Search giant Google appears to be having something of a lovers' tiff with UK-based florist Interflora. The flower delivery service's home page has fallen off the first page of Google's results when searching for the term 'Interflora' (see screen shot above). Interflora's pad links are still there, but no sign of its home page.
As far as V3 can tell, this is solely an issue between Interflora and Google – the florist appears right at the top of the search results when conducting similar searches on Bing or DuckDuckGo.
As any business leader with a passing acquaintance with the term 'search engine optimisation' will know, falling off Google's first page is the online equivalent of appointing Leo Apotheker as your chief executive.
So far, Google has remained mum on the reasons for sending Interflora to Coventry. But that hasn't stopped some bloggers from speculating.
Anthony Shapley, who works for UK SEO firm Bronco noted that Interflora's Valentine's Day preparations may have seen it penalised by Google.
He saw that Interflora placed more than 150 advertorials on regional news sites across the UK in the days and weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, in a move to boosts its listing in Google's index.
If confirmed, this wouldn't be the first time Google has taken action against companies it believes have breached its so-called webmaster guidelines.
Previously, US retailer JC Penney saw its page ranking hammered after Google became aware of its attempts to game its search ranking algorithms.
If Google has penalised Interflora in the same way, it's also likely that it will win back its page ranking in time. Whether it's Valentine's Day promotion turns out to be worth it might depend on how quickly its page rank is restored.
22 Feb 2013