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Building a Proper Fail-Safe Private Blog Network Beginners Guide

There has been a lot of talk about building private blog networks (PBN).

Unfortunately (or fortunately), PBN’s can be a lot more complicated than most would expect.

How you build your PBN will solely depend on your niche website’s goals.

Are you in it for the long haul? Or do you need your site up there quickly?

Maybe you just want to forget the whole thing and just rent someone else’s network.

Nonetheless, I will walk you through the entire process on how I personally build mine to help you with your decision.

What you will discover

  • What exactly are PBNs
  • Does it still work?
  • What drives the power behind PBNs
  • How to find the right domains
  • The importance of hosting servers
  • Properly setting up your website
  • Adding content to your PBNs
  • Best linking practices
  • Protecting your assets

For starters, let’s begin with…

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]What the Heck is a PBN?[/su_heading]

Just so that everyone is on the same page, a private blog network is a collection of websites that an individual owns.

The sole purpose for these network of websites is to boost up your money making websites to rank higher in the Google search engine.  How it gets boosted is by simply sending a link from within each of the websites within the PBN to your money site.

What is a PBN

So if you have 10 websites within your PBN, each of those sites would link to your money website resulting in 10 powerful links.

Note: Never interlink your PBN websites to each other. To maximize the potential of your PBN, you want to make it appear as natural as possible. Any sign of your network being related could result in your “private” blog network being exposed and wiped.

If you haven’t picked it up yet, PBNs will consist of mainly expired domains. A domain that was previously owned in the past with information that others would of referred to.

So by picking up these expired domains, we’ll use whatever juices it has left flowing and pass it over to our website(s) of choice.  Of course, we could always beef it up even further but I’ll leave that for another time.

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Does it still work?[/su_heading]

Ok, I know  some of you may of heard the news that “PBNs are dead”. And how some lost a good chunk of their network after the wave.

Honestly, the way I see it, it’s as strong as ever. It’s all about how you build it and not whether it works or not.

Sure, if your building it as a quick and easy ranking option then expect to be disappointed sooner or later.

Google might be 1 step closer but the fact that their using tactics to scaring people away, it means PBNs are still going strong.

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]The Power Behind PBNs[/su_heading]

So why are PBNs so powerful?

Competition

It’s powerful because you are in complete control of the process – from the content to the links.

That means you could build up a domain to suit best with your money site.

As links are an important factor when it comes to ranking, you will have complete control. This includes the amount of links, anchor text and the content surrounding it.

What makes it even better is the fact that the websites within the PBN are already deemed as trustworthy and authoritative in Google’s eyes.

So every link that comes from these have a lot of weight oppose to a website that is completely brand new.

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Looking for the right domains[/su_heading]

Looking for expired domains can be a tedious and daunting task. With 10’s of Thousands of domain expiring every day, it’s tough to filter out the good and the bad.

Domains to avoid are ones that have been previously blasted with a lot of spammy links. Links that come from adult sites, gambling and foreign sites.

Anything that would remotely be questionable, I wouldn’t waste my time on it.

We want to focus on good quality domains that have well established linking profile, a bit of age and Google approved (indexed).

So how do we know if it’s good? We have to get to know the metrics.

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Understanding The Metrics[/su_heading]

Depending on what tool you use to analyze the expired domain, you will be using different metrics.

The Maths

The tools I use are:

These metrics are the ones I personally look into and are more popular:

Trust Flow (TF) – A metric used by Majestic. “Sites closely linked to a trusted seed site can see higher scores, whereas sites that may have some questionable links would see a much lower score.”

Citation Flow (CF) – A metric used by Majestic. “Measures the link equity or power the website or link carries.”

Domain Authority (DA) – A metric used by Moz. “Indicates how likely a domain is to rank based on how authoritative search engines consider it to be based on its backlink profile.”

Page Authority (PA) – A metric used by Moz. ” indicates how likely a page is to rank based on how authoritative search engines consider it to be because of which sites link to it.”

The definitions are straight from the horse’s mouth and I have absolutely no idea how it’s calculated.

I just follow a set guideline that helps me decide whether or not an expired domain is worthy.

The general criteria:

TF > 15
CF > 15
DA > 20
PA > 20

Again, this is just a quick guideline and there are many other factors that I also take into account.

Other factors are include the number of referring domains and anchor text patterns.

The anchor text is the hyperlinked text used when you want to link to another website. If the domain has a wide range of all kinds of anchor text variation like brand name and naked URLs then it’s good.

If a lot of the anchor text is focused on a particular keyword, has foreign text, adult or drug type texts, I’d avoid it.

So now that you know what makes a good website, it’s time to find these goodies.

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Finding the Right Domains[/su_heading]

There are 2 options when it comes to looking for the right domains. You could either find it through expireddomains.net, which provides a list of domains each and every day or you could use a method that’s called scraping, more on this later.

Expireddomains.net

ExpiredDomains.net

There are thousands of websites that get listed every single day. Although it’s free to use, it does take a lot of time out of you by going through the list.

Even when you filter it to only show domains with good metrics, a lot of times these websites have been used as a spamfest. Which in majority of the cases, will be completely useless to us, otherwise the spammers would of renewed it.

All you have to do is make a free account with expireddomains, choose the extension (.com) of your choice and the whole list is yours for the taking.

ExpiredDomains Filter

Use these filters to help you out with breaking down the list. Click on “show filter” and a section will magically appear. I suggest to have a minimum of 10 backlinks and then for the rest, follow the criteria above this post. I also set the listing to 100 domains per page, saves me clicking on the next page for another list.

ExpiredDomains SEO filter

If I find a domain that I like and it looks like it has good potential, I would then check it’s link profile and the history of the domain. The tools I mentioned earlier OSE, majestic or ahrefs would give you a pretty good idea. Just check out the top 10 backlinks and anchor text to get a good idea if it’s worthy.

As for the history of the domain, this is where I use the WayBack Machine tool which is found on Archive.org. It will give you a snapshot of what the website looked like to give you an idea whether the website was used by a person who put a lot of effort into it or used it for spam.

WayBack Machine

That’s how I’d go about finding domains on ExpiredDomains.net

The other method, which I must say is a lot more advanced, is called domain scraping.

This is where you’ll need to use a series of tools to find sites where they linked out to old websites that don’t exist anymore.

By picking up the old website and registering it, that link will still be retained and the website itself could be used for your PBN.

I probably made it sound easier than it is because it takes considerable effort to find a website that still has good metrics.

The reason why this works better than using websites like expireddomains and auctions is because there is virtually no competition.

And I feel that sooner or later, if not they already, Google will start monitoring these websites and auctions to counteract users from registering domains just to build up as a part of PBN.

The best Google can do to uncover these PBNs is going through each website manually. This is called manual review and if your site is obviously built as a PBN, you have to put up with the risks.

Honestly, I don’t scrape any of the domains itself. Instead, I prefer someone who is equipped with the right tools to do it for me.

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Using a Broker[/su_heading]

By using a domain broker, you could cut down on your time immensely.

They will do all the heavy lifting for you.

All you do is pick the domain that you like, pay for it and it gets sent to you. Although it might be a tad on the expensive side, I find it worth it.

As you buy more and more, you’ll find it will be significantly cheaper if you buy it in bulk. If you can’t find any special deals, just ask and I’m sure they’ll strike a deal.

Build Relationship

Once you have found the domain that you’re happy with, the next step is to…

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Register The Domain[/su_heading]

If you’re building up a network for the longevity, it’s important to think about how you’ll register your domain.

Remember, you don’t want anyone finding out about your network, whether it’s Google or your competitors.

By registering all your domains under the same roof is a clear indication and it’s something you’ll want to avoid.

Of course, you could always use private whois for better protection but it’s wiser to mix it up.

It’s best to use different registrars with different profiles and information. Really mix it up as much as you can so you don’t leave a clear footprint.

Here are a few Domain Registrars I recommend:

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Hosting your PBNs[/su_heading]

The next part of the equation, after you’ve successfully register your domain is to get yourself a hosting server. Without a hosting server, you can’t have a live website.

Again, the same applies to hosting servers as it did with domain registrars. You will need to put each of your domains on a separate hosting server for best practice.

If they were to be all on the same server, it will be clear as day that your building a PBN and it will be completely wiped.

Another thing to avoid is the use of so called “SEO hosting services”. Sure, they might have good intentions but the fact that they are so public about it and it’s from the same provider can be very troubling.

For the sake of keeping it simple, use a mix of different cheap and shared hosting providers. This will be the safest way, as your really hiding amongst the numbers.

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Putting Your Site Together[/su_heading]

I have never had an issue with building up my PBNs on WordPress and quite frankly, I don’t think it’s something to be worried about.

There are WAY too many websites out there that is using WordPress as their CMS. There is no way that Google will ever be able to tell apart from a “natural” link or a PBN link from a WordPress site.

Wordpress

Installing WordPress on our PBNs will make our life easier and most hosting providers make it extremely easy to install.

The only thing to keep in mind when installing WordPress is to choose the right URL. Are all your links pointing to “www” or “without www.”

website protocol

A simple check on Majestic will tell which of the two carries the most juice.

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]WordPress Themes/Plugins[/su_heading]

When it comes to installing a theme for your website, a good theme will show the whole post on the homepage.

You could either find free ones or purchase premium ones. The main concern is to have a variety of different themes installed for each website.

Don’t have all of your websites within your PBN using the same theme.

If you want the best value for your PBN, my advice is to make each of your site look as real as possible. So if a Google personnel was to review your website, it will pass with flying colours.

As for plugins, it’s best to install all kinds of plugins and diversify it for each site. Again, the aim is to have no clear pattern for each of our websites within our PBN.

The only plugin that you need for your website is one that can do a 404 redirect. Plugins like Link Juice Keeper and 404 Redirection.

These will permanently redirect any pages with a 404, which are pages that are missing and send them to the homepage instead.

So any links that are pointing to your website’s inner pages but isn’t there, will be passed along to the homepage.

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Must have pages[/su_heading]

What do most real websites have in common?

Pages that matter!

These pages consist of about us, contact us, privacy policy and terms and conditions. Mix up the name of these pages too, for example “about”, “who we are”, “website name”.

Like I keep saying, we want to make our websites look as real as possible so why neglect pages that are important. So be sure to write adequate amounts in each field and really put some effort into it!

Find a plugin that will help you with a contact form.

These will act as your starting grounds but before you start linking out to your website, you want to…

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Add Content to your PBN[/su_heading]

This is where a lot of people go wrong and use a whole bunch of spun articles. Spun articles work for the short term but once your website comes across a manual review, it is all over.

I find that having hand written content for my PBNs go a long way. After all, why risk losing your websites when there was so much involved.

This is why I also like to keep my content on each site sticking to a topic. If my website is about gardening, then all of my content is about gardening.

As for writing the content, this is where I get my VA to do it for me. I get the VA to consistently update it with fresh content every 2-3 weeks with a minimum of 500 words.

Throughout each article, I like to add related images and a video where I can.

Before I start to link to my sites, I make sure that there are at least 3 posts that hasn’t linked out to any of my money sites.

But once I have the foundation set, then it’s time to start…

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Linking To Money Site[/su_heading]

The key is not to do too much. Too much of anything is generally a dangerous play.

So when it comes to linking, generally 1 link from a post on the homepage is more than enough but I wouldn’t recommend any more than 3. Provided that the 3 is pointed to 3 different pages (2 inner pages, 1 homepage)

Also, it is crucial that the content itself has to be related to the link you are sending out.  The more relevant to your money site, the stronger it will be.

Back to the too much of anything – avoid using keywords that match exactly to the keyword you’re attempting to rank for. Instead, use long tail or synonyms of the keyword and if you must repeat, use a brand name.

Use a different variation of anchor text every time you link to your money site to avoid over optimizing.

So if I wanted to rank for Best Gaming Guide:

  • I found this site to have the best gaming guide this year
  • There is a guide for games to becoming pro
  • Looking to find the top gaming tutorial?
  • What are the type of gaming guides out there?
  • You can get a cool gaming book from…
  • Where to get “website.com” gaming guide

Even though I’m changing the anchor text each time, it’s still relevant to the topic.

[su_heading size=”28″ margin=”30″]Treat It As An Asset[/su_heading]

If you really want to make your PBN last through the ages, then I would treat it like it was your very own asset. After all, so much time, effort and resources were put in so it only makes sense to make it last.

I would also consider monetizing each of the websites through different means just to make it look as real as possible. If you’re really keen, you could also create individual social profiles but that might be over doing it.

Setting up PBNs are real powerhouses and makes a huge difference in your rankings. It’s also something that you have complete control over so make it safe!

I really do enjoy building up these and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.

PBN Beginners Guide

So there you have it, my complete guide on building a bullet proof network to grow your SEO rankings.

If you liked this post, make sure to leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

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