Yahoo & Google Together Again In New Search Deal

Three year deal to put Google’s results and ads into some of Yahoo’s search results needs US Department of Justice approval and still might get vetoed by India or EU action.

 

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Reunited, and it feels so good. Well, we’ll see if that line from the classic song plays out for Yahoo, which has revealed it wants to be together with Google again in a deal for search results. The deal excludes Europe, almost certainly to avoid anti-trust issues there. It also will depend on US Department of Justice approval.

The Deal, In Summary

As part of today’s Yahoo earning news, it revealed a new search deal with Google:

In October, the Company reached an agreement with Google that provides Yahoo with additional flexibility to choose among suppliers of search results and ads. Google’s offerings complement the search services provided by Microsoft, which remains a strong partner, as well as Yahoo’s own search technologies and ad products.

Wondering how Yahoo and Google can be together, when Yahoo is supposed to be with Microsoft? What we mean by Yahoo and Google being together again? And what’s in the deal? Come along.

Isn’t Yahoo With Microsoft?

If you’re thinking that Yahoo and Microsoft have a search deal, you remember correctly. They do and renewed that in April of this. year. Our FAQ: The New Yahoo-Microsoft Deal, Explained story also had more background on that.

As part of the renewal, Yahoo agreed that Bing’s ads would appear on 51% of the desktop searches that Yahoo delivers. The other 49% could be “powered” by Yahoo’s own ad system or from any third-party that Yahoo wanted to use.

As it turns out, by July, Yahoo was spotted testing using Google’s search results and ads. Clearly, Yahoo liked how it went. Now it’s planning to do more.

And Yahoo Had Been With Google Before?

Years ago — back in 2000 — Yahoo was partnered with Google to carry both Google’s search results and ads. That partnership maintained for many years, until Yahoo eventually developed its own in-house search technology and ad serving systems in 2004.

Yahoo gave up its own internal search technology when its search deal with Microsoft was formally established and got the go-ahead in 2010. But as that deal never performed as expected, and Yahoo’s been especially looking over the past two years for ways to generate more revenue from search beyond its deal with Microsoft.

What’s In The New 3-Year Google Deal?

Let’s go to the Form 8-K filing on the deal and look at the officialese, which I’ll break down as best I can into regular speak:

On October 19, 2015, Yahoo! Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Yahoo”), and Google Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Google”), entered into a Google Services Agreement (the “Services Agreement”). The Services Agreement is effective as of October 1, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2018.

Right off, we’re talking just over a three-year term. However, the agreement can end early for various reasons, as explained more below.

Google To Power Both Mobile & Desktop

Next up, this:

Pursuant to the Services Agreement, Google will provide Yahoo with search advertisements through Google’s AdSense for Search service (“AFS”), web algorithmic search services through Google’s Websearch Service, and image search services. The results provided by Google for these services will be available to Yahoo for display on both desktop and mobile platforms.

Basically, this says that Yahoo can show Google’s search results. And by search results, that means both the editorial “free” listings as well as the ads. Yahoo needs to serve both, because it has no editorial listings of its own, no crawler that combs the web for such content. And Yahoo probably can’t — or can’t afford — to show Google ads against editorial listings provided by Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Could Yahoo Go Over 51% On Mobile With Google?

Yahoo also can use these results for both mobile and desktop. On desktop, it’s limited to a cap of 49% that potentially could come from Google, as Microsoft is guaranteed the other 51%.

On mobile, Yahoo has no such limit. There, it could choose to fully serve out Google results even at the expense of its own Gemini ads system.

Deal Excludes Europe, Probably For Anti-Trust Reasons

The deal is for these regions:

Yahoo may use Google’s services on Yahoo’s owned and operated properties (“Yahoo Properties”) and on certain syndication partner properties (“Affiliate Sites”) in the United States (U.S.), Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Middle East, Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, Australia and New Zealand.

You can see all of North America is covered. Several Asian countries are included, as are Australia and New Zealand. Parts of South America are also covered. What’s missing? Europe.

Why not Europe? Google already has an anti-trust action happening against it in the European Union. It probably does not want the attention or criticism of doing a deal with Yahoo there, especially with Google already having a 90% or more marketshare in many EU countries.

Yahoo Has Flexibility, Could Skip Google Search Entirely

Next, this:

Under the Services Agreement, Yahoo has discretion to select which search queries to send to Google and is not obligated to send any minimum number of search queries. The Services Agreement is non-exclusive and expressly permits Yahoo to use any other search advertising services, including its own service, the services of Microsoft Corporation or other third parties.

Basically, this says that Yahoo doesn’t have to guarantee anything to Google. It could decide to send no queries to Google, if it wanted to.

Yahoo Gets Cut Of Ads, Amount Not Said; Image Search Named

How about getting paid? Well…

Google will pay Yahoo a percentage of the gross revenues from AFS ads displayed on Yahoo Properties or Affiliate Sites. The percentage will vary depending on whether the ads are displayed on U.S. desktop sites, non-U.S. desktop sites or on the tablet or mobile phone versions of the Yahoo Properties or its Affiliate Sites. Yahoo will pay Google fees for requests for image search results or web algorithmic search results.

This is pretty standard, saying that Yahoo will get a percentage of what Google makes off its ads that are shown on the Yahoo network.

That percentage can — and probably will — vary depending on whether it’s from desktop or mobile.

Interestingly, there’s no minimum guarantee from Google to be paid to Yahoo. That’s sometimes the case in these deals. It was in the original Yahoo-Microsoft deal.

Finally, Yahoo is obligated to pay Google if it uses its editorial (“algorithmic”) search results for web listings or images. This is likely to ensure that Yahoo doesn’t take Google’s listings but shows Yahoo’s own ads against them. In such a case, Google would be earning nothing yet providing a service.

Terminating In Case Of US Opposition

At the end, we get this:

Either party may terminate the Services Agreement

(1) upon a material breach subject to certain limitations;

(2) in the event of a change in control (as defined in the Services Agreement);

(3) after first discussing with the other party in good faith its concerns and potential alternatives to termination

(a) in its entirety or in the U.S. only, if it reasonably anticipates litigation or a regulatory proceeding brought by any U.S. federal or state agency to enjoin the parties from consummating, implementing or otherwise performing the Services Agreement,

(b) in part, in a country other than the U.S., if either party reasonably anticipates litigation or a regulatory proceeding or reasonably anticipates that the continued performance under the Services Agreement in such country would have a material adverse impact on any ongoing antitrust proceeding in such country,

Some history here. Back in 2008, Yahoo wanted to do a deal with Google. The US Department of Justice decided that would be bad on competitive grounds, so the companies abandoned that.

The DoJ decision left Yahoo with Microsoft as pretty much the only choice for doing a deal. As a result, the deal that Microsoft eventually offered to Yahoo in 2009 was much less lucrative than the one it offered in 2008, when it was competing with Google.

In the years since, the deal arguably has helped Yahoo drop from a second-place search engine in the US with its own search technology to a third-place competitor that’s dependent on others.

Clearly, there’s a fear that the US competition authorities still might not favor a Yahoo-Google tie-up, despite the fact that Yahoo is less dominant than it last was and a potential argument that the previous DoJ objection helped lead to Yahoo’s current decline.

In fact, at the end of the filing, there’s this:

In connection with the Services Agreement, Yahoo and Google have agreed to certain procedures with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) to facilitate review of the Services Agreement by the DOJ, including delaying the implementation of the Services Agreement in the U.S. in order to provide the DOJ with a reasonable period of review.

This is all going to the Department of Justice for review. If approved, the companies will move ahead. Unless….

The EU And India Get Final Word

Even though the deal isn’t involving Europe, the agreement has termination language that involves possible EU objections:

(c) in its entirety if either party reasonably anticipates a filing by the European Commission to enjoin it from performing the Services Agreement or that continued performance of the Services Agreement would have a material adverse impact on any ongoing antitrust proceeding involving either party in Europe or India, or

The deal does involve India, where Google also faces anti-trust scrutiny, so the language including India makes more sense.

Google is almost certainly so paranoid that the agreement might impact its on-going anti-trust actions in both the EU and India that if gets the idea either political entity will object, the whole deal could be closed.

Other Termination Reasons

There’s a few last boilerplate reason the agreement might be terminated:

(d) in its entirety, on 60 days notice if [sic] the other party’s exercise of these termination rights in this clause

(3) has collectively and materially diminished the economic value of the Services Agreement.

Each party agrees to defend or settle any lawsuits or similar actions related to the Services Agreement unless doing so is not commercially reasonable (taking all factors into account, including without limitation effects on a party’s brand or business outside of the scope of the Services Agreement).

In addition, Google may suspend Yahoo’s use of services upon certain events and may terminate the Services Agreement if such events are not cured. Yahoo may terminate the Services Agreement if Google breaches certain service level and server latency specified in the Services Agreement.

If I read this correctly, either party could end with 60 days notice for any reason. Just because. There’s also a nebulous “certain events” that aren’t itemized, unknown reasons Google could terminate. Yahoo can drop if Google doesn’t serve content up quickly enough.

Stay Tuned For More!

The deal is a big deal, even if Yahoo is no longer the search powerhouse it once was. We’ll have further coverage of reaction and more details, as the emerge, so stay tuned to Search Engine Land.

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How Effective Is Your Ecommerce Campaign?

Are you getting the most bang for your buck?

PPC management for ecommerce campaigns tests the skills and bidding strategies of even the most seasoned expert. You may be thinking “my campaign is doing ok right now,” but take a step back – Is it as effective as it can be? Is it efficient and structured in a way that isn’t a chaotic mess? Are you continuously enhancing your ROAS?

At Hanapin, we ask ourselves these questions all the time and with some big brands as clients, we have to be up to snuff with our tactics, strategies, and expansion ideas. We also realize how important conversion rate optimization is when it comes to any PPC campaign and making sure that everything is cohesive (particularly for ecommerce…I mean how mad does it make you when you click an ad for those cute red high heels and end up on a product page with Nike running shoes??). And even more, optimizing your product pages, category pages, and your product feeds.

So we teamed up with experts from Visual Website Optimizer (also known as Wingify) for a new webinar today to lay out some advanced tactics for both PPC and CRO to supercharge the effectiveness of your ecommerce campaigns

Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect from the webinar:

We’ll be talking about how you can front-load your most valuable terms utilizing SQRs and how to highlight the differentiators.

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We’ll be talking about why looking at just the last click is misleading and could negatively impact your sales if you aren’t careful. We’ll also be going through different attribution models you SHOULD look at and the important info you can glean from it.

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A Visual Website Optimizer expert will be talking about how you can optimize your product pages and your category pages and the specific areas you need to focus on for these pages to improve effectiveness.

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New AdWords Scripts For Your MCC! Powerful Analytics Meets Simplicity

Wish you had an easier way to gather data on all the accounts in your MCC? Getting in the habit of monitoring key metrics before you start your daily routine will help quickly identify problem areas in your accounts and focus your marketing efforts on the right things at the right time. With Hero Pro’s two new MCC scripts you can pinpoint which accounts need attention first.

 

If you aren’t tracking your all your accounts KPI’s daily you are losing money.

 

If you see a sudden spike in impressions you might have an issue with keywords. If your spend spikes you might have inadvertently set the wrong budget. Whatever the reason, you’ll now have the tools in place to keep you informed and up to speed so you can fix a problem before it impacts your bottom line.

 

The Daily MCC Alerts script allows you to…

  • Identify any potential issues
  • Easily spot big swings in performance
  • Notify you of any drastic changes

Our Daily MCC Changes scripts lets you…

  • Monitor day to day performance
  • Quickly compare spend, conversions, and CPA to the previous day
  • Easily spot any abnormalities

 

Pay per click advertising isn’t a passive activity.

Hero Pro offers seven other tools and a library of 18 AdWords Scripts.

 

Protect yourself and your client.

Ad Guardian does the one thing you can’t, but should: It constantly monitors your website, detects when the site goes down, and then pauses your corresponding ad campaigns when the page goes down. When your site goes back up, Ad Guardian reactivates campaigns that were active before the site went down saving you thousands in wasted ad spend.

 

Build New Ads, Launch Multivariate Ad Experiments, Get Results.

As any PPC manager knows, ad copy testing can be a brutal, time-consuming investment, but Ad Automator let’s you Set up, execute and track a 26-round multivariate ad test down to the ad group level in only a few minutes. It then records, tracks and reports each round of ad tests each time one reaches statistical significance.

 

Tap. Swipe. View. It’s that simple.

3phonesWith the new mobile app from Hero Pro, you can keep your stats right in your pocket. PPC Headliner for iPhone and iPad isn’t the AdWords interface on a mobile, but you can use it to gain easy access to your metrics while on-the-go. With just a few clicks, you can see what your accounts are doing down to the campaign level ensuring you’re receiving the intelligence you need at all times.

– See more at: http://www.ppchero.com/new-adwords-mcc-scripts-power-meets-simplicity/#sthash.q63RIAVM.dpuf

How to Build Links Using Expired Domains

Expired

Many people have had great success snapping up expired domains and using those sites for link building purposes. One of the main reasons for this was that it saved work, as you could grab a site that already had content and backlinks and at least a baseline established presence.

However, after the past year with all the Google changes that make link building trickier than ever, this process is no longer as easy and safe as it once was, but it can still be valuable if you think about what you’re doing and don’t just buy every domain that has your desired keyword in it then hastily 301 redirect it to your own site or trash the content with links to your main site, expecting miracles.

Affiliate marketers are also fond of expired domains to use for their work so while we won’t go into detail on that, we will cover some topics that are relevant for that specific use.

How to Find Dropped/Expired/Expiring Domains?

Domain Tools is one of the main places that I check but there are many sites that list expired or about-to-expire domains that are up for grabs. Network Solutions has custom email alerts where you can put in a keyword and get an email when domains matching that are expiring so that’s a nice option for those of you who like a more passive approach.

Network Solutions Expiring Domains

Snap Names is also good, as is Drop Day. You may find that there are certain sites that are best for your purposes (whether it’s keeping an eye on ones you want or getting ones that just expired) so look around and figure out what best suits you.

Want a domain that’s at least 9 years old and has a listing in DMOZ? Domain Tools is where I’d go for that, for example:

Domain Tools Dropping Names

Of course if you come across a domain that you like and it’s not set to expire any time soon, there’s nothing wrong with emailing the owner and asking to buy it.

Domain may be for sale

How to Vet Expired Domains

  • Check to see what domains 301 redirect to them. I use Link Research Tools for this as you can run a backlink report on the domain in question and see the redirects. If you find a domain that has 50 spammy 301s pointing to it, it may be more trouble that it’s worth. Preventing a 301 from coming through when you don’t control the site that redirects is almost impossible. You can block this on the server level but that won’t help you with your site receiving bad link karma from Google. In that case, you may have to disavow those domains.
  • Check their backlinks using your link tool of choice. Is the profile full of nothing but spam that will take ages to clean up or will you have to spend time disavowing the links? If so, do you really want to bother with it? If you want to buy the domain to use for a 301 redirect and it’s full of spammy links, at least wait until you’ve cleared that all up before you 301 it.
  • Check to see if they were ever anything questionable using the Wayback Machine. If the site simply wasn’t well done 2 years ago, that’s not nearly as big of a problem as if you’re going to be using the site for educating people about the dangers of lead and it used to be a site that sold Viagra.
  • Check to see if the brand has a bad reputation. Do some digging upfront so you can save time disassociating yourself from something bad later. You know how sometimes you get a resume from a person and you ask an employee if they know this Susan who also used to work at the same place that your current employee worked years ago and your employee says “oh yes I remember her. She tried to burn the building down once”? Well, Susan might try to burn your building down, too.
  • Check to see if they were part of a link network. See what other sites were owned by the same person and check them out too.
  • Check to see if they have an existing audience. Is there an attached forum with active members, are there people generally commenting on posts and socializing them, etc.?

How Should You Use Expired Domains?

Many people 301 redirect these domains to their main sites or secondary sites in order to give them a boost. Others turn them into part of their legitimate online arsenal and use them as a proper standalone resource.

Some people add them to their existing blog network and interlink them. Some people keep them and use them to sell links. Some people keep them and try to resell them. Some people use them to try their hand at affiliate marketing.

However that’s talking about how people use them, not about how they should use them, but how you should use them is up to you.

I once worked with an account where we used tons of microsites. They were standalone sites that each linked to the main brand site and we built links to them. It worked for a while (and still works for many people according to what I see in forums) but as far as I can tell, most of those microsites are no longer in Google’s index or no longer contain live links to the brand site. That’s because in that case, it stopped working and became more of a danger than anything else. They served no purpose at all other than to host a link to the brand site, and since they gained no authority, it just wasn’t worth the trouble of keeping them up.

I’ve also dealt with someone who successfully bought expired domains and redirected them to subdomains on his main site in order to split it up into a few niche subdomains. He didn’t overdo it, and each expired domain had a good history with content relevant to what the subdomain was, so it all worked very well.

As mentioned early on, affiliate marketers also use expired domains. One big benefit of this is that if you plan to just use PPC for affiliate marketing, you don’t have to be as concerned about the backlink profile of the domain as you might not care that much about its organic rankings.

Some Good Signs of Expired Domains

Some of these probably depend upon the purpose you have in mind, but here are a few things I like to see on an expired or expiring domain but please keep in mind that these aren’t discrete defining features of a quality domain; they are simply a couple of signs that the domain might be a good one to use:

  • Authority links that will pass through some link benefits via a 301 redirect (if I’m going that route.)
  • An existing audience of people who regularly contribute, comment, and socialize the site’s content (if I’m going to use it as a standalone site.) If I’m looking to buy a forum, for example, I’d want to make sure that there are contributing members with something to offer already there. If I want a site that I will be maintaining and adding to and plan to build it out further, seeing that there’s an audience of people reading the content, commenting on it, and socializing it would make me very happy.
  • A decent (and legitimate) Toolbar PageRank (TBPR) that is in line with where I think it should be. If I see a site that is 7 months old and has a TBPR of 6, I’ll obviously be suspicious, and if I found one that was 9 years old and was a TBPR 1, I would hestitate before using it, for example. I also have to admit that while I don’t rely on TBPR as a defining metric of quality, I’d be crazy to pretend that it means nothing so it’s definitely something I look at.
  • A domain age of at least 2 years if I was going to do anything other than hold it and try to resell it.
  • Internal pages that have TBPR. If there are 5000 pages and only the homepage has any TBPR, I’d be a bit suspicious about why no internal pages had anything.

A Few Red Flags of Expired Domains

  • Suspicious TBPR as mentioned above.
  • The domain isn’t indexed in Google. Even if you look at a recently expired site and see it has a TBPR of 4 with good Majestic flow metrics, is 5 years old, and has been updated in some way until it expired (whether through new blog posts, comments, social shares, etc.), it’s safe to ssume it’s not indexed for a good reason and you probably want to stay away from it.
  • Backlink profile is full of nothing but spam.
  • All comments on the site’s posts are spammy ones and trackbacks.

Bottom Line: Is Using Expired Domains a Good Idea?

As with almost anything in SEO right now, some tactics aren’t really great ideas for the long-term but since they work for the short-term, people still use them. Some tactics that won’t work in one niche will still work well in certain other niches and some sites seem to be able to weather just about any algorithmic change in Google.

That’s why it’s hard to say that you shouldn’t do this, or you should do that, because every case is different, every webmaster/site owner has a different idea about risk, and a lot of people have made a lot of money off doing things that I personally wouldn’t do.

I don’t have time to keep up the blogging on my own site so I would never expect that I could keep it up on five sites, each devoted to a specific area of my industry, but with the right manpower and the right people, this can be a successful strategy for many.

If you plan to use them for affiliate marketing and you’re going to use PPC for that, you don’t have to worry about some of the things that you would have to be concerned with if you planned to rank well.

In the end, it depends on what you want to do, how much time and effort you have to put into doing well, and how much risk you can handle, just like everything else.

New AdWords Estimated Total Conversions Tracks Consumer Purchases Across Devices

Starting today and over the next few weeks, Google AdWords will roll out a major reporting update to conversion tracking called Estimated Total Conversions. This feature provides estimates of conversions that take multiple devices to complete and adds this data to the conversion reporting we see today.

Following the launch of enhanced campaigns this year, search advertisers have combined mobile and desktops with the ability to further modify bids by mobile and other targeting factors. One gap in reporting and comprehension of the campaigns effectiveness has been the limited data on how consumers are navigating and converting via multiple device options.

What is a Cross-Device Conversion?

What is a Cross-Device Conversion

Consumers constant connectivity has enabled them to browse, shop, and interact with businesses on the go and from multiple devices.

A September 2013 Google study found that more than 90 percent of multi-device consumers move sequentially between several screens like mobile to desktop, or mobile to tablet to complete a transaction online. Google found that a high percentage of converters actually jumped from desktop to desktop too, presuming a work desktop to home desktop computer.

How Estimated Total Conversions Works

Measuring AdWords Conversions in a Multi-Screen World

Google calculates cross-device conversions for a particular advertiser based on how their customers convert when they are logged in. They then use this as the basis for extrapolating out to the complete data set to form an estimate of what total conversions that cross devices might look like. This data is only used in aggregate and not personally identifiable.

What’s Next?

Estimating conversions across devices (estimated cross-device conversions) is only the beginning and one conversion type Google intends to measure.

In the future Google plans to incorporate other conversion types such as phone calls and store visits where advertisers are hungry to gain new insights into how their advertising is working.

Google Now A Personal Assistant? Adds Search For My Things.

Google announced a new feature rolling out to U.S., English-speaking users on desktop, tablet and smartphone that makes Google act as your personal virtual assistant. Yes, you don’t have to type, you can even talk to it. Update

Google will now answer personal questions such as searching for your upcoming flights, reservations, package delivery info, appointments, photos from your album and more. Google calls this My Answers.

The feature is not live for me yet but here are some screen shots showing off what it can do.

Upcoming Flights:

 

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Upcoming Reservations:

 

click for full size

 

Recent Purchases:

 

click for full size

 

Upcoming Appointments:

 

click for full size

 

Photos I’ve Uploaded:

 

click for full size

 

How does it work:

  • Flights: Ask Google “Is my flight on time?” to get info on your upcoming flights and live status on your current flights.
  • Reservations: Ask for “my reservations” to see your dining plans or “my hotel” to get your hotel name and address. With one tap, you can get driving or public transit directions straight there, saving you lots of steps.
  • Purchases: Ask for “my purchases,” and you’ll get the status of your current orders, so you know whether your mom’s birthday present will arrive on time.
  • Plans: Ask Google “What are my plans for tomorrow?” to see a summary of upcoming flights, hotels, restaurant reservations and events—very useful when you’re traveling.
  • Photos: Say “Show me my photos from Thailand” to see the photos you uploaded to Google+. You can also ask for “my photos of sunsets” if you want to show off the shots you’ve taken over the year; Google will try to automatically recognize the type of photo you’re asking for.

This is a feature Google has had with Google Now for a while now and reminds people it is secure and can be turned off if it is not wanted.

Here are some FAQs:

(Q) Who can see these results?
(A) As mentioned above, this information is just for you—secure, via encrypted connection, and visible only to you when you’re signed in to Google.

(Q) How do I see these results?
(A) Right now, we have a few time savers for flights, reservations, purchases, plans and photos. Check out this site for more details on how to make the most of them.

(Q) I can’t see these results. Why?
(A) These results are only available in the United States while searching on Google.com with English as the display language. If this matches your configuration, and you’re still not receiving results, please let us know below what type of result you were looking for, the company or service provider, and the query you used.

(Q) How do I opt out?
(A) To turn it off for one set of searches, click the toggle in the upper right corner. To turn it off for good, simply disable “Private results” at google.com/preferences.

Blocking Sites On Google No Longer Works

Blocking sites from showing up in the Google search results no longer works.

First reports came a week or so ago via Google Web Search Help where Googler, Kousha, said that “this was a known issue a while back.” Well, it still seems to be an issue.

I tried to replicate it and I was able to two different ways.

(1) First, when you click on a search result and then click back, Google is suppose to show you an option to block the result from showing up in the future. That did not come up for me this morning.

(2) Second, when the first option did not work, I went directly to blocked sites search setting, added http://www.proflowers.com to the list and waited a minute or two.

Google blocked site

I then searched for [flowers] and the first result was http://www.proflowers.com:

flowers in Google

Earlier this year, Google had a bug where you were unable to unblock blocked sites – that does work but you can no longer block sites in Google.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.