Google Taking Action Against Guest Posting Blogs

googleavatar size Google Taking Action Against Guest Posting Blogs

I’m not sure if these are isolated incidents or Google just being Google, but I’ve received messages from 5 different webmasters that have stated they have received a site-wide penalisation for “Unnatural outbound links”. These are predominantly from bloggers that have excessively used guest blogging as a way to gather a constant stream of articles on their blogs. It’s interesting actually because Google has ramped up its assault on guest blogging in general, with Matt Cutts’ recent blog post on the “decay of guest blogging” hitting the industry succinctly last month.

This is the message they’ve received in Google Webmaster Tools: : Unnatural outbound links

Google has detected a pattern of artificial or unnatural links on this site. Selling links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. As a result of unnatural links from your site, Google has applied a manual spam action to There may be other actions on your site or parts of your site.

What have I advised them to do?

The 5 websites that I mentioned at the beginning of this article have all lost their toolbar PageRank, as a result of this. I’ve advised them to actually nofollow or either remove outgoing links on their blogs and to not accept further guest posts until they have sorted out the mess they are now in. Most of them use WordPress, and I’ve recommended an amazing free WordPress plugin that will do the job fairly easily for them. It’s called Outbound Link Manager, a WordPress Plugin that identifies all the external links on your website and allows you to either remove or nofollow them. I recently used this tool on a blog that I purchased and found that the blog was plagued with external links that had no relevancy to the blog’s topic, so I simply nofollow’d  and removed quite a few of those links doing this with the help of the aforementioned WordPress plugin.

What can you do to avoid getting in this sort of trouble?

Stop accepting guest posts en-masse. I carefully vet any guest post article that goes on this blog. In fact, I’ve only allowed two guest posts on here, as a result of over 100 people contacting me to guest post on here. What people don’t seem to realise is that I actually read what they are writing about to see if what they are writing about actually has any real value or is just another rehashed version of what they’ve written before. (Thank you, Google exact match phrase search option) You just need to be more careful with who you allow to guest post on your website; it’s really as simple as that.

Author: Jonathan Jones

I first first started creating websites back in 2005. This led me to creating a free web hosting business in 2007, which still exists today. I ventured into creating types of websites such as blogs and forums using Wordpress, vBulletin, Invision Power Board, Drupal and Joomla. I've since worked on some of the leading brands in the UK finance sector, in the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) field, and now work for MoneySuperMarket, the #1 price comparison website in the UK. Social: Google+ and Twitter.

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  1. Hey Jonny,

    Thanks for not mentioning my website! Ha.

    That WordPress app is actually quite good. I’ve deleted & nofollowed over 100 links.

    Hopefully I’ll be out of the sandbox in no time. Either way, I was kind of expecting this with the amount of guest posting that I accepted. The odd thing is that all these posts that I submitted were of high quality… I guess the websites that were being linked to in those articles weren’t so good, which is why Google penalised me.

  2. I’ve seen this a lot and guest posts have seldom anything to do with it. (1) Google targets exact-match anchor-text links (those that hit the pattern). They usually do look unnatural and we’ve been discouraging bloggers from publishing these types of guest articles for ages. (2) Many of bloggers that report these cases have other flags besides guest posts (unnatural links in the footer or sidebar) but it’s easy to blame guest posts when it’s such a hot topic 🙂

    • Hey Ann,

      Surprised to see you post on here! I’m the same guy that registered up on the SEO Chat forums. Great job on the redesign. Oh, just checked it seems someone linked to this article on the My Blog Guest forums.

      I agree that using EMDs as anchor text would be the main reason why Google would flag your website, but what about the quality of the sites you’re linking out to? If I persistently link out to low quality websites with low authority then I don’t think Google would take kindly to that and if I keep doing that I’d likely get the same message that those 5 bloggers received.

      • It’s weird to be talking all over the Internet with one and the same person 😉

        We don’t know exactly which patterns G is using but that almost certainly comes back to the anchor text…

        As a rule of thumb, for guest posts, I think it’s a good habit to click to each link in it, skim through each linked page and make sure you like what you see. If it looks like a useful website and it looks legit, more often than not, you can link to it (unless there’s an exact match unnatural anchor text of course)

        Low quality is hard not to notice, so it’s usually a quick solution when in doubt..

        All in all, we’ve always been an advocate of one truth: ONLY publish guest posts if you LOVE every part of it.

        It’s funny that many publishers didn’t care as long as they got free content and now they run back on us crying “ahh I got penalized because I am associated with you!!! :)”

        Nope, guys you got penalized because you were ready to publish just about anything on your site!

        Bottom line: If you treasured your site and your readers, I can guarantee you don’t have problems with Google with or without guest posts. If you don’t care much about anything except search referrals (and thus were publishing crap on your site), you are likely to be losing or to lose soon lost of your search presence, again, with or without guest posts.

        Just as simple as that 😉