Google's Matt Cutts: We've Penalized A Guest Blogging Network

Mar 19, 2014 • 8:41 am | comments (138) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

google penaltyGoogle's Matt Cutts announced on Twitter at 2:13am EST that Google has taken action on a "large guest blog network." This time, Matt Cutts did not specifically say which network they targeted.

Matt links to his post on his personal blog named The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO. In January, Matt warned that guest blogging for SEO is dead, which caused a major stir in the community.

Since then, many said guest blogging has continued to work and lead to great rankings.

However, as you can see, today, Matt and Google went after a larger guest blogging network, which may result in lost rankings, penalties and unnatural link notifications. I have to assume that Google will continue to go after these networks.

What if you just do occasional guest blogging? You should be fine but again, with the caveat that it is not done for SEO purposes. Personally, I hate guest blogging but I have the luxury at writing at two sites that have a large audience already.

Here is Matt's tweet:

So which guest blog network was hit? Rae Hoffman believes it was MyBlogGuest. If you search for their name in Google it doesn't come up anymore:

myblogguest google rankings gone

If you dig deeper, you can see that Ann Smarty, who is the owner of this service, made it clear in a blog post that they won't be nofollowing those links despite what Matt Cutts suggested in January of this year. I guess that hard stance caught Google's attention and this is the end result?

Again, we do not have confirmation from Google that it was this network that was indeed hit.

Update: Now we do, Ann Smarty confirmed it on Twitter but doubts the publishers will be hit. I suspect the publishers will indeed be hit:

Update 2: Matt Cutts confirmed they may take action on the publishers who participated in the guest blog network. More details over here.

Here are some recent link networks taken down by Google:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Previous story: Google Webmaster Academy Gets An Upgrade


Spam Cutts

03/19/2014 12:49 pm

Nicely done matt, take them all down, no more guest blogging unless nofollow sounds good to me!


03/19/2014 12:50 pm

So, just because she didn't nofollowed the link Google penalized them? Isn't this unfair?

Barry Schwartz

03/19/2014 12:50 pm



03/19/2014 12:55 pm

I mean, for not following guidelines her site got penalized. Whereas there are other blog networks who accepts low quality blog guest but are safe.

Barry Schwartz

03/19/2014 12:56 pm

No one is safe.

Spam Cutts

03/19/2014 12:59 pm

lol matt cuts should be followed everywhere he goes with the jaws theme tune, dur ner, dur ner

Mike Swan

03/19/2014 12:59 pm

Is this the only network of guest blog which is presently hit by Panda update ?


03/19/2014 01:04 pm

Another brilliant entrepreneur suffered because of Google Greed. MyBlogGuest was not a network at all, it was a community place for Guest Bloggers. They have simply Thrown out the baby with the bath water

Spam Cutts

03/19/2014 01:06 pm

No they just need to stop selling links and nofollow, simples! Guest blogging for links upmarket spam that's all!


03/19/2014 01:16 pm

Damn straight... time to cut down more I say. Screw blogs & their spammy networks. Blogs have become cancer in most formats... ease of access meant any man & his dog could create one - talk shit & pretend to be knowledgeable on a key word saturated topic that they thought would bring in more dollars in advertisements. Rant over.

PM Fiorini

03/19/2014 01:20 pm

Great job Matt. We are all so proud of you! LOL!


03/19/2014 01:27 pm

Do Ezin... and dozens of other sites no follow their content links ?.... i can give you a list of 100 sites here in one go...

Nick Ker

03/19/2014 01:32 pm

Think of it like a speeding ticket. Many people do it, few get caught.

Nick Ker

03/19/2014 01:33 pm

Panda has nothing to do with this. Panda is part of the algorithm which attempts to filter "low quality" from the search results. Some blogs that are in networks are probably affected by Panda as well, but this seems like a specific manual action.

Nick Ker

03/19/2014 01:37 pm

Do you really think it was because of Ann's refusal to nofollow - or would it be because many of the users of myblogguest were overusing anchor text, submitting junk, etc? I ask, because I briefly looked at MBG when it was launched and received guest post requests from it which were mostly lower quality.

Durant Imboden

03/19/2014 01:37 pm

For what it's worth, Ms. Smarty identifies herself as an "SEO consultant."

Ahsan Parwez

03/19/2014 01:45 pm

Sounds to me that Matt Cutts had a grudge against Ann and specifically targeted her network

gareth jax

03/19/2014 01:45 pm

It seems a form of retortion. If people start using twitter to plan guest blogging, will Google penalize twitter ? The problem with myblogguest is that people abuse the service to create spinned posts to get links.

Harsh Wardhan Singh

03/19/2014 01:47 pm

I am waiting for Ann's response to this. Last time when Matt posted about Guest Blog Spamming She wrote against Google. However, one thing is there that as per rules of Google, users registered with MBG were actually doing spam kind of work with just requesting or providing guest posts irrespective of the quality or writer's authenticity. No matter how much Ann will deny that Google search is very important for driving traffic, it is truth that users registered on his guest blog network are there with the sole motive of getting higher Google rankings and so ultimately Google SERP is their sole target. Thanks a lot Barry for noticing this tweet. Seems like there could be some war or words between Matt and Ann :P ;) :D Thanks Harsh

Durant Imboden

03/19/2014 01:49 pm

In the blog post that Barry cited, Ms. Smarty said that she didn't care about Google and stopped depending on organic rankings a long ago. So why would she respond at all?

Da, Da, Da

03/19/2014 01:55 pm

It's kind of a odd situation, My Blog Guest was not selling links, they just created a social spot for people to engage with each other. Sure there are low quality websites & guest posts associated with MBG but I have much worse out on the web.

Nick Ker

03/19/2014 02:06 pm

Because the users of MBG generally DO care, and are probably a bit concerned about any effect of this.


03/19/2014 02:07 pm

Why not go after Triberrr under this penalty assumption? I don't get it. There is no money exchanged between the author and the blog. The blog owner can review the content and decide if it meets their quality guidelines.

Jim Rudnick

03/19/2014 02:11 pm

Yup...would be my guess that the site doesn't come up in either.... :-(

Miguel Angel Mendez-Carrillo

03/19/2014 02:20 pm

Does this really surprise anyone? I saw the deterioration of quality. Many knew this, but continued to use it. We had plenty of warnings. Just saying


03/19/2014 02:23 pm

I thought Matt was off in Europe bringing down link networks! Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, bame, here comes matty lol!! I suggest everyone stops doing any sort of link building and just work on building a quality website that gains links naturally!

Neil Perulli

03/19/2014 02:33 pm

I have been waiting for this day and am surprised it did not come sooner considering the site allows for easy link building and has no quality what so ever. I only wonder if they would have been safe for a little bit longer if they had actually cared about the blogs they qualified for hosting content.


03/19/2014 02:35 pm

IMHO Google should candidly replace the webmaster Quality guidelines with a one liner: "Anything done in excess except Adwords/Google Plus will be deemed as spam & will be penalized"

John Romaine

03/19/2014 03:17 pm

More penalties. They should be focusing on rewarding instead. It seems they can't get that right.

Harsh Wardhan Singh

03/19/2014 03:35 pm

@durantimboden:disqus As @NickKer:disqus has commented, its because the users of MBG will definitely seek her take on it and as I have mentioned maximum number of MBG members are using the forum for Google ranking purpose only so ultimately both MBG and Google along with SEO are in the loop. Long back it was clear that any activity targeted towards Google ranking if cited, can face penalty. Not just the MBG users but SEO and Internet Marketing learners like me would also like know. We are learning SEO and Online Marketing and when two biggies are in the tussle then the discussions between the two with reasonable points would help us to understand and know more about the industry and its best practices. I would be obliged if I could get @rustybrick:disqus's opinion on this Google action as a search geek and blogger. Thanks a lot Harsh :)


03/19/2014 03:37 pm

Talk about playing God... personally I rarely found any quality writing opportunities on MBG, but there are plenty of people who have found it useful for building an audience in their niche(s). I think taking out MBG is spiteful, unhelpful and a clear sign that Cutts doesn't know what he's doing.

Harsh Wardhan Singh

03/19/2014 03:38 pm

Well, Ann has replied to the incident. I do not think Google has penalized MBG because of links buying or selling issue rather its because of its members who are using it for SEO purpose instead of building authority on web. In recent past Matt Cutts has already cleared that there will be no shortcut to build authority. I think Google has taken the right step.


03/19/2014 03:59 pm

you are a sad sad man, worried more about other people income. Actualy your are like a women who has a terrible period.

Spam Cutts

03/19/2014 04:03 pm

Ann Smarty, stick a folk in it your done! Well, this is good for guest blogging now all that will be left are the genuine guest bloggers (with nofollow links) and its good for the serps because the crappy indian SEO's have lost another free link. Now that a public example has been made, nothing left to do but sit back and watch the major guest blog networks slap a nofollow on all outgoing links!

Mathew Porter

03/19/2014 04:11 pm

Also awaiting Ann Smarty's response which will be interesting, I know many are afraid to speak out against what she says... and Matt Cutts is a power that we all have to take note of in the industry.

Jitendra Vaswani

03/19/2014 04:38 pm

I am still with MBG platform, they are best ... Matt cutts definitely needs to check their penalty .....

Kristopher Starliper

03/19/2014 04:40 pm

Maybe they changed their policy, but I remember having to pay a monthly membership in order to submit articles for others to publish. That was basically "pay us, we'll let you show your stuff to everyone, then you'll get your article published (which can include links)" So basically MBG was getting paid to allow the spread of spammy garbage. Whether you're for or against Google's decision is one thing, but to act like MBG weren't getting any money out of this deal is ridiculous.


03/19/2014 04:43 pm

Blogger Link Up next on the hit list?

Dedas Olvs

03/19/2014 04:50 pm



03/19/2014 04:57 pm

Maybe Google should count all links as nofollow unless the link categorically says dofollow or better still measure site rankings by how many Googlers return to a specific site which would imply that user DO find their content useful enough to return. I think they toyed with this idea when they had "last visited". Maybe they could integrate this a little better with "you didn't stay long last time" to try and deter users away from websites they previously didn't find useful. At the end of the day, what they're trying (or saying that they're trying) to do is rank websites that offer more to the user better than other, not so spammy websites.

Chris Ainsworth

03/19/2014 05:12 pm

Love the fact that although the site has been penalised Google are still happy to display paid ads promoting MyBlogGuest! I know it's all about the money but surely that's a bit hypocritical, even for Google!


03/19/2014 05:16 pm

Ew, really? Quiet down now, the grownups are talking.

Miller Brew

03/19/2014 07:01 pm

I woke up in a day where every webmaster on the internet converted their website to 100% nofollow, adding a mass 'nofollow' attribute to every OBL on their site. This caused Google to "re-think" how to value websites, because the only sites that rank is Amazon and other Google 'affiliate' sites. In this new world, webmasters learned that Google organic search while great, isn't the be-all, end-all. Soon the web searchers begin to realize Google's quality is deteriorating because they only offers Amazon and other affiliate sites in their 1st page queries. Now these searchers start using other web searching platforms like Bing or Duckduckgo to find the information they are looking for. The I realized this isn't a real world, people won't convert their sites to 100% nofollow across the board. I think I'm going to convert my website(s) to 100% nofollow, the only link juice that will be passed is to IBLs. By the way, I never even used MyGuestBlog. Never even heard of it until today. But what I think Google is doing is wrong. When I search for something, usually Amazon takes up about 3 spots on the first page. The other spots are to Wiki and other stuff that isn't fun to read. I recently searched for how Google Panda works and found a gem of an article on page#6 written by someone associated with Google that had inside knowledge and was a rater to help 'decide' what were quality sites for Panda, which was coded into the system. This person also had to sign a contract with Google saying that they couldn't reveal their story for two years... why was this wealth of information on page#6? It was the best and most insightful article I've read about google inside operations ever! If that wealth of info was on page#6, can you imagine the great stuff you can find on page#10!?! As a searcher, I'm not happy


03/19/2014 07:02 pm

My comment wasn't posted

Miller Brew

03/19/2014 07:02 pm

I woke up in a day where every webmaster on the internet converted their website to 100% nofollow, adding a mass 'nofollow' attribute to every OBL on their site. This caused Google to "re-think" how to value websites, because the only sites that rank is Amazon and other Google 'affiliate' sites. In this new world, webmasters learned that Google organic search while great, isn't the be-all, end-all. Soon the web searchers begin to realize Google's quality is deteriorating because they only offers Amazon and other affiliate sites in their 1st page queries. Now these searchers start using other web searching platforms like Bing or Duckduckgo to find the information they are looking for. The I realized this isn't a real world, people won't convert their sites to 100% nofollow across the board. I think I'm going to convert my website(s) to 100% nofollow, the only link juice that will be passed is to IBLs. By the way, I never even used MyGuestBlog. Never even heard of it until today. But what I think Google is doing is wrong. When I search for something, usually Amazon takes up about 3 spots on the first page. The other spots are to Wiki and other stuff that isn't fun to read. I recently searched for how Google Panda works and found a gem of an article on page#6 written by someone associated with Google that had inside knowledge and was a rater to help 'decide' what were quality sites for Panda, which was coded into the system. This person also had to sign a contract with Google saying that they couldn't reveal their story for two years... why was this wealth of information on page#6? It was the best and most insightful article I've read about google inside operations ever! If that wealth of info was on page#6, can you imagine the great stuff you can find on page#10!?! As a searcher, I'm not happy

Evin Drek

03/19/2014 07:04 pm

I didn't understand the exact reason for penalizing MBG. It's not any private/paid blog network. It's a platform where people search for authors and blogs to perform guest blogging. Still why Google penalized it? It seems Google wants to close down guest blogging concept completely.

Urmil Sanghvi

03/19/2014 07:34 pm

@mattcuts What you exactly want? Why do you think its network? This is a platform where people come and take only relevant posts. Is this also spam? Or do you completely want to close guest blogging? And want to divert peoples mind towards adsense? Why you are not making your stand clear? Myguestblog is platform where site owners and writers who want to publish their posts come together...and that's all run without any money transactions. And at least with 90% relevancy we can see on this platform. Then what's the point to penalized it?


03/19/2014 07:42 pm

While I can't speak to this specific instance,I think what Matt and Google are up to is pretty clear. They are trying to scare everyone away from Guest Blogging for SEO, which will mean the only guest post and guest bloggers will be the ones more interested in the audience they are reaching and contributing to, and not the search engine link value, which is a net win for Google and their users. Taking down networks is the best way to scare the masses, especially when it is a prominent site within the SEO community.

Raj Ballu

03/19/2014 08:07 pm

One question for you. Do you know how to generate natural link building. If blog posting is not correct, Guest blogging is wrong... then why you don't speak straight to us for PPC. Even you know, people started to not trust on your search


03/19/2014 08:14 pm

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.


03/19/2014 08:17 pm

Well, it's not hard to imagine how MBG might be awash with low quality content, written by people who are only interested in getting a back link. I mean, if you have written genuinely great content, you'd publish it on your own website, right? You would not submit it to MBG for someone else to publish. Congratulations Google I say.


03/19/2014 08:18 pm

"Then what's the point to penalized it?" Because the blog posts on offer are pure spam, that's the point.


03/19/2014 08:19 pm

"It seems Google wants to close down guest blogging concept completely." Got it in one.


03/19/2014 08:20 pm

Oh I do hope so. Come on Google, go get 'em.


03/19/2014 08:23 pm

Nicely put. I guess it's easier to spot the bad guys than the good guys.

PM Fiorini

03/19/2014 08:57 pm

Let's look at it this way. Now publishers can put more money to put into AdWords instead of link building.

Nick Ker

03/19/2014 09:01 pm

They DO reward! Google rewards sites that are good quality, popular, useful, and a gazillion other things. Because some people refuse to try to understand that, and think the whole idea of google is to see if you can cheat your way to the top, there are penalties.


03/19/2014 09:01 pm

Seems like Brad Merrill has played a major role in penalize MBG. I am sure matt and guys had read the discussion of Ann, Sana and Brad before deciding to penalize MBG here Rest damage is done by this post:

Nick Ker

03/19/2014 09:02 pm

It is easy to spot the good guys. They are the ones without spam links... and without penalties.


03/19/2014 09:15 pm

What is the point of publishing quality content on your own website if you are unable to increase traffic of your blog even after publishing 100+ quality posts? I mean no one will bother to publish guest post if they can increase the targeted traffic of your blog through publishing quality posts on their own blog. The fact is no matter how much quality post you publish on your blog. If your blog is not well optimized your blog post will not appear on a good position.

Aston Reynolds

03/19/2014 09:36 pm

Mind sharing a link to that panda article? :-)

Grammy Winner Taylor Swift

03/19/2014 10:57 pm

Love seeing cocky little bimbos getting smacked down by The God Matt Cutts.

Miller Brew

03/19/2014 11:11 pm

yeah , good read -


03/19/2014 11:29 pm

Google penalized MBG for "unnatural links" *TO* the site. I spoke with Ann Smarty this afternoon, and there is no indication that the site was penalized because of its content. Matt Cutts' tweet makes it sounds as if they penalized the site because of its business model, but that's not the real reason why MyBlogGuest was penalized. There's an important distinction here: the site is technically penalized because of links going TO, not because of the fact that it provides a resource for guest posts.

John Romaine

03/19/2014 11:55 pm

Again, it sounds like you know nothing about the real world of SEO. So if I buy a domain name and use it to build my newly created website - then get a penalty because of what the previous owner did, (because they built crappy links, got penalised, then dumped the domain) then I'm the bad guy? Wake up dude. Google is going in the wrong direction with these penalties.

Kristopher Starliper

03/20/2014 12:08 am

You're not the bad guy, but you're a guy who should have kicked the tires before buying the used car, so to speak.

Nick Ker

03/20/2014 12:14 am

"Again...?" I don't believe we've met, and I am not sure why you want to insult me. But I'll play along... Sounds like you know nothing about the real world. Did you not do your due diligence when buying a domain? Would you buy a brick and mortar business without checking its reputation or any number of other nasty things that would come with it? If so, you aren't the sharpest tool in the shed. Did you buy it because you thought, "wow look at all those links and high pagerank"? If so, then you kind of got what you deserved, since you didn't earn those links - someone else did. Did that really happen to you or are you just making up a boogie man so you can whine about Google?

John Romaine

03/20/2014 12:14 am

Kristopher, tell that to a business owner who registered/purchased a domain and knows absolutely nothing about SEO.


03/20/2014 12:24 am

He should have kicked the tires too. Otherwise, disavow every link that was made before the purchase. Unless of course this person who "knows absolutely nothing about SEO" was buying the domain because it had lots of links. Where would he get the idea that was a good thing? From you?

John Romaine

03/20/2014 12:28 am

Dude, seriously. 99% of business owners have absolutely no idea about anything that we talk about daily. You're assuming that everyone understands SEO. Can you imagine sitting with a business owner and saying "Well, you should have checked the link profile, the history of the domain, how many drops the domain has had, checked the wayback machine, checked for fake PR, looked for any signs of content that was previously considered duplicate content" blah blah blah. Most business owners don't even know how to register a domain - let alone check one for SEO attributes.

John Romaine

03/20/2014 12:31 am

What's normally one of the first things anyone does when a site gets slammed by Google. They dump the domain, right. And maybe start over somewhere else on a new domain. This means the old domain is sitting there, ready to be registered by someone else, who (in most cases) may simply register that domain because they like the name - NOT because of "SEO attributes" that they probably know absolutely nothing about. I'm talking about regular people here, business owners etc - NOT SEOs!

John Romaine

03/20/2014 12:35 am

This is exactly the problem. Just because your site might have crappy links pointing at it - immediately makes you the bad guy. In most cases, that's probably true - but not always. That's my point. I'm all for keeping the SERPS clean, I just think that Google should have just spent more time focusing on rewarding the good links as opposed to putting so much effort and emphasis on the bad ones. Just ignore the bad links and reward the good ones. Because continual penalties like this does nothing more than cause utter paranoia. That's all I'm saying.

Nick Ker

03/20/2014 12:40 am

OK "dude". You are clearly missing the point. What does "owner" mean? It means that you also "own" the problems associated with running a business. For example, if you are unaware of tax laws and run afoul of the tax collector, is that the governement's fault or your own? As for 99% of business owners not having a clue - you are either working with the wrong business owners, or you are doing a terrible job of explaining just what it is you do. Sure, many don't know much, but most who are going to be doing business online have some idea about it. That is why they either educate themselves, or hire someone who DOES know what they are talking about. Just like they would for accounting/taxes, legal help, or anything else that is not their area of expertise. Does it suck that some people jump into a business venture without knowing much about it? Sure does. Is that Google's fault? Hell no. And if you are having that talk and saying "You should have done ___", you are doing that wrong, too. I have that type of talk nearly every day, but I have more polite ways of explaining things. More importantly, I also explain what can be done to fix it. But I guess you think I should just blame Google.


03/20/2014 12:40 am

You are aware that the vast majority of people buy domains based on how well they fit their business and have zero clue about SEO, links, or the all mighty Google. Right? There is a staggering number of burned domains out there just waiting for someone to come along and buy the penalty they had nothing to do with. If Google is smart enough to catch these evil link builders, then they are smart enough to simply stop counting them rather than punishing everyone regardless of their involvement with the links that came along.

John Romaine

03/20/2014 12:42 am

I hate to think about how many "burnt domains" are out there, Steve.


03/20/2014 12:44 am

Your analogy sucks. Buying a domain is not like buying a business. It's like renting an empty space only to find out 6 months later that they used to make meth there and you just got arrested for it. When you rent an empty space you do not ask the real estate agent, give me a list of every tenant this space has ever had plus what they did for a business model AND why they are no longer here. The same should apply to buying a domain name.But that can't happen because Google refuses to ignore links they don't like and seems to prefer to hand out penalties and punishment.


03/20/2014 12:46 am

Do you seriously believe that people who buy domains have no clue about Google?! You must be an affiliate marketer. You see, the rest of the world takes the time to make careful business decisions and try to know what they are getting into. How about some examples of these poor unsuspecting buyers of penalized domains, and the major loss of the domain registration fee? What is that, about $15 these days? You are making a big deal about nothing.

John Romaine

03/20/2014 12:48 am

You're completely missing the point. 1. You simply cannot compare buying a $7 domain with screwing up your tax, or intentionally avoiding tax. That example is ridiculous. 2. "You are either working with the wrong business owners, or you are doing a terrible job of explaining just what it is you do" What? Firstly, I am very selective about who I choose to work with, but that's beside the point. Secondly, what on earth are you getting at by saying "terrible job at explaining what I do" - what does that even mean? When I get an enquiry from a desperate business owner pleading with me to help because of some weird backlinks to his recently purchased domain, then how is that suddenly my fault? You make no sense man. 3. You simply cannot compare bricks and mortar type decisions where there are hundreds of thousands of dollars involved, against registering a $7 domain. Have a good think about what you're saying.

Nick Ker

03/20/2014 12:52 am

You analogy sucks worse. Nobody who rents a space gets arrested for what happened before they rented it. Just like nobody gets penalized 6 months after buying a domain for something that happened before they bought it. It might be dead on arrival, but there isn't a whole lot invested in it at that point. If there was, they definitely should have done their homework. Buying a domain is indeed buying a business asset. In some cases it is the whole freakin brand! But this is a straw man argument you make. Are there really a great many business owners who got burned on a used domain? What was the loss? Did Google wait until later to penalize? If so, I would bet you a domain registration fee that there were things done AFTER the purchase that brought on the penalty.


03/20/2014 12:54 am

Based on the clients and potential clients I talk to every week, yes. They don't know anything about how the internet actually works and even less about Google and SEO. They know the buzzwords but have no idea what they mean. And there is no reason that they should. They are jewelers, beauticians, small coffee shops, etc etc etc. They have more than enough to do just trying to run their business. doing deep link research on a domain name at goDaddy never even enters their thought process.

John Romaine

03/20/2014 12:55 am

This is just an example - but it is possible, and it does happen. 1. $15 for a domain (no big deal) 2. $15,000 on website development 3. $2,000 a month on SEO/Online marketing 4. $5,000 a month on offline marketing and promotion (radio, tv, print media) 5. Wages, expenses, fees, tax etc etc etc BAM. Penalised. That's a lot of wasted money, time, and resources. "No big deal"

Peter Watson

03/20/2014 12:59 am

I have to agree with Steve and John on this one. 99% of small business owner will simply buy a domain, build a site on it and that's it! They know nothing about link penalties or SEO in general. Sure, the small % of people who are familiar with this will do their due diligence, but for the most part this will not happen. The reality is, people 'are' buying damaged domains, and blaming the new domain owner for not being familiar with Google's Quality Guidelines is simply unfair. I personally know people in this situation and they have wasted money, time and damaged their brand as a result of this!


03/20/2014 01:01 am

That exactly what I was trying to illustrate. Current building residents should not be penalized by what someone in the past did. With the current state of affairs at Google this is exactly what can happen. I have done 3 audits in the last 6 months where we determined that the issue the domain faced was something that had been done by a previous owner (affiliate acai sales in one case). In each case the site owner had purchase a new domain name and built new websites and spent a lot of time, money and effort only to never do very well in search. No one will believe me, but I'm okay with that. They didn't believe me years ago when I was telling people that links could hurt you whether you placed them or not. Look where we are now.

John Romaine

03/20/2014 01:04 am

Gee, that's a bit rough.

Nick Ker

03/20/2014 01:08 am

1) OK so at least you acknowledge that $7 is not a big loss and you are crying over a very small amount of spilled milk. So what is your big issue with it then? That they might have to spend another $7? The point I am trying to make here is that these are "small" things a business owner should do before making a decision that could have a huge impact on the business. 2) Let me try to explain - You are either working with irrational people who panic over a $7 new-to-them domain with problems, after not bothering to do some research, or you are working with people who enter into a business venture without a clue as to how their expected revenue stream works. I encounter plenty of business owners with wrong ideas about SEO, but I don't think I have ever met one who was interested in doing business online who never heard of SEO at least a little bit. I would have to wonder how such a person got as far as contacting an SEO without any idea that SEO existed. The part about explaining what you do: It sounds like you don't bother explaining how SEO works to these people, or maybe saying something like "No need to feel desperate. You have another $7 right? I will help you find a good, clean domain." 3) It isn't about the money. It is about consequences. And if you think about it, $7 is a small investment that when leveraged properly can yield much more than the thousands one might invest in other aspects of a business. Consulting with an accountant before filing your taxes doesn't cost very much either, but most smart business owners do it. It still isn't the governments fault if you don't. And it still isn't Google's fault if you didn't find out the implications of buying a used domain, or any other SEO mistake people make and then cry about Google.

Nick Ker

03/20/2014 01:10 am

I'm curious - what was this domain and "damaged" brand?

John Romaine

03/20/2014 01:12 am

Nick, you're so blinded by assumptions that you're simply "not getting it" According to you, anyone and everyone that has a crappy link profile is "guilty". If that's true, then what about victims of negative SEO? Are they the "bad guys" too"? because I'm working right now with a large company that does $250,000 a month (who know nothing about SEO) and they've been slammed through no fault of their own (obvious neg seo) You cant simply run around saying "ha ha, you got busted!" when there are innocent people getting caught up in this mess. It would be foolish to simply assume that EVERYONE, 100% of people that are being penalised are completely at fault. It's simply not true.

John Romaine

03/20/2014 01:18 am

I give up dude. There's no point taking this any further, I'm just wasting my time. Have a nice day.

Peter Watson

03/20/2014 01:23 am

That is totally irrelevant to this thread, and I don't plan on making reference to them in an open forum. They have suffered enough. But your curiosity has got me curious........ Are you insinuating that these type of domains don't exist? If so, you have totally lost me (and most likely everyone else in this thread).

Nick Ker

03/20/2014 01:27 am

The domains exist, sure. The problem is extremely rare. If you want to send me the info privately, I'd love to see this example. I'm not hard to contact. But if I look into it and see that they were building crap links AFTER purchasing the domain, you are going to feel pretty foolish. Look through the comments here on seroundtable and you'll see people claiming all sorts of things like negative SEO are an epidemic - yet they rarely cite a real world example. When they do, it is promptly shot down.

Peter Watson

03/20/2014 01:33 am

Nick, the web owners don't know anything about link building. They have no idea about SEO, that is the point people in this thread are trying to make. They purchased an url which was previously penalised. They built a site on that url. Get it?????

Durant Imboden

03/20/2014 01:34 am

Maybe we're talking about apples and oranges here? Matt Cutts said that his team "took action on a large guest blog network." (A network, as opposed to a site.) I assume that Ann Smarty is referring to a WMT message about *her* site--the site in her Webmaster Tools account. (Surely WMT wouldn't provide information about other people's sites?) In other words, Google may have taken action against the guest-blogging network and penalized the MBG site at the same time, for different reasons, after putting and its network under the microscope.

Nick Ker

03/20/2014 01:36 am

I didn't say anyone was "guilty" of anything, other than unfounded whining about Google, and jumping into a business venture without learning more about what they expect to be a good revenue stream. I also didn't say 100% of the penalties are completely legit. But most are. Sure, there are hundreds of posts on here and other forums where people blame Google, a previous SEO company, a competitor (neg SEO), or anything BUT their own actions - yet every time they reveal what the site is, it turns out they did it to themselves. As for negative SEO, I have audited about 15 or so negative SEO victim sites within the past two years. Not a single one of them was without their own link spamming. I keep asking for examples when people make the claim, but there's always an excuse like "I don't have to prove it to you - its EVERYWHERE" or "its confidential". Right. If I had a site that was truly unjustly penalized, I would most definitely be shouting it from the roof tops. Why wouldn't anyone else? Because they know they did some things to bring it on themselves.

Nick Ker

03/20/2014 01:47 am

Oh I get that. What I don't get is why they would invest in something without having a clue what it is - and them blame another person or company for their lack of knowledge. If they are expecting to get lots of traffic from Google, would they not want to know a little about how that might happen? Would you open a restaurant without knowing the rules about cleaning, food storage times and that sort of thing - and then get angry with the health department when you find out the hard way? This is like blaming the cops for enforcing a law you broke, when you didn't know it was a law. Like it or not, Google has rules, and they are their own cops. Years ago, I did something pretty dumb and violated some Adsense terms because I didn't read them. My adsense account was banned and it was my fault, not Google's. I also don't get why you guys are so worked up about something that is quite rare. Like sasquatch, there are plenty of reports of "I have seen it, but I can't tell you where, when, or what happened. But I saw it, I swear!"

Peter Watson

03/20/2014 01:51 am

Your opening sentence: "Oh I get that". I assume you grasp the point being made. Your next sentence: " What I don't get is why they would invest in something without having a clue what it is." This sentence tells me your first sentence is incorrect and you actually don't get it. Anyway, back to work!

Kristopher Starliper

03/20/2014 01:56 am

If they want a website that will help them make money, they should know what they're doing/getting into. Otherwise they should talk to someone beforehand. Whether it's a $15,000 website or a $15 domain name, before spending any money on your business, a business owner should make sure they know exactly what they're doing. And what I'm getting from your argument is this: A site gets penalized for bad links, or whatever the violation is, and gets dumped. Whatever caused the penalty is still floating out there in the Internet somewhere. But when someone buys the domain, the penalties should disappear and the site should rank as it used to. I mean after all, the guy who bought the domain had no clue what he was doing. To tie that in with the ridiculous meth lab analogy I read earlier. If someone buys a house that was a meth lab, re-painted the house, but the meth lab is still in the garage, should cops ignore the lab because the new owners didn't know about it?

Yogita Aggarwal

03/20/2014 02:42 am

Agreee... Google should be strict for spam guest posting but on MyBlogGuest you can find genuine publishers as well. This is what i feel.

Jitendra Vaswani

03/20/2014 04:31 am

Pretty rough ride for MBG....

Jitendra Vaswani

03/20/2014 04:35 am

Time to move to adwords

Mike Swan

03/20/2014 05:13 am

Appreciate your words @NickKer:disqus On the whole we can say that google is trying to filter the searches with blogs not commercial sites. As i saw lots of sites(commercial) disappears from the searches even they are in top 3 from last 7-8 months but blog remains at same position.


03/20/2014 07:01 am

MBG is not a network. At least they weren't a couple years ago. I doubt Cutts is referring to MBG, unless he doesn't know what a network is, or how the MBG model works.

neeraj pandey

03/20/2014 08:35 am

No myblogguest is not penalized as I can see it in search engine


03/20/2014 08:44 am

You know, Mathew, Cutts is only as powerful as we make him. I'm with Ann Smarty on this.

Harsh Wardhan Singh

03/20/2014 09:41 am

It seems pretty huge number of discussions from Right and Wrong side is going on. Well, I would just request everyone who considers this particular action of Google as wronf to please read this post by Danny Sullivan: . As per the post it is very much clear that Guest Blogging for SEO can face penalty and no one can deny from this fact that maximum number of MBG members were using the forum just for SEO and Google ranking purpose. After Google's recent warning Cathy Stucker's has made several amendments and imposed new rules for all its users and I am sure if MBG would have done then they might have escaped the penalty.


03/20/2014 10:09 am

Am thinking Google obviously enforcing us to adopt for Google ad-words.


03/20/2014 10:20 am

when google will penalize itself?


03/20/2014 11:30 am

It may not have been Ann Smarty's intention to break the rules, but de facto, myblogguest was enabling the spread of guest blogging networks, which is hurting Google's business. Google could not let it happen...


03/20/2014 11:57 am

Welcome to the modern Google Panda era, where garbage, MFA, repetitive, boring, and irrelevant content to your queries are on page 1, and the good content, that which satisfies your long and re-adjusted queries is on page 5 to 10, or even it doesn't exist anymore and dissapeared completely.


03/20/2014 12:05 pm

what is with the domain name aspect? why buy second hand? why not create a new name? the juice obtained in SERP's for a domain name matching a search term is diminishing rapidly - it is as spammy as paid links, paying money for a domain because of a search term match (EMD). There are a gazillion sites out there doing very well that do not have an EMD, they succeed because of content.

Soni Sharma

03/20/2014 01:09 pm

Hard time for MBG.

Soni Sharma

03/20/2014 01:10 pm

I agree with you Durant..


03/20/2014 01:26 pm

I publish article thought and yesterday both my site pr went down to zero, is my site punished?

Emory Rowland

03/20/2014 01:36 pm

MBG can simply fix the problem and get back in like BBC, JC Penny and BMW :)

Ben Guest

03/20/2014 02:13 pm

To top off their penalty, I'm going to sue them for using my last name.


03/20/2014 02:24 pm

That's why we live and learn.

Ben Guest

03/20/2014 02:28 pm

All new content starts with a low quality score so you are suggesting Google take months before passing authority from pages? So much for freshness.

Ben Guest

03/20/2014 02:30 pm

Exactly. If they are buying an EMD, and the reason we do this is to manipulate, therefore, they've already begun the manipulation, they deserve the link profile history they just bought for $20,000.

Patti Paz

03/20/2014 03:46 pm

You T h i n k . . . . .


03/20/2014 04:32 pm

Agreed The arrogance and dangerous Big Brother attitude displayed by Cutts makes me dream for the day when we can all agree to use Bing for a month and penalise Google. We could then elect someone to act as a figure head and they could use dictator like phrases like "ttoday we took action on..." the power is going to his head he does not even try and disguise it anymore. Play God for long enough and it starts to show - he is not elected there is no framework to which he is accountable - its dangerous dangerous dangerous. Do as I do - whenever you feel tempted to click on an adword just use Google and see if you can locate the advertiser without clicking. I do it all the time and I rarely cause the advertiser to pay for my business - I do my best to cut Google out of the loop - I prefer my ,money to go to the person making or supplying the Goods not this all seeing omnipotent search engine that expects a cut of just about every penny we spend. Stop the madness now before its too late - use Google paid services as little as you can and try and circumvent adwords as best you can. Challenge people who think Google is cool and remind them how dangerous it is when so much power and so much business and so much control over business is concentrated in one place. Its time to draw a line and start the counter movement.

Ann Smarty

03/20/2014 05:08 pm

One thing I really sincerely don't get is how were we hurting their business :) I mean this hit hardly effected 0.00000000001% of their queries :)

Ann Smarty

03/20/2014 05:09 pm

Google didn't care to even look at our rules :) They hit us for the name, so there was no escape

Ann Smarty

03/20/2014 05:13 pm

Love it :)


03/20/2014 05:27 pm

Hi Ann, if true, may be they don't want to take the risk and want to send a strong message to hackers. If you did not receive a penalty message in GWT, may be it is your backlink profile that sank you. MBG is in the middle of a blog network and I am sure part of it is infested with spammy/unethical blogs. If they link to you, then you may want to disavow them agressively.

John Romaine

03/20/2014 11:02 pm

Who said anything about EMD's?


03/21/2014 01:17 am

I so love this! They penalized my company site, even though we never published any guest posts and we almost don't have outbound links. I planned to use myblogguest months ago, but i never did. They just took and penalized one by one. Guest blogging wasn't only about the links. It was a great way how to connect writers and publishers. I wonder if any kind of links are safe, or we should use nofollow every time.

Pinky Verma

03/21/2014 04:37 am

Yes, you are right....Guest Blogging is a network between writers and publishers and it should be good for the things!

James andrew

03/21/2014 05:17 am

@disqus_FSgiZo6bmc:disqus When it goes too smart ....

Khalid Irfan

03/21/2014 10:07 am

Check the webmaster tool, you must have got message from google..

Sorina Dascalu

03/21/2014 10:42 am

This expenses scenario can be avoided easely. I'm talking from personal experience. I bought such a domain. I added it immediately to GWT and I received the warning about the backlinks. So I dropped it. Google is not that evil. If you allow it to inform you about your domain it will. You will not spend thousands before knowing the domain was penalized for previous bad SEO.

Harsh Wardhan Singh

03/21/2014 12:40 pm

Ann! I think it is totally cool for you and the rest of us to understand and accept that had anyone among us been holding the same authority, rather any authority at all, we tend to ignore other people's expectations or flexibility they could have enjoyed. As a owner of a blogging network you had to stick to a few things and on those situations, despite contributors asking for flexibility, the set of guidelines that your network followed, stopped them from enjoying the same. I got my hands on this particular piece of evidence: Let me pick up a few lines that MBG had to say regarding this dispute: "But being a member of any community you have to follow the rules. If you are not going to do this (for your own valid reasons) it's kind of obvious that we just can't let you keep breaking the rules, and keep adding no-follow to guest links - our authors do not want this to happen!" If the aforesaid is true then do you really think that Google, as a community and corporation, has done something devastatingly wrong to MBG? As per your argument "Google didn't care to even look at our rules :)" the only thing I have to say in accordance to an authentic proof is Google's prior warning, which you yourself cited: I am not yet that much of an expert or optimization strategist. However, in my common sense I realize a warning of this form can only be delivered once the deliverer (Google) goes through the rules specifically and intricately. I am not trying to be the Google-advocate, neither a spam killing messiah. What I am saying is what I have genuinely felt and try to practice in my daily, professional course of action. No hard feelings. Thanks :)


03/21/2014 12:57 pm

in the past you banned blogs in your network for using nofollow now you maybe understand why.

Ann Smarty

03/21/2014 01:59 pm

No I don't understand "why"


03/21/2014 05:49 pm

but looks like investors not allow them to do it. They just need more and more money!


03/21/2014 06:41 pm

My PR4 blog is PR0 now because I am using MyBlogGuest guest blogging platform and -publishing article through MyBlogGuest... Great... any suggestion Ann?


04/04/2014 11:47 pm

how can i tell if i was hit by penguin i did get a message about increase in to many url not founds...can anyone please help me I am working on helping humanity

Mathew Porter

04/05/2014 11:39 am

Not really, his role influences how we as marketers operate, so we should listen to some of what he says dont you think?


04/05/2014 11:53 am

Only if you need Google-generated traffic to sustain your business. If you don't, you don't have to listen to what he says if you disagree.

Justin Germino

04/09/2014 01:01 pm

I can confirm publishers were hit as well as authors who put articles into the system, all of my sites (which all at one point were part of MBG and hosted as publisher only) were dropped to PR0 the next day, and I have about 3-4 requests from former MBG users to remove the links in their old articles.

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