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Understanding Private Blog Networks

You probably must have heard about private blog networks (PBNs) before – but do you really know what they are?

A private blog network refers to a network of websites used in building links towards a single website with the aim of manipulating search engine rankings.

Although this scheme was commonly used several years ago, the use of PBNs still exists and it still works. But there is some risk involved.

Google has been fighting PBNs for a long time and severely punished businesses caught using them.

The best way of identifying private network blogs is through cross-site “footprint” – where most of the information on the websites are similar. When it first started, PBNs were mainly on a single IP, WHOIS information and shared servers. Footprints galore.

It wasn’t hard for Google to find a PBN footprint to identify the network. This resultes in a loss of rankings and even manual penalties.

However, today it is very difficult to recognize a private network blog because they are much sophisticated. They spun different topics, layouts and industries. Good SEOs know how to avoid footprints that search engines could find to penalize your network.

The following are some of the pointers that can help you determine is a site is part of a PBN – for a more thorough overview you should follow a tutorial on how to set up a PBN

  • Design of the website – You want unique looking sites that resemble a real website. It should not look bland or only made for link building.
  • Hosting – Are all the websites on the same IP? You can use tools such as SpyonWeb.com to find out what sites are being hosted with another site. You want all your PBNs on unique ABC class IPs, and not hosted with other websites.
  • Site ownership – make sure that you use private whois on all sites, in times where privacy is valued, it’s not a footprint anymore.

SEO Tips: Are Links From PBNs Worth Exploring?

Private blog network links are backlinks from a group of blogs which one person owns and operates. People build PBNs to either increase the number of links pointing back to their own money website or to sell backlinks.

What is a Private Blog Network?

A PBN consists of 10, 20 or more related blogs in the same niche as your money site. Each blog links to your money site using different anchor text, but they never link to each other. PBN sites should naturally link to other related sites so the link to the money site isn’t obvious by being the only outbound link. Also PBN links should never be the only backlink pointing to a site.

People typically build quality PBNs using aged domains so the sites have some authority right off the bat. This way, the backlink is more valuable. Few people would bother creating their own PBN, which is a lot of work, for a link from a blog which has no authority.

Are PBN Links Unethical?

Google usually frowns on PBNs. In 2014, Google penalized a few obvious PBNs, but they haven’t publicly penalized any lately, possible because people have learned how to disguise their existence.

So, using PBN backlinks is risky, if you purchase links from someone who operates one without the proper knowledge. It would be best, if you run your own PBN, so you have full control over it. Many SEO exports run their own PBN just because backlinks are so important for ranking in highly competitive niches. But there are also a few SEO agencies who offer authority PBN links that are worth to look at.

How Do People Disguise PBNs?

They try to make the blogs as dissimilar as possible. Buy domains using different registrars and use multiple hosts. Keep your WHOIS information private. If you use WordPress, every site should use a different template.

High-quality content is the essential. Google does not like PBNs because they often contain sites put up solely to provide backlinks and they don’t offer visitors any value. Create useful, engaging content and Google won’t have any reason to suspect the site is part of a PBN.

To disguise a PBN, people create different types of blogs. They make one an industry news site, one a review site, one a personal blog and whatever types of sites are relevant to the niche.

Aren’t PBNs a Lot of Work?

Yes, it takes a lot of time and effort to maintain a PBN. Most webmasters only consider creating a PBN when their money site is in a high competition niche and they are not getting anywhere trying to outrank the competition with better content. Link building is difficult; people wouldn’t risk creating a PBN if it was easy to get links from high authority websites. Requests for writing a guest post often end up in the trash folder as people who run high authority websites are swamped with requests.

Building a PBN is also expensive. You have to buy domains, pay for different hosting accounts and pay for content unless you are a prolific writer. You have to be highly organized to run a PBN. You have to keep track of when your domains expire, when you need to post new content and which hosts host which domains. When you consider a backlink from an authoritative domain can cost $50 and paying a writer for a magazine-quality article for a guest post can cost about the same, running a PBN can pay for itself over time.

Are PBN Links worth it?

Yes! Although PBNs are risky, they are a worthwile investment. BUT if you decide to build a network, don’t brag about it on black hat SEO forums and follow a good PBN guide..

People get caught easily, don’t be a fool!


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About Me

My name is Salma Markos. I am a civil engineer and I have a special interest in Math, developing and programming but I also get intrigued by various topics and trends. I started my blog to express my feelings and share my writings.

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