When guest blogging network MyBlogGuest got hit by a Google penalty, website owner Ann Smarty tweeted that she didn’t think their publishers would be penalized. Based on several observations by their publishers and a hint from Matt Cutts, however, it seems that Smarty might have thought wrong.

MyBlogGuest publisher Jill Armour replied to Smarty’s tweet to ask Cutts if her website’s sudden ranking drop is because of MBG:

Cutts responded a few hours later:

What did Smarty have to say about this response? Her reply was simple, but the message can be heard loud and clear:

Armour is not the only one who observed a decrease in rankings. Search Engine Land says they have 220 comments from publishers saying they observed similar drops and received manual action notifications.

On SERoundtable, a user going by the handle “mbg small publisher” also said: “I’ve posted 100’s of articles from myblogguest.com and this morning I received a message in WMT saying “Unnatural links from your site”. Cooincidence? [sic] Hmm…” This might be because of their other links, though, as they claim to have “10,000 external links (50k+ pages indexed)”, with MBG making up only about 3.5% of them.

Does this mean that all MBG publishers will be receiving a penalty? Probably not. A publisher claimed that she used MBG frequently when it was new, but had not been using it for the past two years. She has not received a manual penalty or observed a decline in traffic, even though the site has “a large number” of links from MBG.

Marie Haynes, creator of MyTrafficDropped.com, speculates that Google may have gathered a list of websites that used MBG, and is reviewing the manually to determine which ones to penalize.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, it always pays to keep your links clean. Conducting a thorough link audit, especially if relied on massive link building efforts in the past, could save you from ranking drops and manual penalties.

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