Interflora – What Really Happened?

Update 23:00:

It seems that we were on the money today with the newspaper links being the cause of Google handing down a link based penalty to Interflora :


So I think we can close the whole Interflora debacle, read more on
( If you’re wondering why I nofollowed the Google links it’s because it’s on blogspot 😉 )


Over the course of this morning we’ve been investigating the cause of the recent Interflora crisis that has had us all interested at one level or another, however we are now confident we have got to the bottom of what has caused this massive global brand to be hit by Google’s hammer. There has been widespread debate about whether Interflora’s Blogger Outreach programme was the cause of the issue. Before revealing the true cause of this penalty, lets take a look at why it isn’t the blogger outreach, or anchor text distribution and has nothing to do with gateway pages that have been created for local targeted flower delivery services.

Whilst we can only speculate on what the exact agreement is between individual bloggers and Interflora, when Flowers are sent out for Bloggers to review, Google is also unlikely to be aware of the exact agreements being made. Unless by coincidence Interflora’s team or agency has managed to upset a blogger inside or connected to a Google Employee in some way. Which we think is extremely unlikely.

More specifically, we recently wrote about Google Chrome’s TV advert, in which they showed The Satchel Company, sending out free Satchels for Review to Fashion Bloggers:

Where it actually went wrong..

Any good SEO Agency knows, when you’re preparing for a Seasonal Event, such as Valentines or Mothers Day (in this instance, Valentines Day), the build up begins months before the event, to ensure a good placement has been achieved with plenty of time to spare. Interflora were exceptionally aggressive throughout January, preparing for Valentines, placing we estimate 150+ Advertorials on Regional News Sites all over the UK. These can be seen (now with the links removed), in the screenshot below:


We are confident after analysis these links are the cause of Interflora’s current situation and in addition the recent flurry of Webmaster Tools messages reported across our industry in various open and closed forums:


The biggest indicator (other than matching lots of links in common with newly penalised sites) is the huge PageRank drop that occured late last week across virtually all Regional and some National Newspaper websites, see the table below for some examples:

URL PR Now PR Before Change 0 6 -6 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 0 5 -5 4 8 -4 3 7 -4

In-House we monitor the homepage PageRank of over 4 Million Websites which is where this data has been taken from.

If you have your own ideas which don’t match up, we are interested to hear them – but are completely confident that this is the reason Interflora have been penalised. The big questions we are now asking ourselves are:

We don’t believe that this was the work of the SEO agency, but looks like a media buy gone wrong.

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  • Liam @ Zaddle

    Holy sh*t – great detective work.

    Any idea why the PR for each of the newspaper sites has been decimated??

    • ScottB

      Basically, quite a large network of local and national newspapers that are selling links via paid advertorials. Interflora could be one of their more prolific customers, so got smacked down in the process.

    • Sahil

      Passing page rank to an external site with “dofollow” links in the form of advertorial content on different pages on the site is against Google webmaster guidelines. If one site is advertising on the other with a banner ad or something else, it must be a “nofollow” link, should just give the site which is advertising, the traffic share and not the page rank is what Google means as advertising links are temporary and not permanent.

  • Chris Gedge

    Great analysis Anthony. You can’t really argue with the fact that is clearly against TOS. Paid advertorial links should be nofollowed. Google have said it many times. And that many so quickly is going to start ringing alarm bells.

  • Nigel Sarbutts

    Thanks, really interesting analysis. I’m particularly interested to know more about why the sudden drop in Page Rank for those newspapers.

    • Anthony Shapley

      Nigel, this is punishment for selling links – common practice inside Google. Seen it happen many times before.

  • Jonathan

    One of the Fashion bloggers first got a link removal request on the 17th January from someone using an Interflora email address. Seems they did know about it…

    • Chris Gedge

      I assume they would be panic removing everything that was remotely paid. There is no way of knowing what the exact problem was.

      • Anthony Shapley

        I think the widespread devaluation of Regional Newspapers (which goes WAY beyond what we’ve shared), shows the problem..

        • Jonathan

          Any local news site by:

          “2013 Johnston Publishing Ltd.”

          Seems to have taken a big hit.

          Whereas the ones that are part of Newsquest / Gannett network seem to be all intact.

          Newsquest sites never give out links in their articles as far as I’m aware so pretty much explains what the devaluation is for.

    • Jamie Knop

      Nice work Anthony Shapley! Surely media buys would have been authorized by the SEO agency, especially if links were involved.

  • Bob

    Surely there was some level of integration…the buying team must have been aware of the potential seo implications. And surely the seo agency should have been offering guidance and advice to Interflora pre-buy? If they didn’t, the agency is surely partly responsible unless advice was ignored…(wouldn’t surprise me)

  • Mick Cropper

    Advertorials have always been against Google’s guidelines as they pass pagerank based on paying the website to feature the article. Weather this is on a high profile website listed or some crappy article directory – it is still the same.

    What gets me the most about how Google treat these links is that this should NOT be the case. Google should be smart enough to be able to detect an advertorial and simply not pass any page rank. Often PR people are simply doing this type of work to help boost the brand online and, genuinely, have no idea about SEO.

    It’s a shame when something that may have been done with the best of intentions in mind can lead to a penalty being applied which costs real businesses real money

    This is not always the case mind, since there are a lot of SEO folk doing these types of things purely for the SEO benefit and people are willing to pay the money.

    Interesting research into Interflora specifically though and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the cause of the issue – especially since this time of year is likely to be one of their busiest.

    • Karyn Fleeting

      Um, really? It’s unusual for PRs to be tasked with purchasing online advertorials – particularly on a newspaper website. Media relations is all about getting editorial coverage, innit. Point that finger in another direction, young man!

  • Alan Grainger

    Good to see some research among the speculation.

    I can’t help but think most of this is about sending out a message that even big brands aren’t immune from punishment, something that SEOs have been complaining about for a long time. I’m no florist but I imagine a week after Valentine’s isn’t the hottest month of the year, give them a slap that makes people sit up and take notice but won’t really harm the company.

    If removal requests were being sent in January, why didn’t this happen earlier? Don’t think it’ll be long until they’re back.

    • Sarah

      Mothers Day is in two weeks, which is one of the three peaks periods in the year for florists. I wonder how this will impact on order volumes for florists who service Interflora orders and may already have ordered their stock for Mothers Day.

      • Andrew

        I am a florist thanks for your concern but honestly interflora are not the florist freind, they dictate price and take a third of sell price on Internet orders. florist simple do not make any money on these orders. Interflora is simple not needed. want to send flower find a shop in tge area you need them delivered and get great service and better value

  • Kevin Thomson

    Wow – great post. I think this and all the other link spam, over optimized anchors, blog networks etc etc all contributed to the penalty. There’s just too much to ignore.

  • Tim Capper

    The sudden PR drop is out of this world for newspapers.

    I did a bit of digging on Interflora’s back link profile and there is some really questionable stuff there.

    The newspaper links may be a media person fail, but the quationable links are certainly oceroptimised and paid for, definate SEO fail there.

    Directories, blogrolls, article submissions in the thousands.

    • rishil

      @gareth You cant be certain of those links you can see externally. Interflora have hurt – because anything in a disawoved file would still be externally visible, but algorithmicly disallowed.

      You need to double check if they were. I believe that this penalty is purely on advetorials. And I have done a lot more digging on it than most.

      • IrishWonder

        Advertorials seem like a very plausible explanation, given the pagerank drop – however there is this huge and badly built network of their own sites and I don’t think this did not affect them at all. Maybe not as a primary factor but still there must be something to it.

  • Steve W Davies

    Great bit of research Anthony – seems highly hypocritical and greedy of Google to penalise for paid advertising on media websites. If this is correct they are basically saying “use Google Adwords on our search network and display network otherwise you will be punished for giving other advertisers the money (instead of Google)”.

    As much as I usually support Google the dropping of their brand name to page 2 is completely unnecessary and actually against Googles own mantra “#1: Focus on the user and all else will follow”, since users can’t find the brand they are looking for (

    I’d be surprised they aren’t at least considering litigation…..

    • Anthony Shapley

      Hi Steve,

      I would imagine the same team have undergone some legal consultation before removing them for “Interflora”, although this is just a complete guess. I just can’t imagine such a full-scale removal being allowed without.

      What’s also interesting is the whether Google has chosen to do this to Interflora in particular because of the recent Adwords PPC Lawsuit that’s been going-on.


      • Steve W Davies

        Well Google are used to dealing with Lawsuits – they seem to have one every week but never seem to really lose. Are you referring to the Rosetta Stone one ?

        To be honest I am hoping that you are wrong (although the research seems pretty convincing) because suddenly our big brand campaigns we work on need their affiliate advertising re-considered. Maybe only using websites that put “no-follow” on their paid ads would solve?

        From looking on Majestic it does seem like they have spent time trying to drop links but then their Valentines Day marketing (I imagine the busiest time of the year for them) have pushed the links back up and woopsie Google got angry.

        Not sure if it’s B3 or Croud doing their SEO now – don’t think it will be winning any 2013 awards…..

        • Nathan

          Croud definitely aren’t doing any SEO activity for them. PPC & Social only. Besides, the technical director has an incredibly strong aversion to spammy black hat activity, for exactly this reason.

    • Tom Roberts

      Oh, but the brand name is on the 1st page. It’s in that lovely, juicy, lucrative PPC ad!

      • Steve W Davies

        Maybe that’s the new strategy – drop all brand names from page 1 and make them use PPC to get back to the top, thus generating lots more revenue for their cash deprived shareholders 🙂

    • Will Stevens

      “highly hypocritical and greedy of Google to penalise for paid advertising on media websites”

      It isn’t in the slightest.

      Google isn’t punishing companies for using paid advertising on other websites, it’s punishing them for not following the rules of its search engine.

      Paid advertising is fine. Paid advertising with followed links not fine.

  • Gareth

    Good catch Anthony, but there are other factors too

    • David Naylor

      Nah.. this was a Message from Google

  • Adam

    Great piece, I’ve read several of these articles today and, in my opinion, this is probably the best.

  • Eider Vasconcelos

    Very nice insight Tony. As a numbers man myself, I find it tough to just go with Google following up with the blogger outreach programme, seems like a tough theory to follow. Nice job on the 4M pageRank monitoring!

  • Matthew

    A great post Anthony! I was unaware of such a large drop in the local news websites particularly the Independent shown above, that is quite a tumble for them.

  • mike

    These would’ve been SEO buys, these sites have been selling to SEOs for a while, there is a lot of other crap to interflora too, advertorails definitely weren’t the only thing that caused the slap.

    Although that sort of volume is clearly for SEO, I’d be interested to inspect the quality of the content involved on those too.

    But I know certain brands with high volumes of advertorials have had warnings. I don’t know about actually getting penalties yet though. I wonder if it’s Google sending as message saying we know about these…… stop taking the piss.

  • Craig

    gobsmacked at the independent’s PR drop!!

    • Chris

      Same thoughts here, thats a huge drop for such a large name! Such a drop in pagerank has now got me reading into this even more. #flabbergasted

  • Charlie Williams

    Just wanted to echo the sentiments already raised – fantastic detective work Anthony. Appreciate the work going into the backlink profile analysis to spot the penalty trigger.

    Certainly an interesting argument on the merits – advertorials certainly contravene Google’s guidelines, but have been rampant for a long time – and I would go as far as to suggest in a pattern that would seem quite possible for Google to have picked up before now. The spate of Webmaster Tools warnings are no coincidence, and the style is reminiscent of Penguin – 1st a spate of warnings, followed by algo change.

    Just wondering now if this is the beginning of a new update, targeting advertorials, or an attempt to lure SEOs into revealing a host of advertorial hotspots…

  • ScottB

    It’s worth noting that the PR changes are group / network centric rather than targeting specific sites.

    The Scotsman and all it’s local subsidiarys in Johnston Press were all hit (maybe 30+ sites), as well as Trinity Mirror group (Daily Record and loads of other local newspapers – national went down to PR3, locals went to PR0).

    Over the past few years, there has been loads of doorway spam within these groups (example: ) – add to that the copious interlinking and massive link selling activities and there’s a clear reason they’ve been blitzed.

    The reality is only 3 or 4 link networks have been PR0’d here – they just happen to be owned by traditional media companies.

    • Andrew Marshall

      Very good point Scott. This is hardly scratching the surface of the profitable link networks that are still thriving.

      • EdYates

        But it’s hit the biggest in the country, no? Take out the leader, and the rest will follow…

  • Brent Nau

    With all the other back link garbage doesn’t this show us that Google has drawn a line in the sand where bad links from “some past date” are noted. But any new bad links from then on are be scrutinized even harder?

  • Graeme Benge

    Not to appear giddy as a lot of people are probably having a bad day because of this but it is good to see more of what makes a good (seo) link and doesn’t. It also shows regional publications need to be approached with caution – regional sites linking to national sites with little local relevance looks to be the downfall.

  • Carps

    Great post – and I entirely agree with your analysis. Suffice to say this: bullet dodged. *mops brow*

  • Mike Charalambous

    An excellent analysis here, hats off. It’s interesting because I already disliked the fact that these sites were selling advertorials, but not making them “part” of their website – rather a subsection.

    If they’d looked more naturual and been posted via real authors on the sites, this probably wouldn’t have happened.

  • Dave Ashworth

    Am not convinced that this is a media buy gone wrong, am certain it’s more likely it’ll be sitewide links like the following that are causing the real issues here:

    and as the seo doctor post shows, they’ve been removing them for a while!

    • Rishil

      Nope, we have 100% confirmation from sources that the drop is directly caused by the advertorials.

      • Dave Ashworth

        it will be interesting to see then, if by nofollowing or disavowing those advertorial links and submitting a reconsideration request and sitting out the penalty, if they will start to rank again with everything else that is in place…

  • Adam Tudor

    Just to mirror what has been said – great work. I had serious doubts over those blogs given that on the surface it seemed like an ok method of getting product awareness out for review, couldn’t prove they were paid, Google video, etc. Clear example of paid linking going on here, I imagine all their anchors were identical or very similar? Nice to see Google are actually paying attention to some of their guidelines for a change. Maybe they can get round to knocking exact match domains down a little now as recently promised? Another nail in the coffin of the press perhaps?

  • Anthony Pearce

    Hi Anthony

    Nice work, do you know if Interflora was using aggressive anchor text (e.g. “Valentines Flowers) in those advertorials, or was it mainly brand terms?



  • Ian

    It’s not some sort of perverse joke that the first page ranking for Interflora’s brand name is:

    Funeral Flowers & Sympathy Flowers

    “At such a difficult time, we would like to support you in choosing your floral tribute.”

    Surely just a coincidence…

  • Steve W Davies

    Did a quick review of The Independent’s ads – seems there are a s**t load of them, non of them have “no-follow’ and even their “partner” articles have further “follow” links to the businesses who wrote the articles…..

  • Gary le masson

    Amazing story thanks…

    Google probably reacted to send multiple messages :
    – give a warning to these kind of businesses that are pushing for fast link creation before the moment comes…
    – give an example to SEOs that sometimes need a little more wisdom…
    – and especially for newspapers… telling them that they should not sell their links…

    As a result you just understand that Google has a total control over businesses and even newspapers….

    PageRank is not anymore a synonym of popularity… It’s just what Google thinks about your domain…

  • Andrew Atkins

    Tremendous granular analysis, and I guess it’s no real surprise at the end of it. The concern has to be Google’s inconsistent approach to this. As it becomes more aggressive in its stance on infringements, there are very few shades of grey, as one website gets the death penalty for going slightly over a complex and invisible line, whilst another gets showered with praise, in the form of rankings, for being one step behind them.

  • Jaan Kanellis

    @Anthony Shapley isn’t demotion of newspaper websites that sell links somewhat old news? In the US they were penalized years ago.

  • Karyn Fleeting

    Nice one, Anthony! Like some of the other commenters, I’m really intrigued by what’s going on with the newspapers’ sites.

  • Pete

    One of the key questions I have is what does this mean for the future of Advertorials as an SEO tactic? From what I can see, they clearly seem to provide SEO value in some form.

    Bit more detail:

  • Adam

    I’m almost positive it had to do with the newspaper links as well. I am getting a large influx of emails selling paid links at these exact newspaper sites. There are probably over a dozen different resellers right now, renting out these links to people.

  • Philip Hankinson

    Very interesting article, I have been getting pestered recently by Newspaper sites promoting very shaded advertorials that were hidden in special features area of their sites. I am sure it was Trinity Mirror

  • paul fabretti

    So it would appear to be the receptiveness of cash-strapped local news sites to receive money for links via the back door I.e. advertorials which us at the root of this.

    Whichever way you look at it, links generated via advertorial which are, at this scale, undoubtedly paid for, are in clear contravention of rules.

    I actually think that Interflora just happened to be the unlucky partner at the time google decided to act.

    The biggest signal is to the publishing houses and news channels.

  • Steve

    So, out of curiosity, can anyone tell me how this would be all that much different than syndicating a Press Release through a paid service like PRNewswire or others that charge for the submission? True, you are paying the service to make your release available to the outlets, but the end result is similar, and it still ends up being paid placement, just a slightly different method of delivering the content.

    • Florian

      Even if the result look similar, it’s totally different. If a newspaper gets a press release, they decide if they publish it, if it’s newsworthy, if they edit it, if they make a whole story out of it. It’s an unbiased decision, not influenced by any payment. If they decide to automatically aggregate all news they get via PRNewswire or whatever, that’s fine too, it’s still different from a paid ad with a dofollow link.

  • Radiopay

    Anthony, let me disagree with you.
    This is not the case.
    My opinion is – their actions triggered a combination of filters, sort of a bug in current Google’s algorithm and this caused their disappearance from Google index.

    • David Naylor

      really you posted that after Matt confirms it LOL

  • Steve W Davies

    After Google’s posting and some afterthought I certainly will retract a few of my previous comments – put it down to shock and some Friday pub antics. I guess when it comes down to it Google is simply enforcing its policies and a website like The Independant should have known better than to have rel=”dofollow” paid ad links.

    Interflora have been unlucky that this change (or rather enforcement) has come in around its biggest marketing period and therefore been penalised (they clearly bought lots of spammy links last year on top of the paid ads as well let’s not forget) but it still seems OTT to drop Interfloras brand name – they didn’t do that to J C Penny in 2011 when they caught them buying links…..

  • Fergus Clawson

    Hi Anthony – Astute analysis here, however one can’t ignore the fact that the backlink profile for Interflora is riddled with heavy money term anchor text, there is no point beating around the bush here. If this was a small brand then the conclusion would be the domain is burnt advertorials or not. The agency concerned who built Interflora’s link footprint over the last few years most likely went with every latest link building craze (something many SEO agencies are guilty of). Their big mistake was not to ease back on the money term anchors (may be due to client pressure). A quick check in AHREFS shows the carnage. ‘Playing with Fire’ springs to mind…

  • Murray

    The Daily Mirror has also dropped to PR3.

  • Rooturaj Pattanaik

    Superb report.
    This scares me though. I have been doing a lot of guest blogging for some of my clients. In fact I lost two blogs which got PR 0 from pr 3 and pr 4 respectively. I knew exactly what has caused that fall. But my blogs were ‘nobody’s in the internet, these news sites we are looking at are some genuine sites.

  • Christoph C. Cemper

    Great finding and analysis. Those are truly nasty links.

    I gave the site a quick check in Link Detox and found 65% toxic or suspicious links as well

    ( see )

    so that campaign HAS been playing with fire, those advertorials just added to the aggressive mix.

    It’s not surprising Google had to act here, and the “reminder” they posted kinda confirmed their intention
    to give anotehr prominent example of their “mission”.

    Best, Christoph

  • Freya

    WoW that must be a nightmare for them.
    I do not have a commercial site neither do I know much about PR nor SEO but is paying for adds not a normal commercial thing to do for newspapers etc.? Maybe it was the Anchor text indeed?

  • Colin McDermott

    Crikey, how could the ‘G’ add the to their list of “boys who fall out of their prams” …? The ghost of J.M. Barrie will be devastated.

  • Elaine Clay

    Great analysis in your post Anthony and some really informative comments. Cannot understand why a global company who can easily afford to hire some of the best SEO agencies (and other promotional agencies) ended up with such a shoddy backlink profile in the first place never mind engaging in an agressive paid advertorials campaign.

    Cannot wonder if there wasn’t some corporate *peer* pressure put on the agencies involved. If so, it was stupid to chase short term ROI over the long term health of the website and the brand.

  • Tom

    So did all the other brands and sites buying advertorials like smarties get walloped at the same time too? Wouldnt take much digging by Anthony to confirm if Interflora has been singled out for a slap or whether a whole bunch of pain was dished out equally by Google….

  • Chetan Bhasin

    Wow! That was some… um, GREAT RESEARCH!!
    Well! I think Interflora made a mistake, but if they are good enough they will probably bounce back in market, and in Google search results.

  • Trucoseo

    Great Job,

    I seek for duplicate content and I see two subdomains wiht thousand of duplicates pages, metas, content, all.

    That counts too.

    Black hat of course.

  • Dwayne

    PROOF! Negative SEO is ALIVE and WELL!!!

    Want to tank your competitor – use a ton of bad links and point to their site……


    • Shaun Parker

      Whilst I agree negative SEO is alive and well I think advertorials would not of been utilised due to the sheer expense that a campaign like this would cost.

  • Christoph C. Cemper

    Hey Dave & Anthony

    thanks for all the details an inspirations… I researched a bit deeper
    and think there’s more to it
    (yes Matt “confirmed” the advertorial thing, but…)

    find my findings and thoughts in my
    Interflora deep dive analysis are also about

    Tiered blog network links
    Simple paid blog post
    Page Rank penalties
    Mediocre or just plain stupid setup link networks
    Oldschool directory links
    More and more bad stuff to be found
    How Interflora is doomed now
    how YOU feel now

    Let me know what you think please!

    Cheers from Vienna,

    PS: no pay with a tweets etc

  • Hi Anthony & Dave

    We also made an analysis of the news websites beeing punished by Google. Of the 464 news sites (mostly “regionals”) I checked 287 sites (over 60%) lost PageRank. More then 180 sites lost PR4 or more.

    You can find the full analysis here:

    Article is in german but all diagrams will be understandable in english es well.

  • Markus Allen

    This article proves Google is being a hypocrite and doing its own advertorials:

  • Andrew Futcher

    While I agree that the interflora page might have been temporarily de-indexed for not complying with the rel nofollow guidelines, I do think that their current ranking “penalty” has nothing to do with links per se:

    Here is what I found: even in Australia is ranking rather poorly for one of their main keywords: ‘flowers’.

    So I decided to let the landing page content analysis bot (called Qubot) have a look at whats missing from the page as an example, it found they are missing the words; ‘sorry’, ‘garden’, ‘plant and ‘home’ in the actual body of *text* (keywords in controls carry less weight because they are not contextual). These are words that Google is trending that are important for people searching for ‘Flowers’, and the interflora site is not matching those trends, so it wont get top rankings.

    All that has happened is Google has rolled-out the ‘no follow rules’ on interflora (as they currently apply to most other websites like yours and mine) and now they are getting the rankings their sites actually deserves based on content quality.

  • EdYates

    Boom! A v good spot Mr Shapely! There looks to have been a big PR shakedown in the top areas of the blogosphere too. The Interflora penalty looks like a knock on affect of lots of guilty practices – what do you think first caught the eyes of Google? There are some quite blatant manipulative approaches here – A.) There slidedeck suggests this, B.) the advertorials admit this, C.) the footprints on blogs and twitter are too alike to not warrant paid / incentivised wordings on reviews.

    Would this have been an outage or an easy spot for Google? Eitherway, they didn’t exactly keep their noses clean…

  • Anonymous


    I work in the SEO team for the This is network and can also confirm the advertorials were the cause of this. We usually no follow these as we realise the damage that can be caused by paid links. Seeing how these links (and how many more) may of slipped the net.

    Also as an FYI, the PR has tanked/decreased but traffic and rankings appear relatively normal, almost like Google wanted us to lose that selling power without tanking us completely. Different.

  • william

    awesome post man ! but i m little bit scared now will it cause my blog in next update or not ? well lets just wait and watch and hope for the best for every one who work hard and deserve it 😀

  • Kieran Headley

    Great Find and Great Post, I have noticed that the website are all redirecting to /home now, Looks like they are trying to avoid the penalties.

    They are also heavily advertising offering advertisement on all of their websites for £5000 via cold calling.

    Desperate times.

  • Davide Corradi

    It seems Google doesn’t like flowers… or does it?

    A major competitor of interflora, has been totally cancelled from the SERP as well. Doh! Bad luck? Curious coincidence?

    I mean, they were doing grey stuff ok, they have been sending flowers to blogger for ages, they have been doing useless sitewide links since the internet was born. And nothing happened. Nothing. Nada, Niente.

    Nothing till mid February. Mid Feb both these online flower delivery company got penalized…WAIT! Mid February? What’s happened mid Feb this year?

    Let me think:
    There were elections in Italy (ouch!). Naa, as painful it is it can’t be this.
    Arsenal is been kicked out of the Champions League (ouch #2). Mmmh can’t be this either.
    We had San Valentine day…

    SAN VALENTINE DAY! one of the busiest time of the year for both Interflora and FloraQueen! A time where being in front of your main competitors can mean LOTS OF MONEY…Man..they have been pushing SOOOO much to over rank each other that (ironically in some way) they both shoot themselves in the foot.

    Great post!

  • someone

    FAIL: Once again Google reminds us that it will punish its search customers with poor results in order to punish a website!

    A search for interflora now results in me finding vouchercodes! Well done Google!!!! I am looking for a website and you send me somewhere else. Idiots!

  • Tara West (Koozai)

    The page rank data here has definitely convinced me. I would imagine Interflora had received other Google Webmaster Tools warnings before they were completely wiped from the SERPs, otherwise Google have been incredibly harsh. I understand they probably want to make an example of them but total removal with no prior warning is pretty extreme.

  • Riaan

    Well it’s back. It helps to be a brand.

    Google is about brands and spammers. The much is obvious.

  • Richard Sharp (Shooting Star Media)

    It seems Interflora has manically been removing paid links over the weekend and now appear back in the SERPS for brand terms and some key terms. Presumably they have been working with Google to overturn the ban, this appears to be nothing more than a slapped wrist. Most of the newspaper websites have regained their pagerank too, although some have been lowered. Still an important warning to people buying advertorials though.


    Looks like PR is now back.

  • Shaun Parker

    Big brands are not accountable in the same way as smaller brands and the real losers here will be the companies that were engaged in the practice of selling advertorials and of course the newspapers. Their revenue for the respective newspapers affected will drop since there will be little benefit in paying the overpriced fees for such services.

  • David

    Does it happen just with the paid links in advertorials or also with paid banners that are in a newspaper’s site???

  • Lojix

    Hi Anthony

    I have read a few articles on this matter but your analysis of it is excellent. How do you think they got the penalty removed so quickly?


  • Pat

    I think the next step is just to remove “advertorial feature”, that way nobody can know if it’s an ad or now, seems logical…