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Blogger beware: Google hits first guest blog network with penalty

Screenshot of Ann Smarty's Twitter page revealing the MyBlogGuest Google penalty
Screenshot of Ann Smarty's Twitter page revealing the MyBlogGuest Google penalty
Screenshot by Shel Moore

For years, honorable guest blogging provided special interest and niche industry opportunities for collaboration, shared insight, and strong online connections. In general, website owners have been encouraged to reach out and forge relationships to debate, educate, and share different perspectives and information since the introduction of the Internet. In fact, for years, the practice of guest blogging was a creative and innovative method that fostered networking, communication, and sharing among tons of relevant websites. Some blogs or websites needed extra help developing the amount of content they desired, so they formed partnerships with writers and related resources to make this expansion possible. The practice of using high quality guest content on a website was beneficial for providing unique insights on just about any subject imaginable.

Recently, Google penalized MyBlogGuest, a publishing platform that connected writers with website's searching for high quality, relevant content to publish on related websites. This penalty is the first of its kind being one that applies to what Google considers to be a guest blog network. On MyBlogGuest, all content is checked to ensure originality and the publishers that use this platform retain full control over the content they choose to publish and where they link to it. The caveat here seems to be the fact that MyBlogGuest requires a "dofollow" link to selected content's authors. Many believe that Google perceives the writer's link as a form of compensation that provides spammy search marketing benefits.

However, it hardly makes sense to punish the publisher - reported to confirm the manual penalty from Google via Ann Smarty's Twitter account on March 19th. This is especially true when one considers that procedures and standards were already in place to foster quality content for relevant purposes with total control for publishers and writers to decide what and where such content was ultimately published and linked. The MyBlogGuest platform offered a scalable solution for subscribing publishers to connect and exchange with writers. This network provided an affordable means for businesses to expand their production of relevant content. Quality decisions were left to the publishers and writers taking part in the exchange. Today, many search marketers are questioning the motives behind Google's recent penalty, asking, "How is it that MyBlogGuest did anything wrong?" As a result of this development, much of the SEO community is once again facing the drawing board when it comes to ethical link building techniques.

Perhaps, businesses will begin to turn to more social media communication to deflect the power of Google's monopoly on search marketing. Traditional marketing methods have encouraged businesses to build valuable relationships within their industries and communities for decades. Today, it's a matter of extending these same high quality relationships online to generate increased awareness and preference for a company's brand online. Fortunately, Google does not have a stranglehold on social media marketing, so this is a channel that's still open to building relevant and purposeful search marketing clout.

Moving forward, the connections that are made - whether online or offline - must continue to offer increased value to communities providing opportunities for partnership and collaboration. Sadly, more businesses will become resistant to such collaborative and mutually beneficial practices of guest blogging as a result of Google's guest blog network penalty. This will likely reduce the potential for earning relevant links and ultimately impact the overall diversity of perspective and informative connections that's now available. For now, it's more important than ever to carefully consider what content is published and where a website may choose to link to it. It's time for online marketers to slow down, make a cup of hot coffee, and sit down at that drawing board for a long, hard look at their content marketing strategies.