The popular Long Island New York newspaper Newsday was penalized by Google for selling text links that pass pagerank.
Here is a screenshot of the crazy amount of nofollow tags used by Newsday.com
There are nearly 100 no followed links, but it’s quite curious to see which links are still passing PR. Semi related links to small local destination sites are still getting a link boost from this PageRank 8 site including a wedding, travel, health and shopping site.
Links that are directly related to this large print publication including the LA Times, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and other huge newspapers are nofollowed.
The archive shows a section labeled ‘ Featured Links’ which carry sites such as :
- Mesothelioma Lawyer Lung Cancer
- Personal Injury Law Firm
- Buy Mets Tickets
- Buy Yankees Tickets
- Wicked Tickets
- Hamptons Travel
So Newsday.com can boost its fledgling sites while trying to negate the association of major newspapers, and the Hamptons Travel site is still linking with full credit. Hey newsday, i’ll sell you one of my content sites so your PR8 site can link to it and we can dominate the SERP’s.
Google has always been inconsistent in dealing with link sellers. There seems to be no complete method to find out which sites will receive a penalty for selling links that pass page rank. Google has not algorithmically solved the problem of link brokering and must rely on a semi accurate computer model with heavy human intervention.
The SEO Manager, who was hired after the link selling program was implemented, posted a request in Google Groups and apparently got the problem resolved within 1 week. Newsday.com instantly jumped from a toolbar PR 5 to 8.
Google Engineer Reid
Thanks for your post. I’m glad you’re posting here in the Webmaster
Help Group, because the discussions here help educate webmasters
around the globe. I just checked over newsday.com and compared it to
the most recent version of newsday.com that was indexed by
Scrolling near the bottom of what your site used to look like, I see
the following “Featured Links”:
Mesothelioma Lawyer Lung Cancer Personal Injury Law Firm
Buy Mets Tickets Buy Yankees Tickets Wicked Tickets
Please remember that participating in link schemes intended to
manipulate search engine rankings, including buying or selling links
that pass PageRank, is a violation of our Webmaster Guidelines, and
may impact your site’s standing in Google:
If you believe your site was at one point in violation of the
Webmaster Guidelines, and you have since made changes to your site so
that it fits within the guidelines, you can request reconsideration of
your site by following the steps here: