PBN’s (private blog networks) are a very hot topic. They created a lot of commotion in the SEO industry and a lot of people think PBN links are the answer for their ranking troubles. Just fire a few private blog network links at your website and you will be #1 on Google in a few days, right? Wrong.

I have been pretty vocal about PBN links and while some might not like what I have had to say (because they are selling “private” links) I think it’s a topic that people need to understand more. Any “PBN” links you are buying are not private. Your links are sitting on the same websites as hundreds of other websites. If one of them get pinched and Google traces the source, all sites are fried with the flip of a switch. I’m not completely shitting on those public blog network links, because some people use them and never get penalized. But there is a huge risk if you use them.

I often get asked for PBN link samples from some of my services, but there aren’t any to give. That’s because we build a new PBN for every client. Each site gets its own PBN built that is niche related and completely natural looking. This keeps it safe and truly private.

I put together a simple list of 10 tips that you need to take into consideration if you are going to build a PBN for your own use. I’m not going to get into how to find expired domains. That’s an entirely different topic and there are already some really good guides out there to find them. There are also a lot of sellers that will do all the hard work for you and sell you expired domains.

Be smart when you build your PBN and use these tips.


1. Spread your hosting over multiple providers

There are a lot of hosting companies that will sell you on SEO hosting and packages with multiple IPs. Stay away from this. It sounds good and it’s easy and requires the least amount of work but you aren’t protected using this setup like you are told. While it is more work and it’s more expensive to use multiple hosting companies, it’s a safe option. Think of all the time and effort you are going to put into building your PBN. The goal is to build solid rankings that last.

You have to be willing to spend money to make money and if managing several hosting accounts is too much trouble for you then maybe this isn’t for you. You can get simple hosting for $5 – $10/month from several providers. Create a spreadsheet that has the login details for each. It’s not as hard as you think as long as you stay organized.

You should also be aware that many of the hosting companies are actually the same. They just operate under several different names due to affiliate agreements and subcontractor agreements. Do your research and make sure you are really signing up with different hosting companies, that will spread your sites over new server farms and geographical locations.


2. Do NOT use private registration for all of your domains

Most people will register their PBN domains with private registration because they think that is the safest bet. They don’t want to use their real information because it will relate to their main site they are pointing the PBN links at. Just use fake information. It’s really that simple. Use a random P.O. Box and city and just make sure the email address you use is tied to the domain. Create an info[at]domain email address and just have them all forward to your main email address.

If the domain registrar is going to contact you they are going to email you. They aren’t going to send mail to a physical address. The only time you would need to worry about receiving mail is if you were stealing content or if your domain name was infringing on a company’s trademark. Any legal matter is going to be conducted in writing. So, as long as your PBN sites aren’t using domain names that will cause a trademark issue to pop up and as long as you are publishing unique content you have nothing to worry about.

I should also note that you shouldn’t use P.O. Box addresses for all of them either. This would cause the same type of footprint that all private registrations would. Mix it up. Some private, some P.O. Boxes, and some random addresses.


3. Use different domain registrars (transfer some if you need to)

I would say that more than 80% of the time when you buy an expired domain it’s going to require you pass it into a GoDaddy account to receive it. Most of the ones I buy do start in my GoDaddy account, but then I move them over to other registrars. Just find several reliable options and set up accounts at them all. Keep all of your login details in a spreadsheet and just spread them across as many different registrars as possible. The more you have access to, the smaller your footprint will be.

You also have to think logically here. GoDaddy is the biggest registrar and due to their marketing and advertising they are the first place most people think of when it comes time to register a new domain. So, it’s not completely suspicious if a large percentage of domains are registered with GoDaddy. Sprinkle a few across lesser known registrars and a bit more with registrars such as Namecheap and Hostgator and then a larger percentage can indeed be kept with GoDaddy.


4. Treat your content publishing the same way you would if it was for a money site making $20,000/month

Remember, the point of creating a PBN is to make it look like a lot of high authority websites find your website and content valuable so they are linking to you. A lot of people think they can throw up low quality articles that they buy on Fiverr and all will be good. Low quality content triggers a red flag.

Use the same writer that you use for your money site content to write the content for your PBN sites. You don’t have to post new content every day so don’t worry about how you will afford a ton of high quality articles. You can post once a week on each site or if you have a small budget do two new posts a month in the beginning and as you have more money to work with each month increase the post frequency.

I’ve seen some blog network sites that my clients had links from that were placed by their previous SEO company and a lot of them had unreadable content. Scrapers and spinners are not tools you should ever use when building your PBN sites. Your sites have to look real, starting with the content. It has to be believable that each site is an actual website that is maintained and kept up by someone. This means you also need to include things like a privacy policy, TOS and a contact form. The little details don’t take too much time and they are very important to appear real.


5. Create a separate PBN for each site and never link out to more than one site you own from each PBN

This is probably the biggest mistake I see people make. They build awesome PBN sites but then they link out to several of their websites. This is not a good idea at all. You should build a separate blog network for every single money site you are trying to rank. This decreases the chance of it becoming discovered greatly.

You don’t have to start with 10 sites in your PBN. You can take it slow, and this actually makes it look more natural. Let’s assume you have three money sites you are managing and you want to start to point PBN links at each one. It would be very hard to build 30 PBN sites right away and it would require a decent investment. Building a single PBN site for each of your money sites is doable, and after one year you have a 12-site network for each money site. Don’t think you need to have a huge PBN right away. Build it slow and build it the right way. Rushing it can lead to mistakes that will kill your sites.


6. Don’t used sidebar links or footer links

Remember back in the day how you would buy footer links and sidebar links on high PR sites? It’s pretty funny when you think back to those times how obvious it was to catch people trying to boos their own sites PR this way. A lot of the private, I mean public blog networks that are selling links are still placing them in the footer and on the sidebar. This is crazy, because it puts your website in such danger. Why do they do it if it’s dangerous? Because it allows them to sell more links. They don’t care about keeping your website safe and flying under the radar. They only care about selling as many links as possible and they will put them out in the public eye if it means making a few dollars.

Look at popular websites. What kind of links do they have in their footer? It’s usually their menu links and maybe a contact link or a privacy policy link. They sure don’t have “fast weight loss” links down there. They don’t have “dentist in Denver” in their sidebar either. Stay away form links in those positions. It’s a dead giveaway the website isn’t real and a manual review would discover this within 30 seconds of visiting the blog.


7. Link out to other authority websites in the same content that links to your site

You don’t want to be the only website that a post links out to. That’s suspicious, as most authority content will link out to multiple inner pages and other sources of information to back up the content.

A lot of people are worried about passing all the link juice just to your website. Don’t think like that. The goal is to appear natural. In addition to linking out to your website you should like out to a few other authority websites and sources. I like to vary it, anywhere from 2 – 6 other links. You don’t want to develop a pattern here so make sure to always switch up the number out outbound links per post. Just make it look real. It’s that simple.

Keep a list of all the top authority websites in your niche. I usually like to have a list of at least 30. Then, I visit those sites and use their search function and find articles that relate to the post content and find good sources to link to. You never want to link to the same sites over and over, but this rule bends if the site is a true authority. A site link TMZ for example would be linked to on a regular basis if the niche was celebrity and entertainment. Just use common sense here.


8. Build up your PBN sites link out multiple times before exposing your site

Ok, so you find very strong niche related domains, and build real looking websites and do everything the right way. Then you post the first article and link to your website. Stupid move! You need to build up the content and link out to several other websites before you even consider dropping a link to your money site.

I like to have at the bare minimum 10 – 15 posts live and aged before I link to my money site. It’s an expense to get all that content done and it takes time to format the posts and link out the right away to information sources, but it’s worth it to remain safe.

Then, when you finally do link out you want to wait some time before you link out again. Don’t just post 10 posts one day and then drop a link in every post after that. Don’t get over anxious and blow it. Building a PBN is a long term SEO strategy that should be used for strengthening money sites. This isn’t a quick rank and bank method. If you are looking for fast rankings for a short term strategy then you should check out my Speed Rank service. Those are the types of links for a rank and bank, rinse and repeat ranking project.


9. Never use the same exact match anchor text over and over

Even if you follow every single step above, there is one thing that can get you in trouble, and that is using the same exact match anchor text every time you link to your website. Let’s pretend you are ranking a weight loss blog that is monetized by affiliate offers. You want to rank for the keyword “fast weight loss” and the page that you are trying to rank on your website has the following URL structure: site[dot]com/fast-weight-loss

Of course you want to link out and use that exact anchor text, and you can…but only do it once. Multiple times will look suspect. You will still build the authority of that page by linking to it using different anchors, like “check out this product” or “we found this review to be useful.” As long as the on site optimization is strong you will see your rankings increase.


10. Shut your mouth – not even your mother should know about your PBN

Once your PBN is up and running you need to shut your mouth. Don’t tell your SEO buddy, don’t offer to drop a link for someone as a favor. Don’t get the idea of selling links to make extra money to build more sites. Don’t even tell your mother about it. Seriously, just keep your mouth shut. Only one person should know your PBN exists, and that is you. I wouldn’t even let your virtual assistant know about it. Nobody. Loose lips sink ships!

There you have it. These are the simple PBN tips that so many people ignore, but they can quickly ruin all of your hard work if you are sloppy.

PBN’s are a hot topic and there are already some guides out there, but let me know if you would like one more. I’m considering writing a very detailed “How to Build a PBN Step-by-Step Guide” and give it away for free if there is enough interest. This will take a lot of my time but I will do it if there is enough interest. Comment below if you want me to write this guide and give it away for free. If this post gets 25 interested people I will commit to writing it! Until next time..

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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