SEO and Guest Blogging 2014; the facts so far
Hey gang, I just wanted to stop a moment and put some perspective on the recent guest blogging mass panic (aka the MyBlogGuest affair). For those not familiar, I do a lot of forensic SEO consulting, helping people that have gotten manual and algorithmic penalties from Google. That means I not only have a good set of sources out there, but am a good barometer of the state of them.
So, here's some insights so far....
Are The MBG Members Getting Hit?
Ok this one was floated early and then Matt (Cutts) stated they'd take action on the members of the network. This has indeed been confirmed. I've seen a few posts on it, seen a few people talking about it in private groups I am involved in and yes, I myself already have an enquiry from someone that got a manual on some sites that participated until late last year.
Is It Only MBG and It's Members Are At Risk?
Don't be silly. In fact, we've been seeing guest blog related issues for quite some time now.
- We've seen the standard "look at links like these" in reconsideration request replies move from directories to examples of guest blogging since late 2012.
- We've seen Penguin hits on the last round that were most likely heavily influenced by guest blogging activity.
- I know of some non-MBG activities related to guest blogging that also were hit on the 20th with manual UL actions.
And I expect this to continue.
Is This All Inbound Unnatural Links Penalties?
In fact, over the last few days I have been seeing more and more reports about people getting manual actions for OUTBOUND links and those people were in one way or another, affiliated with MBG. While this one isn't fully confirmed (meaning they had manual action removed by taking those down), the timing (the 20th) is certainly suspect and I am going to go out on a limb and say that this is happening.
Messages posted in public so far, look like this;
So, if you've participated at any point (aka have a profile there) I would certainly start to take action.
What Is The REAL Risk With Guest Blogging?
A friend of mine related a story about being penalized a while back because of a profile they had on a well known industry news site. It's one we all know, believe me. Confused because they had never built links they reached out to a Googler only to find that it was some targeted anchors in their bio that was the issue. Now, this wasn't because of the publication in question being a bad neighbourhood, it was more about the scrapers that were taking the content. This author's bio was propagated across a ton of crap domains. The result? A penalty...
Indeed the location and the nature of the anchors are important here. Once more, this goes well beyond MyBlogGuest. And well, apparently anchor text is alive and well. Why else would Google be so damned sensitive about it?
Is Guest Blogging is Bad?
Ok, so this isn't a new thing. I myself had written about the risks and issues back in 2012 as well as in 2013. The writing has been on the wall for some time. And that's what bothers me. This, like so many other link building tactics (not to mention thin content pre-Panda) are avoidable to a degree. For those of us paying attention, it didn't come as a surprise.
But does that mean it's dead?
Yes, and no. If you were doing mass email outreach to thousands of blogs in order to drop that sub-par post laden with targeted anchors, it never really was a viable approach. But, if you're doing outreach to publishers for relationship building, to become a regular contributor to a site you feel can help build your authority, by all means; carry on. I'd just be careful with the outbound links, the anchors and your author bio.
And that's the thing... stop thinking about it as a scalable link building tactic. Start thinking about building authority and well... shocking as it may seem, driving traffic to your own site.
And.... we're outta here...
Anyway, I just wanted to post about what's been happening... if you have more to add feel free to get in touch with me as I do like to document these kids of things. Need help cleaning things up? Again, you know where to find me, (you can also join this convo on Facebook)
Around late 2013 and early 2014, we (people that do recons etc) started seeing a lot more guest posts being shown by Google as further links to be cleaning up. Prior to that, we used to by and large see directories mentioned. You can see more here.
And this was well before Matt's now infamous 'Stick a fork in it' post.
If you'd like to be a bit extra paranoid, consider the Google Page Layout Algorithm. It was updated back in early Feb 2014. Why is that interesting? If it is operating in some form off of page segmentation concepts, it may be something that can segment out something like... say.... an author bio?
More as I think of it...
And our coverage of MBG on the Regs this week