The Real-Florists.com directory was created with good intentions – intentions that I wholeheartedly applaud. Listing real florist businesses in their local areas makes it easy for consumers to find a local shop and not have to rely on order brokers like FTD, Teleflora, 1800-Flowers – or any of their tens of thousands of affiliates. This gives the customer a better chance at getting good service, and gives the florists another incoming link to help them rank competitively in their neighbourhood.
Florist directories are nothing new – some exist as thinly veiled attempts at gathering orders to feed into the order brokerage systems. Others exist as a for-profit model where participants must pay for inclusion, and upgrades to their listings. Some even combine the two models!
Sadly, as is often the case, where good intentions abound, reality can hit like a hammer.
Without going into endless detail about the shoddy SEO on this site, I’ll hit a few major points:
- Affiliate links are always a nice touch: Just in case csutomers need a side-order of lawyer with their flowers the site owner has added not one but two affiliate banners for legal services. So much for contextual advertising 🙂
- Semmantic what-now?!?: The site is built using Homestead (cuz that’s what all the professional SEOs and affiliates are using these days) and the code looks like it was output from Photoshop. It’s a mess of absolutely positioned DIVs with inline <font> tags and nary a Hx tag to be found anywhere.
- Bad News Spreads: Nothing has been done to address canonicalization or duplicate content. All of www.real-florists.com, www.real-florists.com/index.html, real-florists.com and real-florists.com/index.html serve up the same page. Both the / and /index.html urls are linked to from the home page.
Of the 6 links on the home page, two point to versions of the home page, two point to informational pages, and two point to the (not nofollowed) affiliate links. I’m sure the florists proudly displaying their Real-Florists.com badge on their own sites are please to know that half of their link juice is actually going to support the legal company, not the directory.
All in all, this site receives a resounding “F” grade for doing wrong just about everything possible when it comes to on-page SEO, although we should give some credit for using different title tags.
Perhaps in time, with some work, this site can be redeemed. In the meantime, I am very comfortable in not endorsing Real-Florists.com as a directory for local florists or consumers.