Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Baloney Detector & FlowerPetal.com

Many of you are probably already familiar with flowerpetal.com 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 flowerpetal.com 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 flowerpetal.com looks sketchy enough to draw suspicion flags in my opinion.

What is giving rise to Google's robotic suspicion? Well, the SEO's for Flowerpetal.com 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:

  1. www.aureolelv.com
  2. www.bootleggerlasvegas.com
  3. www.battistaslasvegas.com
  4. www.hugoscellar.com
  5. www.habibspersiancuisine.com
  6. www.charliepalmersteaklv.com
  7. www.mayflowercuisinier.com
  8. www.williambs.com
  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 flowerpetal.com'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.

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