Private Blog Networks Explained In Simple Terms

Private Blog Networks, or PBNs for short, are at an all time high of popularity. They are the talk of SEOs, niche site builders, and anyone interested in improving their website rankings in the Google search results. And, that’s just about anyone that has a website…

PBNs are becoming a key component in any search engine optimization (SEO) campaign because of the high level of control you have with the backlinks to your money website.

The problem is that PBNs are an advanced topic with several confusing areas, like…

  • Where do you find domains?
  • How do you actually keep your PBN private?
  • How do you host your domains?
  • How do you build the domains?
  • How do you add backlinks to money sites?

I started with no first hand knowledge about PBNs but I have learned a lot over the last year. So, I had all the same questions and more… I created this infographic to help address the questions.


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Show 27 Comments
  • Mike July 8, 2014, 1:00 pm

    Great post, Doug.

    How important do you think it is to wait 2-3 weeks before linking to your money site? Is it more of a footprints issue, or do you think it actually effects the link juice? The reason I ask is I have a few expired domains, but was impatient and linked from them within a few days!

    • Doug cunnington July 9, 2014, 6:55 am

      Thanks, Mike!

      The 2-3 week waiting period is important but not essential. I have heard that people have a higher percentage of success in having their PBN domains indexed if they wait for the money site backlinks. I don’t have first hand experience with that issue but I have heard the difference is worth waiting for.

      Where you get your domains probably makes a difference…

      • John July 13, 2014, 3:05 pm

        i think its about link pacing, link volume received with a short period of time….

    • John July 13, 2014, 3:01 pm

      hi mike,
      if you niche site is new, its good to let google indexed the pages first.
      when the expired domains are newly bought , then its good to let google index page or pages without links to money site since expdomains at this phase can be considered new or reborn.
      i think its more of a pacing or link building velocity , the frequecy of link building..

  • James Blews July 8, 2014, 3:13 pm

    Great post Doug! However, I do have to mention something about buying privacy as opposed to proxy. Proxy services will be registered through someone else and privacy will be registered for you by that particular registar, but will not allow for your details to be public except to other domain registars, ICANN and other government services. However, while doing this to prevent Google and Bing from seeing your details, you should remember that Google itself is a registar….meaning they can see this information. Just a heads up!

    • Doug cunnington July 9, 2014, 6:57 am

      Hey James. Great point.

    • John July 13, 2014, 2:52 pm

      so james is should be proxy plus privacy?

      • James Blews July 13, 2014, 3:30 pm

        This is where a lot of “inside knowledge friendly people” would be helpful (so if you know anyone in google, give them a shout!). However, I didn’t make this comment to worry anyone. A lot of us have PBNs going in some form, or are using a service. All I’m saying is if you want more of a protection, us a proxy (whether it’s a service, or someone you know and trusts details); in other words, don’t solely rely on setting a registration to private.

        That only reason I knew about Google and the domain registar was due to their service being unveiled for selling ‘hosting and domain’ packages. Otherwise, I would’ve never have known.

        Now, for people who can use the privacy off/on as much as they like (*waves to NameCheap), you are helping to hide your details from malicious douchebags on the internet that would like nothing better than to launch negative SEO campaigns. So, if it’s free, definitely use it.

        Like I said, this was simply an issue that needs more exploring that I am diving into, and hopefully, it shouldn’t have an impact. However, it’s food for thought.

        Sorry to write so much here Doug. I just wanted to clarify a bit.

        • John July 13, 2014, 4:13 pm

          i think i used proxy and privacy unfortunately it was an accident that unluckily protecting one exdomsin of my pbn instead of the money site..
          ive read somewhere from another seo that he has different registrar for each of his big money site

          • James Blews July 14, 2014, 12:37 am

            The IP matters more for the PBN than anything. You don’t want the IP block footprint to “link” any two parts of the PBN together; PBN site to PBN site, nor a PBN site to a money site. However, I’ve never heard of using a different registar for each money site.

            Anyone have any more information on this question?

          • John July 14, 2014, 3:03 am

            ahh yes all my pbn are hosting under different company and the domain registrar or different too and the PB block are all unique. thanks

          • Ghufran Arif January 5, 2015, 8:51 am

            I think nobody can say with 100% beleive that using different/same registrars would not leave/leave a footprint or whatever. But the actual goal of a PBN is, to keep us 10,000 ft away from Google’s risk. So registering with different registrars would never had a risk, while same registrars, may work for somebody and may not for other.

            Also, we must use different hosting accounts, hosting more than 1 domain in a single account reduces the website speed/performance. It’s the message that I got from my domain registrar (godaddy) when I contacted them regarding poor website speed. As I was using 1 money site with 2 other domain names….!

  • Alistair Cochrane July 8, 2014, 4:26 pm

    Shhhh Doug! Don’t tell everyone! 🙂

  • Mike July 14, 2014, 4:04 pm

    One other question — what are your thoughts on how to deal with the subject matter of the domain that was used previously?

    For example, say I buy an expired domain that was about running, but my product is about survival knives. Do you continue to make your posts on the site about running/fitness to maintain the previous subject matter, while “link-injecting” about knives?

    Or do you try to re-brand the site entirely into one about “product reviews”, for example, so you can write about anything?

    • Doug cunnington August 26, 2014, 8:53 pm

      I try to keep the general subject the same if at all possible. So I end up doing the “link-injecting” just like you mention. Sometimes you have to be really creative.

      Occasional I will make the site different from the original…and it won’t be related at all. So, in those cases, I typically make the sites have some general blog topic. I normally don’t do a product review site though. It’s not wrong – it’s just not what I do.

  • kevin March 28, 2015, 1:45 pm

    The only thing that doesn’t make sense to me about pbns, is that the sites in the network that are linking to your money site will get no traffic at all. even if they have great content, unique themes, and the whole pbn is set up perfect so it leaves no footprint, isn’t it easy for Google to devalue links from websites that get no traffic?

    If someone could explain this to me it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Doug cunnington March 30, 2015, 8:00 am

      Hey Kevin, that’s a good question. I think the reason is that backlinks help the rankings, but the traffic on the linking sites does not have much of an impact on the money site ranking.

      That’s my thought on the matter anyway. What do you think?

    • Doug cunnington March 30, 2015, 8:00 am

      Hey Kevin, that’s a good question. I think the reason is that backlinks help the rankings, but the traffic on the linking sites does not have much of an impact on the money site ranking.

      That’s my thought on the matter anyway. What do you think?

  • IMKBrown October 9, 2015, 9:45 pm

    Killer info thanks a ton. I have been into learning more about these PBNs since I found a seller of expired domain network.

    Thanks again!


  • Vincent November 22, 2015, 1:58 pm

    Trafic is not always known by google. For big websites Google has data by its analytics tracker or by buying data from others. But many websites with great metrics are just not tracked by Google.

    Google can also use the number of clicks sent there and compute his relative market share. It’s again approximate.

    As usual you have criteria that could be positive/negative and some neutral/positive only. IMHO, traffic is the neutral/positive one, if traffic is huge it will give a boost to the power of the link.

    Additionally traffic data can be faked by many black hat technics…

    Hope it helps 🙂

  • Cedrik December 15, 2015, 7:44 pm

    Awesome article!

  • Piko June 21, 2016, 1:11 am

    Really Awsoome article related Private Blog Networks. Hope it will help me to make a PBN. Thanks

  • iwebsitez July 12, 2016, 3:10 am

    Really interesting article, for sure this course will help us a lot about building Private Blog Network.
    Thank you

  • vikas October 29, 2016, 4:23 am

    Do I need to promote or get backlinks for my PBNs or web2.0 sites too?
    Well how these site would get indexed by google?
    I want to know!

  • Lucio September 20, 2017, 8:26 pm

    Lots of information I did not know, I have a lot of trouble creating my pbn, I’m following your blog recently, and I’m learning a lot, thank you very much for the content.

  • Raj December 14, 2017, 11:47 pm

    Great article!!

    Also I would like to understand, how much value does a sub-domain blog website carry? Is it recommendable?

    • Doug Cunnington December 17, 2017, 1:29 pm

      Hey Raj, thanks!
      I’m not sure…I don’t think I’d waste my time though.

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