The popular UK flower website Interflora seems to have been penalized in Google. They no longer rank for their key terms, such as [flowers], [flower delivery] and related terms — nor do they rank for their own name [Interflora]. Here is a picture of the search results in Google UK for [Interflora].
As you can see, the number one ranking is not Interflora.co.uk; they are only coming up on the first page right now because they have paid for an AdWords listing.
We asked Google to confirm if they have penalized Interflora for any reason, and Google would not comment. They said:
We typically don’t comment on whether we’ve taken corrective webspam action regarding specific companies.
Well, Google does typically comment on corrective webspam action when it comes to large companies not playing by the rules. They’ve done so for JC Penney’s link scheme ordeal, they’ve done so for Forbes and Overstock, as well.
We’ve emailed Interflora for a comment but have not yet heard back. We’ve also emailed some of the SEO companies that listed Interflora as their client and have not heard back yet.
From the looks of it, it seems like this was a link penalty. Typically, in these cases of not ranking for your own name, it shows someone was penalized for buying links. Of course, I was not able to confirm that to be the case with Google, so this is all speculation.
Martin McDonald shows tweets from webmasters who claim they have been asked by Interflora to remove links pointing to their website. That is yet another indication that Interflora is rushing to remove possible bad links pointing to their website.
So now Interflora have asked me to remove all links from my post including the one to their homepage…
— Sarah (@amilliondresses) February 21, 2013
It seems as if Interflora gave bloggers free gifts for blogging about the site. Again, I cannot confirm this is the reason Interflora is no longer ranking well in Google, but it seems likely.
David Naylor shows approximately how much traffic they lost because of the Google penalty, and it is not pretty. Anthony Shapley from David Naylor’s company also posted what he thinks really happened.
Postscript: See our follow up story on why we believe Interflora was penalized named Google Dishes Out PageRank Penalties To UK Newspaper Web Sites For Selling Links. At 3pm, Google’s Matt Cutts warned about using advertorials for passing PageRank.
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