Customer Engagement

5 Minute Google Marketing Tip That Will Save Your Company Thousands in 2013

The new year is well underway and Google has been the subject of a lot of recent news having just penalized the powerhouse UK flower retailer, Interflora, for purchasing paid links.

The story goes that Interflora bought paid links just before Valentine’s day in order to increase their keyword rankings relating to, “flowers”. Google does not endorse the purchasing of links on third party websites and as a result issued a link penalty on Interflora in addition to the participating linking websites. This link penalty dropped Interflora from search engine results for over 50 keywords including their own brand name.

As a result of losing visibility in Google’s search engine, Interflora, has lost tens of thousands of monthly website visitors and tens of thousands of dollars in profit. Additionally they have had to increase their online advertising budget in order to maintain a percentage of their previous online visibility. To say the least they have had a  rough 2013 thus far but have provided all other business owners a great opportunity to learn from their mistake free of charge.


Interflora lost rankings for brand specific keywords (see example above) as a result of buying paid links. They have since changed their strategy and have regained keyword rankings

What Action Should You Take in Response to Interflora’s Penalty? 

It may be obvious that the takeaway from Interflora’s story is that you should not pay for links- especially if your organic Google ranking is a major lead generation source for your business. However there are three related action steps you can take to capitalize completely from Interflora’s mistake. 

1). Consult The SEO Department

The first action step as a business owner should be to consult the director of your SEO department in regards to your inbound marketing strategy. Be absolutely sure that your business is not paying for links on third party websites. Of course it is ok to pay for the creation of content for which to distribute to other online media outlets. However, your company should not be paying directly for a link within already existing content on another website.

If you contract with an SEO company be sure to consult with them on their current online marketing strategy for your business.

2). Replace Paid Links with Fresh Content

If part of your past online marketing strategy called for purchasing links then you need to slowly transition into legitimate content marketing. In reality you’re SEO budget should not increase. In fact normally paid links are quite expensive so as you discontinue paying for those links you should have more funds to pay for a staff writer who can publish articles, press releases, and blog posts on behalf of your business. The time is now for content marketing.

3). Bring Onboard an Intern

Unfortunately the economy is still not where it used to be which implies two things as a business owner as it relates to online marketing. First you may not have the funds to employ an SEO on a full time basis. Second, college students are in dire need of all types of work experience prior to landing a full time position anywhere.

For a business owner the time is right to endorse an intern program. Bring onboard an intern that can blog daily, can learn to write a press release, and can guest post on other websites to rightfully gain inbound links to your site. A good portion of content marketing can be self taught by reading articles right here on the Vistage blog. Additionally many SEO tactics may be easy for an intern to implement.

What do you think about the Interflora ranking penalty? Are you ready to adopt a content marketing strategy?

Category: Customer Engagement

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Avatar About the Author: Dino Gomez

Dino Gomez started his internet marketing practice in 2008 while he was an undergrad at Sonoma State University. Two years later he moved to San Diego, California to begin working as the social media manager for the advertis…

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