Advertorial Spam = 11 Day Google Penalty For Interflora

Mar 5, 2013 • 8:54 am | comments (12) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

flowerTwo weeks ago we reported that Interflora was penalized for advertorial link spam by Google. What did that result in? An 11-day Google penalty.

Matt McGee first spotted Interflora's return in Google after a short time-out session by Google.

I assume Interflora was able to convince all the UK newspapers to pull the advertorials and submitted a reconsideration request. If only it was that easy for others.

A search for their name [Interflora] shows they renewed ranking:

Interflora in Google

Of course, this leads many SEOs to believe large brands can really get away with things that small brands cannot.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld & Cre8asite Forums.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for flower icon

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Darrin Ward

03/05/2013 02:11 pm

This irked me beyond belief, not as an SEO, but as a businessperson... ADvertorials are a form of ADvertising, and we all know Google is happy to sell ADS. Why a penalty? Why not just discount the advertorials completely. Google isn't the center of the universe. I should be able to advertise the companies I own as I want, without having to worry about Google. If Google doesn't like them, fine - discount them... but a penalty is basically a threat - it equates to this: You can't buy advertising anywhere except Google, because if you do, there's a high degree of probability that you'll be penalized.

Paul Keene

03/05/2013 02:19 pm

Barry they are now back at no.2 for 'flowers' on Google UK


03/05/2013 02:27 pm

It was a penalty because Google felt the advertorials were solely to influence search ranking. For example, did they contain exact match anchor text I wonder? No other reason to do that than to game Google. They did not get the penalty because they were innocent adverts. That said, I do agree with some of your sentiments. Google has a monopoly so anything like this prompts cries of abuse of power.


03/05/2013 02:59 pm

I'm not sure that an 11 day penalty is small beans - that's a *lot* of money they've lost

Marc Winter

03/05/2013 03:07 pm

So why doesn't Google drop all their advertorials, and above-the-fold ads while they are at it? Because it's their search engine and they call the shots? Unfortunately it's also the only "address book" for the internet that matters... In 2103, what isn't listed and ranked in Google does not exist...

Marc Winter

03/05/2013 03:10 pm

Wrong! For the internet, Google IS the center of the universe. And as far as I can see, this is how users wanted it the past 10 years (they made Google big & powerful) and, more importantly, this is still what the far majority of users is happy with (the politicans are apparently bought by Google anyway...) I don't agree, you don't agree, but we can't change anything about it.


03/05/2013 03:26 pm

If only it was that easy for others...this is the key sentence. You hit the right spot, Barry.


03/05/2013 04:28 pm

People like Google BECAUSE it does things like penalise adverts with CREDIT PASSING LINKS in them. If the links in the advertorials were not passing credit then Intrafloral wouldn't have been penalised. The only reason it was easier for intrafloral was likely because they knew were the links were and had the clout to get them removed or nofollowed. If they hadn't revoked the penalty after doing this, then it would have been unfair, the simple fact is intrafloral DID manage to remove the results, the speed of it happening was more to do with Intrafloral's links with the sites it posted the links on rather than anything to do with Google. If they hadn't removed all the links they would still be penalised. The fact is that most times this penalty is received the links are on small, dodgy sites who are far less likely to respond to removal requests.

Marc Winter

03/05/2013 05:02 pm

I think he (and me) were referring to the massive hypocrisy on behalf of Google, not the need to discount ads (they could DISCOUNT it, you know, not act as if they are the world's police). If Google followed half of its own rules for its own websites, it would already been penalized into oblivion...

Marie Haynes

03/05/2013 06:55 pm

People keep saying that Interflora was given special treatment because they are a big brand but I don't think so. If their penalty was for one type of linking tactic (most likely the advertorials), and if they had the manpower to get those links removed quickly then they could have filed for reconsideration as soon as they were removed. I've had reconsideration requests come back and penalties lifted as quickly as 3 days. So, it's conceivably possible.


03/06/2013 12:37 pm

I think everyone expected the brand to return - it reflects badly on Google if they don't return the Interflora UK site for a UK search for "Interflora". Surprised that the non-brand bits have returned to such good visibility so quickly though.

Alex Leigh

03/06/2013 01:31 pm

F**king A - If you don't like something, ignore it. Don't go all "getting involved" in other people's business

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