Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chrome Browser & PageRank Fetcher

In Google Chrome, you can get anywhere on the Web from one box. Yes, the address bar that sits at the top of the browser simplifies your Internet experience by doubling as a search box: known as the Omnibox.
While I believe that this new feature makes the new Chrome browser far superior to other browsers, one of its drawbacks is the lack of Google's PageRank value meter. In an effort to help fill that void, I found a cool PageRank gadget that fits into the Chrome browser "favorites bar." You can get it at this site.

Google Backlink Update Underway

There is a backlink update underway in Google. For those florist-techies who are interested in that type of thing you may want to check your status. 

I'm also noticing a PageRank update....

FTD.Com went from a PR7 to a PR6 (which is strange given the recent link juice boost from thier acquisition by United Online. Perhaps they missed the cut-off date). stayed the same at PR6 stayed the same at PR7, who recently employeed an artifical link strategy, jumped up from a PR4 to PR5.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Flower and gift sales wilt vs. other Top 500 retail segments in ‘07

Found an interesting news piece related to the floral industry & online sales growth. It seems that out of the Top 500 retail segments in ‘07 the floral industry has experienced the slowest growth. The article can be read here.

Teleflora’s eFlorist Program Templates & The Nofollow Attribute (SEO Road Spikes)

I was recently inspired by a member of the Flower Chat community to take a look at various template designs provided by Teleflora for their members. While I had reviewed Teleflora websites in the past, something jumped out at me this time that I either previously missed, or, it is relatively new. I’m talking about the “nofollow” attribute. 

What is a “nofollow” attribute? 

According to Wikipedianofollow is an HTML attribute value used to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target's ranking in the search engine's index” (reference). The concept was first introduced by Google in an effort to combat paid text links and their effectiveness of gaming Google’s algorithm.

Since that time, use of the attribute has evolved to include the ability to control PageRank flow within the internal workings of the website itself. The idea behind this particular use of the attribute is to cap off non-important pages (e.g “My Account,” “Shopping Cart,” or “Security & Privacy” pages) in favor of channeling the PageRank to flow and influence the rank of important pages (e.g. “Product” pages etc...). In that regard, the entire fleet of FTD’s FOL sites correctly has this type of link-condom in place and the energy is properly being channeled to the product pages.

However, in reviewing Teleflora’s template designs and use of the “nofollow” attribute, I discovered that all of Teleflora’s websites that have a product navigation menu have the “nofollow” attribute embedded in the properties of the product menu and not in the less important tabs to pages. The exact opposite of the way it should be.

What this means is that PageRank flow is currently being channeled away from the product pages and directed toward the less important pages: “My Account,” “View Cart,” and “Help” pages (etc...). In other words, all the navigational links that provide link juice to the important pages are capped off with a link-condom: no link juice is going to those pages.

[pictured to the right in red highlight is the "nofollow" attribute in action. I highlighted this image myself for identification purposes. Actual website is Currently, Google will not pass PageRank influence to those pages through those highlighted links]

Now Teleflora may attempt to argue that a secondary navagation menu exists at the bottom of most Teleflora sites where the "nofollow" attribute is absent. But this secondary menu is in a bottom feeder area where there is less value & influence in ranking pages internally.

Moreover, any custom pages that are created for specific targeting and placed in the Navigation area are defaulted to the "nofollow" attribute.

From an SEO perspective, this is the equivalent of driving over Police "road spikes" on a Freeway.....and the Police in this case is Teleflora.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wesley Berry Flowers Pt.2 Their SEO Backbone

In Part 1, I discussed Wesley’s “plagiarism, interlinking, and duplicate content” issues. Today, I’m going to cover the backbone of what makes Wesley’s site rank so well.

Wesley Berry has a network of websites that were design for one purpose: to cast link-votes. While this purpose may seem shallow, the sites that are included in the network are actually informative as they are real and useful Directories. I’ve posted several of them here:

As you visit the websites above you’ll notice a lot of link-votes being cast to various floral related websites that are all owned by Wesley Berry. While the idea behind this link network scheme is, I think brilliant (because they are real directories), the network has been over used and has since taken on a spammy tone.

In reviewing Google’s PageRank score for these Directories, I think Google has identified the network as spam too because the value of most of the sites have dropped since I first became aware of them three years ago (with the exception of the last link I posted above). While I think that this network no longer provides value to Wesley’s SEO strategies, I think Wesley’s websites are still benefiting from what was.

One of Wesley’s other SEO strategies is to write informative essays and publish them. Some of the essays can be viewed here:

All the essays written by Wesley are for the most part informative and include link-vote footers like you see here:

This tactic does work but one must be careful to not publish the same essays with various online publishers as Google will ultimately count only one of them. In that regard, I did find Wesley had published the same essays with the same link-votes as that is something that should be avoided. In truth, Google favors original content and duplicate content often gets disgarded.

In conclusion, from what I can tell, Wesley has not employed any new SEO strategies in the last couple years. I also browsed through many of Wesley’s backlinks and could not find any real patterns of old-school paid links. What I find odd about’s good ranking related to local florist search terms is that while the site does not break ALL of Google’s webmaster guidelines, it does however stand outside of a good portion of them.

 I am reminded of the imagery of walking on very thin ice. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

FlowerPetal.Com moves to 3rd for "Flowers."

This post comes off the heels of my post on's surge to the top for the key-word "flowers."

Google's baloney detection system is definatly at work as continues to strive upward. Today they are experiencing times of a Top #3 search result followed by a strong Google filter that knocks them back by 5 pages.

This is a clear sign that Google is processing with concern the legitmacy of the bottom feeder link-votes that were recently cast and touched on in my previous post.

It won't be long till we know if pulled it off.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wesley Berry Flowers - Plagiarism - Interlinking - Duplicate Content Pt.1

I’ve always had a special eye for Wesley Berry Flowers since their early days on the internet. I remember several years ago when they first came on the scene they were heavy into Pay-Per-Clicks. At about that time I had floral website that was ranking quite good and doing well in the organic results.

One day I decided to run a long tail search query into Google that I thought would only bring up my flower website. What I found was rather interesting as Google produced two websites that day: one was mine; the other was Wesley’s. 

Low and behold I had just discovered that Wesley Berry Flowers had plagiarized what I had written for my own website’s homepage key-language. At first I was a little upset that they would copy me, but since that time I’ve found it humorous in an odd way. After all, now I’ve got platform to expose it.

Any way, even though Wesley Berry Flowers is a national order gatherer, their focus is to place good in the search results on the local scale. Instead of attempting to rank for general terms like “flowers,” they are opting to rank for local searches like “Los Angeles, ca florist” etc. By attempting to rank for every single City/Town and ZIP Code in the United States using that method, I doubt there are any florists who haven’t yet heard of Wesley Berry Flowers.

Moving forward, Wesley Berry has many websites that are on similar templates so unless one is frequently looking at the address bar you probably wouldn’t realize that you’re bouncing from one site to the next. In Google’s eyes, they frown on interlinking between like-minded sites that are owned by the same person because there is often duplicate content associated with it, which there definitely is on Wesley’s sites.

Google typically likes original content so I’m a little surprised that Wesley’s money maker website (i.e. is doing so well despite all the interlinking. Back in early 2007, was fatally hit by a Google penalty in this regard and as far as I can see, there is (or was) little difference between the two. It’s only a matter of time until experiences the same fate. 

Part 2 will be posted shortly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Baloney Detector &

Many of you are probably already familiar with due to their strong search presence on both the local level and the holiday level. But on Tuesday Sept. 16th, they surged forward into the big leagues and are now ranking on the front page of Google for such terms as "send flowers," "flower delivery," and the ultimate query that gets over 50k a day: "flowers."

The surge is not going un-noticed by Google-bot however, as Google's filters are attempting to push the site back down in the search results as the site has not yet earned the right to rank for those terms.

Why? Because some of their newly acquired backlinks look phony. Google senses that the link-votes being cast for are artificial, but they are not sure as of yet. The value of the "link-votes" are still yet to be determined which explains why when you type "flowers" at different times throughout the day they are 4th; and at other times they are 10th; yet at other times they are 40+. Yes, algorithmic fluctuation is normal, but the link profile for looks sketchy enough to draw suspicion flags in my opinion.

What is giving rise to Google's robotic suspicion? Well, the SEO's for have recently placed link-votes on authoritative but NON-relevant websites for terms such as "send flowers," "flower delivery," & "flowers," in the worst place possible: the very bottom of each site. See:

  9. [there are a lot more websites to list but I think you get the picture]

If you clicked on a few of those links above and scrolled to the bottom you saw a variation of this: 

"Need flowers for your night out? Click here to send flowers." 

I may be wrong, but given the context of these sites, I believe Google's baloney detector is smart enough to catch the fact that it is not normal for these sites to cast a link-vote for a flower site; not to mention from the very bottom of their website in small fonts. Yes, these link-votes may still improve's rank over the coming weeks, but I have a hunch that these backlinks will devalue rather quickly.

If you are going to rank a floral website for premium key-phrases, you need to make it look as natural as possible: using embedded content link-votes on relevant websites. Avoid having bottom feeder links. While side bar links still work as a powerful vote, the strongest link-votes come from the content portion of any given site.

Monday, September 15, 2008

FTD.Com Moving to 2nd for "Flowers" in Google

United Online's recent acquisition of FTD.Com is providing a boost in the search results for the floral giant. For the last year or so has ranked in the 3rd spot in Google for the keyword "flowers" but has since moved to the 2nd spot. 

Why the shift? Well, in all probability, it is because United Online recently placed text links to on all of their major brand websites: 
  1. United Online (PR6)
  2. (PR6)
  3. MyPoints (PR6)
  4. Netzero (PR7), 
  5. Juno (PR6)
  6. MySite (PR7) 
All of these brand name websites are deemed authoritative by Google and hence, carry significant weight as a link-vote. Since all these new link-votes are being cast at the same time the noise level is quite loud at The result is that gets pushed up in the search results.

What is interesting is that all of United Online's brand websites are naively interlinked with each other with the exception of It appears the SEO's for know that if were to link back to the other brand websites the link-votes would devalue for them. At over 50,000 search queries a day for the keyword "flowers," the stakes are high.

Any way, at the time of this writing FTD's ranking is still fluid between 2nd & 3rd. It is fluid because the link-votes have not yet solidified into Google's algorithm. 

[As a side note, I find it funny that Google crawled Proflowers at the wrong time and returned the word "Sorry!" for their title tag. Kind of symbolic. The meta-description doesn't make the company look so hot either: "Ships a large variety of unarranged bouquets".Both the title & description tags should be both catchy & and a call to action.]

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Presell Pages Boost:

What is a "presell page"? A presell page is a web page that is usually purchased or rented from a website owner who owns an authoritative domain. This page usually consists of several paragraphs of text that reflect carefully crafted language and text links focused on the buyers interests rather than the interests of the actual domain as whole.

The idea behind a couple of handfuls of "presell pages" is to boost the search engine rankings of the linked-to website in the organic results. This relatively new form of buying "text links" is gaining favor in the SEO world because it is very difficult to detect as an artificial link. 

As most of you know, buying text-links for the purpose of boosting a website's search presence is deemed outside of Google's guidelines because it exposes a hole in their algorithm. See Google's head of spam detection, Matt Cutts on paid text links....

Over the last year Google has become quite good at detecting old school paid text links but this new form is almost, but not entirely, undetectable. 

The newest rising SEO star in the floral industry is Order-Flowers-Delivery.Com. At present they are making huge inroads at ranking in the search engines due to "presell pages": ranking for such terms as "order flowers," "send flowers," and "flower delivery" to name but a few.

In reviewing the backlinks for them I noticed some "presell pages" in action. For an example, check out these pages by copying and pasting them into your browser:
  3. , and 
  4. [etc...there's is a lot more presell pages out there directed to]
In fact, the now defunct with its PageRank value of 6 is now being used as a Presell Page to boost the website as we see here --->

Any way, we can expect this website to continue to increase in ranking as they are utilizing other SEO methods including old school paid text links and post level ads (e.g. 

Is this a good SEO tactic? Yes & no. Yes because it works. No because the site has made itself a target by focusing in on popular general flower terms instead of niche focused queries. In my opinion, this site is currently NOT below the radar and is at risk. After all, it is the focus of this post.

[note: offers free pages that can be used as a "presell page."]