Google appears to have removed Irwin Mitchells’ domain names from its organic search listings as a penalty for hyperlinking to its sites via numerous blog and forum posts.
The alteration to the firm’s Google listings came to light when online marketing agent Matt Weeks tweeted SEO expert David Naylor on Friday (24 January) with a message that said: “Did Google just wipe out UK law firm Irwin Mitchell with a link penalty?”
In a blog post on David Naylor’s website Alex Graves wrote: “Google have been firm and consistent when it comes to taking action against sites that have broken their guidelines.”
Google is known to remove organic listing for companies that break its rules against unnaturally influencing search results.
The internet search giant doesn’t publish how its algorithms work, or its precise rulebook for search results, but SEO experts said there are some generally accepted criteria that SEO optimisers should be aware of.
Google did not respond to requests for comment but it is believed it would have written to Irwin Mitchell to explain the decision and may have included some information on why it acted as it did.
SLF tech director Damian Blackburn said Irwin Mitchell is likely to have to adjust its SEO work by removing links, tags or content.
“Once they have done that they would make a submission to Google to remove the de-listing. There are no published rules on how Google make this decision, but one assumes that if Irwin Mitchell reverses some of the issues Google have written to them about, they will re-appear fairly swiftly”, Blackburn added.
Irwin Mitchell released a statement that said: “We are aware of the situation and are working closely with our digital agency to deal with it.”