Inbound Debate #16 – What Happened to Interflora?

Last week, the flower deliver company Interflora was hit by a manual penalty that effectively dropped their website from organic search.

The company was no longer found for brand searches, and their top rankings for generic keywords like ‘flowers’ and ‘bouquets’ were nowhere to be seen. Interflora had been caught up in what the Inbound team have described as ‘flowergate’, a scandal that went against Google’s TOS through the use of paid and incentivised linking.

What happened, why and what can SEOs learn from such a high profile penalty?