Is the Mirror selling links to Moneyextra.com?

The Mirror wants to watch out – as it looks like it’s selling links, even if it isn’t (as I first posted here and which later went hot on Sphinn). Several stories on the mirror.co.uk site share all these characteristics, and must look extremely suspicious to Google:

  • All the stories 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.

There’s nothing wrong or illegal about selling links if that is what they’re doing. But it’s likely to get you penalized by Google if they spot it as it’s done to manipulate their search results for SEO reasons (Google counts the number of links to a page as a measure of its importance).

Pages on Mirror.co.uk from August

Now let’s look at several pages from Mirror.co.uk.

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 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.

Conclusion

As I say, there’s nothing wrong with selling links, and there’s no actual evidence that that’s what the Mirror is doing. However, this looks like the sort of pattern you’d see with sold links – so the Mirror wants to watch out it doesn’t get hit by a penalty by Google.

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2 thoughts on “Is the Mirror selling links to Moneyextra.com?

  1. Paul Bradshaw

    If it’s a widget, probably not, because it’s likely to use embed code and nofollow links (if there are any links at all) – can’t find the widget on the page you’re linking to, so these are all guesses, but it’s mainly text only links that are problematic.

    Reply

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