Eleven days ago I featured a case of Interflora, a major flower delivery service in UK, losing its rank in Google. If you can visit the blog again, Interflora was penalized because of getting links that pass PageRank in exchange of free flowers to bloggers. It seemed to be a bargain but Google didn’t consider it ethical and thus removed Interflora in SERP just after Valentines.
However, unlike other websites like J.C. Penney and Overstock that regained its spot after 90 days, Interflora is back in Google SERP 11 days after being penalized. Such a short time right? Thanks to Chris Gilchrist’s tweet, we’ve known about Interflora’s revival. Though it wasn’t up before the penalty it easily crossed over the penalties imposed by Google in some of its major keywords such as “flowers”, “mothers day flowers”, “flower delivery”, etc.
How Did Interflora Regained its spot for a short time?
We all know that Google can give temporary penalties for misconduct in SEO. What did Interflora do?
A. Submit Request for Reconsideration
In a post Google Penalty Recovery where you can see the Google’s warning notices, you can see that the webmaster of the penalized website must send a Request for Reconsideration. Google webmasters will manually look over the links to check if misbehaviors have been corrected.
B. Remove Paid Links (apply to advertorial pages) or use rel=no follow
Interflora did what Google expects them to do so. So, they are back in the limelight. Though not fully recovered, the site is now shown in the first page of Google SERP.
C. Extensive Social Media Campaign
Interflora rebuild its name after doing A and B through social media campaigns. Social signals have been very important for Google and Bing. It helped Interflora gained back its spot on SERP.
In my own observation, Interflora consciously tricked Google algorithm to rank on the days that flowers will be at its peak demands. Interflora used to be in the top three of Google searches. It gives an implication that they were in the right track. To further strengthen its position, it behaved unnaturally. As we all know links are made weeks or months before being indexed by Google. It was prepared for possible penalties that Google will impose on them. When things are prepared, it will be easier to recover. Just in time for Mothers day celebrations.
Bonus Tip from Interflora Case:
While Interflora was Penalized, what did you notice?
What was their major move to be still found on search?
Did you notice that they are using Google Adwords to be still get found in Google while its penalty is not yet lifted.
In spite of getting back to ranks, but not the same rank before pre-penalty, webmasters or seo professionals must realized that tricking Google should never be an option. Interflora may have regained its spot but evidently it puts its brand in a very dangerous situation. It was a dying try to trick Google.
On the other hand, on its positive light, Google only showed that penalties is temporary and can be lifted when misconducts are corrected.
Laslty, Google is not against creating testimonials or reviews (such that in advertorial pages) yet, it should be voluntary and not forced. Google may just be using algorithms but the ones behind it are real people. You can manipulate rankings for short time but you can’t escape penalties. It’s always better to practice ethical SEO to avoid being penalties and taint on your name.
If you have been hit by this penalty, you can still recover. I’ll help you solve Google’s hit in your website through an SEO Consultant advice.
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