On March 19th, Matt Cutts announced that Google took action against a large guest blog network. It didn’t take long for people to figure out it was MyBlogGuest – a popular site for writing and publishing guest blog posts. Ann Smarty, the found and owner of MyBlogGuest, confirmed Google’s action against her site. The proof was that entering “MyBlogGuest” in Google didn’t have her site in the results.
Matt Cutts had talked about Google taking action against guest posting a few weeks back, but that they moved so quickly and so fiercely against the guest posting network was still a shock for most people. The penalizing of MyBlogGuest, as many of Google’s actions, has divided the blogging community, with some speaking out against the penalty, while others thought MyBlogGuest had it coming.
Once the first shock was just settling among bloggers, Google decided take action against the blogs that participated in using the MyBlogGuest service.
A Brief History
If you are involved in blogging you have no doubt heard about what I have just described above. It all started with this tweet from Matt Cutts:
Today we took action on a large guest blog network. A reminder about the spam risks of guest blogging: http://t.co/rc9O82fjfn
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 19, 2014
A few hours later, Ann Smarty confirmed it was MyBlogGuest:
— Ann Smarty (@seosmarty) March 19, 2014
From there bloggers and SEO-experts have been divided on who is right – Matt Cutts and Google or Ann Smarty and MyBlogGuest. Of course, for many of us that have used the service in the past, it was about what, if any, penalty would Google place on our blogs. The thought of a penalty was pretty much confirmed by Matt Cutts with this tweet:
@n2tech when we take action on a spammy link network, it can include blogs hosting guest posts, sites benefiting from the links, etc.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 20, 2014
I had used MyBlogGuest log last year and published many posts from that network on my blog. The guest posting guidelines on my site, which I have since took down, stated that all guest post authors must reply to comments on their guest posts. I held the MyBlogGuest authors to the same standard and guidelines as my regular guest authors.
When I reviewed the guest posts and noticed that many authors hadn’t replied to comments, I removed the links. This, obviously, caused problems with the MyBlogGuest network, so I was removed from their service a few months ago.
After seeing Matt Cutts tweet about penalizing guest post publishers – my blog – I immediately went to Google’s Webmaster Tools and say this message:
Even after being removed from MyBlogGuest for several months, Google still penalized Technically Easy. I have also heard that many blogs that have used the network have also received the same message, and penalty, so it is widespread. Many are also wondering how Google managed to find the blogs that were associated with MyBlogGuest, especially when some had only used the network for a bit, or are not using the network.
Either way, to me it doesn’t really matter at this point. I must do what I can to fix what I knew was inevitably coming my way with regards to accepting guest posts. I have thought more about guest posts and how they would affect blogging going forward, and have come up with a few conclusions.
Google is Not the Internet
Google is one of the largest, and most popular, web entities on the Internet today. Whenever Google makes changes to its algorithm, those changes are analyzed to death by every SEO expert, and published on countless websites and blogs.
Any changes made to the largest search engine will definitely have an impact, not only on search results, but also on website owners, many who have spent many hours, and dollars, ensuring they do as well as possible in the search results.
The trouble is that many rely on Google for quite a bit, making Google seem almost like the company as become the Internet. As Google goes, so does the Internet.
When I started blogging (June 2007) Google was the center of the traffic universe. You had to rank well in the search results to get good traffic. Today, things are very different. Social networks have changed how we interact on the Internet, and have become on of the most popular methods of promoting websites and blogs. While Google will always be a desired traffic source, social networks have now become just as valuable, if not more so, than Google’s search results.
Using social networking is not a strong skill that I have, in fact, even after almost seven years of blogging I am still trying to adapt to social networking. Over the past several weeks I have worked on becoming more active in social networks to not only meet other bloggers but also to learn as much as I can about different topics.
While Google has penalized my blog, which I have seen coming for about a year now, I also realize that Google is not the only source of traffic. I did send a reconsideration request to Google after the “unnatural outbound links” message, as I also realize that Google is still a good piece of my traffic source pie.
I submitted a reconsideration request on March 20th about the unnatural outbound links. On March 24th I was notified in Google Webmaster tools that the unnatural outbound links action was revoked.
Going Forward With Guest Posts
Google’s penalties have gotten me thinking about guest posts going forward. I’m sure some bloggers have adopted the zero-guest-post strategy, while others will probably still accept guest posts, many probably to spite Google.
While it may seem ridiculous to those that do write guest posts about why Google has penalized them. We must remember that Google created their search engine, and their algorithm, so it is up to Google to decide what they do with their algorithm.
With that being said, I may still accept guest posts going forward, but the guest posts will have “nofollow” links. I prefer to use guest posts as a way of gaining readers for the guest post author, not gaining backlinks. Readers won’t care if a link back to a website or blog is “nofollow” not. They are more interested in the content.
A well-written guest post should server its intended purpose – to introduce the writer to a new group or readers. For that purpose a “nofollow” link is all that is needed.