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Halifax.co.uk SEO penalty
np2003




msg:4644273
 4:52 pm on Feb 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Another big giant that got penalzed in the last 4 days is Halifax.co.uk, the UK banking giant..

How come there are no news about this on webmasterworld?

This site dissected the penalty:
[linkresearchtools.com...]

On that page, they're saying that Google are acting as affiliates as well? e.g. taking a commission/cut when someone signups to a bank loan/personal loan? How long have they been doing this?

 

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4646066
 3:14 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

I was working with an SEO in this space a few years back (he's a former mod here)... and found blogs set up purely to disect the link/seo practices of sites in the industry, obviously set up by a competitor to put their competitors 'on the radar'. When you rank well for these kinds of phrases you can expect pretty much any attempt to get your ranks shifted down.

I just skimmed through the article but the stats do seem to indicate a penalty. Pretty comprehensive information, and I'm sure it's as much promotion of the tool rather than 'outing competitors'.

For anyone outside the UK, Halifax (or HBOS/Lloyds) is a fairly huge bank. They're a result of several banks being merged/part-nationalised after the financial crisis.

Last time I looked they still had all their old brands ranking fairly well, not sure if they've "consolidated" into one website.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4646164
 9:45 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

I was working with an SEO in this space a few years back (he's a former mod here)... and found blogs set up purely to disect the link/seo practices of sites in the industry, obviously set up by a competitor to put their competitors 'on the radar'. When you rank well for these kinds of phrases you can expect pretty much any attempt to get your ranks shifted down.


If you can penalise your own site with links, a competitor can too. Can you imagine the damage negative SEO can have if it impacts big brands like the Halifax Bank? I know the tired response to my comment: negative SEO can't affect big brands.

I believe it's possible. Google are now competing against outfits that seek to misrepresent websites, not promote them.

Shepherd




msg:4646169
 10:02 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google are now competing against outfits that seek to misrepresent websites, not promote them.


That's funny, make no mistake, google is laughing all the way to the bank. (no pun intended, sorry Halifax)

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4646173
 10:09 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

There comes a point where Google needs these huge brands though. Look at the top 5 results for any major financial term and it's likely to be a company priced in the billions, household names, and if it isn't you'll be raising an eye brow and checking to see how they got there.

Moneysupermarket suffered a couple of page specific penalties a few years back, which spawned a BBC article on the matter of their site 'missing' from Google. Within a few days they reappeared.

I'd wager that checking back in 3 months there'll be no penalty.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4646174
 10:37 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

There comes a point where Google needs these huge brands though. Look at the top 5 results for any major financial term and it's likely to be a company priced in the billions, household names, and if it isn't you'll be raising an eye brow and checking to see how they got there.

Moneysupermarket suffered a couple of page specific penalties a few years back, which spawned a BBC article on the matter of their site 'missing' from Google. Within a few days they reappeared.

I'd wager that checking back in 3 months there'll be no penalty.


In which case, small businesses are utterly without hope. If brand is everything, then we're back to the High Street problem for small businesses.

Is a healthy economy one which destroys small business (99% of the private sector)?

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4646175
 10:47 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

They aren't called 'high street' banks for nothing. Visible on the high street, visible on the SERPs.

>In which case, small businesses are utterly without hope. If brand is everything

I think that's exaggerating it a bit, particularly for high value, high traffic finance terms. I just searched for a regional mortgage broker and no recognisable brand names were in the top 10.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4646179
 11:11 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

I was making a general point, as were (apprently) yourself. Big brands are needed by consumers and by Google. There's no need for small businesses to exist in this way of thinking. As long as the big brand results are there for searchers to find, nothing's missing. All is good.

Bones




msg:4646180
 11:13 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'd wager that checking back in 3 months there'll be no penalty.


They'll be back within days or weeks, rather than months/years that would apply to everyone else.

I just searched for a regional mortgage broker and no recognisable brand names were in the top 10.


Funnily enough, type in "mortgages" into Google UK and who comes up at number 1? Halifax, of course.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4646183
 11:19 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Funnily enough, type in "mortgages" into Google UK and who comes up at number 1? Halifax, of course.


Same for me too (I'm in the UK FWIW). So much for a 3 month punishment.

We love our brands. List them high and don't punish them.

RedBar




msg:4646205
 1:19 am on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

I live in a small, traditional UK market town which is now prospering by ignoring much of this Internet crap and concentrating on its core values of quality local products and customer service.

It just so happens to have been voted one of the top ten coolest places to live in the UK simply because of these traditional values.

Insofar as I am concerned Google's screwing itself simply by believing it "knows" best, eff 'em, they know nothing about how I, and many other, want to to live.

These sort of "penalties" mean absolutley zilch to Joe Public, Google's achieving nothing, it's a load of jobsworth techies justifying their positions, nothing more, nothing less.

Montresor




msg:4646208
 1:44 am on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

This story is more about LRT than it is about Halifax.

Danny Sullivan wrote: [searchengineland.com]

Itís been big news recently about major brands and Google penalties, and the floodgates feel open on people spotting even more brands possibly hit out there. Some new crackdown by Google? No. Itís the rise of hyperactive attention in this area, and thatís turning into a problem.


The reason it's a problem is that LinkResearchTools is not reporting. LRT is exploiting possible penalties for profit. They accuse a company of bad behaviour for the purpose of selling subscriptions to their tool. There's a difference between reporting an event and exploting an accusation for profit.

Here's what Danny posted about Halifax:

But was Halifax really hit with a penalty? ...Search for Halifax by name on Google in either the UK or the US, and you still easily find it. And while thereís a seeming visibility drop, relatively speaking, itís not that huge.


Do you think it is ok for LRT to accuse another company of being penalized when that company has not been formally accused by Google, in the context of promotional exploitation?

[edited by: Montresor at 2:46 am (utc) on Feb 18, 2014]

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4646210
 2:40 am on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

>Do you think it is ok for LRT to accuse another company of being penalized

Sure, insomuch on it depending how much trust you put into their data and ultimately it is speculative at best. The problem I find with these research tools is that it's limited to the keywords they track... they're only showing a section of the big picture. It's fairly in-depth though, someone will learn something from it.

Their "widgets" approach seems a bit dated. Having that footprint made them an easier target for an article like this.

incrediBILL




msg:4646211
 3:03 am on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

Search for Halifax by name on Google in either the UK or the US, and you still easily find it. And while thereís a seeming visibility drop, relatively speaking, itís not that huge.


Funny, when I did a search for Halifax it came up #1 result so is this a visibility drop, where do I sign up?

ColourOfSpring




msg:4646271
 8:55 am on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

I live in a small, traditional UK market town which is now prospering by ignoring much of this Internet crap and concentrating on its core values of quality local products and customer service.


RedBar, this is by far the most refreshing and positive thing I've read on these forums since I joined.

ohno




msg:4646367
 2:23 pm on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

Funnily enough, type in "mortgages" into Google UK and who comes up at number 1? Halifax, of course.

No 1 organic, along with a huge one box result from Google.....

Compare Mortgages from Over 70 Providers with Google

More data for them.

Planet13




msg:4646371
 2:35 pm on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

I haven't read the case study, but I have seen others by LRT:

I think they look at overall visibility as defined by some other third-party website that tracks overall impressions for a site.

So while Keyword A might still be ranking umber 1, Keywords X, Y, and Z, and lots of their longtail traffic MIGHT have declined.

Of course, it might be that the third-party app that is tracking the "visibility" might just be having problems.

either way, because LRT is designed to "examine" links, when they hear of a visibility drop, they automatically assume it is a link-related penalty, and thus, do a case study on the site's backlinks.

I am sure if they sold a content analysis tool instead of a link analysis tool, they would do a case study on the site's content instead of the backlinks.

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