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[edited by: martinibuster at 2:15 pm (utc) on Jun 6, 2013]
Google is not concerned with paid advertorials
Google is concerned with paid advertorials with do-follow links and has been penalizing paid advertorials with do-follow links for at least a year and a half.
The question is how does Google identify advertorials with do-follow links (especially if the advertorial doesn't contain tell tale keywords like "sponsored post")
One way I can think of is to use data from confirmed link spam and identify sites publishing articles that link out to the websites in the group of confirmed link spammers, then penalize sites that have a high percentage of outgoing links to sites known to engage in article publishing spam.
If a certain percentage of outgoing links from a website are going to identified pay for play spammers or article directory spammers, then that website may fit the profile of a pay for play article publisher. Algorithms work with pattern recognition. So if a website fits a pattern then the website is guilty.
I personally can't remember seeing an online advertorial that didn't have a do-follow link.
[edited by: martinibuster at 10:36 pm (utc) on Jun 6, 2013]
Austtr: But if I actively encourage people to write articles to publish on my site because I want to supplement my content with additional material from subject experts, do my article pages become advertorials because I provide an acknowledgement and links back to the author?
"Way back in the TLA heyday, when leading SEO types were recommending TLA [web.archive.org], it was (wrongly) argued that Google would not penalize TLA links because Google couldn't identify them and because TLA was "legitimate" advertising"
The people on the testimonials page that martinibuster listed above are supposed to be "respected" members of the SEO community?The link martinibuster posted was as the site was captured from 2008. It was for perspective as to how much respected thought has changed since then.
Really, those TLA's smell like manure from a mile away.
When Does An Article become An Advertorial?
So when does an article become an advertorial? When there's money involved, right?
When a dozen other low authority sites write about the same thing and link to the same site, and they have a pattern of doing this regularly.
Why in the world did anyone ever consider Text Link Ads (TLA) as a legitimate form of building links?