How to Avoid the Soon to be Guest Blogging Penalty

by Jason Acidre on September 16, 2013 · 53 comments · Content, Search


This entry is a guest post by Jayson Bagio, the owner of SEOTeky. You can follow him on Twitter: @seoteky. The opinions expressed on this post doesn’t necessarily reflect my views as an online marketer.

Have you been using guest blogging to build your online presence? If you are into guest blogging, then this post is for you.

Guest blogging is a helpful way to be in front of other people’s audience. Or should I say, the other bloggers’ audience. It can help you reach your target readers, and it’s also a very powerful platform to share and demonstrate your expertise.

And on top of that, you can also drive referrals from the content that you have shared. Though it can also become a bigger advantage (in SEO and branding perspectives) if you can get a link or two from those blogs where you’ve contributed a content.

But of course, there are thousands of people who see guest blogging as a method to build links. Therefore, abuse and manipulation are becoming an issue again for Google. If you are guest blogging for links, then you should stop it because Google is starting to hunt guest bloggers like you.

If  you are not aware, Google recently updated their webmaster guidelines about link schemes. They warned large scale guest blogging with keyword-rich anchor texts and undisclosed sponsored posts with do-follow links that pass PageRank.

See the webmaster guidelines for link scheme definitions.

We’ll never know how Google would assess if a guest blog is low quality or manipulative.  All we can do is to raise the quality standard of our works in order to dodge the bullet of the soon-to-be guest blogging penalty. So let me share with you five ways to avoid this upcoming penalty:

Defining the Signals or Metrics of a Quality Website.

Choosing where to guest blog is by far the most important method to make the most out of your content distribution efforts. Raising your standards makes it easier to identify quality websites that will really matter for your off-site marketing campaign.

Traffic and Social Stats is the biggest signal that you need to look at. Checking these stats will allow you to determine the true state of the website you’re targeting to contribute a guest post to.

Many SEO’s are doing guest blogging for links and they don’t even consider digging in on traffic and social data. All that is important is that they get a do-follow link and have their anchor texts on the post.

Well if you want exposure and referrals, these metrics are important for you to succeed. The higher the numbers are, the better.

SimilarWeb.com

gp-seoteky

Social Analyzer from RYPMarketing

social analyzer

Pagerank is still a good a metric to use in determining the quality of a website. It is a metric or point system given by Google to websites that measures the site’s importance in its index.

You just have to know if a pagerank is valid or fake using tools available on the Internet. There are webmasters out there who forge Pagerank to attract guest bloggers to get free content.

Quality Score from many of the best and leading tools online is an important scoring basis as well. Some of the most known and reliable site metrics in the industry:

  • MOZ.com’s Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA)
  • Ahrefs rank
  • AC rank from Majestic SEO

These tools can help you decide which ones are quality and not.

Ad Positioning and Usability are also important factors. If the blog is an ad-laden site, pitch your content somewhere else.

Heavy positioning of ads on the page’s above the fold can result in a low quality score from Big G based on the page layout algorithm that Google released early January of 2012. Excessive ads disrupt user experience:

page layout ads

And you don’t want to guest blog on these types of sites.

Link Neighborhood also plays an important part on quality checking. A website that links to bad neighborhood sites like viagra, porn, and casino can hurt you more than help you.

With all these, you can easily measure the quality of the website where you are pitching for guest blog opportunities (hard earned content).

You might wonder, “Why would I trouble myself to check these things out? My client or my site only needs a link, that’s all.” Now’s the time to change your mindset. Guest blogging for links might be your bread and butter, but raising your standards will be beneficial to your site in the long run. Not only through the authoritative links that you acquire, but also with the traffic referral and brand exposure that you get.

Guest blogging is more of a networking tool. And in networking, connecting with the right people is as vital as networking itself.

Getting your site/brand connected with other entities that have strong potentials of progressing in social web and search, can directly influence your site’s ranking ability as well.

Google already laid out the mechanics in this game of guest blogging; all you have to do is follow.

Implementing Authorship for Guest Bloggers

AuthorRank is somehow foreseen as the future of link metrics (and ranking signals). And implementing authorship markup on all of your works (even on guest blogs) is one way to let Google distinguish individual publishers who’re expert on certain topic areas.

On implementing authorhship markups:

List the URL of the website(s) where you contribute guest blog posts to on your Google + account.

Go to your G+ home page, then click About. In the Links Section, click Edit at the bottom. Go to Contribute To. Click Add Custom Link. Type in the name of the website in the Label text box, then insert the URL of the website you are contributing to.

authorship

Click Save when you’re done. Then on your bio or author byline from your guest article, link to your Google+ account’s URL and add the rel=author tag.

Draw The Line on Massive Guest Blogging Campaigns.

Google publicly warned webmasters on massive guest blogging campaigns through their webmaster guideline.  Here is a massive guest blog service inquiry from someone that I received.

skype chat

Imagine 200 guest blogs per month, isn’t that a torture to the SEO company or for your website to have? 200 guest blogs per month – that is massive and really easy to track.

If Google is dead serious about their warning, then these people should be scared right now.

Anyways, I opt not to accept his offer, I do not have the man power to deliver it anyways.

Right now, I don’t see 10 to 20 guest blogs as a massive campaign. As long as you know how to diversify your link profile and have the purpose to genuinely help people solve their problems (and build brand awareness along the process).

If you are doing guest blogging, then don’t forget that you can combine it with other online marketing platforms (relationship/community building, social signals, branding, lead generation, etc…) to make it look more appealing not just to Google – but to you target audience as well.

Nothing Beats Quality and Relevant Content.

This may sound cliché, but content is really the king. We all know how a well-written, relevant article can impact how the audience percieve your brand’s value — it’s a great way to attract more visitors and gain more subscribers.

As you continue to spark the interest of the crowd, you can expect to see more positive results along the way.

Simple ways to generate content:

Feedly is a very good replacement for Google reader. Track your favorite blogs and get content ideas through this feed curator.

feedly

Google Suggest lets you see what topics people search for.

google suggest

Understand Your Horizontal Niche. Think out of the box and find topics that can help you expand your reach. See the image below, fashion can be vertically related to fashion tips, list and trends. But fashion can also be interrelated to parents, money making, apps and so on. This is called horizontal guest blogging.

expanding reach

However, there are still guest bloggers who would rehash content to pitch to different websites. We all know how Google despises spun, scraped content. In the Webmaster’s Guideline, you’ll see those types of content that violate Google’s policy.

If you’re having a hard time to come up with your own article, it would be better to start first with an outline, or have it written by someone who knows more about the niche you are targeting. Pack your content with as much useful information as possible.

Forget Links, Focus On Your Brand.

Link is all that matters – this has been our mindset since day 1 when we started to learn about SEO and link building. Even when I started doing guest blogging for some of my clients, all I wanted is to get dofollow links.

We can all change. Build your brand and become an authority on your niche as they say. I won’t go far on this topic. Just like Jason Acidre, right now this good looking guy gets interview invitations from different authority blogs. And many other opportunities because people consider  him as an expert in the industry. When he writes, people read, when he talks, people listen, when he shares, people click – that is influence at it’s best.

interview search

Jason doesn’t have to think of guest blogging anymore, because he continuously provide solid contents on Kaiserthesage.com, consistently built his rapport in the link building space and established his credibility as one of the best.

Now many SEO’s from local and international scene are begging for a chance to have him interviewed. Some conferences in the international scene are also inviting him. While other SEO experts meet with him whenever they get a chance to be in Manila.

dejan

 

Build your brand, that is the only way you can cut guest blogging in your efforts. “When  we brand things, our brains perceive them as more special and valuable than they actually are” – My favorite quote from Martin Lindstrom, on his book Buyology.

Here are some of the best brand building content that you need to see if you want to further understand branding:

When you build your brand, you become an influence and you win relationships. At the end of the day, when all the link building efforts get boxed-in by Google, all that is left are the relationships that we were able to build.

Google wants the Internet to be a place where REAL people engage in conversations of their chosen interest — that’s why they’re humanizing how algorithms work. Be as realistic as possible; start oozing out those creative juices! Guest blog with a purpose.

Few notes from Kaiserthesage:

  • If you’ve been already active with guest blogging for the past couple of years, you might want to review your already existing links (particularly their anchor texts) and deoptimize them. Use branded links instead.

  • If you’ve penetrated strong industry blogs in the past (robust social, traffic and domain authority), you might want to be in touch with them again, and pitch to become a regular contributor instead. Multiple links from a strong link source translates to relationships/association – which is a powerful trust indicator for people and search engines.

  • Don’t just leave your guest posts once they are published. Participate in the discussions, connect with their audience, and help share the content. These things help build more positive signals to the content. Always remember that “authenticity” is key to succeed in online marketing.

  • Start implementing authorship markups on your guest posts.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

seoteky September 16, 2013 at 5:32 am

Thank you Jason for giving this opportunity :)

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Jessica Hartman September 16, 2013 at 5:52 am

Great post and just in time as I am currently in the process of researching a winning guest blogging opportunity for my clients why staying away from potential future Google penalties :)

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seoteky September 16, 2013 at 9:07 am

It is always a great feeling to help Jessica :) Guest blog with a purpose and true intent

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Armon September 16, 2013 at 6:12 am

Nice post Jason… Oops, I mean Jayson. :)

Can I know what PR, Domain Authority and Page Authority can you consider when guest posting in a particular blog/website?

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seoteky September 16, 2013 at 7:04 am

By the numbers,

PR3 +, DA 30 + and PA 30 +

And manual inspection of share counts per post is important. Since you want to be sure that there is social engagement on the blog where you are sharing your work.

Overall, use your SEO Instinct :)

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Armon September 16, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Thank you for the tips, Jayson. :)

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Ryan Biddulph September 16, 2013 at 8:32 am

Hi Jayson,

Good points here.

Pure karma, this guest posting gig. Guest post with a pure intent. Seek to create value for your fellow blogger. Seek to build relationships. If you write a few guest posts on authority blogs and respond aggressively, engaging each commentator, you will be guest posting the right way and avoid any Google penalties.

Link building should never be your intent. Relationship building by helping out a fellow blogger and connecting with each commentator can make you stand out from the crowd when it comes to guest posting.

Thanks for the informative share Jayson…..and Jason :)

Ryan

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seoteky September 16, 2013 at 9:05 am

The Jayson and Jason part rocks! Yes it’s true, forget those links. Have a true intention and everything will be in the right path.

I won’t forget Wil Reynolds mozcon vid – we didn’t finished our studies to only become a dofollow artist. And worry the Google smack :)

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Liudas Butkus September 16, 2013 at 10:31 am

Seems like a new SEO strategy needs to be born :D Still, I think with a little bit of smarts you can do guest blogging without problems.

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seoteky September 17, 2013 at 8:51 am

:) hmmm…I want to see a superb execution of Broken Link, Link Building…I still feel that the method is overlooked by many people in the industry.

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ian September 20, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I do agree, a new seo strategy must be born and all SEO-er must to fresh up their mind to avoid many algorithm :D

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Sef September 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

This is a good information on guest blogging and how it can affect a website upside down. My only approach on my blog is to mainly distributing content to sej and ahrefs now. hopefully this does not penalize my website though given that i’m not using keyword based anchor text.

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seoteky September 17, 2013 at 8:52 am

SEF :)

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Arvin Buising September 16, 2013 at 6:22 pm

We’ve all seen it happen. As soon as a link building method becomes “commoditized” and inevitably abused, Google takes action.

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Jayson Bagio September 17, 2013 at 8:54 am

Let us see though how Google can sort this thing in Guest Blogging. For now, all they can do is warn and scare everybody. If you are doing it the right way, don’t hold back :)

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Olivier September 17, 2013 at 12:42 am

Hey thanks for the steps. I was thinking to write a guest posting with my keywords. After reading the link scheme of Google now I turned back. Yes I agreed with you nothing can beat quality content and relevance . The brand Building concept is Really helpful for me

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Jayson Bagio September 17, 2013 at 9:10 am

You don’t need to be scared Olivier, just do it with diligence.

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Susan Velez September 18, 2013 at 5:15 am

Hi,

Great tips about building your brand. I know that so many people are still focused on building backlinks. I used to focus on that in the past.

Now I am more focused on getting my name out there and building a name for myself. In the process I am building relationships with others.

Which in the long run will be better because you won’t have to worry about those Google updates anymore.

If you sit there and build backlinks hoping to get great rankings…you may get them. But when those Google updates come you may wish you would’ve heeded the warnings in your post.

Thanks for sharing.

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Jayson September 18, 2013 at 8:30 am

Thanks Susan for adding your pieces :) Indeed, the long run is the better…

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James September 18, 2013 at 6:32 am

I enjoyed the topic. You are also listing a couple of online tools that I wasn’t a aware of. Creating valuable content is the right way to go when trying to build a brand.

People have to feel like they can trust you. The best way to do that is through education. When you have trust, you have sales. We are in a time when the consumer is more powerful than ever before. With that being said, focus on creating valuable content for every stage of the buying process and you will be fine.

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Jayson September 20, 2013 at 7:40 am

Thanks James. Brand building is a long topic, but it always go down to two things – trust and conversions. Building assets for your brand is always a turnkey for your website. Something useful, something that last :)

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Eric September 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Hi Jayson,
Thank you for this great article! It was an interesting read full of new info for me. There’s so much more to learn about SEO for me, especially regarding your view of the “future backlink tactics”.
For the last year or so I’ve tried to make a name for myself to become, like you said, an authority in my niche by adding quality content, regular updates etc. etc. I’m trying to build up credibility by getting good contacts which I find very hard btw. But I’ve also noticed that pageviews are going up rather slow for a website that gets new, relevant content every second day or so. Now I thought that I might do some more linkbuilding when I bumped into your article. I’m very happy I read it and to be up-to-date, but on the other side also a little bit disappointed. If in the future it will be harder to get good backlinks without getting penalties from google, how will I get more people to view my site?!
Anyway, thanks again for the good info and will be following you closely from now on! Cheers!

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seoteky September 20, 2013 at 7:50 am

Hi Eric, thank you for sharing your story. Let me help you on your question

“If in the future it will be harder to get good backlinks without getting penalties from google, how will I get more people to view my site?!”

Well consistency is always the most important thing when you want to build your authority and online presence. The continuity of adding value to other people without asking for any backlink can help you build your name, by showcasing your expertise, you make yourself look like an expert. By contributing content to relevant blogsites through guest blogging, you get the power to reach your target readers and turn them into customers. Our goals in guest blogging should not get stuck on a do-follow link, instead we should think on adding value and influencing people.

Remember the quote of Martin Lindstrom in this post:
“When we brand things, our brains perceive them as more special and valuable than they actually are”

When people get to know your brand, they perceive your identity as an authority. Focus on being true to your community. Do it with a purpose and cut the mindset of building DO-FOLLOW links. You’ll be fine!

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Eric September 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Thank’s a lot, will keep it in mind and stay focussed :-)

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Scott September 19, 2013 at 8:04 am

Was always really suspicious of guest posting. One of those things that seemed to work ‘too well’ you know?

Thanks for sharing.

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seoteky ph September 23, 2013 at 4:51 am

Hahahaha :D

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Zenelia September 20, 2013 at 12:02 am

Hey nice One Jayson…great article…full of complete new ideas and information …quite learning one..full of knowledge..and guidance to tackle out these kinds of situation

thanks for sharing it was helpful…

Keep Posting

Zenelia !!!

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Aadi September 20, 2013 at 2:41 am

Hello Jason,
Thanks for sharing.
Your ways to avoid penalty are awesome.I really enjoyed reading the topic.
once again thanks for sharing this informative article.

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Levin September 20, 2013 at 7:13 am

very nice and informative post jason.
great tactics to avoid any google penalty.
I follow MOZ seo metrics. and all this time it works well.

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Nate September 20, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Let’s be honest any link building strategy is an attempt to manipulate rankings within the search engines. This means whether intentionally or not every site owner is guilty of violating search engine guidelines. The only difference between the webmaster who obtains relevant directory listings, social media profiles and guest posts for links over the one trying to simply build their brand is intention. How can an algorithm possibly punish one over the other? Also all your metrics for quality websites are obtained through link building whether the site owner knows they are doing it intentionally or not.

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seoteky ph September 23, 2013 at 4:55 am

Yes Nate, at the end of the day, all that matter is that link that we got from our efforts. Now how they punish webmasters is a long talk – but we all know that they do it :)

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Del Syllables September 21, 2013 at 12:47 am

I get it now.. So provide relevant value to all parties (other bloggers, the viewers, and the robots). I bet the key to building a brand is to build relationships. So this is more like showcasing something useful whenever you post something on your social media profile. Great points you got here by the way. This will really help with my guest blogging endeavor. More power to your site.

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Charan Pammi September 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Hi Jayson,
Very nice points you have pointed out.
I just started guest posting for my blog, these kind of posts are really helpful for me.
I hope this new practice won’t result in any penalty.
Thanks

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seoteky ph September 23, 2013 at 5:00 am

Guest blogging was already there for many years. I just highlighted things in here since many people are thinking that Guest blogging is ONLY good for links. Won’t result to penalty? ^_____^ I don’t know, good luck with that!

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Abe the great September 22, 2013 at 2:18 am

Guest Blogging back fires sometimes, indeed.

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Jayson December 6, 2013 at 12:35 am

Yep..let’s wait for more :)

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Steve Zbranek September 22, 2013 at 11:48 pm

what a terrific guide and it was well supported by the images you included.

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Icahbanjarmasin September 24, 2013 at 1:34 am

Hi Jason..how are you my friend..? really I like your post and keep in touch from INDONESIA.

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Julius September 25, 2013 at 12:19 am

This is really a helpful article. I use Blogger Link Up and My Blog Guest for my guest post but I don’t accept quickly some of their contribution. I always make sure that the quality of their articles is good and not for link building purposes only.

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SEO Nic October 8, 2013 at 2:42 am

Hi again Jason,

I couldn’t agree with you more! It is pleasing that Google is transforming blogs to a certain degree and at the same time helping improve content, okay yes SEO’d content is generally spammy repetitive dribble which is usually a repeat of the same ole S&%T and this needs to change, it won’t matter to the reader if the intention was to getting a link back to your website if the content is unique, informative and or beneficial…. that is the whole point of content marketing good interaction that keeps your viewers entertained and wanting more!

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Mia October 11, 2013 at 1:18 am

I had no Idea that they are going to start putting a guest blogging penalty until I read this.
I guess I need to get to work then and watch what I do before it gets even harder to start up.

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Ruthanne Crosby October 13, 2013 at 11:07 am

Great post .

I’ve stayed away from guest posting so far, I think it’s so easy to abuse. I concentrate on links that will drive traffic to my content – I think that way you’ll stay pretty safe :)

Forget links for ranking, get links for traffic – it’s the end goal of ranking anyway!

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Nathan Brook November 14, 2013 at 2:27 am

I don’t doubt there will be some kind of penalty on guest posting tactics. I don’t think it will be a sweep against all guest posting as a rule. At the end of the day, the quality is the most important thing.

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James November 21, 2013 at 5:36 am

Hi Jason,
It’s always good to heed warning from an authority personality like you on this particular controversial issue.

On a personal note, I have been thinking, how will Google penalize Guest bloggers or blogs/site accepting guest posts?

Your analysis and insight into this controversial topic really gave me a very clear understanding. To me, guest posting is quite good, and just as have mentioned above, accepting 200 guest post in a month calls for scrutiny and caution.

Regards,
James

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Jayson December 6, 2013 at 12:39 am

Hi James, I hope I (we) didn’t get you confused — I’m jayson of SEOteky, KTS is jason. Indeed large scale guest blogging can be easily pin pointed by Google whenever they want to haunt for manipulative linking scheme.

Happy that I was able to give you a clear understanding on Guest Blogging through Jason Acidre’s blog – KaiserTheSage :)

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Akash Agarwal December 4, 2013 at 1:25 am

I think the main things of guest blogging are exponential because instead of serving your viewers you are serving someone else’s audience. Thanks for sharing such nice informative information.

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