Sometimes, a project owner may struggle to promote a project in an overheated niche, or a webmaster may run out of standard promotion tactics when trying to boost their website’s ranking in a competitive niche. When this happens, they usually begin to look at the gray areas of website promotion, such as PBNs.
What is a PBN?
PBN stands for Private Blog Network, a network of private blogs. Essentially, PBNs are networks of websites created to get controlled and relatively free external link equity to promote the main website and its separate pages. Domains for PBN can be bought at auctions, or dropped domains can be used (if registration was not prolonged or abandoned for any other reason).
PBNs are a convenient but dangerous and expensive way to get links to your website. Also, PBN websites only work in combination with other optimization tools.
Private Blog Networks: Pros and Cons
If the website you are promoting doesn't need links and you are already ranked at the top for high-frequency queries, keep up the good work! But if you constantly have to balance and maintain your rankings or want to appear at the top of search results with an expanded snippet – most likely, you need a PBN. However, there are a few drawbacks.
- PBNs are time-consuming to set up.
First, you have to search for a domain with a history and check the history (whether the website has changed its topic, how often it does so, and how relevant it is to what you need). You also have to search for websites related to the theme, check the website link profile, and search for it in blacklists.
If everything's ok, the next step involves creating and implementing the design (all websites in the network should have different designs) and content creation (creating TR, looking for writers, coordinating and approving texts, uploading content). And yes, one article won't be enough. Start with five to ten articles for one website. And remember, there should be at least ten websites.
Oh, and link equity will not come right away. After installing the link and having it indexed, you have to wait about two to three weeks to get the donor equity.
- PBNs are expensive to maintain.
All the work described above is not cheap. It is relatively inexpensive to order such a service from a team of specialists, where all the steps and actions are evenly distributed among people and the processes are streamlined. In addition, specialists usually have all the necessary tools: paid software and services for finding and analyzing resources.
The more competitive the niche – the more difficult and expensive it is to buy a domain.
In addition, the client-side team must have their own hired team of SEO experts, who will be able to maintain the network in the future. This is not easy and requires compliance with various security measures. For example: working with each website on the network from a different IP address, ideally not having Google services on your office computer, working in incognito mode, and so on. This also includes spending money on gradually filling such websites with content and optimizing old content.
- Creating a PBN is stressful.
There is a constant fear that someone (competitors or Google itself) will burn the network, and you will lose everything at once: PBN, links, and also get filtered by Google search engines.
With so many arguments against it, does it really make sense to build PBNs? If they already work with the website through an outreach strategy and buy links on link exchanges, then you can get rich link equity with a correct and well-built network. This is particularly true for overheated niches.
This is an effective method of promotion for certain types of websites and topics. First, websites for which it is important to be promoted by high-frequency queries, and second, such queries make up the top 30 queries for your topic.
In addition, donor websites are either fully consistent with your topic or relevant to individual pages. As such, they closely overlap in terms of topic or niche. If you fill each website with unique and useful content and take care of the markup, then the unique design isn't essential for network websites at all.
When they are working properly, PBN websites will give you a chance to truly control your website link profile. You know for sure that the link won’t be suddenly deleted, the website will not be taken down, and you preserve the quality of the resource.
You can also change the links to the relevant pages of the main website, interlink the pages within each website of the network, and strengthen the link equity on the main resource by upgrading articles from the donor website.
The quality of a link from a PBN can only change when search engine algorithms change.
To find out if your competitors are using dropped domains, use the Serpstat report. It shows the domains that are fully redirected to the analyzed website. For each dropped domain, it displays the Domain Rank, an indicator of the website's authority. With the help of redirected domains, you can more accurately analyze the link equity of your competitors and adjust your strategy.
Important: All the benefits of a private blog network are only possible if you have a team and resources capable of maintaining and developing it. Concealing the connection between the network and its owner is not a one time job. Optimization specialists will have to circumvent Google’s guidelines on a regular basis.
Types of PBNs
Such PBNs are created on popular blogging platforms (LiveJournal, WordPress.com, Tumblr, and others). They are effective when promoting low-competition niches.
This is a relatively quick and cheap way to create a network. Here is what you need to do:
- Make a website or blog about the desired topic on a free resource (free website builders will help you).
- Fill out a profile in detail with credible information.
- Build a keyword list.
- Upload content and set links to the main resource.
Important: All websites on blogging platforms differ in style, design, and sometimes even tone of voice. Of course, the information in the profiles is different and cannot be used to link every blog website in the network to the same owner. Content links lead not only to the owner's website but also to other trusted resources. In addition, links lead to more than one page of the main website; for example, not only to the home page but also to a blog post or an affiliate page.
Links should be seamlessly embedded in the content.
Remember, content is everything. It should consist of useful articles, reviews, and notes. Those links that bring in real and engaged users are valuable.
There is one disadvantage to this network: it is difficult to find a domain with a good history, and hence the link equity is also questionable.
We are referring to the websites restored from the web archive. Needless to say, this method is a real lottery. There is a risk of getting a website that is unindexed, filtered, or blacklisted by search engines.
Niche website network
These are websites that are sold by the owners. The selected websites should be relevant to the topic of the main website. They need to have a good history, and a certain number of pages should be already indexed. These websites get traffic, which means they are not penalized. As such websites have backlinks, the equity of the backlinks from them will be greater.
All three types of PBN can be used for external link building, but the niche website network is considered the most effective.
Stages of PBN creation
The domain is the core of the PBN. It is important to find a domain that already has good link equity to transfer to your website.
Expired. Domains with an expired registration can be purchased at the registrar price. Use aggregators to find the lowest price.
Auction. At this stage, there is an opportunity to buy the best domains. The idea is simple: when the date of domain registration expires, all market participants have the opportunity to compete for the domain in auction mode. If the domain is not renewed by the current owner and your bid is higher than the others, you get the domain. The price can go up to tens of thousands of dollars per domain.
Each auction or service backorder has its own list of domains that are currently available for bidding. You need to go through them and see if they meet your criteria.
- A good chance to get the best domains at an adequate price.
- This approach only works in an automated version.
- Automating the process is costly.
- The APIs of the Serpstat, Ahrefs, Majestic, Similarweb, and Moz services are needed.
In this case, you leave all the processes of searching for domains to services. You pay a subscription fee, and the services will send you domains that have your desired characteristics. You need to recheck the domain for spam on your own and make a bid.
- Convenience: You don't have to think about how to set up the process from search to data aggregation.
- Updated dashboards.
- Each service has its own perks; for example, domcop.com gives access to a website scraper.
- Domains can be seen by anyone, including you and your competitors in the niche.
- Services do not always list all the domains that can actually be purchased.
- They sometimes provide incorrect data about the domain.
Search for expired domains
There are many techniques to search for domains, but generally speaking, the idea is to search the entire Internet and find expired domains with the characteristics you want.
- A great way to find cheap domains.
- This method is time-consuming and has a low return on investment.
- A tool is needed to determine which domains are available for purchase.
- Big API limits are required for the Serpstat, aHrefs, Majestic, Similarweb, Moz services.
The last option is to hire contractors to do all the work for you. Be sure to check what you are getting: look at the history of the domain, do not take their word for it.
- You don't have to understand how it all works, so it saves you time.
- You have no control over anything.
- Not all contractors are trustworthy.
- It costs more due to the contractor's commission.
Once the domains are sorted out, what's next?
Finding content for a network of websites
Depending on the goals of the PBN, you now need to fill the website with relevant content. Content can be more than just text; it can be pictures, videos, games, products, restaurant menus, data aggregators, or anything at all. So make a PBN for your topic. If you have a gaming website, it may be worth making a fake game store or a browser game.
You can order written content based on keywords, establish a correct structure for the website, and do thorough interlinking. Note that results are not guaranteed. You might even spend 200 hours creating ten websites, and eventually, only the main pages will be indexed. Yes, there are such risks.
There are several ways to create content. For instance, you can also generate content on articleforge.com or talktotransformer.com, and it will be acceptable. You may even get to the top 30.
A few basic ways to create textual content
- Search for texts on your topic on web.archive.org.
- Translate texts from similar languages (Ukrainian – Russian, German – English).
- Generate texts automatically.
- Write texts.
- Use subtitles of YouTube videos or transcribe audio and video content.
Create and deploy a website on hosting
Briefly, here is what we need to do next: get the website to the top without leaving behind footprints that show the websites are linked to each other. There are many such footprints. For instance, contacts, domain owner, IP, NS server, website CMS, domain registration date, templates, and code snippets.
There are many approaches to network hosting.
- If you don't have time for hosting/server management (or it's a small test project), then make use of special services like PBN.HOSTING or Easy Blog Networks. Such services make accounts on different registrars.
But there is a very big disadvantage: your neighbors can be on the same PBNs, and you may have no control over your websites as you depend on services.
- You can put all the websites on one server and set up proxying, for example, with Cloudflare.
- There is a more reliable way to hide footprints: create dozens of accounts on different hosts and place websites there. But you have to admit, a qualified person is needed to keep track of accounts on more than ten hosts. If in doubt, consider hiring a professional.
Website network management
Most importantly, when building a network, you need to understand who is responsible for what. If you create ten websites, there will be no significant problems. But if you create fifty websites, think about all the things you need to take care of:
- financial accounting
- keeping a register of all projects
- filling websites and maintaining them, so as not to spot the network
- team management
- setting KPIs
- results tracking
- data storing
Building a PBN is a complex algorithm of actions, and we are currently writing an article on how to organize it. If you don't have the time to wait and figure out how to build a PBN and update your website's link profile, feel free to contact our experts.
What is a PBN and how does it work?
A PBN is a Private Blog Network that you create for link building. A Private Blog Network is a private network of resources, usually consisting of a different number of websites on the same topic. Its goal is to promote a major project with backlinks.
What kind of website needs a PBN?
Websites that need PBN promotion usually don't get much traffic from search engines. PBNs are often used in highly competitive, profitable niches where it's difficult to get quality links at a reasonable price.
Is PBN good for SEO?
PBN websites can do harm if your link profile consists entirely of links within the network, if the private network consists of low-quality websites, or if the network is created without taking the anonymity factor into account. Networks should be closed from analytics systems. To close access to websites, use a file with the appropriate directives at the server level.
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