You may have been dying to improve your organic search and you found that PBNs may be the answer so you immediately joined the bandwagon. Stop! Don’t do it yet. Though PBN’s legitimacy and profitability can’t be categorically decided as either good or bad, learning as much as you can about PBNs can help you come up with a more informed business decision. 

What are PBNS or Private Blog Networks? 

Back in the year 2000 when Google was invented, they decided to rank websites by how many links are pointed at them. 

This was also the time when building a huge number of backlinks from authority websites without so much effort was discovered. This was done by buying domain names with established and proven domain authority. 

After gathering a relatively huge chunk of these high authority domains, basic content was posted to these websites including backlinks to the main website. This was done in all the posted web content. This practice instantaneously generated an overwhelming number of backlinks, all from authority websites with high domain. 

This is what they call “private blog networks” or PBNs. 

All of these backlinks promised to benefit the main website’s ranking, SEO, and domain authority. 

The concept sounds perfect and flawless, but let’s discuss a bit further to help you decide whether or not this is best for your business. 

How do Private blog networks work? 

It’s a known fact that PBN’s success depends largely on backlinks. Backlinks are hyperlinks which lead a user of external websites to your website. 

Backlinks tell the search engines that the linked websites find your website trustworthy and a good resource to link out to. This means that search engines can trust your website, too. It’s very much like associating yourself with the smart kids in class — you also end up looking smart. 

To know which websites to trust, search engines also check what websites link to one another. It is for this reason that link building becomes a vital factor in website ranking. 

PBNs became crucial in creating backlinks that some companies saw a huge improvement in their rankings after they worked with PBNs. PBNs also improved these company’s SEO. 

PBNs work, and this is the reason why SEO companies profited like crazy and why marketers stuck with it. 

What is an example of a PBN link or a backlink?

The below graphic will show you what a PBN looks like: 


The links from all these high domain authority websites point associates itself with the main website, thus improving the latter’s credibility and visibility. 

What a basic, single backlink looks like:


In this example, Site A, has an external site link to Site B, The latter site has a backlink from the former website. 

Are PBNs Blackhat?

PBNs are neither blackhat or whitehat SEO. They can be considered as “gray hat” or a clever scheme to drive passive traffic fast but can also put your website at great risk. 

This is surely not the kind of hat that you can confidently wear.

PBNs may improve your ranking fast but you can get in serious trouble if Google catches you. 

Google loathes PBNs and it’s proactively penalizing websites that uses them. Once a website is penalized, it will have a hard time making progress with SEO. 

PBNs used to work, but not in 2019?   

Back then, PBNs used to significantly improve a website’s standing. Then again, people, in their desire to rank better in online searches and drive more traffic to their websites, ended up spamming PBNs. Instead of building high-quality backlinks, they just send 1,000 links that are mostly low quality. Easy but not sustainable. 

To add insult to injury, most of these users don’t understand how Google works at it’s most fundamental basis. They don’t understand that Google hates PBNs, and as effective as PBNs appear, a single moment of vulnerability can make Google impose penalty on a “PBN-crowded” website. 

So how does Google know who to punish? That’s quite easy. If the websites you received backlinks from don’t have internal links, has very few updates, or shows very minimal activity, Google gets very, very suspicious. And since PBNs possess all these qualities, Google spots them easily. 

Another problem with website owners these days is that they jump to conclusions about the most advanced concepts such as PBNs too quickly. At the end of the day, it pays if you know what you’re getting yourself into. In this case, it means you will gain advantage from PBNs if, and only if, you know how to avoid loopholes that will get you in trouble. 

Another very important concept that website owners forget to consider is the fact that Google crawls the web starting with authority sites like Wikipedia, Forbes, etc. 

Web crawling

Web crawling refers to the process wherein Googlebots find updated and new pages that will be added to Google Index. It typically takes between 4 days to a month before Google can crawl and index your new website. Site crawling can improve your SEO and if your site has proper navigation, it will be crawled deeply and indexed faster. If you can take advantage of this fact, you can drive more traffic to your site and eventually improve your rank in Google searches.

All these pieces of valuable facts are mostly not leveraged by people who just order PBN gigs on Fiverr. What happens most of the time is they still send the old spam links that used to work 5 years ago. Subscribing to these kinds of PBNs is just like waiting for chaos to happen. 

Google’s advanced machine learning is smarter than top professors so do you think it will figure out what a spam link is or not? The truth of the matter is Google will eventually catch-up with you sooner than you think! Think well about your options.

Are all links created equal, PBN, Niche Edits, Outreach links?

PBNs, niche edits, and outreach links, just like any kind of backlinks are all clickable links, found in third party websites, that will lead any user to the main website — your website. The only difference between these three links is how they are acquired. 

Unlike PBNs, niche edits, or commonly called as “curated links,” are acquired by literally asking a third party, a business which is related to the business you’re running, to add your link to their website. Basically, they’ll edit their old website content for the sole purpose of adding your link. 

Outreach links, on the other hand, are links acquired either by influencer, social, press, email, or PR outreach. You reach out to people through these channels and ask them to link back their website content to your website. 

Backlinks can generate traffic to your website, but you have to make sure you play by Google’s rule book.  You know what happens otherwise. 

What Budget do I need for PBN links? 

The amount of money you need to create and run PBN links would largely depend on how many links your competitors have. 

Though it’s difficult to give an exact figure, the fact is PBN demands a serious amount of time and money. However, despite this huge investment, you still run the risk of being deindexed from or getting a manual penalty from Google. For this reason alone, we can say that it’s a poor option to build your own PBNs. 

Aside from that, most personal blogging programs are buying expired domain names. This means that you may spend time assessing the trust flow and domain authority of site only to find out that it’s already expired.  

On top of that, buying PBN links can be very dangerous. If you’re used to buying links, it’s most likely that you’re swimming in the same pool with other individuals who are buying from the same sources. We hate to break it to you but these companies love to sell links and set them on the exact personal blogging programs, all the time. When these websites are deindexed by Google, the hyperlinks will also disappear. 

Where to invest outside PBN then?

In 2019’s modern SEO, content is still king, which is why content-driven SEO strategy is still the way to go. They are safe and considered the most scalable. For example, you invested $28K, you have to invest 80 percent of it in creating link-worthy content. This means you have to produce valuable search engine optimization content that is way better than industry norms.

Real Backlinks

In today’s day and age, it’s impossible for an SEO campaign to be successful without backlinks.  But since you are not going to usePBNs, you have to concentrate on acquiring real backlinks. “Real” backlinks come from websites that have traffic and that you don’t have the option to e

There are 2 safe and effective ways to get real backlinks:

  1. You can promote your article via outreach (emailing industry influencers who have websites)
  2. Offering to post guest articles on other blogs or magazines

Do This, Instead of Private Blog Networks

Instead of PBNs, the better, safer, and more productive option is to create backlinks over time through share-worthy content, while leveraging your own brand’s social platforms. You can also try writing testimonials and write guest blogs. All these can help you build a loyal and solid audience. 

All these strategies may take more time compared to PBNs, but as they would put it, delayed gratification always bears the best kind of satisfaction. 

Originally posted 2019-05-01 03:02:04.