My Blog Guest

I Apologize to Our Community for Being Transparent #myblogguest

pigeon-carrying-mailHere’s my big confession: I was so stubborn with stating that we are NOT hiding anything that I put our community under the risk.

I want to publicly apologize for that.

Really, I thought the sneakier you get, the more obvious it is that you are doing something wrong. We never hid our sites or users, we never dropped the word “guest”, we were publicly sharing our best achievements, etc

I am a too bad marketer to be sneaky!

And now, when the most transparent guest posting brand is hit, what does it tell the world? That we should be hiding our tracks?

Oh well, our community will find ways to survive; the war (that Google declared to transparency) is not lost.

We are moving on!

Has your site been affected?

I am not angry; nor am I devastated. I am sad because I believe in what I preach and it’s tough seeing other people suffering from it.

From now on MyBlogGuest policy on getting out of penalty:

  • Nofollow all guest post links (if you need the list, please go to “Articles Gallery” -> “Articles Given to Me”)
  • Submit reconsideration request to Google (my assumption is, you should be fine)

What did this penalty show us?

Well, I am not going to rant, throw out names and accusations. If you know me and my projects, you have made your own conclusions.

Like I said, we are moving on and we’ll get even stronger. MyBlogGuest has been an awesome school for me. I am thankful for every day of its life. I love you, my followers and supporters.

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  1. 25 Responses to “I Apologize to Our Community for Being Transparent #myblogguest”

  2. I believe that there are three things that you need to do if you have a Google penalty:

    1 – Go through all of the links that are pointing towards your site. If you have links that are unnatural or on spam blogs, they need removing. If you can’t get the webmaster of the site to do this, you can use the Google Disavow tool. You should at least try the former.

    2 – Go through all of the guest posts on your blog and get rid of anything that suggests it is a guest article – whether you like it or not, guest posting is a technique used by SEO companies and so even those who have been doing it correctly are being tarred by the same brush. It is an incredibly abused practice and has quickly gone from being white hat to right on the edge of grey/black. If you have outward links that are unrelated to your site, remove them or no-follow them. Related links should be fine, I see no need to no-follow these unless they look like they have been paid for.

    3 – Stop publishing articles with dodgy links. If you run an SEO blog, you should not be linking out to a plumbing company. It’s all well and good telling people in difficult niches to make their content overlap in order to publish more posts, but what visitor to an SEO blog wants to click on a link to a plumbing company in Adelaide? Very few if any. The content may be suitable for your site, but if the links aren’t, don’t accept the post.

    Not every blog owner that uses MBG has been penalised (I haven’t for example), but then I’m very stringent in where I send my posts, and what posts I accept on my blog.

    I really think MBG should start looking at the blogs on their site and weeding through them. 90% of the blogs on there are spammy, dropped domains, and are purely there for free content. They don’t care about the quality or the subject of the posts they publish and they look like link farms. They have also driven many of the good blog owners that used to use the site away.

    It’s not so much about being transparent in my eyes, as focusing more on what your users are doing. Yes, every user has a responsibility of their own, but I am not surprised that MBG has been targeted by Google, and I think a lot of cleaning up needs to be done before you will be able to move forward.

    Good luck.

    By Laura Ginn on Mar 22, 2014

  3. The getting out of penalty policy doesn’t lend itself well to the existing terms. I’m not sure you can do both at the same time:

    “From now on MyBlogGuest policy on getting out of penalty:

    Nofollow all guest post links (if you need the list, please go to “Articles Gallery” -> “Articles Given to Me”)”

    This new policy completely contradicts the policy on the website which states: “The author agrees not to hide any links within the content he or she provides (without any additional agreement) all links are discussed prior to writing the content.”

    Which is it?

    By N/A on Mar 22, 2014

  4. @N/A I don’t see how the ability to use nofollow contradicts with that line?

    By Ann Smarty on Mar 22, 2014

  5. @Laura, it actually IS the transparency issue because they scraped our database and they are now bullying our users without much concern if they are good innocent blogs or not…

    By Ann Smarty on Mar 22, 2014

  6. @AnnSmarty,
    I agree with you completely. I’ve been reading everything I can find on this subject and as far as I can tell Google carpet bombed everyone associated with MBG. There many have been a few that didn’t get hit but there is no telling what tomorrow may bring.
    As much as I hate doing it, I’m going to follow your suggestions and those of Laura Ginn. But I’m going to stay in the MBG community and keep my account active.
    Good luck to all caught up in this.

    By Robert E Kraus on Mar 22, 2014

  7. Re: “@Laura, it actually IS the transparency issue because they scraped our database and they are now bullying our users without much concern if they are good innocent blogs or not…”

    That’s true.

    By Bad goggle bad on Mar 22, 2014

  8. I understand what you are saying Ann, and I personally do think that you have been specifically targeted so that Google can show everyone that they are now completely against guest blogging.

    That said: Not all of your users have had problems and I honestly think that it is because some of them knew what they were doing – some of us knew which blogs to avoid posting on, and on our blogs, we avoided publishing anything that looked in any way spammy.

    I read your other post and right near the top there is someone moaning:

    “Hi Ann, I have PageRank drop for my websites listed at My Blog Guest.

    I have 5 new blogs, with absolutely equal backlinks (2 sites PR3 and 3 sites PR2) – 4 listed on My Blog Guest and 1 not listed. Now all listed sites are PR0 and this not-listed blog without almost no posts still have PR3.”

    Let’s just take this as an example:

    I have five new blogs means that he has five dropped domains. Although I have no idea what his site URLs are, I can see that he has bought sites with PR already in place. Anyone who does this should expect a drop in PR because the original site does not exist – and the links that point to the sites are likely not relevant.

    When you start publishing any old article, with any old link to build up a website (as most people with dropped domains do), not only do you look like a link farm, but you’re sending a direct red flag out to Google. So anyone who runs one of these sites, and anyone that publishes a post on one is likely to run into trouble.

    This is not an innocent blog owner – he might be naive enough to not know what he’s doing, but in being so he is causing problems not only for himself, but for others.

    This is just one example.

    I have had no problems with allowing guest posts on my site but it’s because I have stringent criteria in place. I bet there are other people like me out there too…

    By Laura Ginn on Mar 23, 2014

  9. @Laura, if anyone still thinks they are safe and know what they are doing, let’s just wait :) As Jim said on Twitter “You’ll understand when they come get you”. I can absolutely honestly and openly state that I know awesome bloggers who knew what they were doing, they are great bloggers and yet got hit anyways… And I’ve been in this industry long enough to see so many ridiculous cases that it’s absolutely obvious: No one is safe. Period.

    By Ann Smarty on Mar 23, 2014

  10. I agree with Laura Ginn, some of us who did blogging the right way haven’t been “hit”, it’s time that others learn what “that right way” is.

    By Andrew on Mar 23, 2014

  11. I take a little offence at the statements above that those bloggers who knew what they were doing were not hit. I have likewise been stringent in my uptake of related articles carrying only related links that serve to benefit my readership. However, I have just checked my PR today to find I have been dropped from a PR4 to PR0, and a message waiting for me in WMT that I have manual actions against my whole site for unnatural outbound links. Now I am not furious at Ann, nor MBG, as we were all operating under what we thought was a transparent model. Although, this has now just lost my favour with two large advertisers who were just negotiating with me to potentially advertise on my site. That could have cost me a pretty penny in lost revenue. To state that you have not been hit because you knew what you were doing is like saying that you haven’t been hit by a car because you knew how to cross the road. The fact is, whenever something like this happens what we/you do is only half of the story – the driver (in this instance Google) also has quite a bearing on the whole act. We do not know why Google has gone hell-for-leather on sites listed at MBG other than they have rescinded on once favourable practices.

    I hope to regain my PR now that I have nofollowed my guest post links and submitted my site for reconsideration – although I am now aware that it is just as likely that my site (indeed any site) is not guaranteed a return to ‘as-was’. A costly mistake? No, it was valuable and valid at the time and the resources provided by Ann and the MBG community were fantastic if used with the intention to provide additional scope within your own site and for the benefit of your readers. To that I am extremely grateful, I know many of my readers have engaged with and been excited by the content provided by my guest posters. Thank you Ann for your time, effort, good humour and support. It is a travesty that you and MBG have been hit so hard by this – but just like me I hope you will come a-bouncing back!

    By Telstar on Mar 24, 2014

  12. @Telstar LOVE it “To state that you have not been hit because you knew what you were doing is like saying that you haven’t been hit by a car because you knew how to cross the road” THANKS!

    By Ann Smarty on Mar 24, 2014

  13. Hi Ann,

    I participated in your community in 2011 and 2012 and my site was hit. I no longer receive any google traffic. I have a very clean backlink profile and really the only “link building” I did was high quality guest posting via MBG. I only have about 20 guest posts live on various websites from MBG. I received a list from Sana which was very helpful for me to start contacting for a no-follow added, however I’m not having a lot of success or response.

    I think it would be very helpful for your community and especially the ones that were hit for you to send out an email to your members explaining what has happened and asking for them to no-follow the links from the guest posts they have up. They may be more responsive to an email from you. You also may have proper contact information where it’s difficult to find it on their sites sometimes.



    By Karen on Mar 24, 2014

  14. @Karen Yes, the email is coming! We have the official thread helping people inside MBG too!

    By Ann Smarty on Mar 24, 2014

  15. Wonderful thank you! I hope everyone shares their reconsideration request stories so we can all learn how to best lift this penalty. This is my first one :-( I’ll be submitting one soon I hope.

    By Karen on Mar 24, 2014

  16. Hi Ann, unfortunately guest blogging is abused a lot. It is not MyBlogGuest fault, but every that abuse the system. My social network is user content driven, I have accepted MBG posts in the past too and I received the same penalty on 20th of March. 5 days later Google have revoked the penalty, I am sure that MBG will recover too, but I just would advice to tighten-up the guidelines in MBG. Good luck!

    By Kaloyan Banev on Mar 26, 2014

  17. Would like to introduce my opinion on the situation.

    Google says something, but we do not always understand their logic and we exaggerate a lot. Panic and frustration instead of thinking about the details.

    Matt Cutts says link building with infographics is bad, but that doesn’t mean we should stop producing quality infographics and distributing it across the web, gaining links from profiles, blogs, etc. I think the actual thing is that we shouldn’t build links in the infographics itself, so that people take it to their blog and don’t know that there’s a link inside. So they do not realize they are linking to somebody.

    The same thing with widgets and Google recommendations to nofollow links in them.

    Matt Cutts says guest posting is a wrong link building tactic. But the actual thing is that guest posting becomes too spammy. Articles published for link building purpose only compromise both sides, while articles published for quality content exchange are quite legitimate. So, they just declared the fact, that they are going to filter apples and oranges.
    Here I would like to quote:
    “There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future.”

    As for MyBlogGuest. Have the following idea.

    I don’t think they are against the idea and the concept of the service as a whole. This is just the matter of details.

    I’ve published an article with the help of this wonderful project and added a picture, available within the service. When the article was published, I saw the link to MyBlogGuest in it, it was near the picture stating “Image courtesy of MyBlogGuest”. Actually, this was a surprise for me. Linking to Flickr as an image source is ok. But MyBlogGuest is not an image hosting website and I was not expecting such linking.

    In my humble opinion the thing is that MyBlogGuest was penalized exactly for the link building tactic described above, in other words, these links, pointing to guest blogging service as an image source. It is possible, that it is not a legitimate way to build links according to Google, as users do not expect such links to appear and do not realize the way they link to MyBlogGuest.

    Ann noted the message about unnatural links and I became even stronger in my opinion.

    We just hear “penalized” and we exaggerate instead of getting into the details.

    Just my point. :)
    Thanks for those who read to the end. :)

    By Tatsiana on Mar 26, 2014

  18. @Tatsiana, thanks for your comment and feedback!!

    – We actually created the whole service and hired photographers to create unique images for us. This was we were helping our bloggers with images. That was the attribution link, Google considers OK this month :) But you were free to nofollow it or even remove (as long as the text attribution is there
    – I agree that it MAY be considered a spammy tactic – and like I said, I don’t mind them penalizing my website for that (if they thought that was a no-no). What I didn’t agree was that they attacked our publishers and active users who were associated with us

    By Ann Smarty on Mar 26, 2014

  19. Hi Ann et al,

    I just wanted to let you know that six days later and I finally got my manual action revoked. No magic formula, just literally ensuring link juice wasn’t being passed. Frustrating, but there is is. MC and the big boys at Google clearly do not want anyone to link to anyone. Sadly, it is through linking that the B2B value of the internet exists. Such a conflict of interests. Anyways, just wanted to let you know that I have my PR back :)

    By Telstar on Mar 29, 2014

  20. Thanks for the update, Telstar! Good to know you are out! we see quite easy recovery to our members, luckily! Yeah, it sucks to nofollow but on the other hand, if we ALL nofollow, Google will have no links to crawl 😉

    By Ann Smarty on Mar 29, 2014

  21. Anna,

    I have found that sometimes you should not be transparent as much as you like.


    By Nader on Apr 5, 2014

  22. They have penalized each and every blog participated in MBG and absolutely it is for the transparency reason.

    I wonder about of the guest blogging.


    By Arun on Apr 15, 2014

  23. @Arun, now that some time has passed, we were able to evaluate: No, not each and every + most have been recovered. but yes, Google has clearly showed us: Transparency IS the issue

    By Ann Smarty on Apr 20, 2014

  24. Postjoint and some other large guest blogging networks have now also been penalised. Google are clearly trying to put an end to guest posting as a link building tactic. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few months, especially as so many large companies have relied on guest posts for SEO over the last couple of years.

    By Laura Ginn on Apr 20, 2014

  25. Great Article. This is a Really Nice Post. I Recommended your Tips as a Blogger. Thanks for Sharing with us.

    By Taswir Haider on May 5, 2014

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