Posted at November 8, 2017 at 2:47 pm by Mike
Anyone actively involved in SEO understands certain strategies are riskier than others. Google and the other search engines want websites to be optimized as part of good design practice and content to be of the highest quality. However, they don't want site owners to build backlinks in a way that could be considered deceptive. A popular strategy is the use of PBNs, with positive results being experienced by many who employ the tactic. A PBN does not adhere to search engine guidelines, though, so each individual has to weigh up risk versus reward.
What is a PBN?
A PBN is a privately owned group of domains that link back to your main website. The domains are typically purchased because they have a high level of authority and possibly some relevance to your own niche. As the domains are powerful due to their own incoming backlinks, they pass authority onto your main site allowing it to rank higher. Ultimately, building a PBN is the act of gaining a selection of powerful backlinks, but the links are being gained in an unnatural way from the point of view of the search engines.
The domains you acquire for a PBN will be expired sites that have existing backlinks pointing towards them. There are countless sites expiring each day, with owners deciding not to renew them. In order to find the right options, though, you will need to perform some analysis. If you want to avoid most of the hassle, there are domain brokers who will sell a domain that meets your needs. You could even potentially buy an entire PBN from a broker who is experienced in buying and building a network.
If you decide to buy your own domains, sites like GoDaddy, FreshDrop, Dynadot, and DomCop run auctions and offer instant purchases. Any purchase you are considering should be run through a tool like Ahrefs or Majestic to ensure the site authority is accurate and there is not a spammy backlink profile associated with it. Also, use the Wayback Machine to check the site was previously a legitimate site, avoiding penalized sites that were being used as PBNs.
Hosting is an important aspect of building a PBN because you need to avoid leaving footprints. Hosting all your sites on the same server ensures your PBN will be quickly discovered, so you need to host sites across different IP addresses. Most large PBNs are hosted across multiple locations, replicating a natural backlink profile. These locations include common brands like Hostgator and GoDaddy, cheap hosting providers, cloud hosting like Amazon S3, and virtual private servers. Costs for these providers can vary considerably, so most people begin using the
cheaper services first.
Don't start adding links until the PBN site has been indexed by the search engines. After indexing, add links to some relevant authority sites in your niche, before then adding a link back to your own site. Add your link to the page with the most authority, using Ahrefs or Majestic to check this. You can also use these tools to check your own backlink profile, ensuring you are mixing up the anchor text to avoid using the same phrase excessively. Don't expect immediate results after adding a backlink, but gradually the power of your PBN should add some
considerable improvements to your rankings.
A PBN is not a short-term strategy aimed at earning some quick results. A quality blog network will take time and money to build, with links being built gradually. It is also important to follow other SEO strategies, supplementing your network with a broad selection of different backlinks. An effective PBN will, though, elevate your site in the search engines, often making you difficult to dislodge for some desirable keywords. There is, of course, plenty of risk with a PBN, but anyone comfortable with the possibility of losing their network and rankings should consider
using the strategy.