Ann Smarty of MyBlogGuest Responds To Google Penalty

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Ann Smarty of MyBlogGuest Responds To Google Penalty

Matt Cutts broke the news via Twitter early this morning that Google’s webspam team had penalized a “large guest blog network.”

Matt did not identify the blog network, and at the time of this writing hasn’t publicly said anything further.

Ann Smarty of MyBlogGuest later confirmed on Twitter that it was her site that received the penalty:

Ann Smarty’s Response to Google’s Action Against MyBlogGuest

Despite having a speaking engagement at Pubcon New Orleans today, Ann managed to find the time to provide a comment to Search Engine Journal:

Yes, we realize and recognize the problem of many people abusing our community. We have invested lots of effort in educating our community members on how to do guest blogging right. We have been fighting paid links, duplicate content issues, link farms, etc for years. We have had some awesome success stories from our members and we have always believed in adding value to the web.

Have we deserved the “hit” (now I know what that means lol!)? I’ll let the community decide. So far we’ve had some amazing support from the community which I could not be more thankful for!

The reality is, Matt Cutts is using us for the PR game: To get more people scared. We are the hugest guest blogging brand out there: He could not have got more publicity by hitting anyone else.

The future? I’ll be honest. I am not sure yet. I am a human being and as much as I believe in doing the “right thing”, I am getting tired of all that publicity. We’ll re-brand out of “guest blogging” niche in the near future (we’ve been working on more functionality for a few months now and we have lots of features allowing to connect to influencers already in place now). We’ll keep supporting and helping our community members and advocates as much as we can.

We have some great technology and we’ve build the most awesome team in the world. I’ll fight for them and you’ll hear more from us in the near future!

The internet marketing community was quick to respond. While some seemed to think a ban was “inevitable”, sentiment currently seems to be trending in support of MyBlogGuest, some using the hashtag #isupportmyblogguest.

Ann continues stand by MyBlogGuest’s linking policy, stating via Twitter that even in light of this penalty, MyBlogGuest will continue to not use “nofollow” tags.

I’d love to hear what SEJ readers think about all of this. Do you think deserves to be penalized (apparently) because some of the members use it for purposes that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines?


Featured Image Credit: Screenshot taken March 2014

Matt Southern
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing... Read Full Bio
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  • Alex Miklin

    Very interesting. I guess he wasn’t kidding when he said guest blogging is going away. Well, they still have a PA of 70 and DA of 64, so does that not change? Should Webmasters need to disavow old links from the site?

    • Jim

      PA and DA… you mean from OSE? That’ll probably get updated, but keep in mind that’s calculated off of link metrics of moz trying to reverse engineer Google’s algo, and you won’t automatically see manual penalties accounted for if or until its adjusted on moz’s end.

  • Haris

    Doesn’t surprise me. MyBlogGuest has gone downhill recently. Every time I tried to get an article published I get blog owners responding with wanting a “fee” paid. MBG has been good at removing offers that do that but not enough people are reporting so there’s too much scam going on.

    • Andy Morley

      I found that the number of good offers and number of high quality sites dropped massively over the last 6months. And articles would sit there for weeks in some cases before any offers came in, I canceled my pro account as a result

  • Tom Binga

    I’ve had 2 guest posts from MyBlogGuest posted onto my blog. They were legit articles and had zero dupe content.

    My question is, and this may sound crazy, but how exactly did they penalize MBG? The site itself? Or articles that have been published across the web that were obtained from MBG?

    If its the latter, which doesnt seem possible (how the hell would Google know?), what should the next step be? Should I get rid of those posts?

    • Naser

      Tom, they penalized MBG as well as the blogs which hosted the content from MBG. Many sites got their PR stripped to zero and rankings down. The reason stated in Google Webmaster Tools was Unnatural amount of outbound links 🙁

  • ivanpw

    I think it’s ridiculous. Google knows very well that managing a community of users is difficult.

    MyBlogGuest is doing whatever it can to ensure the community follow the guidelines (they have a lengthy guide on this), but still, a few just slips away, naturally

    What about Google? What about those low quality sites which still rank high on search engines using shady link tactics and strategy? Shouldn’t Google penalize itself for ranking those sites?

    But then again, Google has every right to ensure everything is according to its very own TOS. It’s just their best interest. This is a tough issue, really.

  • Jeric

    I think MyBlogguest don’t deserves to be penalized. The one who must be penalized here are the companies or websites doing paid links and duplicate content for guest post.

  • Ryan Scott

    I’ve used MBG for a couple of companies I worked for. It’s definitely going downhill fast, and I canceled my membership about 2 months ago. Very low-quality sites and not many “influencer” relationships to be found. It’s turned into mostly junk sites all bidding for your articles or trying to get inbound links for themselves.

    While I hate Google’s pathetic attempts at anti-spam, which never work for more than a week, MBG isn’t a valuable resource to me anymore, or any serious marketer that I’ve seen.

  • Robert Bruce

    MyBlogGuest refuses to play by the rules. Therefore they pay the price. Is it right? No. But it’s reality. Google makes the rules and we all play by them if we want to be indexed in their search engine. It’s neither here nor there – just reality. I hate the Google PR machine and use of FUD’s as much as anyone, but G is the sensei and we are nothing but the muses.

    • Luana S.

      But we’re NOT forced to be the muses, Robert. We are only as long as we make Google the center of our marketing strategy. I have been experimenting with promotion and content creation with Google taken out of the equation and it’s working oh-so-well. 🙂 I enjoy the freedom, too, as I don’t have to abide by anybody’s rules but mine and common sense/respect for others.

      The real problem with Google is the ‘religion’ built around it. Remove that, you’re free, and Google is back to being just another search engine and some web services.

      – Luana

      • Allen Taylor

        That’s absolutely right, Luana. No one is FORCED to do as Google says. It’s a choice. And they’re not rules. They’re guidelines. Play to your audience, not someone else’s business model.

      • pkriloff

        Not building around Google is, ironically, what Google has always said it wants. Cutts has been telling people for a long time to do precisely what Allen Taylor suggests in his reply: play to your audience.

        A site dedicated to letting publish content and get it in front of an audience with nofollow tags would actually still be a really useful thing – good content will rise to the top, people can get exposure for their sites (nofollow traffic can be sizeable), and they’ll get a following. It may not be as obvious as getting links that pass page rank, but maybe SEO’s need to be more imaginative about building rank long-term?

  • Nimra Alam

    I don’t see any reason for the penalize of MyBlogGuest, It’s just a community thousands of bloggers use to connect with each other. Google really needs to think over it,

  • Shubham Patodi

    Another example by Google that proves them a dictator. It seems Google is trying to rule the Internet marketing world by their services only. But still Google has the all cards in its hand so we can just follow it…. 😛 😛

  • Mark H.

    I don’t think that MBG deserves this penalty. But hope they will learn from this and don’t allow those who are having very low PR to post on MBG.

    Even I have seen many people on MBG having very less web PR asking for the Guest blog and offering more links in return. This practice should be eradicated and MBG should not allow such people to post their offerings on MBG or they should keep a moderator in between, who keep a check on this and after reviewing only publish their posts (if that follow their guidelines).

  • Ozair

    I think its not new and Google is making the web more miserable by giving Punishment to the owner of My Blog Guest instead of the members of My Blog Guest who are misusing it.

    Really!!!! Amazing to see that. Its become an online Mafia like thing.

  • Kumar

    I am using MyBlogGuest since last year. They have strict guideline to follow and publish the guest post. It has great PR, DA, Link etc… means a great brand. So, could not understand why Google penalized MBG?

  • Ryan Biddulph

    I support Ann and MBG, and they will continue to prosper. Some seem to forget; Google, although they are THE player is not the end all and be all because we are creating the content to place in search engines. They can penalize, but if we keep upping our game, AND refuse to post garbage guest spots, all will be fine.

    Only fools or those with no vision panic in moments like these 😉

    • James R. Halloran

      Amen to that!

  • Tim Capper

    The whole issue with MBG is the removal of editorial control over the link attribute, it has to remain “dofollow”.

    NOW: having said this, Google needs to be Fair, if they penalise MBG and its users, then they MUST take action against the big boys like Tripadvisor. The link attribute in the widget has to remain “dofollow”, if you change it to “nofollow” then the widget breaks – this is clearly removing the editorial control.

    So my point is, if Google takes, has taken this line with MGB, then they must take the same action against the countless big players that do the same.

  • Vishal verma

    What about other networks which takes and pays money for guest post. There are lots of guest posting sites still out there..why not punish them all…If you can’t do that..just remove Page Rank metrics from Algorithm…or remove all PR from Toolbar.

  • Barry

    Pretty poor action from Google. I can understand they are playing a PR game but this isnt the way to go about it IMO. Did MBG get much traffic from Google anyway? They should concentrate on building up their direct traffic and other channels.

  • Michael Curtis

    Did MBG itself do anything in contrast to Google’s Webmaster guidelines? Was it appearing in search off the back of paid links designed to manipulate PageRank? Was there any evidence of machine-generated spam designed to increase the visibility of MBG in the SERPS? What specific parts of the Webmaster Guidelines did MBG breach? I’m buggered if I can think of anything.

    MBG was penalised not because of what they’ve done, but who they are – because Google didn’t like the sorts of discussions that were happening there because it makes their teams job harder. The implications of Google actively censoring conversations from their audience, given the scale of their monopoly and the amount of influence they have over what we read and therefore know, is pretty chilling.

    MBG wasn’t a ‘link network’, it was a forum where discussions Google didn’t like happened. So they killed it.

  • Rifat

    Google always against web spam I support them but I can’t support Google decision to panelized MBG. I am using MBG from couple of years ago. I found there are lots of spam blogger but MBG strictly maintain their quality and punish spammer. Ann carry on we all are with you.

  • Brett Dixon (@BrettDixon)

    I’m entirely supportive of MBG getting a penalty: It’s nothing more than a glorified link network.

    They can’t play the “We don’t do it for links / SEO” card when their website homepage pitch identifies them as a good way to build links and the fact they insist on “DoFollow” links.

    There is no reason, other than to manipulate search results you’d insist on DoFollows (thus removing editorial control).

    I struggle to understand why anyone would have a problem with this: If your site was number 1 in Google after investing your time and resources into building your reputation and brand etc, how would you feel if a low quality site kicked you off the top spot simply because they’ve published a tonne of low quality guest posts on low quality sites and obtained backlinks?

    SEO is NOT a “Who can buy / build the most links or get the most guest posts” competition – and it shouldn’t be.

    • Dominique J.

      I disagee. The reason MBG insists on having dofollow links in guest posts is because they feel that if someone writes a great article, they deserve some type of acknowledgement.

      Let’s say someone has a blog that doesn’t get much traffic, and isn’t well known. The chances of them getting people to guest post on their site are very slim because writers woudn’t have anything to gain. If they want people to guest blog for their site, they have to be able to offer something to give writers a reason to write for them. Allowing a do-follow link in the byline shouldn’t be a problem.

      The problem with guest blogging is not sites like MBG. It’s the people publishing low quality guest posts, and the people writing those low quality guest posts. MBG does not tell blog owners that they have to accept any posts that gets offered They don’t tell blog owners that they have to allow keyword rich anchor text. It’s up to the blog owners to decide what they allow.

      Google penalized the wrong people.

    • Haris

      Precisely. MBG advocates and encourages publishers to keep dofollow links, but that is exactly what Google is against. You are not supposed to control or influence the publishers’ editorial oversight.

      It has simply become a network of let’s trade articles for DOFOLLOW backlinks, which pass PageRank, which is against Google Webmaster Guidelines.

      If MBG wants to survive, they will need to give more control to publishers, get rid of spammers and crack down on paid guest posting offers.

      • Dominique J.

        But don’t you see the irony in that? By telling blog owners that they have to use no-follow links in guest posts, Google is controlling/influencing the publisher’s editorial oversight.

        And Google runs ads for sites that offer paid guest posting services. If they’re really trying to cut back on it, then why don’t they stop running ads for the sites that offer the services? If they’re really going to play this whole “we’re against guest blogging for SEO purposes” card, then they need to put their money where their mouth is and stop taking money from these services.

        It’s pretty clear what’s going on here..

  • Diptimayee

    Google had warned about penalty for guest blogging earlier & they targeted the biggest network. I’ll not say that it’s a PR game of Google but Google should penalize other paid networks whose are openly violating its guidelines.

    This network is the biggest one & no doubt there would be some users who have been polluting the network, so Google might have taken the action against the network.

    I would like to appreciate Ann for deciding about not to use nofollow tag in the network. I think with little changes in the network on issues like scrape content etc the action would be lifted by Google in future.

  • Fed Up with the FUD

    “These are our rules (this year…) and if you don’t like it we’ll trash your business to make an example out of you.” Google is looking more and more like the bully in the schoolyard.

  • fuzzone

    We really need to wake up to the fact that Google would reward (at least most times) businesses doing great marketing. Business building great products or offering superior services and shouting out what they do through the right channels with their target audience.

    Lets take a few steps back and think why I would have wanted to use MyBlogGuest as a marketer – the answer is purely for SEO play i.e. for backlinks. Which is a total wrong angle from a digital marketing standpoint.

    However, if my intention for using MyBlogGuest was to reach entirely new audience and to genuinely promote my brand to PEOPLE i.e. an AUDIENCE and not to ACQUIRE links for ‘better SEO’ then it would be different conversation. Link could be a by-product of my efforts.

    We tried MyBlogGuest in the past and stopped using it due to its irrelevance and the general poor quality of sites on it.

    • Allen Taylor


  • Kunle Campbell

    We really need to wake up to the fact that Google would reward (at least most times) businesses doing great marketing. Business building great products or offering superior services and shouting out what they do through the right channels with their target audience.

    Lets take a few steps back and think why I would have wanted to use MyBlogGuest as a marketer – the answer is purely for backlink-SEO play i.e. for backlinks. Which is a total wrong angle from a digital marketing standpoint.

    However, if my intention for using MyBlogGuest was to reach a relevant audience and to genuinely promote my brand to PEOPLE i.e. an AUDIENCE and not to ACQUIRE links for ‘better SEO’ then it would be different conversation. Links could be a by-product of my efforts.

    We tried MyBlogGuest in the past and stopped using it due to its irrelevance and the general poor quality of sites on it.

  • Michael Horst

    Google has entirely too much clout on the web, where they can decide, at will, who is worthy to be seen on the internet and who is not. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, as the old saying goes.
    I can understand Google being concerned about their search results and wanting to provide users with a great experience. Punishing an entire company, however, because of the actions of a few of its users seems almost communist to me. If Google places so much pride in their algorithm, they should formulate it to target individuals, not entire websites. Now, if MyBlogGuest was in fact a malicious link farm, I could understand the penalty. However, they are not, and I have to agree with some of the sentiment from Twitter and other places, that this is nothing more than a PR campaign by Google. Disappointing, to say the least.

  • Jon Aston

    Google has too much power. There should be a webspam consortium. That and I’m just generally sick of Matt Cutts.

  • Allen Taylor

    Whether MyBlogGuest deserves the penalty or not is someone else’s call. I don’t know whether they do or don’t. But I disagree with those who say that Google should target individual users. If you didn’t see this coming, then you don’t know Google.

    The idea is to put pressure on the influencers so that they will in turn use their influence to correct the misbehavior that Google is seeking to end.

    Google isn’t God. They can’t police the entire Internet by themselves. If you base your livelihood on helping webmasters increase their link portfolios using a tactic that is known for producing a lot of spam, then you should expect at some point to be pulled over for speeding. It’s happened to much bigger sites than MBG (name any article directory). Agree or disagree with the policy, if you don’t like spam, then consider the alternative.

  • TheDudeDean

    Matt Cutts and Google can suck it. Hope they let you out of the sandbox soon Ann…

  • Dominique J.

    I had a bunch of stuff I was going to write about this, but really, I’ll just let you think about this…

    If Google is so concerned with the integrity of their search results, then they should stop accepting money from AdWords advertisers who “break the rules” of their SEO best practices. After all, they show up in the search results too (and ahead of the organic listings might I add).

    According to Google, MBG violates their terms which is why they were penalized. But I bet you Google wouldn’t turn down money from MBG if they wanted to run an AdWords campaign. Heck, they could even show up at the very top of the results. So basically what they’re saying is that they can overlook what they stand for as long as you’re paying them. Now who’s for sale?

    Just look at the ads that come up when you search for terms related to “guest blogging”. See what some of the sites running the ads are promoting. I won’t specify any sites, but there are plenty offering “PR1-PR9 sites”, “permanent backlinks”, etc.

    If you honestly believe that Google penalized MBG just because they don’t agree with their methods, you’re kidding yourself.

    If you’re willing to pay for ads and your site isn’t promoting anything illegal or adult rated, for some reason Google doesn’t seem to care as much about your link building tactics. But if you’re not giving Google anything, then it’s an issue. And this is coming from someone who generally likes Google and uses their products.

  • Mike Shaw

    My Blog Guest (MBG) is a fantastic platform that has helped many small business who don’t have the budget to hire copywriters, yet who are aware of the power of publishing quality content. Now this membership is being attacked by Google and as a result going to hurt an extension of other involved with the program.

    Not everyone is a spammer, not everyone is trying to game the system, small businesses are been battered over the head about how important fresh, relevant, content is and so have gone about in the best way they know how.

    WHY? What is the reason for My Blog Guest being penalized? I have not seen a response from Matt Cutts giving a reason! I don’t see how the Google guidelines have been violated? Links have not been sold, content is review to prevent duplicate copy? It makes no sense.

    I know that some people use it for SEO purposes, but even then My Blog Guest restricts the number personal links and makes sure that other informative links are added to ensure quality standards. MBG are on Google’s side, they are making sure the user’s comply with the guidelines and and yet Ann Smarty and her team are getting this ridiculous penalty.

    Come on Google, pull it together, revoke the penalty and go after the real spammers.

  • Adam

    MBG is a website, not a network. Unless they provided their own websites in the service (I don’t think they did). Either Cutts doesn’t understand the MBG model or this was not the “network” hit.

  • PoxedOffWithGoogle

    So what’s next for Google to bash for no reason. Create quality content and you will rank… yeah right if you say so, as it’s not what i am seeing across multiple niches, still thin, scraper content ranking and sites using blackhat seo. Here we have a company that tapped into wireless networks without authorisation whilst creating street view and tried to pass it as a technical error ( highly trustworthy, do no evil, don’t make me laugh ). A company who’s own products like Google + are a pain to navigate ( create a good user experience they say, make navigation simple etc, maybe they should practice what they preach ). Like many webmasters i am totally fed up with Google’s monopoly and strangle hold on the net. Us the people created the internet not Google, without us there would be nothing to search for. Come on please someone make a search engine that will cut into the monopoly. More and more Adwords clients is the goal post to keep the Big G’s shareholders happy. No company should have the ablity to wipe out another companies revenue overnight without prior warning ( and that don’t mean cryptic clues from the master of mirrors and smokescreens Matt Cutts ). Thousands of jobs have been lost with all these updates and the only company getting bigger is Google.Anne Smarty keep your chin up and soldier on. Google carry on upsetting the internet community, at some point the scales might tip and we might all switch to Bing just to spite you. And no i have not had sites hit with penalties but i cannot stand monopolies or dictators UP THE ANTI GOOGLE REVOLUTION LOL.

    • TheTruth

      I hope you don’t charge people for your services. Seems like all you can do is pay for links through companies like MBG; having to pay a monthly fee for premium membership so you can post articles for others to publish is buying links. When that collapses the only thing you can do is moan about Google and their policies. Up your SEO strategy. And stop saying we’ll all switch to Bing to spite Google. Average, non-SEO, internet users use Google; they’re not gonna switch what they use and are familiar with just because some D- SEOs don’t know what they’re doing.

  • Julius

    Hmmm… I would agree if they penalize those that are not following the content and link guidelines or any blackhat methods instead of MGB.

    • TheTruth

      That’s just the thing, MGB is making it so anyone using their service has to break the link guidelines.

  • Glenn D. Bearsky

    I can’t help but envision Matt Cutts in a blonde wig and pantsuit emulating Bridget Anne Kelly of Chris Christie’s George Washington Bridge scandal. He’s issued another edict reminiscent of: “TIME FOR SOME TRAFFIC PROBLEMS IN FORT LEE”

    Ah, Google’s ‘New Jersey Style’ SEO politics at it’s best!

  • Warner Carter

    Google should be supporting sites like My Blog Guest that have stood for quality and made a real effort to educate people how to be good contributors on the web.

  • DC Zhen

    Someone had to be made an example of and I guess Ann Smarty was the unlucky one. Does My Blog Guest deserves to be penalized? Doesn’t matter what we think, that’s right up mighty Google’s alley unfortunately. (although there are other guest blogging sites that probably deserve it more than MBG)

  • Vikas

    Now google will block one by one website or network. instead they should try to improve their algo part for detect and punish policy violation.

    • zeeshan

      blocking these networks is also a part of algo improvments i guess.

  • ankur

    I think they have penalize the whole publisher network of MBG. My PR fall last day to 0. I published some guestpost form MBG.

    • ivanpw

      Yes, I can confirm that this is the case.

  • nashoati

    Many people used guest blogging network blog as a way of link building and also a reputation where they can connect with other bloggers. But now it has been put an end. So the future of ranking articles would be mostly on quality than any other methods for search engine ranking.
    MyBlogGuest also became a place for link building rather than a aim to guest post. I mean the quality decreased and the quantity increased in terms of articles and now it got the reward for it.

  • Stacy

    I’ve used MBG in the past, and some of those posts were linked to by sites like the Boss Blog – New York Times site. I think this kind of sucks that Google took aim at MBG and sites that chose quality posts from it to publish. I’ve had quality posts from MBG — and some not so great ones that I’ve rejected. It has been a great experience that brought a major news site to link to mine on multiple occasions.

  • Ravi Verma

    These days spammers are aquiring the place rather than quality blogs.Instead of penalizing, they must improve their algorithms to detect spammy sites more better.

  • Kingsley

    I have been using myblogguest since 2012, and I was affected by the recent update. Lost my PR of 2 blogs link to myblogguest I don’t know why.

  • Kingsley

    You are right, my 2 blogs lost it’s PR, I don’t think we are getting it back.

  • Kostas Chiotis

    I think it’s time we bloggers start promoting alternative search engines heavily, no company should have so much power on the entire Internet as Google has right now, let’s give a lesson to Google! YOU ARE THE NEXT MICROSOFT!!!

  • Rohit Jain

    Google should change its algorithm instead of penalizing a guest blogging networks, it should refine and work towards quality of content rather than manually going after such networks. Social signals from important platforms should be given more importance to address such issues.

    • Thomas

      but that would be too easy and cuttz wouldnt be be able to shame anyone…. and he’d have no job :/

  • Tim

    I’m not even sure why they penalized MBG network, because as far as I know, they weren’t doing any blackhat SEO for their site. Just because they have a site which allows people to find other people for guest posting (not paid links), I don’t think this actually breaks Google TOS.

  • Ronald Jakarta

    I think this is a decision that was done which is a continuation about “Selling link Penalized”, since Google can’t check one by one who selling link and who as Guest Post.

  • Bill Larg

    Maybe google should penalize their own sites:

    – All sites linking to and from
    – All sites linking to and from

    After all, just like myblogguest, some portion of the users abused the platform in ways that the owner did not recommend or promote.

  • Howard Graham

    Google is only destroying the way of improving ranking of site.

  • Joe Caine

    Google seems to have reached a plateau in the capabilities of their search engine technologies if they are having to resort to site level actions and penalizing quest posting, regardless of quality. I have used MyBlogGuest for years and received excellent content after sifting through lesser quality offers. As a result, I did provide a “dofollow” link because I thought that each author I accepted was someone who had something to offer. Now Google has decided that these authors cannot be trusted.

    I really think that we should just nofollow all external links on our sites and force the Goog Fellas to fix their algorithm.

  • Hassan Tariq

    When is Matt Cutts going break a good news from Google? Tired of hearing today we hit that guy, tomorrow we are going to hit that guy in the corner. These moves only makes the SEO guys scared.

  • Alan Fuller

    @joe Caine, thats is where it is going, we will become too afraid and all links will become nofollow and the whole success of Google is based on link juice counting, so eventually the whole house of cards will come crashing down. I’m off to invent a better algo 🙂

  • Jarrett Holmes

    Google rules the world and unfortunately they are the judge and executioner and no one judges or can execute them. They are the biggest monopoly there is. Heinous.