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We are doing a lot of spring cleaning these days: We’ve started with collecting feedback from our users and we are now trying to push lower quality sites from the platform while attract more active and community-driven sites. This is a long process but we are getting there.

Attracting higher quality blogs is not going to improve the database unless we have good quality to provide them with. Therefore there is Articles Gallery spring cleaning update coming!

Takeaways:

  • Longer better researched articles
  • No dirty linking please

Longer articles

A long article doesn’t necessarily mean a better one but throwing together a 400-word article and dropping a link inside is not going to work from now on. We have started with mild notes asking the authors to make an article a bit longer and a bit more thorough. We’ll be announcing that request via newsletter and next month we’ll make it into the requirement.

Please invest into better articles and help us promote them the interested bloggers!

No dirty links

Ok, I get it, many of us have SEO background and some of us need to report to bosses and clients, but people you need to realize: Your SEOed keyword-based link you keep repeating from an article to an article is going to harm you, your client and our publisher!

Google is sending more and more unnatural link warnings; more and more sites lose rankings and get penalized for good! Don’t risk your domain and don’t put our clean community under radar by trying to please your boss!

Yes, links may still be working but guest blogging should be free of SEOed links because it’s authentic community based relationship building process – NOT link building tactic! Links are just added benefit – NOT the focus!

Read: The Only Benefit of Guest Blogging that Matters (with Case Studies) and Linking Terminology We Use at #MyBlogGuest Summary

  • Please link naturally: Forget about keywords!
  • Please link to content versus home pages: Link to your other articles that link to your home pages. Content based pages are much better landing pages for guest posts!
  • Please link to yourself as a brand name.
  • Please link to someone else! Linking out to trusted sources is the best signal for Google because it puts your link in a good relevant neighborhood.

If you follow the above, Google and (what’s more important) MyBlogGuest will love you!

Again, we are happy to help you promote your articles on social media for free. We are happy to suggest your articles as many times as it’s needed to find you a good offer. But we need to spring clean in order to do that!

Let’s grow together!

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Ann Smarty

Founder at MyBlogGuest
Ann Smarty is the founder of MyBlogGuest. Feel free to contact her if you have any questions about the platform.

39 Responses to “Articles Gallery Spring Cleaning: No Dirty Links Please! #MyBlogGuest”

  1. Laura Ginn

    I think that if you follow through with these rules you will be losing all of the business from the SEO companies that use the website. I for one won’t be sticking around – I have guidelines from my clients and follow them. Sure I can advise them on what to use as anchor text but it is ultimately their decision. I know a lot of people in the same business and I can almost guarantee they will also be looking for competitor websites. A better idea is to educate bloggers and website owners and let them make their own minds up – making this a rule will see you losing a lot of paid customers, trust me.

    Reply
  2. Gerri

    I have been trying to do all of these things consistently for some time and with good results, except that I mix in a few homepage links from time to time. Will that still be acceptable or does the change eliminate all homepage links?

    Reply
  3. kelli cooper

    As a freelance writer who uses MBG Gallery to place articles for clients, I am concerned with the rule of not allowing articles that contain keywords–I understand that people can abuse this with irrelevant links,etc..and I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but any keyword links I use fit naturally into the text and the sites are highly relevant to the content. If bloggers picking up articles do not want keyword links, they just do not have to take those articles. I love using the Gallery but if there is no leeway on this , I am afraid I will have to cancel my subscription as I just will not get as much use out of it anymore. I am all for stricter monitoring,etc…but to outright ban the use of keywords seems a bit harsh.

    Reply
  4. Ross Davies

    I agree with all the proposed changes though I must admit to being slightly unsure about only linking using a brand name. I agree linking using purely exact match anchor text which is never varied is not the way to go but neither is brand name links only. Surely a mixture of partial match, branded and a mixture of combined brand/keyword match links is the way forward?

    If we are only to link using a branded link does this also mean we only link in the author bio? How can we use a branded link in the article body without being promotional??

    Reply
    • Ann Smarty

      I do like the mixed approach here: That’s the ultimate goal! Bit how to encourage people to use the mixed approach unless we force them? I don’t have an answer but we are actively looking for one 😉

      Reply
  5. Jacque

    Love the stricter rules for linking. It is frustrating when someone wants us to post an article that has keywords worked into it just for the link, and the article quality suffers because of this. Also, its great that you’ll now be asking for links to other resources within the post. We’ve had many articles rejected in the past because we’ve tried to do this to add value to the post. If it becomes something encouraged by the platform we’ll be able to do it again!

    Reply
  6. Gerald Weber

    I think having higher quality standard is a good idea. However I think disallowing anchor text in link all-together is a mistake.

    It’s true there may be some people that have been penalized for targeting the same keywords over and over, but this does not mean all anchor text is bad and spammy. In actuality this is not really a penalty but more of a discounting of certain keywords that it’s obvious to Google that someone is targeting. But the “over optimization update” does not trigger a domain-wide penalty.

    If a user/blogger targets exact same phrases over and over then yes Google will see you are proactively targeting a certain phrase and discount that phrase. So don’t do that. The solution is to use long tail keyword phrases and mix it up a bit. It doesn’t mean we should stop using anchor text completely.

    This is a case of user error where the user or guest bloggers does not understand about how the “over optimization” update relates to link building. User error in other words.

    Also I think it needs to be taken into context. Does the anchor text make sense and sound natural? Sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes the anchor text sounds forced and ridiculous. So it should be on a case by case basis.

    Disallowing anchor text 100% would be extremely limiting (and controlling) and I don’t believe it’s the answer we are looking for. The definition of quality goes much deeper than whether or not someone used anchor text in a self serving link.

    Reply
  7. William Ecksel

    While I agree with cleaning up the article gallery, there are some proposed requirements that should be thought out carefully before implementing them. For instance, “click here for more” as an anchor text is something that many people do not like to do as it takes away from their goal of creating a backlink from anchor text. Also, the comment about “the topic of your content, plus bio, plus G authorship, IS your “link”” is for the most part true, but does not apply in every case. The comment is taking into consideration the current (or what is believed to be current) Google algorithm. Some of the things that have stood the test of Google updates are making sure to write quality content (this should be stressed in the article gallery and bad grammar, spelling, or articles that do not read well should be removed); limiting keywords (I am not sure why someone would use keyword stuffing on an article that will be posted on OTHER sites as you are only looking to create a backlink to your own site), and linking to relevant content (this sometimes IS the homepage of the website and not allowing linking to a homepage would cripple some people’s SEO efforts and potentially cause them to leave MBG).

    As for me, I will go with the flow. I have enjoyed using this site for the past couple of months (I am new and would have been here sooner but I just found out about it). Also keep in mind that those who want to use poor quality techniques for SEO are going to attempt to get around ANY rules that you put into the article gallery. Sometimes implementing new rules will only have a minor effect on those you are trying to target and have a greater effect on some of the quality users of the gallery. Again, just my opinion. I will sit back and see what gets implemented.

    Reply
    • Ann Smarty

      Thanks for the support! Yes, there are more questions than answers but ultimately all we ask is START CARING AND START GIVING IT A SH*T (sorry for my French) :)

      Reply
  8. David

    I think the majority of people who are in the business of selling or promoting a service (and not writing) are better off saving their time and money for google adwords. Which incidentally is probably exactly what they want. I don’t agree with spam and I do agree with linking out to other valuable pages, but without even being allowed anchor text? What’s that all about? Has Google said that anchor text is spammy? If so prove it. I’d like you to publish it here. If speculation rather than fact, then you are doing those that pay to use this service a disservice. A crappy poll, just won’t cut it (they can easily be manipulated) If I don’t use anchor text, I’ll watch my rankings fall, while every other MF is bending the rules and getting away with it.

    Jus sayin’

    Reply
    • Ann Smarty

      If the anchor text is used NOT to manipulate the web page positions for that query, it’s good to go. Google explicitly disallows attempting to manipulate search rankings. And looking at anchor text it’s always clear if it’s trying to manipulate anything…. And we want to stay within Google guidelines!

      Reply
  9. Gerald Weber

    It could also be argued that intentionally building ANY link is meant to influence rankings. Where do we draw the line on that? using this logic we could also just say do away with any links in the article and just have a byline with no links.

    I believe disallowing anchor text in links 100% is extreme.

    I really think the current rules regarding linking are pretty good. Only one anchor text link allowed per article and the link should make sense. Not be forced. Maybe even consider no in-content links. That would handle a lot of the ridiculous sounding forced in-content links that do not belong..

    If we are talking about overall quality then we need to look much further than just whether or not the article has an anchor text link. That 1 factor alone is not a good indicator of whether or not an article is “quality”

    Reply
  10. David

    Agreed Gerald
    I hadn’t seen all of these comments before I posted last time..
    Just so, I’m totally clear Anne.
    Again, where has it been stated that the use of anchor text is spammy?
    Can I still link to a page with anchor text going forward?
    You have seen my published articles, in your opinion what’s wrong with them? Are they not valuable? Let the posters here decide, here you go guys give it your best shot:
    http://www.neriumoleanderskincare.com/dermalogica-products-in-flight-skin-protection-for-travel-beauties/.
    I have a new article to publish, and no offence I’m asking myself ‘what’s the point?’ So I’d like to know the answers to my questions above.
    At the end of the day it is your business, and you are obviously concerned about what is being submitted via the community for your own reputation. I get that, but telling seo companies that they need to grow up is a fairly contentious thing to say, especially if the poster (Laura Ginn) has to feed her family (unless it was used to get the conversation going).

    In the spirit of promoting good content, here is something that some readers may find useful:
    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/white-hat-seo-it-fing-works-12421

    Reply
    • Ann Smarty

      David,

      1) Please vary your anchor text. If you keep linking to your site with the same anchor text, it will be soon flagged.
      2) Please contact me personally (seosmarty at gmail) for advice on your articles. I don’t feel comfortable discussing the details in public

      My reputation has nothing to do with this. I could just collect your money and never care less. I care about the long-term destiny of this community and if I need to lose money for the community to survive, I will have to deal with that.

      Reply
  11. Laura Ginn

    I would like to know how you can tell what anchor text is seen as trying to manipulate Google. If you have a website about car insurance for example, people are going to want to use anchor text that includes this phrase in some way – how are you going to determine who is manipulating Google and who isn’t. I’d guess that it’s going to be ridiculously hard to do and it will result in deleting articles that use anchor text anyway.

    Reply
    • Ann Smarty

      Google can tell and so we’ll have to tell as well!
      If your site is carinsurance.com, most people will naturally link as carinsurance.com and in most cases that won’t be a home page link as people seldom have good reasons to link to the home page!

      Reply
  12. Jonnyp

    Well Ann, I have seen many people putting their keywords bio section is this safe enough? From my perceptive citation is a best way to get value, even long term keywords may help.

    For me 500 words is slandered..
    But “Please link to yourself as a brand name.” a bit worrying as most of the MBG members work for clients..
    Putting the link in the bio or from the content in natural way is much safer for both..

    Cheers
    Jonny

    Reply
  13. Lisa

    Question: Is it going to be a 500-word minimum or maximum word limit? Please advise — I read conflicting things here. Thanks!

    Reply
  14. Tim Tavender

    Hi Ann (and others).
    I personally thing what you are doing is very refreshing. Offering guidelines such as yours will help people long term. Even if it is just to make them think more about their link building. SEO “experts” need to realise that just banging out anchor text links will harm their sites. What the search engines are looking for are 1) brand related links (your name or clients business name or URL). 2) Some anchor text links, not always the same one and to the same page 3) Some generic links such as “website” or “click here”. This would appear to be the most natural to the search engines, so mix it up a lot. I have been doing a lot of reversing of over optimised home page link profiles to address the balance recently.

    My advice – listen to the advice of Ann, and stand up to demanding clients and offer them the best consultancy.

    Tim

    Reply
  15. Jon

    “Ann Smarty says:
    SEO companies need to grow up!
    April 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm”
    I think you may regret that comment Ann as I am guessing a large proportion of your PAYING CUSTOMERS are SEO companies or Freelancers. I have been paying to use your service for over a year and am regularly targeted by moderators despite being exceptionally careful about the articles I post in the gallery. It’s not surprising that last time I looked in the gallery I only found 3 pages of articles to choose from for my site when in the good days there were hundreds.

    The reality of it is the non-Seo savvy consumer would rarely know how to create any sort of hyperlink anyway and certainly wouldn’t be writing articles about a company just for fun so there is always going to be an ulterior motive for those using MBG that is “unnatural” The only sites that will get penalised will be those that are huge and have created more spammy links than we’d ever have time to in our lifetimes. You could say that by paying a monthly fee to you we are “buying” links from other members which is strictly against Google’s terms so if you are going to be whiter than white you would stop MBG altogether. In the meantime I think you should be thankful that you have paying customers and allow them to use their own discretion. I also think if we are going to now be expected to write purely for exposure rather than SEO, you need to have sites on their that actually have some traffic rather than the tonnes of PRn/1 and PR0 sites that are on there at the moment.

    Reply
    • Ann Smarty

      I get that we are all SEOs… I am SEO myself. What I don’t get is why we, SEOs, can’t move away from simple link building we know and see the broader picture!

      Reply
  16. aaronsd

    Every article I come across in the gallery has a link to someone’s product or service. I’m very hesitant to post any of those articles since it may violate Google’s policy. Not only that, it seems tacky to post an article on a quality blog that is basically a free advertisement for someone else’s business. The quality of this community suffers because of this.

    Reply
  17. Shannon

    I think a lot of people are taking this new MBG policy regarding *exact match* keywords a bit too black and white. If your anchor text reads naturally in the article, fine. But when you start plunking in your exact match keywords into the article it does NOT read naturally and therefor looks spammy and far too obvious.

    Authors need but spend a few more minutes of their time trying to think of how they can use the keywords they want to read naturally in a sentence. And STOP using completely obvious and unnatural looking exact match keywords.

    The worst offenders use Profession + Location exact match keywords. Sometimes they plunk a comma between the words, sometimes not. Either way, it is a very rare thing to see these kinds of exact match keywords look and read naturally into a sentence. Worse, it’s obviously self-serving.

    These are the kinds of keywords MBG is encouraging users to stop using! Not ALL anchor texts, but certainly the most obvious like the example I mentioned. We can all agree that these are completely obvious and used specifically for link building to rank on the SERPs, and no other reason. If the reader of the article knows it, Google knows it. Why do it?

    Reply
  18. William Ecksel

    I read above that the purpose of guest posting is not to gain a link, but that a link is an “added” benefit. This is nonsense. No one woke up this morning and decided to write a guest post just to have the credit of writing a guest post. The “main” point of guest posting is for the SEO benefit. Yes, I said it. Now, with that aside, MBG is doing something great in creating a platform for bringing websites and guest posters together. It is an “equal” benefit to them. A blog gets a high quality article in exchange for a link back to a website from anchor text. It is a great exchange. When did it become about only creating content for a blog and then allowing a backlink if it is suitable to the website?

    When you read an article in the gallery, it will tell you the anchor text for the self-serving link. Blog owners can then choose if they want to use the article or not. Even better…..after you are awarded an article, you can still decline to publish if you feel that the link is un-natural or will cause issues for your blog with Google. This is getting out of hand a little bit.

    The point about creating these new rules is to keep away people who just do not get it. I understand and agree with this 100%. However, I agree that many people will stop using the paid service of MBG if they keep getting limited. We are paying for the platform of what everyone is doing off site (off of MBG). The platform is great, but there is a point when companies will go back to searching Google for places to post their content as opposed to paying MBG to provide the “hook-up.” Just my opinion, I’m ready for the nasty comments now.

    Reply
    • Ann Smarty

      One point you are missing, William: We are really struggling to attract publishers FOR YOU… If all the paying community agreed to participate in making it a higher quality resource, YOU’d all get better results!

      Reply
  19. William Ecksel

    Also, it would be great to notify current users with paid subscriptions about these changes. Via email would be nice as opposed to us just finding out on our own or having to email to get an answer.

    Reply
  20. Gerri

    I dislike Google right now, but love or hate, Google is who we must cater to. I’m open to any insight that will help us all avoid trouble. Of course we want links, and we want the best links we can get. The most relevant sites who have an established audience of people who love to do social sharing and comment are what we want.

    Now, to get that and to not get in trouble, I’ll make my links not seem self-serving, I’ll provide high quality content.. basically as long as I can still get the links I want, I’ll play by the ever-changing rules that are here to protect us. Yes, I’ll mutter about it. Some days I might complain. But it’s not Ann or MBG or moderators doing something TO us all… it’s that we’re all trying to stay one or a few steps ahead of Google’s next move. And it is getting more difficult. The latest Google update almost cost me my job. That being said, I’ll pay attention to the people who are paying attention to Google and listen to what they have to say and follow the new “rules” to the letter. We don’t want MBG to ever be thought of by Google as a cheap a$$ circle jerk link scam.

    I’ve been making my living on the Internet since 1997. The one thing you can always count on is change. How many times do you think I’ve had to change the way I do things? You have to be able to adapt in order to survive here and that’s a fact. These rules make sense and are part of that adaptation. Sometimes you have to change lanes quickly to stay on top of the game.

    As a side note: During my entire time online I have looked at successful people to see what they are doing right. I’ve asked for their opinions. I’ve emulated those in the know and learned from them. I see Ann and the MBG team as people who are on the ball and paying attention. I’ll follow their lead, even if I do think Google is being a pain. Such is life.

    Reply
  21. William Ecksel

    You are right about giving a sh*t, Ann. It’s your site, I am just a member (paid member), but I would suggest starting to get rid of those who don’t get it as opposed to piling more regulations on the rest.

    Reply
  22. Backlinksboy

    I totally agree with Laura Ginn, Kelli Cooper and others.

    Most if not all of your subscribers will be running away with these new rules. I am not renewing my subscription. If you feel that people are doing a service to the community by providing guest blogs then you are wrong. There is nothing free in this world. Everyone wants something out of their article and that something at MBG is a backlink achieved through the article.

    If somebody wants to build a relationship, just like you have mentioned in the blog, I doubt anybody is here to build a relationship as there are great social media sites like facebook, linkedin etc for that very purpose. Your goal should be to just provide a platform for people to provide articles and if somebody wants a particular article then they can ask for it and post it. If the article is keyword stuffed or of low quality, it is left to the website owner to decide on that. Finally cancelling subscription, can’t tolerate this anymore.

    Reply
  23. Michael Merritt

    As a publisher, I completely agree with this post. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to request that someone rearrange their convoluted anchor text, or request a link be placed in the bio section because it was a commercial link that had nothing to do with the article, or reject an article because it was a thinly veiled advertisement just trying to jam a link in.

    We still allow self-serving links in the content, if they’re relevant to the article, and are not commercial in nature. We haven’t banned exact-match anchor text for these links just yet, but that could be next.

    Reply

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