Google did that again; unleashing web spam and search ranking penalization to not one but two major websites.
When I saw that news on Twitter, I knew that the search engine world is changing and damn, it is changing rapidly.
Matt Cutt’s said previously that we should be careful and not abusing guest blogging. While many took that seriously, there are still some who continue doing it.
But hey, they aren’t wrong and they are probably doing everything by the book.
As usual, Google is known for breaking things that works and penalized two sites from the face of search engine (literally). MyBlogGuest was nowhere to be found on Google front row pages and Portent Inc. who went from page 1 of Google to page 60.
Words from Ann Smarty on Twitter:
[Official] Even though #myblogguest has been against paying for links (unlike other platforms), @mattcutts team decided to penalize us…
‘” Ann Smarty (@seosmarty) March 19, 2014
And Ian Lurie from Portent Inc.:
Update on #portentgate – it looks like we have 2-3 posts we did using a service that just got penalized. Could that have done it?…
‘” Ian Lurie (@portentint) March 20, 2014
So, what the @#$% is wrong with them or Google?
At the moment, the only confirmed updates are MyBlogGuest is a huge guest blogging sphere while Portent Inc. is a popular marketing agency. And the only linking between both Portent Inc. and MyBlogGuest is that they (Portent Inc.) have several guest posts published on MyBlogGuest.
Words on the street are that MyBlogGuest’s database is affected but until this get verified, it will remain as a mystery, shall we?
We all know MyBlogGuest and it is managed by the popular Ann Smarty. For me, MyBlogGuest is a great place for knowledge and for many, it is a huge filled with knowledge.
Another question that comes to this is that does link building is more important that content quality, length and another dozen reasons more we have always been doing?
Yes, go figure and tell me what you think using the comment form below.
So, what is guest blogging all about?
Guest blogging is a ‘feature’ where webmasters of certain domains would allow other bloggers to submit or publish their posts on the site. This is a win-win situation where webmasters would be able to maintain the freshness of the site while the guest bloggers would get at least one backlink to their own blogs.
Personally, this is one of the greatest link building technique where you are able to get quality links and building your authority at the same time.
While this is close to a completely white hat link building technique, many bloggers are (indirectly) abusing the link building cycle. This means that you can literally gain as many backlinks as possible even if your website is below par … as long as you are constantly submitting guest posts.
Therefore, excessive guest blogging would lead to many Google penalization and as well as manual web spam.
Ultimately, this leads to the next question.
Question: Should you continue to submit or accept guest blogging?
Do it if you wish ‘¦ but do it with moderation.
Guest bloggings are meant to be quality and probably one of your best article creations with hours of hard work put in it.
Don’t just submit your article to a dozen websites but instead, submit just a handful of articles to the right and related websites.
1. Before submitting guest blogging (checklist and tutorial)
If you want to submit articles to websites, make sure you are providing quality articles. Most of the time, majority of the blogger would say that they are submitting top notch quality and a simple read through will know that those are really bad.
If you are putting a high bar and expectation on your own guest blogging, you need to raise it even higher now.
Search engine is changing and it is getting tougher!
2. Before accepting guest blogging
If you happen to accept guest blogging, don’t panic. Here are things you need to do in sequence:
- Check each articles for dead links and low quality posts
- Contact the guest blogger and ask if he or she would like to update the post(s)
- Repeat and rinse these steps on a monthly basis
While this is extremely time consuming, the effort taken would benefit you in a long run; avoiding yourself from being penalized by Google.
What to do if you found manual web spam notification on Webmaster Tool?
If your blog is PageRank 2 and below … plus, guest blogging isn’t your main backlink method, then you should be just fine.
However, let’s say Google really hates you and you get a manual web spam notification. On average, it would take place immediately in terms of ranking effects but I usually see them in action between 3 to 7 days.
So, this means that you have 72 hours (minus the sleep) to rectify it immediately. It doesn’t take you long but here are the steps you need to do:
- Use backlink checker tools such as AhRefs, MajesticSEO or SEO PowerSuite to get a list of all your backlinks
- Export them into an excel form or format
- Check each link that is linking back to your website and do it with cautions (this means that even a single backlink to your site should be ‘˜flagged’)
- Copy those domains into another excel tab and check for their PageRank, Domain Authority, Page Authority and anchor texts linking to those domains
- Separate them into three lists such as Safe, Moderate and Dangerous (if you notice any domain is at risk of being penalized, place them in the Dangerous list)
- Contact each of the webmasters in the Dangerous list and ask for amendment in guest post or remove the links
- You should keep an eye on those domains in the Moderate list and if there any change in ranking (weekly basis), you can decide to move them to Safe or Dangerous list respectively
Help! I am lazy and I don’t have the time, but I don’t want Google to penalize my blog
Okay, the above 7 steps are not one-time jobs. Instead, those are your daily to-do lists to be honest.
Guess what? Among us, there would be those who have thought about going shortcut.
Example: How about I send the full list of Dangerous to Google Disavow directly. Would that be faster?
Honestly speaking, that would be not faster but lighting fast.
But wait! There’s a downside of this and a huge one to be honest.
Imagine you send the list of domains on a weekly or monthly basis to Google for disavowing. Have you ever wonder what Google will think about you?
- You are plain lazy
- You are doing black hat SEO and in a rush to clear all your bad links
- Trying to come clean when you are not (or even if you are)
I would always go against using Google Disavow tool unless you have really tried to contact the webmaster of the site simply because it doesn’t matter how much white hat SEO you do, Google will still try to find your mistake (here’s my case study).
And in most cases, Google will consider you guilty until proven otherwise. Ouch!
So, what’s the new SEO strategy you should be using now? Some Q’s & A’s:
Should I be submitting my guest blogging? ~ If you are doing it heavily, cut it down or reduce the numbers.
As I have over 100 guest posts, do I need to be worried? ~ Yes if you are submitting to random sites. No if you are selecting guest posting sites like choosing your husband or wife.
What should I do if my blog has a lot of guest posts? ~ Start checking all your blog posts and the links in them. Remove which ever are low in quality.
What do you think the future of guest blogging?
While I would say this event has changed everything we know about guest blogging, there is still no reason why we should doubt the ability of guest blogging.
The problem would lies in us where we tend to abuse the search engine ecosystem and indirectly, creating a huge loophole for unnatural link building.
Do you have any thoughts about guest blogging? Tell me what you think using the comment form below.