to buy Adwords. Here. Take this".


Edited by bobbb, 04 March 2013 - 02:25 PM.


#19 jonbey

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:54 PM

Oh, in general. Just pointing out that it is back in the index already. Not a comment on why or anything!



#20 bobbb

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 08:09 PM

This gets me thinking: they were on top before the penalty (with all that shady stuff) and now after "fixing" whatever the "problem" was they are on top again so all that shady stuff was essentially irrelevant to their ranking. It was G in a temper tantrum shouting "BUY MY ADS" through its clenched teeth.



#21 jonbey

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:12 AM

My suspicion is that it was either manipulation of links on sites they control, i.e. the franchise sites that they probably provide all the code and designs for, or the many advertorials which did not have nofollow added. As you say, the other stuff may not have helped.

 

Who knows? Only Google!



Actually, the TBPR of some of the news sites bounced back around the same time as Interflora came back, so it could have been that. We know that they got all those links cleaned up (totally removed). So maybe a reconsideration requested was sent and job done.



#22 bobbb

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:56 AM

Guess we will never know if buying adwords (if they are) got them out of the hole.

 

I've often wondered whether buying adwords or using adsense affects anything in search results. Given equal points between 2 or 3 sites, would the site using adsense come before. They say no.


Edited by bobbb, 05 March 2013 - 11:00 AM.


#23 jonbey

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:40 AM

Pretty sure that has nothing to do with it. I was once unable to buy Adwords because of search quality cock-ups. 

 

They are a big company and were no doubt spending on Adwords before the search issue.



They spend a lot on Adwords, according to the report I am currently looking at.

 

Crazily their biggest spend is on "Interflora" - before the search problem. Ads on top. Tsk.





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