What Is PBN? How to Work with a Private Blog Network in 2023?
In some niches, it is difficult to get natural backlinks because of the minimal number of donors. Such sites have to post links on websites on general topics and make maximum effort to avoid suspicion from search engine algorithms.
One ranking factor is related to domain authority, which depends on the quality of link mass. The goal of many webmasters is to improve link metrics and expect organic traffic, and a PBN can help achieve it.
1. What Is a PBN (Private Blog Network)?
A private blog network comprises websites belonging to the one owner, which are linked by backlinks. Depending on the goals, webmasters can use different tactics to work with PBNs.
The projects that are part of the network are called satellites. They are created to increase the link juice of the main project. In niches lacking extensive link-building opportunities, linking with the help of PBNs is often the only option.
According to Google, private blog networks are a violation of guidelines for webmasters. If you create multiple projects and don’t link them, they won’t be considered spam. But as soon as links between them appear, the risk of penalties increases dramatically.
The main task of a webmaster who uses PBNs for search engine optimization is to protect against penalties. If search engine algorithms discover that the network sites belong to the same owner, they may be blocked without the possibility of recovery.
1.1. How does it work?
A private blog network is designed in such a way that all sites link to one main resource, which might be successfully promoted in a certain niche. An alternative strategy for using PBNs implies developing multiple projects without focusing on a single resource.
Link building is time-consuming and financially expensive. In some cases, the cost of a link can reach $1,000, and not every webmaster can afford such expenses.
So, sometimes, it is better to opt for a PBN but remember that Google is against any link exchange schemes. You can solve the problem with link building if you take measures to protect against penalties.
The effectiveness of a private blog network depends on the approach to working with the resources that belong to it. If a webmaster uses expired domains and does not pay attention to content quality and link mass improvement, the main site may not take high positions in organic search results.
PBNs, where each resource looks independent and useful, are of great value to the main project. With this approach, the risk of penalties is very low.
1.2. Who is it useful for?
Webmasters can buy links on exchanges and not waste time working with dozens or hundreds of sites from a network. It is not always profitable to develop a PBN – sometimes, it’s easier to buy links on the exchange or use guest posting and outreach.
Private blog networks are useful when:
- the niche is highly competitive;
- there are very few relevant donors;
- alternative promotion methods were used;
- the project cannot be promoted using any methods;
- the site niche is not entirely «white.»
Before you invest several thousand dollars in the creation and maintenance of a PBN, it is worth analyzing the situation and finding alternatives. You may get links in a different way and save money.
To prevent Google from discovering the network, you need to protect it as much as possible. If a webmaster has no experience in this business, all resources linked to each other can be lost. Therefore, it is worth acting carefully and monitoring the situation.
2. Do PBN Links Work in 2023?
PBN links will only be useful for promoting the main site if they are from reputable donors. Tactics with buying expired domains, recovering content, and passing SEO juice are not always beneficial.
There is a battle of budgets for authoritative expired domains, and it is not always possible to win. Therefore, in some cases, you can use fresh domains, but the period of network development will increase several times.
Backlinks from quality sites belonging to a PBN will definitely be useful. But it is important to consider the situation in the niche. If the competition is too high, the rate of promotion of the main project can be very low.
For links from private blog networks to be beneficial for SEO, donors must have good link profiles. It is important that referring domains do not contain anything forbidden, and the quality of anchors is high. Otherwise, there is a risk that backlinks will be harmful.
If a webmaster has no spare time, it is better to use expired domains for a PBN. They can be bought from brokers or on auctions. The cost of an expired domain can reach several thousand dollars; so, it is worth calculating the budget for the development of the network in advance.
3. How to Identify Such a Network?
Google spends considerable resources to train algorithms to find sponsored backlinks. This also applies to backlinks from PBNs, which also violate the rules of search engine optimization.
Novice webmasters should carefully study the list of markers based on which, algorithms can find sites from the network and impose penalties on them. To avoid negative implications, it is important to secure the PBN and protect it from third parties.
The connection between sites can be detected not only by links. Many technical points indicate a PBN. The SEO niche is highly competitive, and competitors do not mind finding a network to tell Google about it and devalue the links.
3.1. Link profile
Domains for a PBN act as a core, the quality of which determines the effectiveness of using a PBN site. Poor linking is often a crucial factor for search engine algorithms.
If the webmaster simply restored the content of the expired domain and backlinked a few pages to the main resource, this may raise suspicion. Just like backlinks without nofollow from an irrelevant project.
Each site from a PBN should look like an independent resource and preferably have a good link profile. Otherwise, do not expect a positive effect from backlinks.
Many webmasters who use PBNs for search engine optimization try to host sites on several hosting services. It is easy to fix this issue by using proxy services like Cloudflare. They hide the real website IP and do not allow identifying the hosting.
As for CMS and other technical features like security holes, most sites are hosted on WordPress and open via HTTPS. Switching to a different engine will not improve the protection against network discovery.
3.3. Site design
If sites are linked not only by links but also by the same design, the risk of manual penalties from Google is greatly increased. Search engine crawlers analyze the content of HTML code and, if it matches, can mark resources as suspicious.
Avoid using the same template on all projects from a PBN. There are a lot of free themes for WordPress and other CMS. It is not necessary to provide search engines with an extra reason to discover the network.
3.4. Outdated or duplicate content
Content that was posted on an expired domain before the previous owner used it can’t always be considered good. Sometimes, it makes sense to remove duplicate texts and write new ones.
If you are planning long-term work with PBN sites, you need to make them high-quality. This applies not only to design but also to the content of pages. Particular attention should be paid to pages with the greatest number of backlinks.
3.5. The absence of new external links
If the site is not developing, its authority decreases over time. You should improve even expired domains and build up the link profile. After a site temporarily goes offline due to domain delegation, donor sites may remove some backlinks, and losses will need to be recovered.
Active link building will help protect against both juice loss and penalties. Search engine algorithms will see that sites are developing and not just acting as donors to pass the accumulated authority.
It is not necessary to buy guest articles for thousands of dollars. You can use conditionally free sources of links, but once in a few months, you can pay for posting a link on an authoritative website.
3.6. Site ownership
Websites of the same owner can be detected not only by the data that may be available in Whois. Most webmasters use Whois protection but forget that Google algorithms have virtually unlimited power.
The search engine often discovers a network by digital fingerprints. The connection appears due to a common Search Console account, repeated HTML tags, or the same content structure on the page.
It is important to make the site independent and not make changes on all resources at the same time. This can also be considered a digital fingerprint, which will allow discovering a connection between projects.
4. Creating PBN Sites
Webmasters who have already know what a private blog network is want to proceed to PBN creation as soon as possible. In this matter, it is important to be attentive and structure the information you manage to find.
There are several approaches to creating a PBN, depending on the domains that will be used. Buying expired domains for several thousand dollars is not always profitable; so, you can use an alternative option.
4.1. Web 2.0 pages
Web 2.0 resources are blog platforms, social media, and other sites with user-generated content. Services like Tumblr or WordPress.com can be used not for posting content but as the core of a network of sites.
The main advantage of the method is that such sites will have high authority due to Google’s trust in blogging platforms. This is why many webmasters use Web 2.0 along with expired domains.
4.2. Expired domains
The most popular strategy implies the recovery of sites on expired domains. To use this approach effectively, it is important to employ tools that will allow you to determine the quality of the site.
When working with expired domains, it is important not to use the accumulated authority of the site but to constantly improve it and show Google algorithms that the project is actively developing after recovery.
4.3. Recently registered domains
Domains that are registered specifically for a PBN have the only advantage – clean history. You will have to develop sites from scratch and invest in content, links, design, and other issues.
A link from a PBN is not quality by default. Backlinks will be beneficial to the recipient only if they are from a donor that Google algorithms trust. You can gain favor with them by constantly improving the site.
5. How to Build Your Own Private Blog Network?
The process of building and developing a network of private blogs is ongoing. If the position of the main project improves after linking, you can’t stop working with satellites.
Every step on the way to creating a PBN is very important; so, you should not ignore even those aspects that seem to be insignificant. If you forget about Cloudflare, sites can be hosted on the same IP address, and if other features match, penalties will be imposed on the network.
5.1. Searching for domains
The process of building a PBN always begins with finding relevant domains. No matter what strategy a webmaster chooses: expired domains, sites on Web 2.0 platforms, or domain registration – the overall approach will be the same.
In most cases, optimizers use expired domains, but it will be difficult for novice webmasters to work with them. You can buy domains from brokers to save time. However, participating in auctions will provide valuable experience and help buy domains at a lower price.
5.2. Content creation
Content can be created in several ways depending on the size of a site network and its development budget. It is not necessary to order expensive articles, but it is also not recommended to post duplicate content.
You can fill the site with:
- parsing content from Web Archive;
- video and audio transcriptions;
- neural network-based generation;
- texts ordered from copywriters.
The latter option can be used if there is a budget for promotion and the site will have a few dozen pages. Some satellites include thousands of pages, and it is hardly possible to order unique content for each of them.
5.3. Choosing a web hosting service
Optimizers know what links from a PBN are, but in the pursuit of high positions, they forget that technical details are very important. The hosting must be stable. If you do not use Cloudflare or other services for cloaking, you need to buy different IP addresses from the provider.
When choosing a hosting service, you should consider the region of promotion. If you do not use a proxy, and the site opens from the hosting without delay, the company’s servers should be located as close to the target country as possible.
5.4. Setting up the website
Setting up implies internal optimization. If the site loads slowly or has many broken links, search engine algorithms may consider it poor-quality.
Sites on recovered domains can also be improved. An updated blog will retain the accumulated link juice but will look more attractive to Google and other search engines.
5.5. Improving the content on your site
Low-quality content is often used for satellites, and a private blog network for SEO can get noticed by algorithms. If there are several PBNs, and the total number of resources is 100-200, you can improve the added value of the content.
Galleries, embedded social media widgets, and other visual content come to the rescue. Infographics, tables, videos, and other blocks can be added to the text. It is important to make the page look informative and high-quality.
5.6. Link building and network management
When the internal optimization of satellites and the main resource is complete, it’s time for link building. For new domains and domains with history, it is equally important to get new links. The profile graph should keep growing.
Webmasters often use sitewide links to boost the main resource, but this is a risky tactic. Such backlinks can significantly increase link juice – if you act carefully, no penalties will be imposed.
A PBN in SEO can be an effective tool for website promotion but only if used properly. Search engine algorithms are constantly improving to recognize artificial links. Therefore, webmasters need to meet higher requirements for site quality.
6. Advantages and Disadvantages of PBN Backlinks
The main goal of investing in a PBN is to create a controlled network of sites that will be used as donors. The strategy is suitable for highly competitive niches and topics that very few quality sites cover.
- You can use different domains – restore expired or buy new ones.
- Manageable distribution of link juice.
- Getting target traffic.
- The possibility of conducting experiments.
- It is possible to outrank competitors who don’t know what PBN sites are.
- Saving money in the long run – no need to spend thousands of dollars on links.
Disadvantages of PBNs:
- The risk of penalties imposed on all resources of the network.
- High financial costs for hosting, domains, content, links, and programmer services.
- Difficulties with updating content and the need for cloaking.
- Monitoring the performance of sites.
- Continuous improvement of resources.
If you opt for a strategy with fresh domains, in the first months of development, you will need links from quality donors. This will help to quickly get a return on SEO and boost the juice of the main project.
Backlinks from reputable resources can be acquired on the PRPosting exchange. There are over 44,000 sites of various subject areas in the directory. Filters are available in the personal cabinet for the selection of sites by region, language, and link metrics. You can also remove PBN sites from the list.
Not all site owners know what PBN is and can use the tool properly. You can benefit from a network of private blogs only if each resource is high-quality.
If you need to consistently benefit from a PBN, you can invest in Internet marketing and create quality posts on each site. Satellites can generate target traffic, and good behavioral factors will be proof of resource quality.
A network of sites belonging to one owner, which is created to promote the main resource.
If an optimizer observes security measures, it is possible to identify the connection only by indirect signs. Usually, a PBN is differentiated by hosting, similar templates, and a large number of matching HTML elements.
It is necessary to analyze the situation in the niche and determine the feasibility of using a PBN. Then, pick up domains, find hosting, create content, and build links on a regular basis.
You should if this is justified by the topic of the site or a minimal number of relevant donors. Not all PBNs are equally useful; some can be harmful.