Interflora Rankings Dropped (Newspaper Sites Penalised)
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22 February 2013

Interflora Rankings Dropped (Newspaper Sites Penalised)

Interflora - Google SearchOh dear oh dear….. It seems Interflora (not a chance i’m linking to those boys) have had a history of buying bad links to their website and have been caught out by Google.

The result is that their brand name has dropped to page 2 of Google and they have dropped out of search for product related keywords.

This is the largest brand to suffer a large penalisation since J C Penny were dropped after Matt Cutts got wind of the New York Times article. They were dropped for most product related keywords after evidence of mass link buying was shown but they still ranked for their brand name.

Interflora, however, have been more severally penalised by dropping their brand name to page 2, as well as dropping them for all product related searches.

Anthony Shapley at Bronco has done some great research on linking newspaper sites to Interflora and found that there has been a widescale penalty to all these websites with page rank’s dropping all over:

URL PR Now PR Before Change
www.independent.co.uk 4 8 -4
www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk 0 5 -5
www.thisisexeter.co.uk 0 5 -5
www.lutontoday.co.uk 0 5 -5
www.chesterchronicle.co.uk 0 5 -5
www.worthingherald.co.uk 0 5 -5

 

Notice the Independent’s massive drop in Pagerank – this shows that clearly something is up at Google. Possibly they don’t like the fact that businesses are using other websites for advertising rather than their display network? Well that’s a given but in reality it’s a crackdown on media websites selling ad space that also acts as passing page rank.

A (quick) review of The Independents Ads

The Independent Ads

 

I did a (quick) review of The Independent’s homepage for ad’s that have rel=”nofollow” attached to them and found that they all were “follow” ads.

Anthony’s list all have similar newspaper websites with paid advertising on them. If I were the webmaster of any of these websites I would certainly start adding rel=”nofollow tags to all these ads asap!

Interflora Links

From analysing the link patterns it appears they may have been caught building links and subsequently stopped building and tried to get rid of a load of the bad ones (perhaps they received a Webmaster Tools Warning?):

Link Profile

 

So bad times for Interflora and the agency they hired for SEO (oooopsieeee) but in reality the bigger story here is the discovery of Page Rank drop for all the local newspaper websites throughout the UK.

It appears that possibly after Interflora had almost got over their link penalty that Valentines Day approached and they had to do their usual large scale online marketing to target this monumental event for a florist.

Paid ads where utilised and these were seen to be link spam – so Google thought that Interflora were taking the p**s and penalised them….. along with half the local newspaper websites on the UK. I can’t wait to see how the SEO community reacts over the next few weeks!

See Anthony Shapley’s theory at http://bro.gs/qetw

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