Private Blog Networks: Do they work anymore? PBN 101: Basics to Advanced

private-blog-network-PBNs-niche-site-projectupdated: Nov 15, 2016.   I heard about Private Blog Networks, or PBNs for short, a while back around the same time that I heard about niche websites. PBNs seemed very exciting and very powerful.

PBNs can also be confusing and slightly complicated to set up for a novice, or even an experienced internet marketer.

There are many moving parts to a PBN and several failure points.

This post will cover the basics of Private Blog Networks. Think of it as PBN 101.

Check out the PBN course for FREE. 9 Modules & 3 Hours of Video. Click here

If you’re wondering “Do PBNs work?”

The answer is YES. They definitely work and they work really damn well, too. The thing is this:

You have to build your PBN right. You have to safe about it or you’re going to get penalized by Google.

“Do PBNs work?”

The answer is YES. They definitely work and they work really damn well, too.

**One thing you may find interesting is that I’m not selling anything PBN related. I used to – I used to have a network that I sold links on, but I don’t anymore. I used to sell a course on PBNs, but now I just give it away for free. I do mention products below and some of them are affiliate links so I get a small commission. The fact is, I don’t make much from this page so I hope you find the information helpful! Good luck building your network!

We will cover the following:

  • Definition of a Private Blog Network
  • Why create aPrivate Blog Network
  • Why expired domains are authoritative
  • Finding expired domains
  • Hosting considerations
  • Content considerations
  • How to Test Your Private Blog Network Domain
  • Outbound linking from Private Blog Networks
  • Resources
  • Infographic

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What is a Private Blog Network or PBN?

A private blog network (PBN ) is a set of domains that you or another individual owns.  It is possible to have a PBN consisting of free blogs, like wordpress.com, tumbr.com, or livejournal.com.  Typically, the free blog domains do not have as much power as self hosted blogs.

For this conversation, we will consider non-free blog platforms that are self hosted.

In most cases, a PBN is made up from expired domains.  An expired domain is a domain that was owned at one time and had content – the website was lived in and the webmaster cared for the site.  In fact, the webmaster probably created a nice website that attracted visitors and even had other websites link to the domain.  Great!

For whatever reason, the webmaster decided he or she didn’t want to own the domain anymore, and let the domain registration expire.  When a domain is no longer registered, anyone can buy it for the normal registration fee, normally about $10 – $15 US dollars.

PBNs-niche-site-projectIn contrast, there used to be a few public blog networks (like BuildMyRank and Linkvana) in the pre-Peguin and pre-Panda world.  The public networks allowed anyone to buy links or guest posts.  In early 2012, Google decided to deindex links from some public blog networks.  Deindexing the networks removed any value provided by the backlinks to websites.  These public blog networks, were easy to identify and deindex since they were accessible to everyone (hence, the importance of a private blog network). 

Why would someone create a PBN?

You control the content and backlinks

A PBN is powerful because you control the content and you control the links within the domain.  This means that you can create or alter the content so it relates specifically to your niche.  Even more important is that you can create and alter the anchor text that links to your website.  (Anchor text is the text that appears as a hyperlink – it’s what you click on to go to another site.)

In addition, an expired domain is likely to pass along a good amount of link juice to any website with a link from it.  Link juice can be thought of as ranking power (moz.com reference) – so an expired domain can pass more ranking power than a brand new domain.  Why does an expired domain pass more link juice than a brand new domain?  Because an expired domain carries more authority.

Why do expired domains have more authority?

There are two main reasons why expired domains pass more link juice.  The first and less important reason is that Google places some value on the age of the domain.  If you can find an expired domain that has been around since 2008, that domain is generally more authoritative and passes more link juice than a domain created in 2014.

The second and more important reason an expired domain has more link juice is the backlink profile.  The backlink profile is the general make up of the backlinks to a domain.  Here, we are talking about the backlinks for an expired domain.

It’s worth noting that the backlink profile takes things into account like:

  1. The total number of backlinks.
  2. The total number of linking domains.
  3. The total number of linking IP addresses.
  4. The link location on a post or page.
  5. The anchor text of the link.
  6. The title tag of the link.
  7. If the link is from an image.
  8. If the link is in the comments.
  9. If the link is do-follow or no-follow.

Ideally, we would want to see a number (more than 10) of natural links from related websites.  For example, if the domain was about home improvements, we hope to see many links from home improvement blogs with varying anchor text.  It is ideal to see high authority and quality websites linking to the expired domains.  Jon Haver, from Authority Website Income, published an excellent guide on analyzing backlinks for an expired domain.

How do you find expired domains?

Finding a high quality expired domain is a long, fairly complicated process.  It is not easy.  I personally have a few sources that I turn to:

  1. expireddomains.net
  2. Bluechip Backlinks  (affiliate link)
  3. Domain Re-Animator  (affiliate link)
  4. PBN HQ (affiliate link)
  5. Hammerhead Domains (affiliate link)

The first is time consuming but free, while the latter outsources the work (meaning minimal effort by you) but comes at a cost.

expireddomains.net

Expireddomains.net provides lists of dropped domains each day.  There are many thousands of domains dropped everyday, however, only a small fraction of the dropped domains are valuable to us as part of a PBN.  The problem is that there are many  domains with high authority statistics, but they were used for spamming the internet for pharmaceuticals, gambling, or porn.  Those domains are of no value to us. Most likely they are not valuable for the spammers, otherwise they would have kept the domain.

Sign up for a free account with expireddomains.net to get access to the drop lists.  There are filters that can help you sort through the large volume.  The filters work very well and you can customize your column headings to exactly what you want to see.  As a starting point, I look at domains with a Page Authority (PA) over 25 and Domain Authority (DA) over 20, and I may raise those numbers based on the results.  A couple other criteria I might use is at least 20 backlinks and 10 referring domains (called min SEOkicks Domain Pop in the filter).

Use the Wayback Machine & Check the Backlinks

If I find a potential domain, I will check out its history.  I review the backlink profile and the archived pages on the Wayback Machine.  For the backlink profile, I use free accounts at Majestic SEO and ahrefs. Normally, a quick glance at the top 10 backlinks gives me a pretty good idea about the history of the domain.

If the backlinks look okay, I head over to archive.org’s Wayback Machine to investigate the archive pages.  I typically look at the last instance of the site first – just the home page.  If there is not anything suspicious, I will spot check the archived pages over the last several years.

Expireddomains.net is very good for a free service.

The good:

  • An account is free.
  • The lists are comprehensive.
  • It’s possible to find a great domain with high authority.

The bad:

  • Slight learning curve dealing with filters.
  • Difficult to review the quality of domains.
  • The process is time-consuming.
  • It’s possible to find a domain that looks great but is really a dud.
  • You could waste hours and not find any domains.

Bluechip Backlinks

This is a newer service, at least on my radar. I’ve heard excellent things about BB so I decided to check out Bluechip Backlinks.

This is a full service suite of functionality so it’s sorta in another realm than say a broker where they just sell you a domain. And, it’s really a service that helps you build domains after you find them so you have a way to build out PBNs faster. That’s because you don’t have to worry about the content.

What? You don’t have to worry about the content??

Here’s the deal – It’s risky in a way, but Bluechip Backlinks has a way to rebuild sites using the content on Archive.org. It’s brilliant in a way since all the old content is right there for the taking.

The downside is that you are potentially violating some copyrights by doing that…However, the risk is probably low that you will ever be called on that.

The service is owned by Terry Kyle, a veteran in the internet marketing space. He also runs one of the best and fastest hosting companies out there called Traffic Planet. If you’ve looked for fast hosting before, then you probably saw Traffic Planet.

Here is a look on the inside…

So, they want you to be successful with your PBN so there is training available to help you learn about the best way to use your domains. I haven’t gone through all the training, but I may be partial to the Ultimate PBN course since I created it!

bluechip1

The domains are listed on your dashboard and you’ll be able to buy them for the cost of registration.

I’m normally thinking about the SEO aspect of PBNs, but there is a big opportunity in domain brokering.

If you can get these domains for the cost of registration, then resell them later…Well, that’s a great business model. That’s not my thing, but it’s working great for some people.

bluechip2

 

There are thousands of domains that have already been scrapped and you get access to them right away. They are over a Trust Flow of 10 so that’s good enough to be a meaningful backlink.

bluechip6

 

The Archive.org re-building functionality is the differentiator here. You will be able to get your new PBN domain up and running in no time. Typically, I would spend about $50 – $100 to get original content written for a brand new PBN domain. With just a couple of domains, you’ll be able to pay for your Bluechip Backlinks costs in the form of free content.
bluechip9

Check out bluechip backlinks here

THE GOOD:

  • You can find domains that no one owns so  you only have to pay for the registration (about $10)
  • There is a way to rebuild a site with the original content so that saves you $100s in content costs.
  • It runs on the web so it won’t slow down your computer like local scrapping tools. You will have 4 scrapers running at the same time so it’s fast.
  • Excellent Support
  • Free PBN Training
  • You can find a bunch of great domains with high authority.

THE BAD:

  • Slight learning curve.
  • It’s fairly expensive, but is way more scalable if you use it to sell domains.

Domain Re-Animator

Domain Re-Animator is a super slick domain crawling and re-buiding suite of tools. It comes at a premium price, but it’s simply the best when it comes to:

  • Ease of Use
  • Speed
  • Spam detection

Cloud Hosted

Just like Bluechip Backlinks, Domain Re-Animator is cloud hosted so your local machine won’t run slow when you’re crawling domains. It’s really an intuitive interface and you’ll be able find domains fast.

Unlimited Crawl Time

One of the major benefits is that you get unlimited crawling time – 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. They don’t put any kind of limit on how much you can crawl. And, if you in the domain brokering business, then Domain Re-Animator will pay for itself fast.

Way Back Machine Snapshots

You can get unlimited snapshots of the Archive.org’s Way Back Machine to re-animate your new domains. Again, you will save on your content costs rather than paying a writer to create unique content.

Metrics Dashboard

Your dashboard has the metrics you care about from Moz and Majestic. You will also be able to see the Majestic anchor text to get a quick handle if the site was ever abused by a spammer. And, you can also tell what niche the site is in judging by the anchor text.

Here are a few other points directly from the Domain Re-Animator site:

Domain_Re-Animator__Simply_The_Best_Expired_Domain_Crawler_ Domain_Re-Animator__Simply_The_Best_Expired_Domain_Crawler_3Domain_Re-Animator__Simply_The_Best_Expired_Domain_Crawler_2

Check out Domain Re-Animator Here

THE GOOD:

  • There is a way to rebuild a site with the original content so that saves you $100s in content costs.
  • It’s cloud based so it won’t slow down your computer like local scrapping tools
  • Excellent Support
  • Excellent Spam checking built in.

THE BAD:

  • It’s fairly expensive, but is way more scaleable if you use it to sell domains.

PBN HQ

PBN HQ removes all of the issues of finding an expired domain.

I currently use PBN HQ for expired domains as my preferred broker, not expireddomains.net.  This is Steve Rendell’s and Doug Stewart’s service and they have developed a great process to find expired domains that are of high authority.

Finding these kinds of domains isn’t easy. It takes a long time even if you know that you are doing.

The service removes all of the issues of finding an expired domain.

At PBN HQ, they have been building PBN’s for years and have been selling domains for almost as long.

They have expertise that most people don’t have because they process millions of domains daily with their in-house tools and only the best pass the strict 7-stage-spam-checking-process.
Luckily you can save a LOT of time because PBN HQ checks:
  • Ahrefs back-links
  • Majestic linking root domains
  • The languages of the links
  • Archived titles
  • Ensure common spammed words are not used ANYWHERE.
Those (few) domains that do get through this automated stage then have the archive history manually checked by a spam checking team. If they like what they see they get promoted to a final check.
This final check is done by Doug Stewart (one of the founders) who personally looks over every single domain to ensure it meets the standards before it gets put in the market place.
They can sell at a lower price than competitors because they have re-invested every single penny into making the process as automated and as streamlined as possible.
Check out PBN HQ – you won’t be disappointed – and with domains being added every single day, you’ll be able to build out your on niche PBN without breaking the bank.

The good:

  • The time investment is minimal.
  • You have no risk – there is a 100% money-back guarantee.
  • The domain should have great authority.
  • The service eliminates the need for you to review the backlinks and the Wayback Machine Archives.

The bad:

  • It costs more than if you find the domain on your own. Please note that the cost is WAY cheaper than if you tried to buy a domain at an auction. This is the only drawback and it really is a bargain at this price.

Hammerhead Domains

(I am an affiliate for this service.) Hammerhead Domains crawls the web for high-authority expired domains and provides filtered lists of these unregistered domains for free. This is your best option if you can’t afford to purchase 10 or 20 domains from a broker, but don’t want to spend the time it would take to find them on expireddomains.net.

The domains are not all spam-free so you will have to check domains for spam, but they’ve developed some special filters so you don’t waste much time looking through the lists of obviously spammed domains. Josh, the creator of Hammerhead Domains, did a free in-depth tutorial on spam checking, called How to Get Cheap PBN Domains that Actually Help You Rank.

Sign up for a free account and you’ll get access to a list of 10 domains/day. The free account is the perfect way to get started on PBNs on the cheap.

hammerhead-domains-todays-domains

 

You can absolutely build your entire PBN from their free list, and never pay a dime except for registering the domain names. But the free list limits you to maximum DA19 domains, which aren’t particularly powerful. It isn’t a deal breaker, but depending on your niche you may need stronger domains.

Just like the old google PageRank metric, DA is calculated on a logarithmic scale, which is a fancy way of saying that DA30 is not just 33% more powerful than DA20, but 1000% more powerful, or 10 times as powerful. Don’t get too caught up in the details of this calculation, because all of this is just an estimation of whatever metrics google uses internally. The point is that your time is much better spent building a smaller number of high DA backlinks rather than a larger number of low DA backlinks.

Hammerhead Domains offers a Pro membership for $19/month that gets you access to a lot more domains each day, including DA20+ domains. A big perk of the Pro membership is that from the day you subscribe any domains which aren’t registered on the day they’re released, get added to your Vault, and after a while you’ll build up thousands of domains in your Vault.

PRO-100-todays-domains-hammerhead-domains

As it’s not a very expensive membership – I just let it go, and then whenever I want to expand my PBN, I’ll search the Vault for domains in my Niche.

Niche relevancy matters

As Google continues to find new ways to understand how natural link patterns work, having PBN domains that are relevant to your niche can be a huge advantage.

One more product that Hammerhead Domains offers is Topical Domain Lists. As a free or a Pro member, you can get a list of 50 domains with Majestic Topical Trust in your niche for $97. Just like the daily lists, not all these domains are spam-free, but they will replace your list if you can’t register at least 3. And most of the time people are registering 5-15 domains from the list.

 hammerhead-topical-search-from-majestic

(Topical Lists were on sale at the time of taking this screenshot. Usually $97)

This is the best option if you need niche domains right now, and don’t want to spend time patrolling the daily lists or waiting for your Vault to build up. It also gives you access to domains that haven’t been released yet on the daily lists.

Like I said, I am an affiliate with Hammerhead Domains so I get a commission if you make a purchase there. It won’t cost you any extra! And, I certainly appreciate the support. Sign up for a free account here.

Good:

  • An account is free. And an upgraded account is very cheap, especially when you consider the price of buying just one domain from a broker or at auction.
  • Lists are significantly filtered, which will save you a ton of time compared to expireddomains.net or running your own crawling software.
  • Relatively easy to find great domains with high authority, as well as domains in your niche.
  • You can build up a large list of domains in your vault, and have access to a big list of unregistered high-authority domains any time.
  • Perfect for agencies since you can build out a HUGE network.

Bad:

  • You still have to spam check the domains yourself
  • The monthly fee can add up if you are not generating revenue on your money site.

Another Option – Done for You Private Blog Network Service:

I have not personally used this service but Authority Website Income and Rank Source offer this completely hands off private blog network service where they find a domain, register it, create content, and build a site. This is one potential option to get the benefits of a private blog network without the hassle of finding domains, getting different hosting accounts for each and building out the sites! There is normally a wait list.
Want an existing network?? If you want to buy an existing network, let me know. I hear from people looking to sell every now and then so I’d be happy to connect people. Just send me an email.

(Just getting started making money online? Read up on how to build Affiliate Sites using the Amazon Associate program.)

Tips and Tricks

Here are a few things to keep in mind with Private Blog Networks.

IP Addresses and Hosting

Make sure the domains in your PBN have different IP addresses.  Why?  If domains are on the same IP address, there is a chance that the same person owns the domains.  To Google, this might indicate some level of collusion for backlinks.  The most important role of the IP addresses is to reduce the footprint of the network.  Basically, you want to set up your IP addresses to minimize the possibility that Google (or anyone else) will discover your PBN .

Each of your domains on a PBN need to be on separate C Block IP Addresses.  What does that mean?  IP addresses have 4 “blocks” – A, B, C, and D.

AAA.BBB.CCC.DDD

You want your PBN domains to have different numbers for the “CCC” set of the IP address. (Reference: This is a nice explanation about C Blocks by AJ Kohn.)

These IP addresses are on the same C Block and this is NOT good for a PBN:

50.18.104.27

50.18.104.180

50.18.104.219

These IP addresses are on different C Blocks and this is good for a PBN:

50.18.101.27

50.18.48.180

50.18.204.219

private-blog-network-detective-niche-site-projectWhy are separate C Block IP addresses important?  The IP address reveals a footprint or evidence of the network.  Imagine that someone is manually reviewing your money site and its backlink profile.  It will be very easy to identify a PBN if there are 15 valuable links to your money site from 15 domains all on the same C Block.  That many links from one C Block is a little strange and not very likely naturally.  However, if you have 15 valuable links to your money from 15 domains on 14 different C Block IP Addresses, that is far more believable and will not raise any red flags during a manual review.

Who Owns The IP Addresses?

If you’re using a HostNine account, then all of the IP addresses will be owned by HostNine – and that doesn’t look very natural. Ideally, you’ll want to obtain IP addresses from different providers, and ideally popular ones chosen by individuals when they’re starting out online – think BlueHost, HostGator, InMotion, A Small Orange, etc.

You can use this tool to find out who owns an IP address, and make sure that your network is hosted by a number of different providers.

Separate C Block IP Addresses are Essential

Obtaining separate C Block IP addresses was the most challenging part of creating my own PBN and I still struggle with this issue.  There are SEO hosting services that happily provide separate C Block IP addresses.  But guess what – those are not the best idea because most, if not all, of the people with domains hosted with an SEO hosting company have PBN domains there.  That means that Google could detect a large number of questionable backlinks from a variety of domains all in sets of C Blocks, one of which may be yours.  It may be unlikely, but Google does have the resources to figure out the network of an SEO hosting company.

What should you do for hosting? 

Some legitimate, non-SEO hosting companies offer up reseller hosting accounts that allow you to use separate C Block IP addresses.

Bulk Buy Hosting

Bulk Buy Hosting have carefully considered the issues faced by other SEO hosting providers and implemented stict rules and limits to the number of PBN sites that they will host on each server in order to keep your network safe.

They use reseller accounts from large, popular providers including BlueHost’s Reseller Club, A Small Orange, HostGator, InMotion and more, so that your sites blend in with other genuine web sites hosted by small, individual webmasters.

CloudBoss

This is a newer service that does a great job making hosting PBNs easier. CloudBoss takes advantage of cloud hosting options on dozens of platforms.

The result is a platform that allows you to “Get UNIQUE IPs With NON-Shared Accounts On The Largest Cloud Platforms In The World, ALREADY hosting MILLIONS of REAL Websites”. Terry Kyle was doing such a great job that I became an affiliate for CloudBoss. If you buy through my link, I really appreciate it.

CloudBoss uses platforms such as, Amazon EC2 and S3, RedHat OpenShift (uses Amazon servers), IBM Softlayer, Microsoft Azure, Digital Ocean, Joyent & Linode to host the websites of your PBN. Most people don’t use those platforms to host websites since it’s damn complex and technical. It’s more likely that you’ll see an application run on those platforms.

Using CloudBoss, you can set up very cheap PBN hosting for about $0.15 per month for a very low traffic SEO/PBN site. That’s on Amazon S3 – used by many large companies. The set up can be fairly complex, but if you’re planning on a bigger network CloudBoss can save you a chunk of cash.

Super Cheap Hosting

Another solution is to find small hosting companies that are cheap, like $1-2 per month. A potential downside to using a small hosting company is having to install WordPress manually.  Yeah, that’s right…some hosting companies do not have 1-click install for WordPress in 2014.  I recommend you do your homework on these smaller hosting companies before signing up. In a recent post by Matt Diggity, he revealed that a lot of these small $1-2 per month hosts are filled with PBNs, and that you should use premium hosting providers instead.

I do NOT recommend IX Hosting.  They offer the ability to get 15 unique IP addresses with an Unlimited Pro account at a very reasonable price.  However, I have 2 main issues with IX:

  • First – It is really hard to get unique C Block IP Addresses.  They seem to have a small number of C Block available and they assign them sequentially.  This means that if you have five expired domains ready to go and try to add them to your hosting account at IX, you could end up with all five domains on the same C Block.  In addition, the IP addresses would probably be in order, like 50.18.20.180, 50.18.20.181 … 50.18.20.184.  This defeats the purpose of having “unique” IP addresses and could expose your PBN.
  • Second – 1-click WordPress installation is very hard to find.  (It’s in the hosting admin panel under EasyApps Collection.) Once you find the script to install it, the WordPress instance is placed in http://yourdomainhere.com/wordpress.  This is frustrating and not ideal because you want to have the domain at  http://yourdomainhere.com/.  This is not easy to fix for most people, and is only a “fairly easy” thing to fix  if you have experience moving WordPress from another folder, installing WordPress, or you know your way around phpMyAdmin.  I’ve spent a few hours trying to figure out how to do this thanks to the poor implementation of 1-click install at IX Hosting.

The Content and Theme

Post Unique Content & Use a Unique Theme

The content needs to stand up on its own to a manual review.  The content needs to be original and not published anywhere else.  It is unlikely to have a manual review on your website by someone at Google but it is possible. Ideally, the new content is well written and fits in with the previous topic of the website.  The articles should look natural.  That means it is probably good to have posts published over a period of time – don’t publish all the articles on the same day.  That’s an easy fix in WordPress since you can edit the publish date.

Do not use the previous content from the site. You could technically see the content from the old webmaster on archive.org.  However, respect the copyrights of the previous owner and create unique content. Copyright infringement is a whole different topic so I’ll leave it at that.

I recommend 5 articles at a minimum for each domain.  Again, the goal is to have a natural looking website that appears to be updated regularly.  If you can get 10 articles posted, even better.  I like to use free, royalty free images from morguefile.com or find related youtube videos to post.  If the video owner allows sharing the video then you can post it on your site since it links back to the youtube page.

There should be a unique “About” page that discusses the purpose of the website or an “About Me” page that discusses the publisher.  Feel free to come up with an alter ego for each site.

Speaking of varied and normal – the themes should also be unique across your domains.  I never use a paid theme and my method is to search for a theme in the WordPress theme dashboard.  It’s best to find simple themes that allow the full text of posts to display on the home page.  Stay away from complicated themes that have a bunch of options to set up – your time is better spent elsewhere.  Keep the theme simple, clean, and free.

Finally, when it comes to the plugins that you use on your PBN sites, you should randomize them to try and avoid footprints in the HTML code of your sites. You can use the free Plugin Picker tool to randomize between popular themes and functionality like contact forms, sitemaps, SEO plugins and more.

How to Test Your Private Blog Network Domain

Let’s imagine you did all this hard work:

  1. Found a domain with SUPER metrics
  2. Installed WP
  3. Published a bunch of content
  4. Added a link to your money site

And the result was that your rankings tanked. It would be terrible! All that wasted effort and money down the drain.

You can see that testing your network, one domain at a time, is a great idea. It should take about a week to do the test and it’s well worth the time. I didn’t test domains back when I had a big network, but I wish I did. This technique is from Diggity Marketing – Thanks to Matt!

First off, even if you look at backlink crawlers you won’t know all the links behind a domain. You just can’t – Google goes deep, way deeper into the web than any 3rd party tool. So even if you do check all the backlinks in Majestic & Ahrefs, you can’t really know.

Here is the process:

  1. Find a 3rd party website in your niche. It needs to be some other website so you don’t mess up your own site. We also don’t want to hurt anyone’s income so…
  2. Find a keyword term that is ranking on page 2 for the site in step 1. You don’t want to impact anyone’s income – that would be a jerky move! So find some term that’s on page 2.
  3. The keyword’s exact match anchor text has never been used. You want to find a keyword phrase that’s going to be sensitive to a link with exact match anchor text. Something ranking well (i.e. top 20) fits the bill. You should use Majestic and Ahrefs site explorers to make sure the anchor text hasn’t been used.
  4. Other Related Keywords should be on Page 2 also. This ensures that Google likes the site. Your test wouldn’t work if you picked a site that was in bad shape already.

Find the keywords using SEMrush – any other way would be difficult and frustrating.

The idea and theory is that an exact match anchor text link will impact the ranking for that term and related terms.

That is only if the PBN domain is clean.

Once you place the link using the exact match anchor text, you should wait about 7 days and check the SERPs. And you should be using a tool like SERP Lab.

  • If the rankings improve, then you have a healthy, authoritative domain. Add it to your network!
  • If the rankings get worse, then you should remove the link. If the rankings move back up after a week, then you have a bad domain. Keep that out of your network.

It’s a simple and effective test. The testing ensures that you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot with a bad domain.

Outbound Links

Outbound links are the reason that you even started this PBN, so let’s discuss them.  You want to have links from an authoritative expired domain pointing to your money site.  However, you have to use the links judiciously and exercise caution throughout the process.

You should not link out to your money sites in all the articles.

There should only be one article pointing to a money site.  You don’t want to have a domain with five articles that all point to your money site because it doesn’t look natural.  If you are a gambler, then you could link from one more article, for a total of two articles linking to your money site.  There are diminishing returns on backlinks from one domain so it really isn’t that advantageous to link from more than one article and could potentially expose your PBN.

Each of your articles should also have 2 – 3 other outbound links to authoritative, non-competitive web pages.  This is really important, because these links provide context about the article and Google takes note that your money site is linked alongside authoritative web pages.  A few examples for the non-competitive outbound links would be wikipedia, New York Times, Washington Post, or NPR.  Other links on the page will also help the website look normal to a manual reviewer.  I also occasionally link to a random blog related to the article’s topic.  Just make sure that the random blog is not a direct competitor to your site.

Check out the PBN course for FREE. 9 Modules & 3 Hours of Video. Create an account for free.

Conclusion

As you can see, a PBN, when set up properly, is a valuable tool for your niche site.  Setting up a PBN takes time, money and effort, but the trade-off is it allows you to control the content and links to your niche site.

Advantages

  • High Authority Backlinks to Your Money Site
  • Control the Content Around Backlinks
  • Control the Anchor Text of the Backlinks
  • Can Alter the Content or Anchor Text at Anytime

Disadvantages

  • Difficult To Find Expired Domains
  • Must Host On Separate C Block IP Addresses
  • Must Have Original, Unique Content
  • Must Manage Several Other Websites
  • Must Pay For More Hosting Accounts

This section was posted originally at “How to Reduce Risk For Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

“Are PBNs still effective?”

 

I get emails all the time about whether Private Blog Networks are still effective. Since the fall of 2014 when PBNs were hit hard, there has been a great deal of fear about the risk involved in a PBN.

The answer is yes, PBNs are still effective.

But you can’t ignore the inherent risk involved. It is against the Google terms of service (TOS) so Google has the right to remove your site from their index if you don’t play by the rules.

General Guidelines

Check out this post for more detailed information in a long format – PBNs 101.

Keep these ideas in mind when planning a network, building out a network, using a network, and so on.

  • Don’t use a domain that was used for spam or any obvious link building in the past.
  • Make sure the website has the look and feel of a real website…
    • Use a nice looking theme.
    • You should have an About Page.
    • You should have a Privacy Page.
    • You should have five or more posts, and more posts are better. It is ideal to have new post published regularly, like weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
  • Don’t register the domain on Google Tools, like Webmaster Tools or Google Analytics. If you find that you must for some reason, then make sure you use a unique account. Do not use the same account as your money site. Refer back to the deindexing post if you need a reminder.

Check out the PBN course for FREE. 9 Modules & 3 Hours of Video. Create an account for free.

Reduce Your Risk

These are the gotchas that may cause issues, and they are less obvious than the points above.

  • PBNs-niche-site-projectLimit the number of money sites that you link to. The ideal situation is to link to one – yes, only ONE – money site. If your goal is to reduce risk, this will keep you far out of harm’s way. I don’t know the algorithm that led to the deindexing (and I doubt anyone does outside of Google) but I will speculate that it was related to this point. The major issues in September of 2014 centered around public networks where each domain had a LOT of outbound links to money sites.
  • Do not share your network. It is tempting to leverage your network with a friend or two, but the risk is great. The draw is that you can double, triple, or more the number of links you can get by working together. However, it conflicts directly with the previous point, limit the number of money sites that you link to.
  • Limit the number of PBN domains linking to your money site. The illustration should make this clear. You want to limit the entry points from your network to your money site. A great way to do this is to set up a tiered network. If there are issues, then you can disavow a small number of links. It generally looks less suspicious, too. The downside is that your money site will have fewer backlinks. However, when you set up the tiered network you can recapture the link juice.tiered-pbn

Example of a Tiered Network

I will try not to over explain this since a picture is worth a 1,000 words.

The keys are:

  • The number of PBN domains linking to your site are limited
  • If you have to disavow links, you know exactly which 3 domains are in question.
  • You can funnel the link juice from all of you domains to the exact post the you are targeting.
  • You can build relevancy by using a HOTH package on the lower tiered domains.

the-hoth-to-private-blog-network

 

Setting up a PBN is one of my main priorities these days.  What about you?  Do you have a PBN already?

If you read this whole article, you must be interested in PBNs!  That’s awesome and I want you to do two things:

  1. Leave a comment below telling me about your PBN goals.
  2. Do you have a friend that you think would be interested in learning about PBNs? Share this post with them.

 

Click here for the ULTIMATE Course on PBNs (FREE)

Where to get domains:

  1. Bluechip Backlinks  (affiliate link)
  2. Domain Re-Animator  (affiliate link)
  3. PBN HQ (affiliate link)
  4. Hammerhead Domains (affiliate link)

Want a PBN Without the Headache of Building One?
My friend and fellow PBN expert Jon Haver has been producing thousands of very high quality PBNs for niche site owners and SEO agencies for the last 3+ years with an under 10% deindexation rate!

If you want a PBN built properly but don’t want to deal with all the headaches than have a look at his Done for You PBN Building Service

References and Links
Infographic –  Maps out PBNs in an easy to follow diagram.
Cloud Income – By Lewis Ogden. Great post for reference material on PBNs.
Diggity Marketing’s Guide To Testing Private Blog Network Domains – By Matt Diggity the leading expert on PBNs.
Authority Website Income – Jon Haver’s epic guide…Ultimate Expired Domain Guide.
Niche Pursuits – By Spencer Haws.  This is a link to a webinar recording of building an PBN with expired domains.
Majestic SEO Blog – This is a blog post from Barrie Smith discussing how to identify a bad backlink profile.
Bulk Buy Hosting <affiliate link> – Safe & Easy Hosting for your PBN on Premium Hosts.
Updated
NoHatDigital: PBN Domains De-Indexed
Jon Haver: Update on Google PBN Deindexation
Niche Pursuits: Alright Google, You Win…
186 comments… add one
  • Outstanding post bud! giving you a push on twitter 🙂

    • Hey Miki – Thanks so much. I appreciate it!

      If you’re comfortable sharing, what’s your experience level with PBNs?

      Cheers!

  • Jeff SLB

    Thanks for the write up doug! This will help when I look for more sites to add.

  • Great and thorough guide!

  • Really nice write-up on PBN’s Doug, and helpful even for someone like me who already has a small PBN.

    Your explanation on class C IP addresses was most helpful for me. I knew I needed different class C IP’s, but I didn’t fully understand what that meant until reading this. I just made sure my IP’s were different. And yes, I use IX Web Hosting for my PBN. Sure enough, 2 of my sites are on the same class C IP pointing to the same money site (no problems yet, that site is doing well) – but their class D is different.

    I just purchased 3 more expired domains to add to my network and help boost rankings for my latest niche site. Your advice here is timely and I will definitely put some of it to use. Thanks!

  • Roberto

    thanks doug 🙂 Another thing to do on my list… not the first one though.

  • John Paul Paquibot

    finally i learned what C block I.P. address means ..thanks to you doug ..
    Doug may i know if free blogs are not effective anymore ? way back 2011 i was able to rank for a amazon slimming product using free blogs and free create a website links…

    • Hi John Paul – you’re welcome.

      I find free blogs are still effective…other people do not. 🙂

      What do you think?

      • John Paul Paquibot

        personally, i think free blogs will be effective if that free blog is personal and has been around 4 or 5 years .. let say that free blog is about a real person’s online diary that he keep on postings update every now and then …

        but if that free blog only have 1 post with 1 link to a 2nd level tier links or directly to money site .. then that free blog must have less effect as its clearly not a real blog …

  • David Orozco

    I’ve used your affiliate hostnine link (my 2 cents after a great guide)
    >>>starting my PBN.

    • Hey David – Thanks! I appreciate it!

      • David Orozco

        Excuseme Doug, how do I buy a unique IP for an account?

        • Hey David – It is a bit involved to answer here.

          Have you called the help desk there at Host Nine? They would be able help you more efficiently.

          If you got the reseller account, you do not have to pay for a IP. You would just create another account and select geography that you would like to have the server is.

          Let me know if the help desk can’t answer your question.

          • Is it better to have reseller account on host9 with different ips or have each site hosted on another hosting?

            And, about money sites, can i have them on the same ip?

          • It’s best to have different hosting accounts. BUT it’s easier to have them at Host Nine, even though it’s a bit riskier.

  • John

    Hi Doug,
    Im wondering if PBN can be a collection of fresh domains like 20 new domains hosted at different $1 per month host. Then the contents will be related products of your main money site. Will that still be effective ?

    Money site – Best electric shaver
    Fresh Related Topic PBN
    PBN 1. shaving mustache = 5 posts
    PBN 2. Razor blade = 5 posts
    PBN 3. Straight razor blade = 5 posts..

    Will this work too?

    • No, it will not work because the new domains dont have domain authority. So the link juice will be almost nothing.

  • I wish I had read this article before I just got my IX Web Hosting account a few days ago…

    Everything went fine for the first four domains, different C-Block IP addresses assigned to each domain etc. Heck I was even willing to do the manual WordPress setup since I am quite familiar with the process.

    5th domain – BAM! Duplicate C-Block IP. Contact live customer support and they said different C-Blocks aren’t guaranteed since IP’s get assigned automatically but I can try switching from dedicated IP to shared and then switching back, MAYBE the domain will be assigned a different C-Block IP.

    Nada… Even followed Jon’s advise of waiting between 1 and two days before adding a domain. Looks like everything I now try to add is one the same C-Block as the previous.

    Now I’m beginning to contemplate – do I close the hosting account and switch to Hostnine and move all domains over, or do I keep the existing 5 domains I have on IX that at least got a different IP? Paying for two hosting accounts is rather tough on a guy who hasn’t made a penny with niche sites yet, but I guess eventually as I grow I will have to pay for more than one anyway…

    • Oh, man. Sorry to hear it. IX nearly crushed my ambition to create a PBN. HostNine is fantastic. I’ve been able to get a dozen unique C blocks over the last couple weeks with no issues at all. It’s one click WP install too.

      • Yeah man, for some odd reason I had to learn the hard way it seems 🙂 Alas, hosting with IX is cancelled, full refund received (yay!) and hosting with Host9 is created. Now I can only pray they allow me different IP’s when I assign different locations to different domains. Makes sense that they would they, I mean logically I don’t see how two different servers in two different locations can have the same C-Block…

  • Jimmy23

    Good guide Doug;

    Personally I am really getting sick of hosting expired domains on 1$ dollar hosts. While they provide the MOST security from IP’s around the globe; they are really annoying and time consuming to constantly set up. I regret finding good domains now because of this.

    1) Just wondering, on host9 if you get the 19$ reseller account for 100 accounts. Do each of those 100 accounts have different C-block IP’s? Or do you need to pay that 2$ per month per additional IP as it states?

    2) You think theres risk of this host9 getting targeted as a lot of people are going to be using it from various recommendations (hayden, you, etc)?

    • Hey Jimmy – Sorry I missed this comment a while back. I can relate to the issues with dealing with cheap hosting.

      1. Each of the 100 could have a different C-block but it won’t necessarily. It’s pretty easy to get different C-blocks though.

      2. No, not riskier than any other host.

  • Very interesting… thank you for sharing.
    p.s. you affiliate link to http://www.hostnine.com/ doesn’t work from here.

    Take care
    E.

  • Hi Elanie – Thanks for the comment. Actually, I have had some issues linking to hostnine. Sometimes the link doesn’t work and I am not sure why.

    thanks for the heads up!

  • I was wondering about this from an adsense perspective, I’m guessing we should have a different adsense account for any of our PBNwebsites? Or perhaps not use adsense at all since it’s about building the links and not so much about getting the traffic?

    • I was able to find my own answer to this and of course the answer is a big don’t use adsense – so, there are plenty other ways to monetize your website so best to look for alternatives. Similarly, don’t connect your PBN websites to Google Webmaster or Analytics accounts.

      • Hey Tom – Yes, you are right.

        Don’t monetize your PBN domains…there is no reason to…

        And, keep the Google tools out of the PBNs too. You should be concerned about traffic there anyway. If you want to check, you can usually find some kind of stats on the cPanel for the domain.

        • I make it look like my PBN’s are monetised though. Not many sites exist for the goodness of the owners heart. So I include some affialte links that cannot be connected to my pay site. Things like dating ads or something connected to the theme of the site. Amazon is good as you can use different tracking codes.

  • Steve Lanning

    Hey, Doug, Years ago, I, too, used to be a PMI member, but I always used other PMI consultants on projects with clients as I was more of a rainmaker than a project doer–if that makes any sense.

    Wow, I must have typed my e-mail in your site five times–at every opportunity. I’ll sort out the duplicates later. I was just trying to find a way to contact you personally. Anyway, here’s the nub of my question (speaking as a non-techie):

    At this stage in my life I have an online area business publication covering a four state footprint along I-81. I wanted to take a ‘rolling launch’ up to two years to get it functioning (depending on my tech help along the way–maybe the wrong help). I’m really interested in developing my concept of Local Lead Circles (incestuous lead-gen for local non-competitive, same-market businesses) through a multiple PBN service to local businesses.

    Now I ‘think’ that a PBN would be a perfect platform for manifesting my Local Lead Circles concept locally. And I saw your friend Jon’s offer of the hands-off five site gig and I think I could sell that duck with a little hand-holding from you and Jon.
    I would like to flesh out my Local Lead Circles concept with you and see what we could do to earn some money with Jon’s 5-site offer and your input.
    Your thoughts? (Write to my e-mail address if you prefer.)

  • Frank Ciccio Gerace

    Do the networked blogs have to be wordpress sites? I have three domains with a bunch of good content sites within them. of them is wordpress, the others were my own-built html sites. Will they work?

    • Hey Frank- they don’t need to be Wordpress. In fact, it’s even better to have variations in the CMS.

  • Frank Ciccio Gerace

    Doug, – Thanks for the quick and courteous answer. Now a question that may be out of place: Since I have my domains already and you don’t have to build me blogs, is there a version of your course that costs less ?

    • Hey Frank – you’re welcome. I’ll shoot you an email to see how I can help you. Cheers!

  • Nate Taylor

    So after you build a website on these domains are you building links to them or are they good as they are? If you are building links are you doing manual or using tools? If using tools which ones?

    Awesome article I learned alot!

  • Good article on PBN’S and very accurate I must say. However I must also say, once you’ve done a few PB’S it doesn’t take that long to even build one blog. I normally have my articles ready to go, once I find my hosting, transfer my DNS and have my article, it’s all done within a couple hours for one Blog. I usually use Majestic to check out everything I need and even that doesn’t take long. If a domain is good, I buy it, set up hosting and take care of the domain purchase and before you know it, another blog is built.

    • Hey Peter, you’re exactly right. If you have everything ready to go, it might only take you an hour to finish up one domain.

  • Up to now the most informative post about PBN’s, it’s a confusing subject.
    The information about the CCC part in ip’s, I find particulary interesting. There are other good parts, about expired domains, and the nature of a site in a network.
    Very good reading. Thanks!

    • Hey Govertz – Thanks for checking out the article. It took a little while for the C Block IP addresses to sink in for me. Glad it was helpful.

  • John Stankevitch

    Great article. The whole subject takes some reading, but this particular post does simplify things a little. A couple of questions though. 1. If I have a main website (which I want to get people to visit), am I creating addition websites (ideally with keyword phrases from my niche as the URL’s) in the same niche but with different content, with text links back to the main site? Thus creating the Private Blog Network.

    • Hey @john_stankevitch:disqus – Thanks for coming by and checking out the article.

      Yes, you have the right idea. You’re building out web sites to form a network that will backlink to your money site. You got it.

      • John Stankevitch

        Amazing…..thanks Doug. I’ll be sure to keep checking into your posts. Great content.

  • Hi Doug,

    Hopefully your still answering questions.

    So I have a small PBN around 20 sites currently but I’m running out of cheap decent hosting options (I know there are thousands) but my question is if I get 2 different accounts on the same host, is that bad? As they have the same nameservers and IP??????

    Cheers
    Tom.

  • Ouakrim Said

    Awsome stuff , the CCC part was clear i liked the way you explined it LOL i dont have a pbn yet but am planing to have one in the next few months ..
    Great Post .. keep it Up
    Thanks

  • sunilmullwagen

    Seriosuly, such a useful post for many !

    1 doubt I have… Do we’ve to create backlinks for PBN site also, just to keep the flow in tier level or it’s better to leave them as it is and make backlinks for just money site?

    • It is best to not build more backlinks. Generally, if you build more links then they won’t be as strong as the existing backlinks.

  • Rex

    Great helpful,really thank you.And I want to know some details about this,how many host do you need? How many domains usally host with one account,and how many PBNS backlink is need for one money site?

    • Hey Rex, You should have a host for each PBN domain. So, it’s great to use cheap hosting that is about $1-2 per month.

      It depends on the niche and many other things to determine the number of backlinks needed. It’s good to start with 2-3 and wait for a few weeks to a month to see the impact. Then you can add more… 10 – 12 is normally good to see some very significant improvements.

  • Rex

    Also when you check one domain will you use “site” command in google to find some link information,and just type the domain to search?So how you check wheather the domain is penalized by google or not?

    • Also when you check one domain will you use “site” command in google to find some link information,and just type the domain to search?

      I’m not sure I understand your question… Yes, you can do that after you set up the domain to see if it is indexed.

      After you own the domain you can set it up in webmaster tools and see if there are penalties. However, I don’t recommend doing that! I would just check the “site” search to see if the domain is indexed.

      Hope that helps.

  • Sam Wilson

    I am a total noob and am thinking about getting into seo, initially by setting up a small PBN network, I do not have any money sites to promote as yet so initially I was going to set up sites in high end niches eg plastic surgery, dentistry, layers etc that are specific to an area ie New York, LA etc and sell links from it (allowing me to generate income and give me more time to expand my seo knowledge). If I have a site that relates to plastic surgeons in New York can I expand that site to include other areas ie Washington Boston etc so I can sell further links, while my updated content is general enough to cover all areas? Or do I need a new site with new content for every area in a specific niche?
    PS be nice I am a total noob.

  • Dave Fox

    Wow, great article! I’ve been reading up on PBN’s lately and this article was a trove of good info. So my question is…if I pick up what seems to be a decent expired domain, and I knew what it was before because I investigated, do I have to make it pretty much the same thing? For instance, I just got this one that’s art-related, and so all of the backlinks are presumably due to this being someone’s personal blog, but now its mine right? So when the content changes on the site, which it has, its still related to what it was, but I’m not acting as if I’m the same guy, so aren’t people going to look at that site and say “well who’s this guy?” and then all the backlinks, and hence the whole reason I picked up the site, are going to disappear. So the overall question is how do you go about buying expired domains and keeping their same profile if all of the trust going to the site is due to its previous owner, and its going to be obvious you’re not that person?

  • Robert Valdez

    Hello,

    I’m marketing for a local plumber who owns approximately 130+ domains. All related to the plumbing field. In the early days he found that if he bought domains with commonly used search terms he could re-direct traffic.

    It doesn’t seem to be working that great anymore, we wish to monetize these. We will soon be selling plumbing products like water conditioners etc.

    any pointers as to what direction we could take with that many domain specific to an industry?

  • Randy A.

    Hey guys I’m looking for a good PBN to start using. My budget is low. I’m ranking decent for some decent keywords (page 1-3 for some good keywords) but I’m just not getting the traffic I need. Any suggestions?

    • That’s a tough question, Randy. It is hard to get quality AND a low price.

      Are you looking to get backlinks or build a PBN on your own?

  • Great article ….
    Thanx 🙂

  • Thanks for this, all much clearer now. Before I had an understanding but now I know.

    Robert, seems simple to solve this problem; just follow the steps and get some content out there.

    Question – how does anyone manage these PBN’s?
    I have Infinite WP which seems to work well but your thoughts will be appreciated.

    • Thanks, Richard! I use a spreadsheet and carefully organize the info. The key is obsessive tracking!

      I stay away from the management software as many people feel like it creates a footprint. I don’t know if it is a footprint to be worried about, but I can manage my modest network more-or-less manually.

  • Sean

    Great, I like it. Rules of the game are always changing, but PBN will always work if we change accordingly.

    • Sean, that’s my thought too!
      Backlinks count so by flexible in your implementation with PBNs…and be cautious. It is a risk-reward scenario so know your threshold for risk.

  • john

    Awesome Blog Bro. Really a Great set of info.

  • I always wanted to start this but, couldn’t start because of the time. I guess I have to because every one is doing it now. Thank you for the writeup.

  • Hi

    Very nice article about PBN, this is useful for my service.

    Thumbs up mate.

  • Lukas

    Cant google track if the domains was resold at the same time?

    It should be quite easy for them to track DNS changes during time.

    Also a netowk of blogs, and none of them using GA? for me it looks non-natural.

    Also 2 – you should NOT use google to search for your own domain name or posts – I mean, google personalises your search results, thus they are keeping backlog of all your searches.
    If anyone visits bunch of websites 10 times each, while the total month average is just 100 visitors – that anyone must be connected to that website. It wont get you banned – but it makes some red lights for manual reviews.

    • Hey Lukas, Thanks for the comments and you certainly bring up good points.

      Cant google track if the domains was resold at the same time?
      I’m not 100% certain what you are asking…but I think anyone can track that sort of domain info by looking at the “whois” information.

      Also a netowk of blogs, and none of them using GA? for me it looks non-natural.
      Fair enough. GA is the industry standard. However, there are other ways to track metrics…

      If anyone visits bunch of websites 10 times each, while the total month average is just 100 visitors – that anyone must be connected to that website. It wont get you banned – but it makes some red lights for manual reviews.
      Yep, there is a tremendous amount of data that can be connected to your google profile.

      • Lukas

        >>>>Cant google track if the domains was resold at the same time?
        >>I’m not 100% certain what you are asking…but I think anyone can track that sort of domain info by looking at the “whois” information.

        My point is that if google sees that many domains to money site has DNS changes at during short period of time – they can track you PBN. Especially if same behaviour leads to many money sites.

        >>>>Also a netowk of blogs, and none of them using GA? for me it looks non-natural.
        >>Fair enough. GA is the industry standard. However, there are other ways to track metrics…

        Thats not the point, you can track your data as you want, but look from google side. If none of the links to money site uses GA – its most likely a PBN. And google might block it.

        • Hey Lukas,
          Yes, I believe you are correct. Technically, it could be discovered…but do you believe all backlinks are evaluated like that?

          If so, then why are so many sites ranking with PBNs? It is a rhetorical question, of course.

          For you first point, it is pretty easy to spread out purchasing domains so all of them are not registered at the same time.

          I am not trying to convince you to use PBNs or that PBNs are safe. There are some practical applications of the detective work that you point out and I bet that’s how a lot of PBNs are tracked down.

          Good discussion, Lukas! Thanks again!

  • that was really awesome! but with new google algorithm update i don’t think pbn gonna be a good way to link building!

  • Dividend Freedom

    Thank you for posting this!

    Really important knowledge, you have saved most of us alot of time!

    Take care
    Dividend Freedom

  • I have been working as an seo expert and link builder. I used a few PBN for my event sites. I would like to use this PBN for my Money Site! How useful is it for a money site? ANy risk?

    • Lancer

      If you are SEO expert than you should have some idea how it can be useful…or useless ..
      It isn’t different from any backlinking tactic in terms of goal and how it can be useful/useless…
      Only different is in this scenario you own network and everything on blogs,so if you do it at right way..ie….don’t leave footprint you’ll have same impact like you have when successfully build backlinks network at blogs you don’t own + advantage of owning content.
      And you can even put one or two reciprocal backlinks or just sell one of two places but only if you know what you are doing because if you put links from someone else PBN than you are not only one who control own destiny…..but linking to some relevant and strong website can just help your PBN looks natural.
      The main goal with PBN is to get same impact you get when build backlinks network from high authority blogs you don’t own but it is even better because here you can put content optimized for your money site and these high authority sites from same niche and with keyword optimized content will have huge impact….
      But you must stay low….in real world…when you build backlink network only few websites per few hundred will be high authority and keyword optimized in same time..even if you do it for some high competitive niche with huge number of quality websites….so these 20-30 in PBN network will have impact more than campaign you run 3 months,it is ideal to continue building non PBN backlinks networ in same time…so you have more natural growth.

  • Gabi

    Hi Doug,

    Thank you for this detailed post. I find myself coming back to it over and over!

    I have a quick question about management of a PBN…

    Do you recommend employing SEO tactics on PBN articles? Or is it better to just write without any SEO focus?

    Also, do you recommend monetizing a PBN site? Will a form of monetization make it look more natural? I understand that using the same monetizing strategies as a money site is not a safe option. But let’s say for example a money site is monetized through AZ affiliates and a PBN site is monetized through ClickBank only.

    Many Thanks!

  • Wow. I love learning new stuff and man did I just learn some new stuff. I’m in the middle of a video based local SEO course and PBNs have been mentioned multiple times without a good explanation of what they are. Now I know what they are. Question. I have a reseller account with Hostgator. Any ideas how to get separate C block IP addresses going forward?

    • Hey Marvin, thanks for the comment. I haven’t worked with Hostgator before so I don’t know if they readily support that.

      I would call the support number and just ask about it. You may mention something about performance impacts or about having servers in different locations.

  • Hey Doug, thanks for the article. If I have multiple Pbn’s pointing to the money site (5-10) and have built a tiered network like you suggest, does each PBN site require different articles? ie: Can I post the same article on different PBN’s?The reason I ask is that some niches have limited things to write a topic on, and 5 unique articles per site may be difficult without having repetitive articles. In that case, would it be better to have a smaller network?
    Thank you

    • You need to post unique content. That is a must.

      I have gotten the same articles written by different people and that will yield unique content.

      You can also retitle the same topics – Top 10 lists, the worst XYZ, the best XYZ, and so on. Just order something on textbroker and reduce the risk of duplicate content.

  • Paul

    Hey Doug.
    Very good post.
    If you don’t mind a question (it was previous discussed in the comment area, but didn’t get closed):

    There’s this guy creating a PBN. So everything was done “by the book” to avoid any kind of footprints. Now that he managed to create, say, 10 sites and one money site, he will have to visit those, in a regular basis, to insert content, maintenance, etc… right?

    And he is doing that from his own computer, thus same ip, same address… SO do you maintain/visit your PBN with the same ip, everytime? Is there any way to avoid THAT footprint?

    Thanks mate.

    • Hey Paul, thanks for the comment.

      Yes, a person would have to manage the PBN sites.

      SO do you maintain/visit your PBN with the same ip, everytime?
      I would expect that to be the case…yes.

      Is there any way to avoid THAT footprint?
      Yes, you could get ip proxies to use. Basically, you could get access to servers which you can orinate from.

      I have to ask though…who do you think will be monitoring you at that level? Certainly not Google since that would probably violating some laws. You can use another browser aside from Chrome if it concerns you. If you have 100 or 1000 domains, maybe you should watch out, but an average person with 10 domains is a drop in the ocean.

  • Great article!
    I have a question.
    What is the best way for search expired domains actually?

  • Net

    I just wander how much you need to earn to pay for all those servers/hostings and if you need a lot of web2.0 links, do you use advertisements or play contest to get them?

  • DAEHNOMEL

    your comments regarding C-blocks have no basis in fact. There is no analog for what you, or your cited source, cite as “c-blocks” in either classless or classfull IPv4 routing. Stick to SEO and leave the networking to the pro’s.

    • Paul

      There are only 256 combinations for each “quad” so if the first 3 are the same for the ip address of your hosts it’s a dead give away that they are all hosted by the same provider. Lets see, 20 supposedly independently run hosts all pointing to http://www.mygreatproduct.com and they all happen to be hosted by the same provider. What do you suppose the odds are that this isn’t PBN?

  • raz

    hello, im building websites for clients and in every client i publish my credit on its footer:
    developed by [my brand (this is a link)].

    now im creating a new pbn which i want to rank my site and my clients’s sites.

    how should i do it?
    can i just put my site outside the pbn and thats it?
    one more imporant thing – i link to them too in my portfolio page.

    ****
    one more question about c class ips’
    you say i have to check and verify that the domains are from different c class ips and also host all the sites in different hosts.
    different hosts mean that is different c class ip’s, isnt it?
    the domain it self has an ip? no, the server has. right?

    THANK YOU FOR A GREAT ARTICLE!!
    🙂

    • Your question is about how to rank you site and your clients’ sites. I don’t think the method you mentioned with footer links will be very effective. Footer links don’t hold much weight. I think it may be a bit risky for very little benefit.

      Right about the server having the IP, and if you have another host then you should have a different C block.

  • I have web development and SEO experience however I have always shied away from PBN’s. I now realize that done right, it may help achieve results faster so I am going to give it a try. Thanks to this post I feel more comfortable dabbing into PBN’s.

  • Tom Dub

    Just wondering on the time frame of building these sites out.

    If I were to start today, buy 3 PBN’s, add 10 unique articles on each, then link each PBN back top my money site, what sort of turn a round time could you see some good linking? After indexing? 30 days, more?

    • Hey Tom, It depends…sometimes the rankings move fast, like days. Other times it takes 30 days or more.

  • Guy

    Good article. Especially about the layout. I did not even thing of tiring the PBN. I was just going to point 5 or more to the money site then Syndwire blast the PBN.
    I like the formula you layed out.

  • Is it possible to have a blog that’s part of several PBNs so that each article points to a different money site? Or would it not be a good idea to have the same set of blogs pointing to the same set of money sites? Does that make sense??

    • Hey Chris – You can do that but it is riskier. It really depends on your risk tolerance.

      For me, I find that a PBN dedicated to one money site is safer overall.

  • hello Doung, i have created a PBN according to your mentioned method, all domains have da pa tf cf 25+. My keywords were hard it worked for me for now i have only 5 domains in PBN and i do hope to extend my PBN upto 50 domains with natural link diversity by including high PA 100+ web 2.0 blogs and blog comments. So what can you estimate if it would work for me?
    Thanks again for your great tip

    • Hey Faisal, thanks for the comment. Actually, my name is spelled Doug.

      It depends on the KWs, your competition, your onsite SEO factors, and the authority of your PBN sites. So, I can’t even guess if your PBN will work.

  • Very clearly explained – thanks 🙂

  • dorothy

    How can we post youtube links in other websites and PBNs? Do people charge to get links listed in their PBNs? what is the process to find out PBNs in our domain? for example:: health and beauty

    • Hi Dorothy, thanks for the question.

      How can we post youtube links in other websites and PBNs?

      If they are your own site (like a PBN), then you just add a normal hyperlink.

      Do people charge to get links listed in their PBNs?

      Yes, they do. I recommend Rank Source

      what is the process to find out PBNs in our domain? for example:: health and beauty

      You have to search for the broken links on related sites using a scraper. Or, you can check out the Hammerhead domains service listed above.

      • dorothy

        Thanks for replying. Can we post youtube links in other websites which we don’t have access to? I have seen many youtubers posting their links in several websites like hotvivo,wapwon.com,datab.us and many other websites with their own user id.How is that possible as they have not own those websites? how are they able to post their youtube video links in someone else website in which they don’t have access to? Please let me know… Many youtubers have uploaded many videos in different websites for the aim of popularity and gaining lots of viewers…how is that possible?

  • A giant article about PBN i love it.

    I will also try to create best PBN .Thank for the information.

  • SoY Yo

    Tx for thes article.

  • jaspreet singh

    A worth reading post. Very interesting and useful.Most of the suggestions are so effective . Thanks

  • Khanzee

    Thanx for great information.. I would like to as . Is pbn a legal way to rank up our money site?. Coz I’m hearing a lot about not to have pbn sites.. Is there white hat techniques to rank up sites thanks..

  • Robert

    Is it advisable when setting up a PBN to export already published blog material to a blog on the network if the material is deleted from the money site?

    • Hey Robert, I don’t have first hand experience on that.

      If the content is deleted from the original source, then it should be okay. Depending on the source, you might risk some copyright problems. (I may have misinterpreted the question…)

      Does that help?

  • Robert

    I was reading through your guide and then I start looking for couple of domains to build small PBN to boost ranking of my business.

    I have a business website that takes online order to provide a specific service to buyers. And I found a nice old expired domain (with good stats) of a company in exact same field. That company was also providing exactly same services by taking online order. So I wanted to use this expired domain to 301 redirect to my domain but only problem I see is that this website was in Spanish (foreign language).

    Although the domain was not used for spam that I checked. So the question is, should I use this domain to boost my authority and serp rank. I read that you should not use foreign language domains.

    Can you put some light on this? I could really use some expert opinion. 🙂

    • Hey Robert, It should work fine.

      I have seen good results from foreign language websites. The fact that it is the right industry should be helpful.

      I wouldn’t make it a habit but in your case it seems fine.

  • Mike

    Matthew Woodward is currently doing a launch with videos where he reads this page and looks like a pro… all the tricks are presented as his own…

    However this page is clearer than all his expanations to newbies commenting on the videos.

    • Hey Mike, Thanks for the comment. Matthew has a great following over there and tons of good info…

  • Mike

    Fantastic clear and detailed information presented on this page. All I need to know is here. Thanks.

  • Jim

    Hey Doug!

    Thanks for the great content.

    CloudFlare is a Google Cloud technology partner now.

    What do you think about it?

    Are we in danger?

    https://blog.cloudflare.com/cloudflare-is-now-a-google-cloud-platform-technology-partner/

    • Hi Jim, thanks for reading. I do think the danger will be more or less now. These are big companies and integrations take time…a long time.

  • Mike

    Awesome article.

    I read most of the comments and hope I’m not asking the same questions again, if i am i’m sorry.

    I keep reading that PBNs should only have 5-10 posts. Should each post have a link to your money site or just 1 post should link to your money site and rest just there for show? Is it ok to have every other post link to your money site but different urls and keywords?

    I am just starting this whole PBN network and found my first golden nugget (expired domain) yesterday. There’s this sense of achievement when you find one, I am just worried it’ll take me a lifetime to build up around 50-100 PBNs. I am using Register Compass and Source Revive, what do you guys think about them? Any other better options?

    Also, I found a few expired domains with high trust flow and domain authority but when I check it out on majestic it only shows 1 backlink that has a high trust flow pointing to it. Is this domain still worth buying for my PBN?

    Thanks in advance guys.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for your useful information. I have a lot Shopify store of clients that have IP address point to Shopify. Can I use those site for PBN?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Varden, I am not sure exactly what you are asking. Can you explain it a little more? I don’t have any background in Shopify.

  • Great post. Seems like SEO is getting tougher and only a few group of folks able to outsmart google, yet it’s still lesser chance. Good luck!

  • Ezequiel Reyes

    I actually wanted to be on your email list after reading this content, great work

  • Huge PBN write up, nice effort. Don’t forget https://www.domcop.com/ for finding domains by topical trust relevancy. And there’s also https://bluechipbacklinks.com/ which is great for finding domains that no one else can find, and it even has a Wayback site rebirthing feature, so you can get the old site back up in no time at all and put your links on them. And there’s also https://www.serpworx.com/ for easily checking your niche competition.

    • Hey Richard, thanks for the comment. I haven’t used all the resources myself, but they seem very good depending on what you need.

  • Thanks for taking your time to put up this wonderful post.

  • Dania

    Very informative article, i just found about it recently and am trying to get all the possible data in order to go right and not make any mistakes. Thanks for your help,

  • Eapplyonline

    Wonderful information regarding PBN. After Reading this article i have lots of idea about PBN networks.

  • Mali emplois

    It’s enormous that you are getting thoughts from this post as well
    as from our argument made at this place.

  • akshay

    Amazing
    waow , what a great post.

    Loved it , A to Z details about PBN. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  • Minh Dang

    Hi Doug,

    Question 1: Should all expired domains be bought on separate accounts (eg., NameCheap, Godaddy, etc.) and IP addresses too? If it doesn’t leave any footprints than it’s safe to remove a step.

    Question 2: If all domains are purchased on one master account, would that leave a footprint for Google?

    Please let me know. Thanks!

    • Hey Minh, Thanks.

      Should all expired domains be bought on separate accounts (eg., NameCheap, Godaddy, etc.) and IP addresses too? If it doesn’t leave any footprints than it’s safe to remove a step.
      Yes, A mixture of registrars is best.

      Question 2: If all domains are purchased on one master account, would that leave a footprint for Google?
      Yes, it could leave a footprint.

  • ImNoob

    Thanks for the blog. It’s a gem to me!

    Being a noob, I have some questions / clarifications:

    For each PBN set up using expired domains, we deleted all the previous contents, create about 5 posts, then link 1 of the post to our moneysite. That’s it? Do we need to create new post and continue linking to our moneysite?
    If the previous owner’s content is no longer there, can the links/link juices be still around?

    You mentioned 1 PBN to 1 host. If i have 10 PBN, I must have 10 hosts companies or I have 1 host but 10 hosting accounts?

    Thank you.

    • Thanks for reading.

      Do we need to create new post and continue linking to our moneysite?
      1 or 2 posts is enough…

      If the previous owner’s content is no longer there, can the links/link juices be still around?
      They could be…but some of the links will be gone. Others will still be there.

      f i have 10 PBN, I must have 10 hosts companies or I have 1 host but 10 hosting accounts?
      10 hosting companies.

      • ImNoob

        Hi Doug, thank you for your clarification.

        I’m selling a range of products with product life-cycle of about 3 mths. I usually focus on 3 products each time and they all have unique product name. I would build separate website for each product, using the product name as the domain name.

        Hence the KW will be the product name and will be changing every few mths.

        If I build 30 PBNs and each 10 PBNs link to a target site, then when these 3 products are obsolete and I move on to the next 3 products, can I reuse these 30 PBNs and link them to the next 3 target sites and so on. This way, my 30 PBNs remain constant (assuming none are banned by google) but I keep building 3 domains every few mths.

        Can this work?

  • tarek

    thank you for your GEAT PBN course, I learnt a useful things from you.

    I have problems in building my first PBN and need your HELP !!

    – Can I link to more than one money site , if they are all about same product and target same niche ?
    – Where should I put (htaccess code) in my wordpress site exactly?
    – Should blogs in PBN be the same money site language ?
    -IS cloud flare useful for hiding footprint ?

    • – Can I link to more than one money site , if they are all about same product and target same niche ?
      Yes, but it is slightly more risky.

      – Where should I put (htaccess code) in my wordpress site exactly?
      It is already there…Google it.

      – Should blogs in PBN be the same money site language ?
      Yes, it is best to have the same language.

      – IS cloud flare useful for hiding footprint ?
      It can be and people do use CDNs…I don’t, though. Go for different hosting companies instead.

  • Pete

    Thanks for the info regarding PBN’s. Always like to keep learning about this stuff. Been using some services recently to find quality domains as that has always been an issue for me. I’ve got on top of that now though. One stumbling block I also had was creating content to go with my backlinks as I like to create posts manually.

    A few SEO people who I listen to don’t look at DA any more as a factor and more focus on TF (trust flow). What do you guys lean more towards when considering domains? Is DA less important these days?

    Cheers

    Pete

  • Swaraj Nandedkar

    Thanks for sharing this amazing post about Niche Sites.

    I am working on one and i will definitely follow your tips.
    I hope my Niche Site project will get some success.

  • Do 2.0 sites need to have a seperate ip adress as well?

    • Hey Kimberly, They will have different IPs since they are on different companies servers. So you don’t have to worry about it.

  • thanks for such a detailed and awesome information about PBN.
    I have some questions, It will be awesome if you clarify my doubts:
    1. Is it really necessary to have PBN ???
    2. Can we you blogger, wordpress or tumblr as PBN???
    3. Your advice if any (Please) !!!

    Regards
    Awesome Anuj

    • 1. Is it really necessary to have PBN ???
      No

      2. Can we you blogger, wordpress or tumblr as PBN???
      Sure, if you want to. They won’t be very strong though.

  • Can I use free hosted blogs as my pbn?

    So after posting content on your PBN, do you promote them also?

    • Hi Anne, when you say promote, what do you mean?

      It’s good to get social shares, yes.

      • Thanks!

        Yup, I am asking how will you promote. Do you linkbuild the PBN sites?

  • Urrgg yeah I just noticed that you mentioned about tumblr, livejournal.. 😉

  • Please I registered for the PBN course but I can access the materials if just shows a white blank screen after login-in, can you help me please?

  • Mazno Miah

    I am learning about Affiliate Marketing. I want to be an affiliate marketer. I have read many blog post about affiliate marketing. I don’t know about PBN. Thanks a lot for your good post.

  • Thank you for the guide. I didn’t see you have mentioned that, but I wanted to chump in with an observation: lot of rookie PBN builders don’t work with existing domain backlinks in any way, or at the max they just 301 every 404 to the homepage… There are even WP plugins for that. But in fact it’s a deadly tactics. One totally needs to 301 all the worthy backlinks to different inner pages of the site.

  • Alex

    Wow! What a piece. Thanks for the massive info about PBN. You are of great help.
    Cheers!

  • Tim Martine

    I have found the simplest way for me.. is to use the link button (for WordPress users) while writing the article. If click the link button just start to write in the page you want to link to and wallla!! That usually works. Or if the page is t created.. I do this a lot and I’m sure bedtime else does too. I simply make a draft of the page I want to link to.. and then start on the link page after the first article is done. That can get you writing all day!! Which could be good or bad however you look at it.

  • ig.ua

    Thanks for info! I`m building PBN-network for essay writing niches, so that`s useful for me

  • Ok I got the reseller account but I can’t figure out how to allot a separate cpanel to all my domains. I have 5 domains, I know I can build packages but I am not able to understand that how I can get separate cpanels for all my domains for free. I can see an option that allows me to build packages but since I own the reseller hosting I should not need any package, instead I should be able to directly get a cpanel ;S? How to do it??

  • This is really a valuable guideline of PBN. I’ve an asked- what about if I create a PBN by web 2.0 sites?

    Thanks.

  • rachael

    Can we post youtube links in PBN websites? Can you please let me know what is the procedure to do it?

  • DJK

    Thanks for the great article. Question: where do you host your money/base sites? Do you host each money site on a separate hosting account? And do you always host your money sites and your PBN sites on different hosting accounts?

    • I use Bluehost for my money sites right now. I use the WordPress optimized version. And you should definitely host PBNs on separate hosting.

  • Delainia

    Thank you for such a wealth of information on PBNs – not only within the article but also throughout the comments.
    Prior to reading this article, I’ve acquired an expired domain in my niche. At present I am using 301 redirects to home and internal pages of my services site.
    Now that I know about PBNs I’m considering making this new site my money making site and building a network around it, or would this be ill advised? I’m assuming I could still put up blog posts and link to my services site. Can the 301 redirects remain?

  • DDominator

    Hello, i have been always a huge fan of you in SEO. You always shared super cool posts.
    Thank a lot. I Will share to my skype group also.

  • Mo

    Quick question, is it ok for the money site, to be linked to Webmaster tools?

  • Outstanding post! Today a call come and asking me about PBN then I replied him with a link of your blog. Such great source to know basic of PBN.

  • Adam

    Hey Doug,

    Thanks for the resource!! As I am just beginning to do some research on expired domains, I have a quick question. I found a site that I am comfortable with, and is within my budget for now. The only thing that has me nervous is the anchor text for the site, reported from Majestic. It’s like 90% of the site name, so it looks like it’s definitely been manipulated in the past. If this is the first site I am adding to my PBN, would this be OK? What is my risk in buying a site that has manipulated anchor text?

    Thanks very much!

  • Hello,

    Great post. Quick question what is a hoth? And also do you spend less time on the 2nd tier pbns that the first tier, ie. the pbns that link to the pb that links to your site?

  • Cory SEO

    I want to know a bit more information about this. I know a lot of people who use PBN’S but i’m never too sure.

  • Seona

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Hi Doug,

    Firstly great guide, you always sound like you know what you’re talking about and its great you’re educating others in the dark arts 😉

    PBN’s are a great way to rank fast. I know SEO is shifting towards content marketing but meh, you can reach out to hundreds of people and get nothing even with amazing content. During that time you could of put a small PBN up!

    I think you/readers will be interested in something I’ve created. I’ve written a tool (like 100% totally free) to find hidden PBN links. You know how people block them with htaccess and robots.txt well this gets around that.

    It works on the basis that if your competitors have a PBN ranking their money website for “cheap ipads in france” then it stands to reason their PBN page linking to their money website will contain the term “cheap ipads in france” somewhere on it. It might be anchor text, meta tags or content body. So it will rank for the search term “cheap ipads in france”. It might be the 100th page, it might be the 1000th page, but it should be there somewhere. Especially with the search engines set to show all results. PBN Hunter takes all the terms they’re ranking for and crawls every page Bing, Google and Yahoo bring back for that search term, checking for any links to the money website.

    Check it out there’s a link on my homepage, its called PBN Hunter. Enjoy! 🙂

  • I’m use a lot of web2.0 links.

  • Andy

    Great write-up bro, been toying with the idea of PBNs for a while. One question I have though is:

    If I register a domain around from 2003 and then the who.is info updates to ‘registered today’ does that mean Google will say that domain has only 1 day old or will it still view it as being around since 2003?

    Does this make sense?

  • Davi Santos

    Great Article ! The articles published on this blog is very good, always has interesting articles and with enough information and great tips .

    Congratulations !

  • Thank you for the great read. How many PBN do you think is ideal if we are a local business ranking for medium difficulty keywords? I know there isn’t an exact number, but maybe a rough estimate?

  • I have been looking into moving some pbns into my shared hosting accounts but worried about the fact that they are all really just adding a subdirectory as hubby (IT guy) tells me google would be able to tell that they are all subdirectories of another site. I see so many people like you online recommending it and not addressing this issue though. Is hubby wrong?

  • Great article Doug!
    I have a question. What is the best way for search expired domains actually?

  • ali

    Nice post and it’s very useful for SEO, from now i will follow your all post. Thanks for posting useful information

  • Clesio

    I’m new and I’ve read that there are shared site hosts with 1 ip for each site.
    Can you tell me if it is safe?
    For those starting out, put a pbn site in each hosting comes out and expensive.
    Thank you.

  • Resourcefulguy

    Google uses the backlinks juice in order to rank the websites so PBN can never die. However, making a genuine PBN is an art. If you cannot do so, then you don’t get any share from the pie. You can also buy expired web 2.0 from different sources and make your own PBNs. Tumblr is a great example.

  • Hi Doug,

    I saw many websites on marketplace, that are still using PNB, and their traffic seem solid as rock, some even went over 6 figure traffics.

    As of today, near to end of 2016, do you still find PBN working ‘safely’?

    Would like to know your thought. Do you apply PBN on any of your niche sites that are still running well?

    I’ve never used PBN, and am interested to try on some of the sites (which have very poor organic reach anyway) – bought them from marketplace.

    I understand the risks involved with it. At least, I would like to know:

    1. It it still working as of today?
    2.

    • Charles, thanks for the question. Yeah, Private Blog Networks work GREAT. But they aren’t my thing – I can’t handle the risk level. Almost all the success stories on this blog use PBNs.

      Are they “safe?” Well, that’s up to you…what’s your risk level?

  • Anilkumar

    good to see

  • Bill Brown

    Thanks for the helpful article. Great content.

  • Teguh

    Thanks for sharing this article. Very much information here and I learn very much how to build great PBN for my new site.

    Do you know hosting from EBN (Easy Blog Network) ? its good or bad ?
    thanks

    • Teguh, thanks for the comment. I’ve never used EBN, but it seems like some people are happy with it. Now, I’m not sure if those people are affiliates or what…I do recommend Bulk Buy Hosting, though.

  • Martin

    Hi Doug, I have a question…

    I am building 20 sites PBN network for my 1 money site.. so 20 articles posts pointing to my money site OR i can also create 40 articles posts to my money site ofcourse I will point different pages of money site… please answer

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