Interflora Website Dropped From Google’s Search Results

By · Filed in SEO

It can happen to the biggest companies too.

Interflora ran a large online campaign leading up to Valentine’s Day which backfired resulting in Google dropping the Interflora website from its search results. For a period of time, the website did not even show for the search term “Interflora”. While we do not know for certain what caused this, it seems that Interflora used a large number of “unnatural link building tactics” in its Valentine’s Day campaign that caused the website to be penalised.

Interflora purchased an estimated 150+ advertorials from regional UK newspaper websites during January. Each of these advertorials had a link back (a “backlink”) to the Interflora website. We believe that Google classed these as “purchased” links which go against Google’s rules. On 22nd February Google published a reminder about not purchasing links and we believe the timing of this reminder was probably not a coincidence.

Backlinks are valuable to you as each backlink to your website is counted as a “vote” for it and the more votes your site has, the higher your site will appear in the search results (there are many other factors that affect search result rankings too but backlinks are important!).

Also, around Valentine’s Day, Google downgraded the “page rank” of many newspaper websites. The page rank is the score that Google gives each page on the Internet out of 10 to indicate how “valuable” the web page is. A link to your website from a web page that has a high page rank will be a more valuable “vote” than from a lower page ranked page. Regional newspaper (such as The Crawley Observer or The Eastlothian Courier) have typically dropped from a page rank of 5 to 0. Nationals have dropped by a similar amount (The Independent has dropped from 8 to 4 and The Scotsman from 7 to 3). This means that any links from these newspapers to your website are going to be of less value now than they had been.

Google continues to use backlinks as an important measure of how “valuable” your website is and, therefore, how high it will rank it in the search results. However, the days of simply purchasing thousands of backlinks for a few pounds and seeing your site surge in the search results are well over. These days, such an approach will cause your website to be dropped from Google’s indexes.

Google’s message is very clear, it is looking for “natural” backlinks and will continually improve its search algorithms to weed out “unnatural” practices.

If you want your website to appear higher in the search results and want to use extra backlinks to help achieve that, then make sure that your focus is on producing quality content that is placed on quality websites, that just happen to also include links back to your website.

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