With authentic authority being one of Google’s main priorities in 2020, website owners are searching far and wide for the best ways to establish stronger rankings.
Among many dominance-building SEO strategies, PBN (Private Blog Network) links are talked about as an option to quickly boost Google rankings.
However, PBN links are highly controversial.
Many experts highly advise you to stay away from these networks, while others claim to have massive success in using them.
In this guide, we’re going to breakdown how PBNs work and what to know before you buy PBN backlinks.
- What is a PBN?
- The danger of PBN backlinks
- Are PBN backlinks worth it?
- How to build a blog network
- The PBN hassle
- The problem with PBN services
- A better alternative to PBN links
What is a PBN?
A private blog network is a chain of websites with a single owner. Anyone can own a PBN chain by purchasing multiple website domains. However, developing worthwhile PBNs, is a complicated process that can cost thousands of dollars.
The best PBN will consist of websites with quality backlinks. Great backlinks are the primary source of organic authority to a site. Without existing backlinks, a PBN won’t have any spreadable authority for the target website.
The primary purpose of a PBN is to hyperlink from each site to a single domain. It’s most common to target money pages like product and service articles.
LiftIntent doesn’t sell PBN backlinks, and we don’t recommend buying them, either.
On paper, backlinks from authoritative websites help boost SEO performance to a website, but PBN backlinks can be harmful if (or when) Google catches on.
The danger of PBN backlinks
Utilizing a PBN for backlinks often leads to weaker keyword rankings, and could even result in a Google penalty.
Dishonest “pay-to-win” tactics like PBN links are referred to as black-hat SEO. While white-hat techniques are more organic and “honest,” black-hat SEO consists of spamming or abusing the system to achieve higher rankings.
There are a few reasons for Google to penalize black-hat SEO. And it begins with the purpose of backlinks and authority in the first place.
Google prioritizes websites with authoritative backlinks because these hyperlinks act as a mention from one site to another. The main priority of Google AI is to rank trustworthy sources of quality value to users.
Linking to another page is like vouching for the trustworthiness of that site and its content. Google takes vouching as evidence of well-placed authority. In turn, higher authority will boost keyword rankings and everyone wins.
However, when these mentions are sold like currency, the quality and value of a page become irrelevant. If SEO became a game of buying the most vouchers for a boost, the highest bidder would dominate keyword rankings, and priorities of user experience would collapse.
Plus, with organic rankings becoming pay-to-rank, Google Adwords would become useless and the company would lose immense amounts of money.
Between a disregard for user experience and Google profits, websites using black-hat techniques rarely reap long-term benefits before being unprioritized or even penalized.
Are PBN backlinks worth it?
Only for a short amount of time, at best.
Although buying PBN backlinks can destroy your organic search rankings, some sites can benefit from them under particular circumstances.
The most common success story of PBN links come from Shopify stores or seasonal affiliate sites that need a short window of rankings before becoming irrelevant.
These sites target keywords such as holiday product phrases, upcoming movie merchandise, or online trends with a few weeks of popularity.
Websites with a short lifespan can afford to risk penalization because these owners are usually only looking to make a quick buck.
Searching online will show you plenty of horror stories of website owners waking up one morning to find their rankings destroyed because of black-hat penalties.
If you’re interested in building long-term authority to your website without the stressful risk, invest in more organic methods like white-hat techniques or manual backlink outreach.
Some sites do have beneficial PBN systems, covering their tracks with Google AI and giving their website a boost. Some services offer PBN systems (more on that later), but building your own PBN is a safer bet.
How to build a blog network
Manually creating a PBN is expensive and takes a lot of work, but it’s the safest and most rewarding PBN strategy if done correctly.
While building a PBN, the best place to start is by purchasing existing websites that once organically operated for legitimate purposes. When a website domain expires, anyone can buy that site with the existing pages and backlink portfolio.
Once purchased, you can use the list of authoritative domains to “juice” other sites through outbound-linking. People often utilize PBNs to boost their website, or by creating a PBN service and selling links to other sites.
The best course of action after purchasing a network of sites is to clean up the organic SEO and eliminate any back end problems like 404 errors or existing spam links.
Once you’ve cleaned your websites, link each site back to the target in a natural context. Naturally linking is including hyperlinks in a helpful setting, where the mention makes the most sense to potential users.
But make sure that you’re not linking back to your site all at once. Spread each link out by at least three days to avoid leaving a scent for Google to pick up on.
The goal is to make each link seem as “organic” as possible.
I quote “organic” because these sites still exist purely to spread authority, but they have been set up carefully in a way that Google won’t algorithmically recognize them as spam. Even the best PBNs are only portrayals of organic websites, which the best ones were at one point.
The PBN hassle
If this entire process sounds like a pain in the neck, that’s because it is.
The worst part is that even if you do spend thousands of dollars on existing domains and do everything carefully, it can still come back to bite you.
Google algorithms recognize strange link patterns and will damage your ranking authority if previously-dormant sites are suddenly mentioning you. It’s almost worth hoping for no ranking difference at all, let alone a positive boost.
Plus, the probability of getting past Google algorithms aside, your competitors can use SEO tools to look at your backlink portfolio and report your PBN manually.
The unfortunate best-case scenario is that you enjoy a year of sporadic authority spikes and stress before getting caught and penalized.
The problem with PBN services
If buying existing domains sounds like too much money and effort, you can purchase links from someone that already has an established PBN. But as we know, PBN chains aren’t easy or cheap to build.
The new problem that we encounter is that PBN services either cut corners or charge massive fees.
Although you can’t blame these services, it isn’t cheap to justify the purchasing and maintenance cost of multiple domains. The real culprit is the use of PBNs as a whole.
Even expensive high-quality PBN services can’t guarantee that your site won’t get found out and penalized for black-hat SEO.
Keep in mind, most PBN services won’t go the extra mile, or even the extra step, to ensure the organic portrayal of their links.
In a world where Google accepted PBN linking as a legitimate way to increase SEO, the authority of each PBN site would become over-saturated anyway.
The best backlinks come from pages that don’t link to many sites, but PBN services often pump as many links from one page as possible to maximize profit.
You can imagine how valuable a page with 75 outbound links might be. Forget about paying for higher ranking performance; it’d be more beneficial to disavow links from highly-saturated pages.
A better alternative to PBN links
If you’ve gathered nothing else from this article, you can tell that we’re not a fan of PBN linking. Even huge investments of time and money is a risk that you shouldn’t be taking.
The best alternative to PBN backlinks is manual outreach to legitimate sites.
Rather than focusing on “has-been” websites with dated authority, you can target organic sites relevant to your niche. Not only will natural backlinks provide more benefit than PBN linking, but you won’t have to worry about losing all of your hard-earned authority.
Spend your money on clean white-hat SEO tactics instead.
Are you interested in buying PBN links? Well, re-read this article if you didn’t get the point.
Using PBN links is 98% of the time, a bad idea.
But you know what a good idea is? White-hat SEO.
Google loves white-hat SEO tactics. And if you’re interested in acquiring quality backlinks for your website, you’re in the right place.
Guest posting is undoubtedly one of the best link building strategies, and it happens to be one of our specialty services.
Are you ready to build links and still be friends with Google? Contact us today to take your business to the next level. Request our media kit and review our case studies today.