Backlinks by Chameleon

Interflora and Advertorial Paid Links

Advertorial Penalties

The removal of the flower delivery giant Interflora’s website from Google organic search results has shocked many online businesses, making everyone realise once again that Google guidelines must be adhered to otherwise you will be penalised, regardless of the size of your company.

But what did Interflora do wrong and what were they penalised for exactly? The short answer to this is paying for advertorials.

What is an advertorial?

Advertorials are stories or editorials that are published on press websites and contain links to related businesses. The businesses pay the press sites to create the story and embed links to them in it, passing the power to their sites.

Interflora did this with an array of different newspaper sites, including The Independent as they had a high page rank and so the links brought lots of power with them.

Google do not disapprove of advertorials as an advertising platform in general, it is the fact that the links are paid for that does not meet their guideline criteria. Google states that such links such have a ‘no follow’ tag attached and so are not included in their robot crawl.

It is not just Interflora that suffered a Google penalty however, the newspaper websites involved were also penalised. The Independent, which had a high page rank of 8, was down-graded to a page rank of 4. This is because they were selling the paid advertorial links, a practice which is condemned by Google.

Why do Google not approve of Paid Links?

Google strives to be the best search engine online, and they can only achieve this goal by ensuring that their search results are the most accurately matched to the needs and wants of the user in terms of matching sites to keywords searched.

If these results relied on the number of backlinks that a site had gained only, then the company with the most money to purchase them would always be top for their desired keywords, even if they are not necessarily the best for the user in terms of relevance. Therefore, Google considers this to be a ‘black hat’ method of SEO and penalise heavily for it.

How does Google consider site-wide backlinks? Matt Cutts

How does Google consider site-wide backlinks?

Matt Cutts answers – How does Google consider site-wide backlinks?

Google Disavow Links Tool

On Tuesday 16th October 2012, Google announced the launch of its new Disavow Links Tool. This new tool is intended for the use of experienced webmasters who are well-informed of aggressive SEO techniques. The tool aims to help solve the problem of “unnatural links” pointing to your site due to manual spam action.

Disavow links

Building lots of low quality backlinks to your website is not good SEO practise and can be interpreted as black hat SEO. As it has a negative effect upon your page ranking, creating “unnatural links” is sometimes done as a means of attack from competitor sites. The Google Disavow Links tool aims to give website owners a chance to have these links discounted by their spiders.
The tools states “If you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site.”

If you website contains links to unreliable sites, you will be notified of this by Google via email. The email will detail some of the types of links that are considered unnatural up to a maximum of three. These emails will not detail all of the bad links that you have associated with your website however; it is up to you to investigate them yourself.

It is important to note that the vast majority of people should not need to use this tool as they will not have a large number of unnatural links. The process takes weeks to be completed from the time your list of disavowed links is submitted to the time they are ignored by Google as your site will have to be crawled and indexed again, which takes time. You also need to be aware that reinstating a link that has been disavowed takes even longer than disavowing it in the first place; therefore please ensure that it is definitely the right decision to make before you disavow a link. The tool is designed to be used by experienced webmasters who have a good working knowledge of aggressive SEO techniques.

This statement is clear that Google are trying assist people with problems relating to a large volume of low quality links:-

Disavow links

The Google Disavow Tool is to be used as a last resort to stop your website being associated with unnatural links. Removing the link completely from the web is the most effective way of improving your page ranking; this is done by contacting the person responsible for the other page and having the link removed manually. There will always be a small amount of people that are unreachable and this is why the disavow tool has been introduced. This tool does not remove the link, rather suggests that Google ignore it.

If you believe your website ranking has being harmed by low-quality links that you do not control then you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site rankings.

For more information about this go to:

How Google Works by Matt Cutts

Watch this great simple video to understand how Google Works from Matt Cutts.

This video will explain what Google does and then think about how Chameleon can help Google find your website and place it in high ranking positions for search terms relevant to your website.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an important part of Google and if an SEO Company works to make the website Google friendly then a website will improve rankings.