Interflora Google Penalty – A quick deep dive

by Gareth on February 22, 2013

[Update: This post was written before team DaveN found the mass of advertorial placements , which is the main cause for the manual penalty. Saying that, I'm sure my findings below will not help their recovery.]

 

As news broke yesterday of Interflora’s Google penalty, I thought it would be worth a quick dive into their link profile to see where it went wrong.

The penalty

 

Interflora visibity

The agency working for Interflora have been doing a big link removal campaign since last summer, they must have received a webmaster tools warning.

Interflora backlinks

There was talk of the penalty being related to Interflora sending flowers to bloggers, but I don’t believe this is the case.  Looking a ahrefs’ overview shows a huge amount of sitewide links.

Interflora.co.uk Google Penalty

deep dive inerflora

 

With sitewide links being a big part of the penguin update, I don’t think they removed these links fast enough. MajesticSEO also shows the use of possible link networks with 311 linking websites on 1 single ip address!!??  That’s some lazy seo.

Interflora Penalty

Bulk checking the Whois on these domains shows similar registration details or privacy protected. Link removal software also shows 60% suspicious linking domains:  (click image to expand)

 

interflora toxic links

Download the shitty suspicious links here > https://dl.dropbox.com/u/17565553/interflora%20shit%20links.xlsx

 

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{ 12 comments }

Jonathan February 22, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Interflora do have some dodgy looking sitewides / link network type links, but if those were going to get penalised it would have happened before now. Plenty of other sites have links like that and are still ranking fine.

Low quality gets dealt with algorithmically usually. This is manual.

The advertorial links mentioned on Broncos site were all from high quality sites, with partial / phrase anchor text and have now all been subsequently removed. More than likely those that have caused the problem.

It’s a message to the SEO world from Google.

Gareth February 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I’m pretty sure they would have received the dreaded WMT letter though a while back from all these links, then yer the advertorials prompted a manual inspection

cb February 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm

thanks. penguin is having a huge & good impact on the serps i think.

Will February 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Great article, and that list of links is horrific reading.

What tool did you use to put it together?

Gareth February 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Hi Will, I used Ahref, Seomoz, Majescticseo and Link Detox, also a bulk Whois checker

IrishWonder February 23, 2013 at 2:27 am

I think this is pretty close, here’s what I found independently: http://www.irishwonder.com/blog/2013/02/22/so-who-got-interflora-penalised/

Chris February 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm

What a huge stinking dirty mess – that link profile looks like what fell out of me after 12 pints & a lamb madras.

And using an SEO agency who use their real names for article directory submissions…. LOL!

Gareth February 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm

lol nicely put :)

Jose February 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm

This is a warning to the SEO community worldwide.

Give me a break February 25, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Just downloaded the excel sheet. One of those links is from Fair Trade which is fair as they conform to their standards. Should Goodle penalize every website that the UN links to? In fact, lets just get this over and done with and penalize every website that has an OBL.

If shady links are an issue, why don’t we just Google bowl our way through with Scrapebox so that the only sites on the SERPs are sites without links.

Gareth February 26, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Well its going to be interesting to see what SERPs look like in 5 years time. Wouldn’t be surprised if great content started being hit for being too manipulated or ‘SEOd’ to attract links.

Dave February 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Google wants Interflora to send flowers to themselves instead of bloggers. To Adwords to be more specific. And not flower but cash to be even more specific. End of story.

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