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Earlier this year, Matt Cutts announced the 'death' of guest blogging for SEO, declaring it finished as a link building tactic. 

Now, following a tweet by Cutts announcing that action has been taken on a 'large guest blog network', it seems that, though Google hasn't confirmed it, MyBlogGuest is the 'victim'. 

It no longer ranks for its own brand name, a classic sign of a Google penalty, while I can't see it anywhere for terms like 'guest blogging'. 

Seemingly Google wants to send another message about guest blogging, so what does this mean? 

Here's the Matt Cutts tweet from earlier today: 

And the evidence. The site no longer ranking for its own brand name. It did have a PPC ad there earlier today, though this has since been removed. 

MyBlogGuest is a network which connects guest bloggers with sites looking for content. Until now it has had no problems with Google, and has had upwards of 250,000 articles placed on sites round the web. 

However, it does advertise guest blogging as a link building tactic, which is risky given Matt Cutts' previous statements on the issue. 

Ann Smarty is the founder of MyBlogGuest, and mounted a spirited defence against Google and Matt Cutts' 'stick a fork in it' blog post. 

She commented that people should market as if Google didn't exist, making the point that depending on the search engine is an unwise tactic. 

With Google becoming a competitor for many brands, as explained by Kevin Gibbons in a recent post, I can sympathise with that view. It seems Google didn't. 

I asked SEO experts about this issue, and what it means for guest blogging...

Why has Google done this? Is it purely the concept of the guest blog network, or is there something else at play? 

Rishi Lakhani, online marketing consultant: 

Frankly, Guest blogging was way too easy a tactic for most businesses to build links through. As a result, Google had to take a stand.

It started with anchor text links in guest posts being hit last year, as I mentioned in a post for this blog, then there was Matt's post on guest blogging, and finally it had to drive the nail in deep and hard and hit the largest independent platform for guest bloggers.  

Andrew Girdwood, media innovations director at LBi: 

If you look at Matt Cutts' "Put a fork in it" post it did seem as if he had some reluctance to dismiss what had been a valuable part of blogger culture but had finally reached the limit with spammy guest posts.   Google is a number cruncher. Once something is statistically likely to be a negative quality signal, it becomes a negative quality signal. 

Coming after Matt Cutts' guest blogging warning earlier this year, was it unwise to continue to list link building as a guest blogging benefit? 

Rishi: 

Absolutely. I think it was a risk, but I think also, Ann felt that MyBlogGuest was doing the right thing by sticking to its policies. Looks like Google didnt like them and were hit as a result. 

Andrew: 

I was aware that MyBlogGuest made efforts to improve quality and head in the right direction. However, even if the operators and owners wanted that to happen, it seems that many of the platform users were still engaging in guest posts that came in below Google's quality guidelines.

What does this mean for the future of guest blogging? 

Rishi:

My opinion to ANY blogger for over six months now has been to remove any mention of guest posts. Period. Even if they weren't done for link building, I would just remove and obliterate the phrase 'guest post' from my own sites categories, authors, tags etc. Its algorithmic fodder as far as I am concerned. 

Andrew: 

We made the decision to get out of guest posting some time ago. This was not because we have a problem with the concept  of guest posting but because we found it very hard to ensure the quality of work we wanted. I suspect Google has similar views. 

I blog and I foresee myself still publishing guest posts but these will be in-depth articles, from experts, perhaps without links. Will I go to anything that looks like a guest post marketplace for content or links? Certainly not.

In summary

While I can understand Google's actions here, I do think it's a shame that guest blogging is being devalued. In part, this is due to the overuse of the tactic - I'm certainly weary of emails from dubious guest bloggers. 

We have responded to Matt Cutts' warning by making author bio links nofollow, as well as making it very clear that we do not offer links in return for guest posts. 

Guest blogging allows us to publish useful content from a perspective our writing team can't always provide. From the point of view of a PPC manager working for a big brand for example. 

In return, the guest blogger receives exposure in front of a readership of digital marketing and ecommerce professionals, and a chance to showcase their knowledge and skills.

For me, there's more value in that than a link or two. 

Graham Charlton

Published 19 March, 2014 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

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Nenad

That's not Guest Blogging, that's spam blogging.(Talking about MBG here).

about 2 years ago

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Scott Yates, Founder at BlogMutt

The spammers have certainly peed in the punch bowl.

Guest blogging is great when done properly, and has noble roots in "guest editorials" from the newspaper days.

I'm glad Google has taken the action it has taken, but it's too bad that it had to.

about 2 years ago

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Tinu

Except

1- My guest blog isn't a blog network. If you go and look, most of the "articles" are forum posts and job listings.

2- Ann Smarty, as even this article states, actively advocates against search engine spam of ANY kind - look at her Mox profile. http://moz.com/community/users/54095

3- Maybe Google took the site out, maybe not. But if they are took out My Blog Guest, it would have virtually no effect on the guest blogging it facilitates because none of those posts are actually on a MBG network, because it doesn't exist. This would have only effectively made the Main Spot where the argument Against guest blog spam resides.

about 2 years ago

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Oscar

I just think that Google is doing too much. You can find really good blogs on myblogguest.com. They aren't encouraging spamming, they're just building a network for bloggers.

I guess, I just have to agree to just not tag posts as guest posts anymore.

about 2 years ago

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John

I tried this site out when it firs launched and checked it out again about 1 year ago. Conclusion; Good job Google - the quality of the content up for offer was usually poor to absolute garbage. And as for the placed to add articles. Again, GARBAGE.

There's no two ways to cut this - it was a SPAM HUB.

Will be interesting to see what now happens to the likes of Sticky Eyes and their 'Best British Bloggers'... oh wait... just gone to the website and it's now offline awaiting an "update" > translation > "try to wrap this up as not so much of a guest blog service for brands.

about 2 years ago

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Jon Aston

Google has too much power. There should be a webspam consortium. That and I am sick of Matt Cutts.

about 2 years ago

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Henri

Who cares about Matt Cutts and Google? Certainly not MBG.

It's a portal/community/platform. Many people already know them and go directly to their site. I doubt MBG gets a lot of long tail traffic from the search engines. You need to sign in to view the forum posts, if I remember correctly. It was a closed garden, akin to Facebook.
So for them, it's business as usual, Google or no Google.

That's one good way to build a a Google-resilient business. MBG is probably one of the few sites that can stick up a finger at Google.

I have to admit though that I stopped using the site because of the low quality content being peddled there, though Ann worked hard on her site.

about 2 years ago

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Jessica

John> I work for Stickyeyes and manage our Best Britsh Bloggers service. It is not a guest post platform and we have never used our members for that activity. In my opinion it's a lazy tactic and goes against everything we try to achieve with BBB. We work with global brands, on bespoke projects, engaging with bloggers who create their own content. We offer bloggers unique experiences, just the same as a PR offers a journalist. PR is my background and the same principles are applied to this approach.
The website has been under construction for an update for a few months now, nothing to do with recent events. Please check out our twitter account for our recent work. @BritBloggers

about 2 years ago

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Claire

"Maybe Google took the site out, maybe not. But if they are took out My Blog Guest, it would have virtually no effect on the guest blogging it facilitates because none of those posts are actually on a MBG network"

Unfortunately not true. I published three blogs sourced from MBG on one of my small offshoot blogs; I received a penalty for that blog this morning. Google is taking out all of the content connected with the site.

about 2 years ago

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Jackie Bourke

MyBlogGuest's Elite program is a superb idea. For those who are not aware of it, the concept was to match high quality content with highly targeted blogs.

Anyone who creates content knows that (1) It is a challenge to produce excellent, unique content regularly - unless you are a very big player with a big budget and a large, creative team and (2) That the majority of blog visitors enjoy to read more than one writer, so content is varied and has different points of views and personalities.

Of course guest blogging at a certain level can be tacky and sad, and this is something that, in my opinion, has been recognised by Ann Smarty and the rest of the team at MyBlogGuest.

The Elite program means that an article goes firstly to an editor, and in my case, I found this to be a very productive experience, working with a a great guy, Don Sturgill. His input really made me work harder to produce better content.

Although I understand that Google wants to get rid of rubbish and spam, I do feel that they are risking throwing baby out with the bathwater. Contributing to another blog should not be something to be concerned about, it should be encouraged, but of course in the right way.

about 2 years ago

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Ryan Peter

As a writer I'm kind of glad they've done this. Why? Because of the bad content for one, but also it made writing cheap, like a lot of SEO. Get rid of the spam and make the Internet informative and economically viable.

about 2 years ago

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Claire Broadley, Managing Director at Red robot media

Jackie - interesting comments. I was an Elite author on the site and had been pre-approved. I found it very difficult to get anything past the moderators. After three or four changes, the post would be approved, only to be removed the next day for more changes. Often, the post would be rejected for a few words in a link, or a term used in a title. It was impractical and unrewarding. Something inbetween the regular and Elite gallery (i.e. light moderation of quality posts) would have worked well.

about 2 years ago

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