- Hey everyone, this is Mukul and today we’ll talk about PBNs.
Let’s start with getting an understanding of what PBNs are
- A Private Blog Network, or PBN, is a network of expired domains that have strong link profiles and clean histories.
- These domains are used to gain link power or link juice to your money site, potentially improving your rankings over time.
- These are links from the homepage of these expired domains so they pass really good authority to your money site.
- You can either own the PBNs, that is, buy a bunch of expired domains and give yourself links from them OR you can rent PBNs from someone else’s network. Both work fine, depending on what kind of seller you choose or what kind of domains you picked.
Let’s talk about why PBNs work. What’s so special about them?
- Google uses links as one of its key ranking factors and it’s very clear at this point.
- All this started with a thing called PageRank, which determined the value of a site by looking at what other sites were linking to it. Google used this to determine the authority of the page.
- Although Google no longer publicly displays PageRank, it’s still used internally, making links as important as ever.
- PBNs work as you get links from a site that has really low outbound links, which means the PBN domain is not linking to any other websites as such, passing the most amount of authority to your money site.
- They are very scalable and controllable which makes it an easy option. Also, even if you rent a PBN from a somewhat decent provider, you’ll see that the rates are really cheap. You can rent a PBN link for $3-10/mo which is super cheap.
Let’s talk about the risks of PBNs
- Google is against any type of paid link building and Google really hates PBNs. If caught, you get a manual penalty as well. Although, arguably, it’s not that common to get caught using PBNs unless you have done it really badly and barely maintain your PBNs.
- Therefore, building, running, and especially scaling a PBN comes with certain risks.
- You have to be really smart about the anchor texts you use, and the type of hosting you use as it’s not advisable to have all of them on the same IPs, you basically have to make them look and function like a normal site, eliminating the risk of them being discovered as a PBN.
Let’s talk about how you find expired domains to build PBNs
- Finding PBN domains can be done in two ways: buying domains from a vendor or finding them yourself.
- A great resource for finding your own PBN domains is expireddomains.net.
- Ideally, you can pick 3-7 expired domains in the niche you want your PBN to be with good metrics.
- This should be a good start to see if you’re able to manage PBNs and giving it 4-8 weeks after you have linked to your money site, you can start noticing if you’re getting any positive rankings or results from PBNs. If not, you can always remove it and explore other options.
The best way to quickly find good expired domains from GoDaddy Auctions or for that matter, any other auctions is to use expireddomains.net. It is a time saver.
You can find domains from almost any auction marketplace out there. You can find recently dropped domains, pending to-drop domains, domains listed on marketplaces, and domains in auctions.
Using basic filters, you can get awesome expired domains to bid on right off the bat with this tool, here’s a quick look:
How to Vet Expired Domains for PBNs?
- Step 1: Verify the domain’s indexation. Go to Google and type ‘site:yourdomain.com’ to see if it’s indexed. If it’s not indexed, it can potentially have a manual penalty. Also, there are a lot of domains available these days which have a clean history and are indexed. Just don’t bother with the ones not indexed.
- Step 2: Investigate the domain’s past. Use Archive.org to ensure it hasn’t been involved in any black-hat SEO practices. Some sites have a history of being used as a PBN, or a shady site, or have been 301’d in the past. If it’s any of these three, just skip it.
- Step 3: Look for any trademark issues. Use websites like trademarkia.com or the U.S. govt website to find any trademark/copyright issues.
- Step 4: Examine the link and anchor profile. Use Ahrefs to check the live links to the domain. The domain should have clean, high authority, live backlinks. If there are little to no backlinks, there’s not really a point to buy and make it a PBN as it won’t have much effect on rankings, if at all.
How To Safely Build Your PBN Network
- Avoid Bad Hosting:
- You can use shared hosting but don’t host all domains on the hosting. The key here is having different IPs. Also, have some domains built on a different CMS as it looks more legit.
- You can use a variety of hosting here. The key is to diversify.
- You can use Cloudflare on some hostings to mask the IP, totally your choice. It should just be natural.
- Domain Registration:
- Don’t register all domains at once.
- Use different registrars like Dynadot, Name, Namesilo, and GoDaddy.
- Maintain Privacy:
- Use private WhoIs to hide domain ownership details.
- Although some people say Google can still get to know the owner I doubt if they would or if they can, if at all.
- Don’t Block Crawlers:
- Blocking bots like Ahrefs can be a footprint. Let them crawl your PBNs. Treat them like a normal site, and make them look very natural.
- Unique PBN Designs:
- Every PBN site should look different. Use different themes, layouts, and logos. Also, some can be a blog, some can be a store, some can be a local business. Diversify.
- Use Unique Content:
- Avoid spun or scraped content. Using ChatGPT is fine but just make sure it isn’t really bad and you’re not blatantly copy/pasting it.
- Avoid Interlinking PBNs:
- Don’t link your PBN sites to each other. Some people do it, but it’s a debatable topic.
- Build Links to Your PBNs (Optional):
- Real sites gain and lose links. Occasionally add quality tier 2 links to your PBNs.
- Handle Redirects Properly:
- Ensure you’re redirecting non-www to www or vice versa based on where most links point. If your domain has the most amount of links on the www. version of the site, make it the live one. Google treats domains with www differently than domains without www as www is considered a subdomain.
- Implement SSL:
- SSL has become standard. Use free solutions like Let’s Encrypt.
- Maintain Your PBN:
- Regularly update themes, plugins, and add non-commercial content. Use security plugins like Wordfence.
- Create social accounts for your PBNs to make them look more legitimate.
- Before you start posting links, advertisements, and whatever else comes to your mind, fill each domain with as many articles as you can.
- Make sure you have some traction and some rankings before you start linking to your money site.
- And that’s a wrap on our deep dive into PBNs.
- Remember, creating and maintaining a PBN is a complex task and requires a significant investment of time and resources.
- It’s important to do it correctly to avoid penalties from Google.