Google has 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 penalty is thought to have been imposed as a result of 'unnatural' link-buidling, backed up by Tweets seen by The Drum that suggest that the florist has been actively asking for paid-links in stories to be removed in the last day, indicating that this is what the company is being punished for. However one industry insider has told The Drum that he doesn't believe this to be the reason for the punishment, adding that this tactic was to put Google 'off the scent' of the real issue, which is still the cause of speculation.
David Naylor, CEO of Bronco Internet, who has experience of working with Google, commented: “With the penalty that Interflora has come under this week, seeing them lose their top ranking position for their own brand name, as well as the main traffic terms in the flower sector, just shows no one, not even the biggest brands can escape Google’s penalties.
“Whatever SEO techniques they have used to gain rankings, does it give Google users a good experience when brands are not ranking for their own name. As we have seen previously big brands don’t remain penalised for long so they may appear at the top again in the next few weeks as Google needs them in their index.”
At the time of writing, The Drum was awaiting a comment from Google and Interflora.
A blog by David Naylor offers further insight into what companies should do in such a situation.