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Google Just Killed MyBlogGuest, Confirming The End Of Guest Blogging For SEO

Google Just Killed MyBlogGuest, Confirming The End Of Guest Blogging For SEO

by Brad MerrillMarch 19, 2014

In January, Google’s Matt Cutts announced the death of guest blogging for SEO, declaring it a link-building tactic of the past.

Today, Cutts announced on Twitter that Google has taken action against a “large guest blog network.” While he did not name which network they targeted, it’s clear beyond all doubt that it was MyBlogGuest.

Indeed, the service no longer ranks for its own brand name, a classic sign of a Google penalty, and it’s nowhere to be found when searching for terms like ‘guest blogging.’


I wrote a post earlier this year titled RIP MyBlogGuest, wherein I described my experiences with the service: despite being an extremely active publisher, VentureBreak was banned for adding a “rel=’nofollow'” attribute to all guest post links. This has been part of our guest posting policy for more than four years, and this was the first time we’d received a complaint about it.

I wrote an email to co-founder Sana Knightly explaining my reasoning—to protect guest bloggers and my network from search engine penalties—and suggesting a mutually beneficial solution to the problem. After a month of waiting, I still hadn’t received a response, so I called them out publicly.

Almost immediately, co-founders Ann Smarty and Sana Knightly came to defend themselves (and chastise me) in the comments section.

“I don’t believe in nofollow,” Ann wrote. “Nofollow is a terrible solution because it encourages bad editors to use free content. […] Until nofollow links become official Google’s requirement [sic], we won’t allow them within MBG.”

I explained to Ann that Google gladly imposes penalties on unnatural links, including self-serving links in guest posts, and other commenters referred her to Matt Cutts’s official words on the subject, but she remained adamant in her position. She even wrote a blog post addressing Cutts’s warnings and essentially telling Google to fuck off.

Today, Ann’s rebellion earned her a big fat Google slap, as I expected.

So what does this mean for guest blogging? It means nofollow your links. That’s all.

Guest blogging isn’t dead—it’s still a great way for us to provide an additional perspective for our audience.

And in return, the guest blogger receives exposure in front of a large readership of entrepreneurs, investors, and business execs, and a chance to showcase their knowledge and experiences.

To me, that’s worth more than a link.

UPDATE: Additional Thoughts On The MyBlogGuest Story

About The Author
Brad Merrill
Brad Merrill is the founder and former editor of VentureBreak.
  • AndyBeard

    Guest bloggers instead should concentrate on measuring the traffic and conversions they receive from their content.
    To do that every link should be a tracking link that can if necessary be modified at a later date, with parameters for Google analytics.

  • Krissy Higgins

    I always wonder if I should change the links, even un sponsored post, to nofollow just to be safe. If I write about a business, or place just because I like it, I think I should be able to link to them without worrying, but I guess its a good idea just to make EVERYTHING a nofollow!

  • Eric Price

    Damn Brad, you’re killing it this week!!

  • Shannon

    As stated on Twitter, Brad, users who abuse the system should be penalized. Using guest blogging to build links is the wrong way to do it. Ann has said that time and again.

    SEOs and link builders are still insisting on using exact match anchor text. THAT is an ongoing problem in guest posting. A severely abused issue if you ask me. Does this mean that all guest posts are bad? No.

    Should MBG be penalized for users who abuse the system (not MBG’s system, abuse guest blogging)? No. The onus has always been on publishing sites to decide on taking a guest post or not. MBG does nothing but help put writers and bloggers together in one place. The rest is up to the publishing site.

    Ann’s belief about “nofollow” links is also mine. The internet is entirely dependent on links, links exist to get from one place to another. That’s a fact.

    Google uses fear mongering tactics to scare users into using “nofollow”. Shall everyone bow down to the mighty Google just because it says so? I think not.

    Google has penalized MBG to make an example, nothing more. Only time will tell in what happens as a result.

    Matt Cutts, as you well know, has been known to backpeddle his claims. Note the update after the fact in his now famous, “Stick a fork in it…” post.

  • frank

    Reason behind MBG penalize is “Brad Merrill”

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  • Jon Payne

    I think the issue here is that members of MBG were expected to follow the community policy of leaving followed links in place.

    However, that conflicts with VB’s clearly stated policy (on the guest posting page) that says they will nofollow the links.

    So you have two policies that simply conflict with each other.

    That in and of itself is not a major issue – just something that needs to be discussed and worked through. What I take issue with (and I suspect what upset Brad) was the way that MBG policed the issue – simply saying “fix it” and not explaining the policy of the MBG community to follow links. And then banning his account shortly thereafter.

    Handled poorly? Yes. Ann Smarty apologized for that and said they could have handled it better. So to me, this is a fairly standard example of someone botching the support/service aspect and in doing so upsetting a customer. Not a first, won’t be a last.

    Now the issue comes into play is whether MBG requiring members to follow links is acceptable or not. Apparently Google says no, and as of today Ann’s post says that MBG will now provide the option to nofollow or follow links.

    Would LOVE to hear Matt Cutts explain the reasoning behind the penalty, as to this point all we have is Ann’s warning message which says that it’s due to links to her site (which I don’t think is accurate).

    • Brad Merrill

      There was no policy conflict at the start of this fiasco. Our terms were stated upfront; theirs were not.

      See the MBG ToS here:

      In case of changes (for future readers), you can use the Wayback Machine.

      In that document there is not a single mention of nofollow vs. dofollow links. In fact, there is a statement that “we do NOT build links here.”

      After I wrote my post in January, they added a checkbox that displays when you accept a guest post that says something along the lines of “I agree not to nofollow any links in this post.” VentureBreak has not participated in the service since that requirement was added.

      I didn’t mention this in any of my coverage, so I wanted to make it clear.

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  • Darren DeMatas

    Hey Brad – I have mixed feelings about the whole “nofollow” concept. I completely agree with you that the value of a guest post far exceeds passing a datapoint in a link algorithm. But I don’t like the fact that we have to take an “extra” step to please Google.

    Here is an example:
    I was working with an authoritative niche site on behalf of a client. The website is “PR” friendly and had an audience that I was trying to reach. While on the phone with the PR person, I asked her to put a “nofollow” tag on the link. There was awkward silence. I could tell she thought I was trying to spam her or something.

    In the end, she messed up the link code and created a broken link back to my clients site. The campaign was very time sensitive and I regretted even mentioning the nofollow.

    Spammers ruined what was a good thing.

    • Brad Merrill

      Definitely agree with you there. I wish there was an easier way to handle this whole thing.

      For those working with WordPress, I just found a plugin that should save a little time: (adds a checkbox in the link dialog for nofollow)

      But when it comes to communicating with people who aren’t familiar with the concept, the problem remains.

      • Darren DeMatas

        Thanks for the reply. Great plugin. I honestly think it has become overly complicated. Google should change their algo, not change site owners.

        • JustWondering013

          Darren you hit it right on the head. Google ~should~ change their algo, among other things. And they should work with the communities that are trying to promote search engine knowledge, not against them. It’s like a game of cat and mouse, whereby Google wants valid sites and site owners to “guess” what might be coming around the bend next time. Or worse to waste hours and days on end “cleaning up” something that was a standard practice a year ago, but is now verboden by Google. That is no way to engage your audience, which includes SEO specialists, whether Google likes it or not.

          Besides which, those who search Google as end-users are already well aware that results are skewed toward certain brands/businesses/segments etc as Google deems worthy (this again is subject to the way the wind blows at any given moment).

          Is it really Google’s hope to make Search Engine Optimization irrelevant? They might find, down the pipeline that they’ll be the next to go. Most everyone I know goes to Facebook, Twitter, Amazon or Yelp for searches these days, and the rest are gradually mentioning DuckDuckGo, as privacy becomes a bigger concern. It is certainly not beyond the realm of possibilities that Google may find its usage dropping off. Several other large search engines sat on the throne and then were summarily dethroned, by the masses, in a heartbeat.

          • Brad Merrill

            You and people you know don’t use Google search on a regular basis? That surprises me. I don’t know anyone who uses anything but Google for web searches.

            And I know people at Microsoft.

          • JustWondering013

            Oh, well … Microsoft. That’s the litmus test?

            There’s a large number of real people who are moving away from Google. Don’t know where you’d get the numbers on that, since no one wants to take on Goliath, but it is, what it is.

            Of course, we’re not I.T. pros, nor are we in Silicon Valley (or related west coast areas).

          • Brad Merrill

            Definitely don’t mean to imply that there aren’t viable alternatives. Some of them are really good. But to a lot of people, Google is synonymous with the Web.

          • JustWondering013

            True enough. I travel in a large group of skeptics and literary types, so there’s that.

            It’s still a behemoth, no doubt.

            Then again, so was AOL, once upon a time.

          • Brad Merrill

            It’s true. The original walled garden.

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  • Christopher Skyi

    I understand, or — rather — understood (now that MGB is dead) Amy’s position on no-follow, but in the end, MGB did become a great big link scheme, though that was not Amy’s intent,. Bad SEOs, once again, spammed the hell out of good idea, and Amy couldn’t stop that . . .

  • Bright Verge

    Thank you! I was totally lost and had no idea about the action=register function until I imitated yours. I ended up using that, combined with the SI Captcha plugin and the User Submitted Posts plugin which im using and gocime.Com My only beef is that it requires the new user/guest poster to deal with two different pages to first register and then submit the post. I hope some developer out there is working on a plugin that combines it all so it’s more intuitive for the guest……..

  • Bright Verge

    Thank you! I was totally lost and had no idea about the action=register function until I imitated yours. I ended up using that, combined with the SI Captcha plugin and the User Submitted Posts plugin which im using and gocime.Com My only beef is that it requires the new user/guest poster to deal with two different pages to first register and then submit the post. I hope some developer out there is working on a plugin that combines it all so it’s more intuitive for the guest. Thanks…