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Google Interflora

Following Interflora SEO punishment Google issues “a reminder about selling links that pass PageRank”


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

February 24, 2013 | 2 min read

Google has published a “reminder” about selling links on sites that pass PageRank following the penalisation of Interflora and UK newspapers.

Google issued the warning on a blog post from Matt Cutts, the head of search spam. Cutts told readers this is a “reminder” as in 2007 Google issued a warning that selling paid links can lead to a penalty.

Cutts, went on to name the techniques believed to have resulted in the penalties leading to the PageRank drop of UK newspapers and the ranking drop of the UK floral company Interflora this week.

He wrote: “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 linkselling 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.”

He continued: “To address the issue, make sure that any paid links on your site don't pass PageRank.

“We do take this issue very seriously, so we recommend you avoid selling (and buying) links that pass PageRank in order to prevent loss of trust, lower PageRank in the Google Toolbar, lower rankings, or in an extreme case, removal from Google's search results.”

The Google warning comes after 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, 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.

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