Interflora reappears in Google SERPs

By James Riches topicIcon SEO

Flower retailer returns in time for Mother's Day

Google has apparently allowed Interflora to appear on SERPs again, just 11 days after penalising the company for breaking guidelines by attempting to use paid links.

The well-known florist saw rankings plummet last month after Google discovered links included in paid adverts on several newspaper sites.

This flouted the rule that links in paid ads must not pass Pagerank, and saw Interflora fall right out of Google just weeks before Mother's Day, one of their busiest days of the year. The media organisations involved also saw their sites take a hit.

Interflora is now appearing on page one again for many of its most important keywords, such as 'flower delivery' and 'hampers', while it has also reappeared in SERPs for branded terms. However, it is not a full recovery and there are instances where Interflora is yet to regain number one spots it held previously, e.g. Mother's Day flowers.

Interflora should be thankful for relatively short time-out

While Google never officially acknowledged that it had taken action against Interflora, distinguished engineer Matt Cutts did issue a blog post warning on the dangers of paid links after several analysts commented on the incident.

The relatively short absence from SERPs has surprised some in the SEO community, as there have been previous instances involving other companies that have gone missing for far longer. For example, US retailer J.C. Penney went missing for 90 days in 2011, while Google even penalised its own Chrome site with a 60-day time-out last year after a similar breach.

It is not known whether Interflora took any special action in an attempt to rectify the situation, but there is precedent for a quick return after falling foul of Google guidelines. In 2006, BMW made a rapid four-day return to rankings after being penalised by Google, with Matt Cutts even personally commending the company's quick action in attempting to resolve the issue.

Kleon West, business development director at theEword, said: "Whatever Interflora did to get back in Google's good books, it will be very relieved to have done so before Mother's Day. Other businesses will doubtless want to find out exactly what happened here in order for Interflora to return so quickly."