I just thought I’d clear this up because yesterday Barry Schwartz posted an article on Search Engine Land with a slightly misleading title that implied 301 redirects do not cause any loss of PageRank. The article in question was called Google: PageRank Dilution Through A 301 Redirect Is A Myth and pertained to the commonly held idea that 301s don’t pass the full PageRank value of the original page through to the new destination URL.
Yesterday Martin Mcdonald posted an insightful article analysing the penalisation of well-known UK flower delivery site Interflora. On Wednesday their rankings appeared to significantly drop across a range of keyphrases, many of which they had previously appeared for in very high positions. They even dropped off the first page for their own brand term and at the time of writing, the homepage is ranked #13.
Mcdonald’s article cites Interflora’s strategy of blogger outreach as a possible contributing factor to the penalty, which involved sending bouquets to bloggers and hoping for a link in return. Despite Interflora’s SEO agency scrambling to manually remove such blogger outreach links, it was hard to see – on the face of it at least – how this type of strategy could be considered so detrimental to a campaign. After all, sending products for review is the oldest trick in the book.
As part of our constant scouring of SERPs, we SEOs occasionally come across a shady competitor inexplicably ranking above a client site – or our own, for that matter – for a competitive term. Upon further investigation, the techniques employed to achieve these rankings can sometimes be pretty dubious and it’s frustrating to see our hard work of the white hat variety trumped by low quality and/or sneaky tactics.
Well, this scenario happened to me today and after a bit of analysis I found that the competitor in question had 3 paragraphs of hidden text on their homepage and a slew of irrelevant and clearly paid links pointing to the same page with exact match anchor text. First of all, I was annoyed that the site had not been penalised for its blatant disregard of guidelines and second, I contemplated reporting it. But I didn’t.