As a familiar household name and a company that’s been trading for more than 90 years, Interflora is probably one of the last companies you’d expect to be breaching Google’s rules in the hopes of improving their SEO. However, news broke last week that Interflora has been using links from a significant number of ‘advertorials’ to boost their standing in the SERPS, without using a ‘no follow’ tag – which is a strict no-no in the SEO world.
“In January, Interflora, in order to get ready for Valentine’s Day, paid newspapers to run stories which were only there to get links to improve their Google ranking,” David Naylor, head of SEO at Bronco, explained in an interview with Computer Weekly. “In SEO terms, advertorials are like gold dust, but have to be taken with care. Interflora went and did as many as humanly possible, and they really went too far.”
Although the punishment of Interflora is likely to be temporary, it still teaches other businesses an important lesson about the importance of conducting their SEO campaigns in a responsible manner. To keep your SEO campaign in Google’s good books, make sure that you:
- Approach advertorials with caution
Google is bound to be keeping an eye on them, so keep advertorials to a minimum and don’t be tempted to pay for the removal of the ‘no follow’ on your back-link.
- Keep link building above board
- Focus on building links from genuine, credible sources – for instance, by writing a guest blog for a site in your industry.
- Prioritise quality content
- As the saying goes, ‘content is king’ when it comes to the Google search results, so creating high quality, user friendly content that people naturally want to link to, is the key to SEO success.
In the end, Google ended up not only penalising Interflora, but also the newspaper that ran the advertorials, demonstrating just how seriously they take such breaches of SEO best practice.