Of interest, I’m noticing a shift in the way Proflowers.com and FTD.com are mounting their link-vote campaigns for this coming holiday, Valentine’s Day. For those who have been following me for the last three or four months, we’ve seen these two floral entities involved in traditional old school methods of placing link-votes in the sidebar areas of blogs and other web properties in an effort to influence Google’s algorithm. But this holiday things are different as the two floral entities appear to be following the stealthy ways of 1800flowers.com by placing link-votes directly in content areas.
[You can follow me on Twitter off to the right of your screen where I’ll often tweet about link-votes as I come across them.]
While Google still considers this practice to be outside of their guidelines because it is artificial at the core, it doesn’t compromise the integrity of Google’s algorithm to the same level as paid sidebar link-votes due to relevant context. In that regard, it’s kind of like seeing a Coke sign during a movie scene verses an actual commercial: the Coke sign is always somehow a part of the context. Hence, it just *may* be that Google is less critical of contextual link-vote placement.
Having said all that, Proflowers is still active in old school methods as in the last few days I’ve noticed a lot of new sidebar link-votes go up for “florist” around the web. Proflowers behavioral pattern has always been more brazen than the other floral entities which may ultimately trigger their SEO demise once (or if) Google starts watching them more closely.
In my opinion, creative link-votes in 2009 are going to be key for long term success.