Confirms It’s Been Hit By Google Penalty


MyBlogGuest, a well-known service that helps pair writers and blogs for guest blogging, confirmed this morning that it’s been hit by a Google penalty.

Google has been aggressively going after companies that it believes are violating its SEO guidelines in recent months, particularly link networks. This is first penalty that we know of against what Google considers a “guest blog network.”

Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, recently warned that Google would target guest blogging, and then confirmed this penalty via Twitter early this morning.


Although no specifics are given in his tweet, MyBlogGuest founder Ann Smarty confirmed a few hours ago that it was her site:


Penalty Impact?

What’s unknown is the extent of the penalty. A lot of SEOs, authors and especially blog owners are wondering if the penalty extends further to their own sites, blog posts and links acquired via My Blog Guest. We don’t know for sure, but we do know these two things:

  • Cutts’ tweet specifically mentions action taken against a “network,” not just the single site that manages the network
  • When Google penalizes link networks, it doesn’t just impact the owner; it penalizes all the sites/links in the system

One obvious impact is that My Blog Guest no longer shows up on page one of Google’s search results for its company name.


I’m currently seeing it at No. 58 for its own company name.

Related Topics: Blogging | Channel: Search Marketing | Google: SEO | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Michael Martinez

    I have seen four people claim their sites where hit by a penalty this morning. They were all using MBG for links.

  • Hannah

    This is ridiculous. Bloggers and blogs that accept quality external content could meet up on ANY platform, whether it’s through a Facebook group, email list, or private forum. Having a penalty for a group that merely helps people trying to find sites that will accept their articles doesn’t make sense, period. Penalize the people who abuse the tactic and actually place/accept crap content and overly-promotional links – NOT the people who are trying to find quality outlets for their quality writing. Seriously Google, WTF? If Google had control over the entire media industry rather than just their search engine, even celebrities would be penalized for their PR firms pulling strings to get them on magazine covers. And let me remind you.. PR is a respected profession.

  • Sana Knightly

    I can’t stop saying that MyBlogGuest is a *community*, it’s NOT a network. The difference is huge! We do NOT manage the sites that belong to our community members. It’s only them who decide what to post and where to link to from *their* sites.

    Also we’ve been always against paid links and blogging for links!

  • Michael Martinez

    It appears to be MBG’s requirement that publishers NOT exercise editorial control over the links that got the network into trouble.

  • Hannah

    Nobody is forced to post links against their will. If an article has links you’re not ok with, you don’t accept it.

  • Michael Martinez

    “Nobody is forced to post links against their will. If an article has links you’re not ok with, you don’t accept it.”

    It is exactly that kind of thinking that is getting a lot of people penalized today. If the article is good enough to be shared on a good blog, it shouldn’t matter if the publisher decides to NoFollow the links.

  • Michael Martinez

    Not that I want to play the Dictionary Game (because I don’t) but “community” and “network” are essentially interchangeable in this context:

  • Hannah

    So you’re saying that deciding NOT to post articles with links you don’t agree with gets people penalized? I’m not sure you understand what I’m saying. Don’t post bad content, don’t post links you don’t agree with (which MBG does not force you to do.) That’s how you avoid being penalized. I think we’re on the same page.. :)

  • Michael Martinez

    No, I’m saying that REQUIRING links in exchange for content was long ago banned by Google and they took action when they found a smoking gun for MBG.

    You can rationalize this all you want but that won’t change the fact that the content required crawlable links that passed PageRank. No one should have been surprised by this once the VentureBreak article was published.

  • Hannah

    A blog network by SEO standards is by no means equivalent to a community of people. Context is key.

    In a typical blog network, there is much less transparency, you usually pay for placement, you don’t get to screen the sites that placement occurs on, there is usually a much lower standard for both the placed content and the sites themselves, and an individual or small group of people run it. MBG is a community of site owners where each site has an owner and nobody’s making money by accepting bad content and/or links without care.

  • Michael Martinez

    I’m gonna go with Google on this one, if only because the publishers are expected to let MBG make the final decisions on content.

  • Paul Schlegel

    MBG doesn’t make the final decision on content. The publisher does. How are you coming up with this stuff?

  • Michael Martinez

    “MBG doesn’t make the final decision on content. The publisher does. How are you coming up with this stuff?”

    Because they threw VentureBreak out of the service for adding “rel=’nofollow’” to links on a guest post. That puts the final decision in MBG’s hands, not the publisher’s hands.

    This was basically a link scheme, nothing more.

    SEO POP QUIZ: Do search engines approve of link schemes?

  • Paul Schlegel

    OK. I can see that. I thought you meant the main content.

  • Michael Martinez

    I can’t speak about the content. Never used the service. I always believed the publishers had control until I read that VentureBreak article. It was eye-opening. I’m sorry Ann has taken the heat but she put herself in that position. She knows enough about Web marketing that she’ll survive and move on once she has vented her understandable anger.

    Everyone else — I’m still kind of disgusted with all the ridiculous attempts to portray MBG as anything other than a manipulative link scheme.

  • Sana Knightly

    Every author initially wants to get a dofollow link. If the publisher doesn’t want to give a dofollow link no one makes him/her publish anything! So, it actually IS publisher’s choice!

  • Michael Martinez

    No, it’s NOT “publisher’s choice”. It’s MBG’s choice to create an exchange of equity for links.

  • phantom73

    Well if it makes you feel any better, we’re disgusted with yours and VB’s pious self-righteousness. So I guess we’re all even

  • Christopher R Wallace

    Ouch, that hurt! You’ve really got to be careful. I’m glad I havn’t gone through this route.

  • Akash KB

    Hi Ann,

    Cutts is not talking about “Physical payment.” He is talking about “Link-juice payment.” And, sometimes, the actual value of link-juice payment exceeds the face value of physical payment.

    Hope you will recover very soon from “Cutts Flu!”

  • Michael Martinez

    “Publisher can’t accept it with follow links and change it later.”

    Well, in that case, let the article writer sue the publisher. I’d love to see a court decide THAT case.

  • Michael Martinez

    “It’s just a place for bloggers to hang out.”

    Clearly not, given all the penalties for unnatural links that have been handed out. Can Google make mistakes? Sure. They do. But not THAT MANY mistakes.

  • Michael Martinez

    Let us know when you get a court to agree with you.

  • Justin Germino

    I have been a member of MyBlogGuest for a long time, and never paid to put articles into the system except for an initial review, but I often found articles in the marketplace and used them as filler articles for my site when I had to go on vacation and/or didn’t have time to write many articles that week. My sites were all penalized from hosting and linking to MyBlogGuest in previous posts, 5 of my 7 blogs were dropped to PR0 from PR4 and PR3 in most cases. I don’t think the network in itself should be penalized, do many of the people who publish articles into the network get paid to put blog posts with dofollow links in them, yes, and those links/and those sites should be punished. MyBlogGuest is merely the host of bloggers meeting with each other and offering content. Really the advertisers who buy into the system and put the articles into the marketplace, the target sites that aren’t nofollow from the guest posts should be penalized if there is a penalty to be had.

    Still, I also know from the quality and types of articles, there are some good ones, the ones with valid Google Plus author bio tend to be more legit and higher quality than the ones without. But 90% of the advertisers in the system are there only to promote dofollow links for the guest posts, they don’t ever respond to comments on their guest articles, it is published content abandoned and leveraged for the dofollow link in the author bio. The community itself is excellent, the forums are excellent, but the system was abused by companies hiring SEO people to put articles in the system to be picked up by bloggers. This was instead of the olden days when they would fish and just offer to pay bloggers directly to host articles, they still paid for someone to create the articles and put them in the system and fish them to various sites, this is why PageRank requirements exist for articles, nobody would care about PageRank it would be more about traffic.

    For MyBlogGuest to continue as a valid service and perhaps recover from Google Penalties, and it can, it needs to switch and focus on audience/visibility and social brand promotion for the guest author, rather than the dofollow link in the article. If the continue to allow dofollow link, then I think enforcement of Google Plus Authorship and some sort of site verification/ownership of the link should be required to further cut back on abusers taking advantage of the marketplace.

  • Dan Shure

    I just took on a new client, and they got a partial manual penalty and have at least one link from MBG

  • Michael Martinez

    It seems to be confirmed that Google is penalizing anyone who wrote articles for MBG or published them. I have only seen a few of the sites myself. Dave Harry (I think) pointed out spammy links in some of the author bios, and a few other people in forums have claimed they only had author bio links but got penalized. Ann’s proposal to allow NOFOLLOW in the byline probably doesn’t go far enough.

  • Deb Dulal Dey

    did not read .. too long :P

  • KaifSiddiqi

    Damn it! Public Blog network is such a bad idea :P

  • Gagan Masoun

    Thank God I was not using MBG. Also in future I will not use any guest blogging community. Because they don’t take care of Google TOS.

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