PBNs work like magic — when you do them right. So we've decided to HELP.
Our “Guide to PBN Hosting” will make you a PBN ninja. So let's dive in.
A Private Blog Network (or PBN) is a group of blogs on aged domains.
These domains are hosted on different servers with different IPs. All of these blogs are created to simulate natural quality backlinks to the main website ("money site") of the PBN's owner.
Because of all these backlinks, the owner's "money site" then gets to the first page of Google for targeted search terms — so it gets a lot of free, targeted organic traffic (visitors) that can be monetized.
PBNs are the best way to rank your websites by creating a large number of relevant, high-quality backlinks.
They are by far the easiest way to rank your websites for local, affiliate or any other keywords. And you don't even need that many websites or blogs.
Here's a simple example: Let's imagine you're doing SEO for a client who is a plumber in your city. You find a domain that belonged to a different plumber years ago. This plumber was featured as the "local tradesman of the month" on a few local news websites which brought a lot of links to his website.
He then retired and left the domain to expire. You register this domain and build a new blog on it about plumbing. Since most of the links to the domain are still live, the blog will keep a lot of the authority that the previous owner built.
Can you see the power of this method?
And don't worry — we'll go into more detail about finding great domains in the following chapters.
When building your own PBN, you should follow these 7 golden rules:
✅ Use different hosting providers for each of your blogs.
✅ Add "About", "Contact", "Legal", etc. pages to each of your websites.
✅ Make sure your websites are up-to-date (WordPress, themes, plugins).
✅ Continue adding backlinks to your blog network over time.
✅ Make sure each blog is different from all of your other blogs.
✅ Add photos, videos, headings and bullet points to your blog posts.
✅ Link to authority websites (like Wikipedia) and relevant niche websites.
When building your own PBN, definitely AVOID these 7 common mistakes:
❌ Don't use a single hosting provider or second-class hosts.
❌ Don't host all of your websites on a range of similar IP addresses.
❌ Don't link from one PBN blog to another (this is called "inter-linking").
❌ Don't add anything that could uniquely identify you to all your websites. For example, don't use a unique signature, a consistent pen name, the same affiliate link, a unique advertiser link, same banners, etc.
❌ Don't use WordPress plugins that leave a unique footprint.
❌ Don't use any Google services on your websites: Webmaster Tools, Analytics, AdSense, etc.
❌ Don't use 404 redirect plugins. Instead, you should rebuild strongest subpages on your renewed domains to have more relevant content.
Follow these 7 DO's and 7 DON'Ts and your PBN will be super healthy. 😃
As we discussed in our example from Chapter 1.2, expired domains usually still have valuable backlinks coming in.
It's also easy to restore their former content (using Wayback Machine) which instantly gives you a website with content that's relevant to your "money site".
🌎 Expiring domains: These are usually available on domain auctions.
🌎 Recently expired domains: These domains were not bought at public domain auctions and were let to expire.
🌎 Expired domains: You can simply register these just like any other domain. These usually expired a long time ago, but might still have valuable live backlinks!
🌎 Active domains: These are active websites that are for sale.
In order to find recently expired and/or expiring domains, you should go to registrar auction pages such as Dynadot, GoDaddy and others.
You can also use specialized tools to find these domains, for example DomCop and ExpiredDomains.net.
First on the list is, you should ignore PageRank. PageRank became completely irrelevant when Google stopped updating it publicly. Instead, you should focus on the most important metric, which is the number and quality of live backlinks. Are they contextual? Will they stick around for some time? Are they coming in from authority websites?
The second important metric is the website and domain history. You should always check the history of a domain to see if it was previously used for a PBN. You should also check how many times the domain changed owners — ideally that should have happened less than 3 times in the last 10 years.
The third important metric is ensuring the domain has a clean link profile and anchor text. This means there are no incoming links from shady adult-oriented, pharma- or gambling websites. Also, incoming links shouldn't be using keywords that are related to these persona-non-grata niches.
There are also other metrics to consider — metrics like MOZ Domain Authority, MOZ Page Authority, Majestic Citation Flow and Majestic Trust Flow need to meet certain minimum criteria. We will talk more about these in the next sub-chapter.
Bottom line, if your prospective domain ticks all of these boxes, you're going to end up with a really powerful PBN. 👍
✅ Quality of incoming links: Make sure the domain's top incoming backlinks are coming from strong websites and will stick around for a long time.
✅ Domain relevance: It's better if the domain is relevant to your niche. (This is optional, but recommended.)
✅ Majestic Trust Flow (TF): Use Majestic to check, minimum is 10.
✅ Majestic Citation Flow (CF): Use Majestic to check, minimum is 10.
✅ MOZ Domain Authority (DA): Use Link Explorer, minimum is 20.
✅ MOZ Page Authority (PA): Use Link Explorer, minimum is 20.
✅ Clean backlink profile: There should be no incoming links from adult-oriented, pharma- or gambling websites.
✅ Clean anchor text profile: Anchor texts of incoming links shouldn't use keywords that are adult-, pharma- or gambling- related.
✅ Sudden link loss: Never buy a domain that lost the majority of backlinks in the last few weeks. This means Google recently penalized the website and now the owner is trying to sell it.
✅ Times domain dropped: Use Domain History Checker to confirm that the domain changed less than 3 owners in the past 10 years.
When buying a domain, always make sure to check the metrics we discussed above (TF, CF, DA and PA) for both "www" and "non-www" versions of the domain.
Then set up your website on the version of the domain that has better metrics. Also, set up a 301 redirect from the other version to your primary version.
For example: If www.Expired-Domain.com has better metrics than Expired-Domain.com, set up your new supporting website on www.Expired-Domain.com and set up 301 redirects from Expired-Domain.com to www.Expired-Domain.com.
Finally, before purchasing a recently expired (or still active) domain, make sure to do a quick Google search for "site:Expired-Domain.com" to see if subpages of the website were indexed by Google. If there's nothing in Google's index, the website might have been delisted. If that's the case, find a different domain.
Here's your goal as PBN owner in one sentence:
Make sure your PBN doesn't leave a footprint, or Google will burn it.
Now, to understand footprints and how to avoid them, we first have to define what a footprint is:
There are also some other factors which are not real footprints, but can seriously diminish your results. These include using the same hosting provider for all of your blogs, publishing only short articles to your blogs, or using only commercial keywords as anchor text in your backlinks.
Remember the definition of a footprint and try to keep things natural. Is it natural for all websites linking to yours to have the exact same theme? The same domain owner? The same plugins? The same outbound links?
One of the easiest ways for a search engine (e.g. Google) to detect a blog network is by looking at outbound links patterns. This means you want to link out to different websites, not just your own. Your outgoing links should also point to big authority websites (e.g. Wikipedia) and smaller niche websites which are not in direct competition for your keywords.
What you must avoid at all cost is using Webmaster Tools, any kind of Analytics or ad codes. These have an actual unique ID and can be easily traced to all your blogs.
Possible footprint: Registrars. Make sure to use a mix of different popular registrars (NameCheap, GoDaddy, etc.) for your supporting websites.
Possible footprint: Public auction domain marketplaces. Make sure to buy your used domains from different domain marketplaces.
Possible footprint: Registration dates. Don't buy all domains in a short time frame, especially not on the same day or week. Take some time to buy domains for your supporting websites.
Possible footprint: Cheap hosting. Make sure to host your websites only with popular, reputable hosting providers.
Possible footprint: Unique plugins and themes. Never use the exact same combination of plugins and themes on all your supporting websites.
Possible footprint: Identifying snippets of code. Don't use Google Webmaster Tools, Analytics, AdSense or any other snippets of code that include a uniquely identifying ID across all websites.
Possible footprint: 404 redirects to homepage. Make sure to rebuild the strongest pages on expired domains you bought. Don't use 404 redirect plugins.
Possible footprint: Commercial keywords. Make sure that your content isn't written only about commercial keywords. Branch out to other relevant topics as well.
Possible footprint: Not many articles, short articles. Each of your supporting websites should have at least 10 blog posts, with more posts scheduled for the future. Posts (articles) should have different lengths, from 200 up to 1000 or even 1500 words.
Possible footprint: Outbound link patterns. You should never link to all of your "money sites" from all of your blogs.
Possible footprint: No links to other sites. Make sure to also include links to authority websites such as Wikipedia, as well as other small niche websites.
Possible footprint: Commercial link anchors. The vast majority of your link anchors should be somewhat generic ("click here", "great guitars") and not super-targeted to your commercial keywords.
Possible footprint: No links to internal pages. Make sure to rebuild the strongest pages on expired domains you bought. Don't use 404 redirect plugins.
Aaron's note: “For me personally, PBNs have been a huge factor in my own SEO success for years now. When used right, PBNs truly are magic.”
Here at Spin Rewriter we want YOU to have an enormously successful online business — and we believe our PBN Hosting Guide will help you in a big way!