How Many Money Sites Can I Link To From A Private Blog Network?

backlinks-nichesiteproject.comThis question comes up a lot and for good reason too.

The answer directly impacts 2 very important things:

  1. Return-on-Investment (ROI)
  2. Overall Risk

Those 2 factors will impact whether or not you actually build a Private Blog Network (PBN).

If you don’t think you can get a profitable ROI on your PBN, then you won’t build one. And, why would you if you thought the network would ultimately lose money.

If you aren’t sure if the risk is tolerable, then you may not want to engage in getting backlinks from a PBN. (If you are new to PBNs, I list a bunch of resources at the end.)

Let’s talk about…

The ROI of a PBN

Let’s assume that you have a PBN with 10 domains, an average Domain Authority (DA) of 20, and the cost of the network, including content, is $1,500.

push-earnings-feb-2014-nichesiteproject w280As long as the PBN helps you make over $1,500, then it is a good investment. You should also factor in the time that you are spending on building out the network (or outsourcing it), but we will ignore that here.

Let’s assume a 10 Domain network, Avg DA of 20, and a cost of $1,500…

If you can link to a LOT of money sites, say 20 money sites, then the revenue generating portion of the equation is potentially much higher. That is great for making the PBN provide a high ROI.

The other extreme is to have the PBN link to a single money site. In that case, the revenue generating portion comes for one source – the single money site. There may be more “link juice” flowing to the money site, but it’s unclear how important that is to a ranking factor.

(Check out the free new email course on PBNs here.)

The Risk Factor

I believe the more money sites that you link to, the higher the risk. This is more intuition than any real, concrete facts. The reason that I believe that is because of the fall of certain public blog networks. These are different than private networks…PBNs-niche-site-project

Those public networks were most likely built well and hosted on different hosts. One thing the domains in the network had in common was a lot of outbound links to money sites that were unrelated to each other. That is what I am looking to avoid to reduce the risk of a PBN.

I realize that there are many other potential footprints that could be an issue like WhoIs data, plugins, or hosting, and so on…

The other problem is that all of the outbound links to money sites tie all of them together. That presents two issues:

  1. If a competitor finds your network, then they could find all the money sites that are linked from the network.
  2. If your network is discovered by Google, then your money sites can be discovered and manual action can be taken against them by the spam team.

risk-niche-site-projectHow Can You Balance ROI & Risk?

A great starting point is to consider is a saturation rate of 50%, where the saturation rate is the number of money sites compared to the number of domains in the PBN.

In our example, a 50% saturation rate for the 10 domain PBN can link to 5 money sites.

Saturation Rate is the number of money sites compared to the number of domains in the PBN.

If you link to 20 money sites from a 10 domain PBN, then the saturation rate is 200%. That’s well over the limit and certainly a risky proposition.

Exception Cases

Sometimes exceeding a 50% saturation rate is not as risky as it seems.

  • risk-management-niche-site-project-300Lots of White Hat backlinks. If you have a lot of other backlinks from White Hat sources (like Wikipedia or real guest posts on niche relevant blogs), then you can have a higher saturation rate with the same relative amount of risk.
  • Niche Relevant PBN. Let’s say you have a niche relevant network and have clients within that vertical – for example, a dentistry blog network. You may be able to legitimately link to the target money sites and exceed the 50% saturation rate. You can get niche relevant domains at Hammerhead Domains. (I am an affiliate for this service & appreciate the support.)

Minimizing Risk

The lowest level of risk while still using a PBN is to have a network support a single money site. This is the best practice for building a long term website.

Back to our example, the 10 site PBN would link to 1 money site. That’s it. All 10 of the domains would link to you money site. Many successful niche site owners take this approach.

A PBN supporting ONE (1) money site is the best practice for building a long term website.

Another huge benefit is that you can sell the website with the network. That is a massive added value and it adds security to the rankings for the new owner. Some people are hesitant to buy a website if there are PBN links that are out of their control. If you can sell them the network too, then everyone wins.


Using a private blog network is inherently risky, both financially and from a rankings standpoint. The key idea is to limit risk while ensuring a positive ROI.

Resources and Helpful Links

11 comments… add one
  • ken

    Thanks for sharing, I like your blog, which provides many useful information, it seems that you build up a niche site for case study, how is it now?

  • Great article.

  • matt

    What about money sites in the SAME niche?

    • Hey Matt, you can do that in a more believable way. Yes.

      You would still have the downsides:
      1. selling one of the sites would be harder.
      2. you would reveal your other sites.
      3. if one site falls, there is potential that they will all fall.

      But, yes, you can do it.

  • After reading the article, The fiverr blogpost links have huge risk factor.

    Thanks Doug for writing the article.

  • angela

    Hi Doug,

    I find myself always on this blog:) So if I have 10 PBN and I want to rank for blue widget, yellow widget, red widget etc.

    Can I use those anchors in different PBNs 1 time pointing to the same website using the homepage and innerpages?

    How many anchors can I use in each PBN that has 5 articles for the same website?

    Should I point any links to these PBNs?

    Many thanks!

  • David

    Hi Doug,

    What is the best place to buy PBN domains in your opinion? I just know Tbsolutions and Prnator, but the prices there are very high at the moment..

    • Hey David,
      I need to do a little research as I haven’t bought a domain in a while. I do really like Hammerhead Domains…I know the owner well and it’s a great service. In fact, I resisted working with them when they pitched me, but I found the time to check out the service.

    • David, hope ya don’t mind me jumping in here!

      Myself and Doug (not Doug C from here) set up a service selling domains because they were just overpriced and not good enough quality. We started from nothing but a Google spreadsheet and built a really solid reputation. With the income we built out a marketplace framework which has helped sales and support immensely.

      You can see all the domain metrics for free but you will need a valid email address to register.

      All our domains are spam-checked thoroughly using our internal tools for the phase 1 check and then manually checked by our girls before being checked again and approved by Doug.

      If you prefer the non-manual spam checks in bulk then agree, Josh’s (also a good buddy of mine) service at hammer head domains is very good – but just a side note, they are increasing prices soon, so you should pull the trigger sooner rather than later!


  • Bhim Rai

    I quite like the 50% saturation point.

    I will try the single money site first. And do the multiple money site with 50%.

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