The Interflora Link Spam controversy And The Reminder About Selling Links By Google

Matt Cutts
the head of the search spam team issued a warning on the Google official blog recently. Google has
always warned webmasters of the consequences of buying links which pass
on
PageRank. Infact Google on the webmaster guidelines page long time back
has in
detail mentioned-“Any links intended to manipulate a
site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a
link
scheme.

 This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site,
or
outgoing links from your site. Manipulating these links may affect the
quality
of our search results, and as such is a violation of Google’s
WebmasterGuidelines. Matt
Cutts has clearly stated that “Please be wary if
someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or
“advertorial” pages on your site that pass PageRank. 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 link selling 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.”

The Google warning comes after the UK
flower company, Interflora, was found to have recent links on 150+
regional
news sites all over the UK, all in the form of advertisements within
articles
through ‘unnatural’ link-building.

As a result, 2 weeks back just after
Valentine’s Day, Google pulled the SEO ranking of Interflora
for its own brand
name as well as generic related topics such as
‘flowers’, ‘flower delivery’
and
‘florist’, which would usually have brought the
company to the top of the
search list.

The site was penalized and its search
presence got affected adversely when Google took action. Prior to the
penalty
the domain interflora.co.uk ranked in the first place for the
terms [Flowers], [florist], [flower delivery], [flowers online] and
hundreds of
other related search terms. The website did not even appear
for its own
brand name.
Here is a picture
of the search results in Google UK for [Interflora].
Interflora
Google has also clearly stated on its blog that they do
take this issue very seriously and recommend
that    selling (and buying) links that pass
PageRank should be totally avoided so that you do not face
the  loss of trust, lower PageRank in the Google
Toolbar, lower rankings, or in an extreme case, removal from Google’s
search
results.

But now, just this past
Sunday, a week before Mother’s day in UK, they are
already back in SERPs
for most of their rankings. Soon after they got the notification for
the removal
, Interflora worked on cleaning their link profile and also used the
Disavow
Tool. In this Interflora case, Google’s timing has been very
timely. The site
was penalized about a week after Valentine’s Day, and has now
shows to be
lifted one week before the UK celebrates Mother’s Day. Those
are two of the
most popular flower-buying holidays of the year.

Is Google trying to
put across a point very clearly by taking an example of a famous site
where
other small sites despite cleaning the link profile and using the
Disavow Tool
struggle to get their search presence back. In 2011, J.C. Penney regained
its Google visibility after being
penalized for 90 days. By this example they are also highlighting the
use of
the disavow tool which they want the webmasters to use to clear the
site of any
unwanted links and in the long run the Google index is also getting
cleared of
these unwanted  sites from where these
unwanted links come from.

Article By: Hidden Web Genius


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