The Mirror should beware: it looks like it’s selling links to MoneyExtra
First, some caveats. There's nothing illegal about selling links. But Google is against the practice and can penalize websites who take part in it. And there's no evidence that the Mirror is accepting money for this (you can see all my newspaper paid link posts here). And it wouldn't be a problem if it was. Do you think that's enough caveats?
Anyway, mirror.co.uk wants to beware how its links look. Let's take a look at a few pages all of which share these characteristics - and wonder how they appear to Google:
- All contain three links to the same MoneyExtra page.
- All the links use different anchor text.
- The text happens to be competitive search terms.
- MoneyExtra isn't mentioned in the article itself.
- They were all published in August.
Pages on Mirror.co.uk from August
Here they are:
Headline: Sorting out the best credit card rate
This page from 20th August contains three links to the MoneyExtra credit cards page, using the link text "best credit card rate in the UK", "best credit card" and "credit cards". There is no mention of MoneyExtra in the article.
Headline: Why do credit card providers offer credit cards with 0% interest?
This page from 20th August contains, er, three links to the MoneyExtra credit cards page, using the link text "credit card providers", "0% credit card interest rates", and "0% credit card deal". No mention of MoneyExtra in the article.
Headline: Best credit card transfer: Does one size fit all?
This page from 5th August for once contains, er, three links to the MoneyExtra credit cards page, using the link text "best credit card", "0% balance transfer rate" and "best credit card balance transfer rate". Again, no mention of MoneyExtra in the article.
Headline: Is it too late for debt management in England?
This page from 20th August contains, er, three links to the MoneyExtra debt page, using the link text "debt management", "debt" and "debt advice". There is no mention of MoneyExtra in the article.
Headline: What is 'government debt management'?
This page from 20th August contains, guess what, three links to the MoneyExtra debt page, using the link text "Government debt solution", "debt management plans" and "debt". There's no mention of MoneyExtra in the article.
Something a bit different!
This page is a bit different. It's from the 20th August, naturally. But it contains FOUR links to the MoneyExtra car insurance quotes page - and mentions MoneyExtra in the article!
Some other pages
Other pages from August (not the 20th this time) which contain three links to a specific MoneyExtra page but which don't mention MoneyExtra in the article include: this one and this one and this one (OK, that one's only got two links) and this one (as has that one) and this one.
It does know how to nofollow
The Mirror has a page on the MoneyExtra site offering debt advice. It's here. However, all the links to external sites are nofollowed, which is what google advises you to do with paid links.
Whatever's going on, the Mirror wants to be careful how it appears. Maybe it could also let us know the logic of which sites get linked to and which don't on pages like this.
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