Is Trinity Mirror selling followed links on its ic network?
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.
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?