UK Brand sites falling like flies – Brand Penalties by Google

So far when it came to SEO – one of the biggest complaint was you are OK if you are a brand.

Looks like Matt Cutts has had a change of heart and is hammering UK brands one after the other. The latest wave of COMPLETE sitewide penalties are:

    • Links of London
    • Brand Republic
    • Bright Local
    • USC
    • Blue Banana
    • This is Cornwall

Update: Looks like their site moved to – so maybe not a penalty hat tip

  • Travel Bag
  • Nationwide Vehicle Contracts

In addition to 10 I am already under NDA not to discuss – although it shouldnt be hard to find out which ones with a bit of work.

A private source tells me that a Google Reps are adding to the chaos:

A Google rep told a client I pitched to that “SEO agencies will be dead and buried in the next few years.”

My advice? Keep calm. Carry on Removing.

Matt Cutts is trying to break your spirits.

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UK Brand sites falling like flies – Brand Penalties by Google
User Rating: 4.8 (4 votes)
Rishi has been a consultant in online marketing for over 10 years, specialising in SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing, Email and Social Media. Over the years he has worked with many brands as well as many small businesses.
  • James Finlayson

    Totally agree – there seem to be more and more each week at the moment. All the big brands have been heavily investing in SEO for years – which means they all have a lot of skeletons in their closet.

    As a community, it’s partly our fault. Everyone’s been moaning for years that big brands can do what they want – apart from being a scare campaign this is a somewhat rare example of Google actually listening to the SEO community.

  • David Iwanow

    Hmmm I disagree with that statement that SEO agencies will be dead and buried in a few years, I recall being told that by the MD of a Google Apps partner I used to work with back in 2008…. He was almost manic with happiness in telling me I just got off the phone to some senior Google people in Mountain View and they specifically said they have their sites set on SEO and it will be dead and buried in 18-24 months…

    So sure it’s harder now 6 years later and ummm it’s not gone it’s just less about links and shit tactics… that line is also the same crap AdWords resellers have been telling people for years to get them to spend more on AdWords….

  • Stephen Counsell

    Just as the Google changes so will the process of SEO. Businesses don’t have the time or resources to commit to doing all digital marketing and optimisation in house so there will always be a need for agencies and consultant to do the work.

  • Patrick Altoft

    The issue here is that agencies & brands have not paid attention to what is going on and assumed that they would be safe sitting on a big pile of unnatural links. Google said they were going to kill guest posting, everybody knew it, and yet people didn’t clean it up. Every new client we take on has had a full link audit & cleanup whether they were penalised or not for over 12 months now, it’s the only way to do it.

    • Aqueous Digital

      Agreed Patrick, we are doing the same. Just had a new client arrive with 96,000 links from 12 domains…..and they can’t understand why their old SEO agency kept telling them it was going to be OK.

      Times have changed and unless agencies think Marketing first then they are unlikely to succeed.

  • Marie Haynes

    IMO this is only going to get worse as Google refines the Penguin algorithm. Right now a lot of large brands are getting manually caught for unnatural linking processes…but as Google continues to refine the Penguin algorithm a lot of sites that used aggressive SEO tactics are going to be in trouble.

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  • Chuck Price

    Leveling the playing field certainly isn’t a bad thing. If nothing else, this should be a signal to EVERYONE to do a backlink audit and cleanup NOW – before the next algo update or quality rater arrives.

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  • Mon

    Didn’t Links of London just move domains? from to .com?

    • rishil

      Unfortunately no. They were on .com. It doesn’t rank the ranks cause it’s a redirect. This is common in a penalty. You can see it here:

      Note the rankings were always on .com. The cc TLDd is just a redirect

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  • Jinnat Ul Hasan

    SEO practices have been changed dramatically in last couple of years, and penalty is becoming a part of SEO life. Sh*t happens, as long as you are following the rules, you minimise the chance of getting penalised.

    “Google rep said SEO agencies will be dead” – that is an irresponsible comment. Are you sure that’s a Google rep or someone pretending to have good connection with Google.

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