With Mother’s Day just around the corner, millions of people will soon be going online to find the perfect bouquet of flowers to send to Mum. But while most online florists are seeing spikes in their web traffic, Interflora has seen a severe drop after Google removed it from search results last week for questionable SEO practices.

Interflora web logo

Google penalised Interflora for using unnatural link building techniques to get to page one of search results. Interflora was removed from searches for its own brand name as well as related keywords such as ‘flowers’, ‘flower delivery’ and ‘florist’, all of which Interflora used to get top rankings for. The main problem was that Interflora seems to have been paying people to link to its website, which is an SEO activity that Google has frowned upon for years. Google’s Head of Search, Matt Cutts, addressed this topic in a “reminder” blog post following the Interflora story.

Cutts stated, “Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations. The consequences for a linkselling site start with losing trust in Google’s search results, as well as reduction of the site’s visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar. The consequences can also include lower rankings for that site in Google’s search results.”

Not only has this story helped shed light on “blackhat” SEO tactics that Google frowns upon, it also shows how even major international brands take drastic steps to secure their search ranking.

Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most crucial parts of any online marketing strategy, and companies go to great lengths to get to Page 1. With over 90% of UK searches done on Google, the search engine essentially dictates what SEO activities companies undertake. Google encourages websites to generate good content that includes relevant keywords throughout the page as well as internal and naturally-occurring external links.

Unfortunately, Interflora made some poor judgements and chances are it’s going to take them a while to get back to the top of search results. We hope this story makes others think about their SEO tactics and stop any activities they may be penalised for in the future.

At Cite we believe in employing SEO strategies that fall in line with Google’s best practice guidelines. We don’t see SEO as a quick fix, but instead a long-term activity. We’re proud of the fact that we don’t risk our client’s search ranking with questionable SEO practices. For more information on our SEO services, please contact our search engine optimisation experts today.