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SEO and Guest Blogging 2014; the facts so far

Posted by on in Link Building
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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)



In talking with Barry Schwartz over on G+ I was reminded of something else.

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...


In the mean time, here's an awesome Hangout we did with Debra Mastaler of Alliance Link this week, lot's of great ideas in there to help you stay on the straight and narrow.


And our coverage of MBG on the Regs this week


David has been in the world of web development and marketing since 1998 helping clients succeed in more markets than he can remember, (probably 'cause of his advanced age). He's best known as an avid search marketing blogger and information retrieval fanatic.


  • Guest
    Jeremy Rivera Friday, 21 March 2014

    Irony of this being a guest post?

    Hey David,

    So in your opinion is it the bio links that's really cheesing Google off or do you think they're trying to state that the act of writing a blog post for someone else constitues a material exchange and makes it into a "paid link scheme"

  • David Harry
    David Harry Friday, 21 March 2014

    Guest post?? lol

    Naw man, this is my company site. It shows how well I promote it huh?

    Again, as I mentioned in the post, I know of a SEL author that had targeted anchors in their bio. When SEL got scraped (and the bio showed up on shit sites) they actually got a penalty. True story lol. It's the perception of trading content for links. If it was just to build authority, why would people need targeted anchors instead of a link to their brand/website name?

    And well... location, location, location man.

  • Guest
    Bob Gladstein Friday, 21 March 2014

    I'm dealing with a situation a lot like your friend with the profile on a news site. One of the sites I work on puts kind of a lot of internal links into the articles published on the site. Those articles get scraped, and we've got multiple backlinks from all the copies.

    We put in a reconsideration request after cleaning up a bunch of other bad links, and G wrote back saying that we still had unnatural links. The three examples they gave were all scraped articles.

  • David Harry
    David Harry Sunday, 23 March 2014


    Yea, that's just getting stupid IMO. It does speak to the need to be on top of things and have a pro-active dsavow program in place, but even then, how to we know that that's a problem until it's too late? Meh.

  • Guest
    Elle Tuesday, 25 March 2014

    No Follow links?

    Is it best to link only to scholarly articles such as .gov or .edu and use no follow links? Also, how do you strengthen your sites credibility and encourage other sites to link to your site if you don't guest post?

  • Guest
    Adam Methew Monday, 07 April 2014

    Blogging are still very good.

    Blogging are still very good. But guest blogging a little bit risky. And remember post one article on one blog. Otherwise your work consider as black hat.

  • Guest
    Stephanie Riggs Saturday, 19 April 2014

    Guest blogging was considered big source for creating quality links back to a website but after the article of Matt Cutts about guest blogging bloggers get puzzled what to do for creating link backs. But many experts says that guest blogging is still effective in 2014 for boosting position on search engines but it needs to be relevant and on high PR websites. I learn so many things about guest blogging in 2014 from your post :)

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