Profile: Sir Charlie Mayfield

John Lewis Partnership Chairman

Google underlines link-building terms after penalising Interflora

Google has moved to justify its penalisation of Interflora for bypassing its PageRank rules with a reminder to publishers that selling links on their sites may results in poorer search results.

Source: Google

In a post on Google’s Webmaster blog, Matt Cutts, an engineer at Google, warned publishers to be wary of selling links to manipulate search rankings which pass its PageRank system.

“Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations,” reads the post which further advises publishers to PageRank terms (see video below).

“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, adds Cutts.

Although the post didn’t directly reference the case, the post comes in the wake of Interflora being removed from Google’s search engine rankings for ‘unnatural link building’.

The search giant took the action against the brand after it was deemed to have paid regional newspaper sites for a large number of links which directed readers to its own site and passed PageRank.

Google reacted to this tactic by removing Interflora from its search rankings for queries for its own brand name plus related search term.

Source: Google

Readers' comments (3)

  • Hmmm interesting article. I would not have thought this would have extended to this paid link advertising but obviously it does. Looks like Google are cutting down on both the advertising side as well as the PageRank passing issue. Thanks - Susan

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  • All they are proving is that their search engine is not good enough because it interferes with that dodgy "page rank" and the we need to look for a proper search engine.

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  • I am a florist with over 25 years of experience in the flower industry, including 13 years of experience as an Interflora member pre-incorporation and 1 year after incorporation. Obviously this situation is very interesting to me as it could have a big effect on our industry especially over the looming Mother's Day period. Reading this and some of the other comments and articles about it I've found it a little frustrating that no one seems to have much of an idea how the Interflora system works and why they so vigourously pursue order gathering in this way. I thought those curios might find my post on a florist forum of interest. You can read it here http://www.floristnews.co.uk/flower-chat-public/23979-how-does-interflora-work.html
    I'd like to get the message across to our consumer while this iron is hot how much better off they are to deal directly with a local florist in the area they want flowers delivered to rather than using a middleman such as Interflora. Dealing direct with a bricks and mortar florists, especially those that display the Interflora branding as they are generally tried and tested, will get you a far better quality and value for money product than placing your order through either what is know in the trade as an 'order gatherer' or 'relay provider'.
    This is an excellent directory of real florists www.goodfloristguide.com. If you can't find a florist listed there for the area you want to send to give them a call, they will happily give you details of a reputable florist that can help you. The directory is produced by people who really care about quality and service and whilst they do not charge for a listing they do have personal knowledge of all of the recommended florists shown on it.
    I hope that helps explain things from a florists perspective :-)

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