There’s nothing illegal about being paid to add a link to your website – or paying someone to do this. However, Google doesn’t like the practice – doing so can “can negatively impact [the selling] site’s ranking in search results”.
Alongside my other posts on newspapers’ paid links, let’s look at the ic network, one of Trinity Mirror’s local news brands …
At the very bottom of icCheshire pages in a set of links to other Trinity Mirror sites is one with the link text ‘Remortgage’. This links to http://www.godirect.co.uk/remortgages.php. I can’t find a connection between Go Direct and Trinity Mirror – they look like separate companies.
At the bottom of the icLiverpool page is the same box, but this one has a link with the keywords ‘Life insurance’ that links to http://www.godirect.co.uk/life-insurance.php.
icLiverpool – is the first link a paid one?
Of course, people are free to ignore Google’s guidelines. However, they shouldn’t complain if their ranking in search engine results drop …
To avoid this fate, Google recommends using the nofollow tag, which Trinity Mirror isn’t doing for these links.
It definitely doesn’t recommend stuffing a keyword-rich link to a 3rd-party site in among links to other sites you own … Or am I being overly suspiscious?
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- Google nails Express sites over paid links email
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