Are Private Blog Networks (PBNs) Worth It In 2018?

Private blog networks (PBNs) are the go-to link building tactic for grey hat SEOs.

But the question is:

Are they worth building from an ROI (Return on Investment) and a ROT (Return on Time) perspective?

In this post, I’m going to give you all the information you need to make an educated decision.

Exclusive: Download the expired domain vetting checklist to avoid spending money on bad domains and to find the diamonds in the rough.


3 Reasons NOT to Use a PBN

I’m going to be a “Debbie Downer” and start the post off with the cons of using a PBN.

1. Cost

One of the biggest cons is the cost of developing and maintaining a network. If you’re using auctions, it’s going to cost you anywhere between $40-$400 for a good domain. If you are using domain vendors, the cost will be similar.

As you can image, this can add up.

After you secured your new domain, you have to pay for private WHOIS, get hosting, and add content.

So, let’s say you secured a domain for $100.

Domain = $100
Private Whois = $5
Hosting = $12
Article = $5 (a good PBN will have more than one article)

= $112 for ONE site.

You think the cost is high?

Let me tell you about the time investment.

2. Time Investment

Creating a quality PBN can be a serious time-suck. First, you have to find domains that are worthy of purchasing. About 95% of the domains are unqualified. And that’s being generous.

For my agency in particular, we only use expired domains if they meet our Topical Trust Flow requirement. This makes our research even more challenging, but it is often much more rewarding.

Let’s say you’re trying to build a network of 10 websites. It’s going to take you anywhere between 6-12 hours to find ten qualified domains. A “qualified” domain should have a Trust Flow of at least 15 and a Domain Authority of 15.

A lower metric domain is acceptable if it has relevant Topical Trust Flow Topics.

Now that you’ve secured 10 domains, you now have to set them up. It will take you 2-4 hours to find web hosts and get the sites ready for development.

You then have to develop the site by creating all the necessary pages, finding themes, writing/outsourcing content, installing plugins, and making the site’s look normal. If you want to be extra safe, you may also want to create social accounts for each site.

This process could take 1-2 hours per site.

This equates to about 36 hours invested for a network of 10 websites.

This also doesn’t take into account any type of hosting or hacking issues you may encounter. Cheap web hosts often go out of business without any warning and have horrible uptime.

Dealing with these issues can be a serious time killer.

Now, of course, you can outsource the majority of these steps. But when you outsource, you increase your expenses. Higher expenses will extend how long it takes you to get an ROI.

This brings me to my next point:

Does using PBNs have a good ROI (Return on Investment) and ROT (Return on Time)?

The ROI of Using PBNs

Since both you and I understand the value of money, let’s start there.

For this example, I’m going to use the keyword phrase: “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer”.

Here are some quick numbers about this keyword:

  • It gets around 1,000 searches per month
  • The average linking root domains for competitors on the first page is 135

What this data shows is that you will need approximately 135 expired domains to rank for this keyword. This isn’t an exact science. It may take more and it may take less. You also have to keep in mind the quality of the domains. If they competitors on the first page are getting the majority of their links from high authority sites, then low metric expired domains won’t be effective.

With that said, knowing the average linking root domains will allow you to predict the ROI of targeting a keyword.

Here are some other numbers you need to know to predict ROI:

  • Average SERP CTR ~ 3% – 30% (higher CTR for higher rankings)
  • Average Prospect to Lead (PTL) Conversion ~ 5%
  • Average Inbound Lead to New Customer (ILC) Conversion ~ 21%
  • Approximate cost for developing one network site = ~ $112
  • Approximate time spent developing one network site = ~ 1 hour

To make this easier, I’ve created a Google Sheet:

roi-pbns
Click to Enlarge

These are generous calculations, but it gives you an idea of the ROI potential of using PBNs. The Lifetime Value (LTV) of a personal injury client is high. There aren’t many niches that will have an LTV this extreme, which means it will take longer to get a positive ROI.

The month #1 – #3 calculations are based on ranking on the first page for “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer”. Keep in mind that this is a competitive niche, so you likely wouldn’t reach the first page for about 6-12 months (if you’re good). That means you will be in the hole until you get there.

Different Ways to Invest $28k Into SEO

You can do a lot in SEO with $28,000 +. I remember when I was starting out and all I had was a credit card with $500 limit. Back then, I thought this was a lot of capital to invest into SEO. I was able to achieve a lot with $500, but I also invested a lot of sweat equity. So if you don’t have the capital, you have to make up for it with sweat equity, as Mark Cuban would say. With that said, there are two ways to invest in SEO outside of PBNs:

Content

Content-driven SEO strategies will stand the test of time. Not only are content-driven strategies the safest, but they are actually the most scalable link acquisition model. If you had $28k to spend, you should invest 80% of it into creating link worthy content assets. In short, that means creating valuable content that’s better than industry standards.

Real Backlinks

It’s rare for an SEO campaign to succeed without backlinks. But since you aren’t using PBNs, you must focus on acquiring real backlinks. “Real” backlinks come from websites that have traffic and that you don’t have editorial discretion on. There are three ways to get real backlinks:

  1. Through promoting your content via outreach
  2. Through publishing guest posts
  3. Through buying placement (risky)

Not that you know the ROI of using PBNs and also some alternative for investing capital, let me explain the last “con” of using PBNs.

3. Risk

Let’s face it. No matter how well you develop your network, you’re always going to be at risk of two things: A) your sites get deindexed and B) your site lands a manual penalty for “Unnatural Inbound Links”.

In seconds, both your cash and time investment can be worth nothing.

Then you realize, you could have invested all that time and money into something more evergreen.

Okay, okay.

I’ve been hatin’ hard on PBNs in this article, but they aren’t all that bad.


3 Reasons Why You SHOULD Use a PBN

Now that I’ve scared the living daylights out of you, let me explain the pros of using a private blog network.

1. Control

Having control in SEO is powerful. With a network, you can dictate the anchor text, the links, and test like crazy to see what works. No other link building strategy allows you such freedom.

Let’s say worst case scenario, you DO get a manual penalty. Since you have control, you can simply remove the links and the penalty will be revoked.

Getting a manual action removed is nearly impossible if you built GSA links or bought links on sites you didn’t own.

2. Instant Authority

Private blog networks are powerful because you’re leveraging the authority of an aged, trusted website. And as you have probably experienced, it’s challenging to get these types of links through outreach or naturally.

3. No Outreach/Relationship Building

If you rely on private blog networks, you won’t have to spend any time reaching out or building relationships. While this isn’t a good thing, it can definitely save you time.

So, since there are both pros and cons of using a PBN, is there any solution?

The Ultimate PBN Strategy

I see too many SEO’s relying way too heavily on private blog networks and they’re making a big mistake. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but you should never put all your eggs in one basket.

This is true for ANY type of link building.

Year-after-year Google has destroyed SEO’s who haven’t diversified and relied on a single link building method.

So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret of mine…

I think of link building the same way I would my retirement account.

First, I evaluate the risk of a link building strategy. Then, I decide how much capital and time to allocate to that strategy.

For example, I may invest in “riskier” stocks because the potential return is higher. But overall, the riskier stocks would only compose a small percentage of my overall portfolio.

This is exactly how you should approach link building and private blog networks!

Link Diversity

If 100% of your inbound links are coming from PBNs, then you’re playing with fire.

PBN’s should supplement your other link building efforts. They shouldn’t supersede other important authority building activities such as building and cultivating relationships within your industry, content promotion (via outreach) and creating content assets.

If you keep your PBN links between 5-20% of your overall link profile, then you should be pretty safe.

PBNs are always risky, but it’s reduced when they’re only a small percentage of your link profile. The other 80-90% of your links should come from internal pages like editorial links, business listings, branded properties, or niche blog/forum comments.

You can also use this White Hat alternative to PBNs if you want to avoid them altogether.

So, now you have to ask yourself:

Are PBNs worth it to you?

That’s for you to decide.

If you follow the 90/10 rule of link diversification, you will be forced to spend time on acquiring real backlinks.

At the same time, you’ll get the benefits of PBN links with decreased risk.

Keep in mind:

Marketing is all about ROI. If you believe you can get a return on investment using only PBN links, then DO IT.

For most people, it’s best to take the safe route and use more evergreen tactics.

This is a controversial topic in the SEO space, so I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

Thanks for reading!

– Gotch

Comments

  1. Gotch, I agree with you completely, I have been saying for quite some time that link building is like investment, you have to weigh the risk vs. the reward. Topically relevant and well-built PBN sites are a great addition to a link building strategy when you need to get a boost to make the final push onto page 1.

  2. Hi Gotch,
    Great Post. PBN’s are always interesting. I have been stung several times by Google for not putting enough effort into my PBN sites particularly with adding quality content to them. Now, I understand it is very important that my PBN sites ARE NOT THIN.
    I use different registrars, hosting accounts, and super spun content. And always varying anchor text leading into my money sites to keep the PENG happy. I love PBN’s and certainly don’t think there dead as long as you put effort into them. A good expired domain can last years. I usually will place at least 5 @ 1000 word articles on each site with varying outbound authority links, youtube videos, images. Still works for me. 🙂
    Michael.

    1. Michael,

      Thanks for the comment! I totally agree with your PBNs not having thin content. Thin content not only puts the site in danger of deindexing, but it can also trigger a Panda penalty, which effectively makes the site useless. All of strategies are great, but I wouldn’t use spun content on tier one. Too dangerous for me 😛

  3. I had a questoon. How will I come to know about manual action if I am not using Google Webmaster? (I think using webmaster will just make it too easy for Google to bust my PBN)

  4. I place a domain purchased at auction in a web 2.0 site (blogger or wordpress Free) to not have to pay server and not run many risks leaving footprints?
    It is effective to do so?

    sorry about my english

  5. Try building a PBN from expired web 2.0. You can get tumblr, blogspot and weebly blogs etc with PA30+ for less than a dollar each on sites like fiverr etc. Less time spent, less risk, less investment. I still have my own domains but I bulk it out with these.

  6. First comment here, Ive been following you Gotch for some time. About PBNs, I really dont Think there is any other way to build and use them, just stay smart. Day PBNs are dead will be the day I propably quit SEO as its the only “control” we can have. I dont agree about time consume to find domains, build sites, research etc – there is many tools that can help you to do it right and fast. Good point is that these days you must have budget to do SEO so all the “one click tool” users got burnt and you propably dont have to deal with them anymore;)

    1. Hi Wojclech,

      Thanks for the comment! You shouldn’t quit if they are no longer effective! Just diversity and improve your skills, so it doesn’t matter whether PBNs are effective or not

  7. Honestly, I prefer to invest the same money – unless even less money, actually – in publishing high quality articles/advertorials on high quality related websites – paid guest posting. This way I get not only links on a high quality website, but also some nice targeted refferal traffic. When you are a customer, you can decide where to put the link in the text etc. pretty much the same way you would have done with a website you own.

  8. I have been musing over building my own PBN for quite sometime now. Your article helped me make a decision about going ahead with it. Thanks for the insightful read, outlining both the pro & cons so well.

  9. Hi Gotch. Great article. I absolutely love that it takes more time and effort to build a network to keep it safe for the long haul, as its weeded out alot of the spammy players in seo, and cleans the whole image of online marketing up just a tad. I’ve got a question though a little off topic…I’d like to know your thoughts on press releases and whether to use “no follow” links or not?

  10. Hi Nathan thanks alot for this great article. I has using PBN services in my local place for 6 months. And I had to admit it that is not cheap since including the fee. And I decided to learning pbn so I can reduce my cost.

    My question:
    1. what I need except domain expired, unique articles, different hosting, and private who is? Because I read in other blog and they said that the IP class should be different. I don’t understand this part, because pbn has been include private whois and different hosting.
    2. And if I already have the criteria on what you said. My next step is just post my articles and place my targeted keyword on the article. Am I right?

    Sorry about my bad language. And thank you for this great information. 🙂

  11. Thanks for your article.This is how I do PBN setup.
    1. Moneysite/youtube channel
    2.create 10-15 web 2.0 sites having 3 article which is in b/w 500-1500 word count .All are not expired web2.0.Some of them include
    3.Expired domain 5 nos
    How I connect

    3->2->1. I hope other got idea.I am planning to do like this.What you think ?

  12. Mind blowing article!

    I was seeking for this article only. I have seen many of my friends building PBN’s and ranking websites on the top of the results for highly competitive keywords. I just had few queries –

    1. After setting up a new blog and writing around 10-20 posts, should I start building a PBN or I should wait for some more time?
    2. How many posts each PBN should have?
    3. Should we build 2 tier links for PBN’s?
    4. If yes, then should it be build manually or we can buy it from fiverr?

    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Nikhil,

      Thanks for the comment!

      1. You should build foundational links before jumping into PBNs
      2. More posts = safer
      3. Yes, you can to increase the authority
      4. Don’t build low quality links to your private blog network

  13. Awsome article Nathan…My question its next:
    How to approach to link building and PBN setup for multiniche site?
    How PBN posting and linking should look for multiniche sites?

    Thanks…

  14. Very well written Article. PBN’s are constantly appealing. I have actually been stung several times by Google for not placing adequate effort right into my PBN sites specifically with including top quality content to them. Currently, I comprehend it is crucial that my PBN websites ARE NOT SLIM.

  15. Great information regarding the PBNs Gotch! I am into link building from few years and I am recently getting attracted to PBNs for getting the backlinks. But the main problem for me is the budget and niche. I can hardly find the expired domains that have backlinks and are related to my niche. So i am thinking about to start a PBN by buying few FRESH Domains. I know it will not be as good as expired domains PBN! What you think about it? Is it going to help or not? Or I should just drop this idea?

    1. Hi Anny,

      We’ve tested this and it isn’t very effective. Although you can buy a relevant, fresh domain, it still won’t have any authority because of its lack of links. One expired domain with relevant links is more effective than 100 fresh domains (even if they are relevant).

  16. Thanks Natchan, definitely great post ( btw i’ve came to your blog from google images “PBN SEO” when i try to find something useful for my inside presentation ). Need to follow your blog more often

  17. How relevant does the pbn have to be? It has to be in the same niche…eg..shopping but does it have to be more specific than that? If your money site is shopping/sports can the pbn be shopping/jewelery?

  18. Working on a “PBN” for around 4 years now. Network is now pretty big – over 400 websites, all expired websites with nice metrics. They’ve helped us grow a few money websites from scratch to page 1, a few even on the first place for some strings. Some are difficult niches – like hair loss, or male enhancement, make money online etc. I can only say that:
    1st: if you have the money, buy it! But, you are not smart enough until… you buy THE knowledge and that’s something nobody would just hand it over to you. I know some people who invested massively throughout time, experimenting, A to B testing, trying different schemas for about anything… just to learn how to manage it. Don’t think just because some people are talking about successful PBN is enough for you to get started. So yes, they’re working just fine, but in order to worth the investment and escape penalties, you need to know… stuff.
    2nd: every update, your investment is under threat. There’s no other way. Mine’s doing well, losing about 10% of my websites with each update. It is a price I have to pay. So no matter how good you are, you’re still going to lose this 10%. Add that to your investment.
    There are tons of information on this subject online. Nobody covers it. NO-BO-DY. That’s because everyone using it knows one thing and one thing only: secrecy is a kew. More PBNs = More trouble.

    3rd and last: they are working! Buy it, start exploring, do some experiments, see what’s going on. For me, with hosting, fresh content, design and linking strategy, everything I’ve set into place, one domain is around 30-40 bucks, depending on other things. Not hundreds, no complications, just the know-how.

    Payout is amazing. Could be better, but I’m still learning!

    1. Adela,

      I agree with all of the points you made! It’s risk vs reward for me personally. I just got sick of watching sites get deindexed and having to worry about manual actions. It’s not worth the stress, time, and money in my opinion. PBNs work, but so do cleaner tactics. The cleaner tactics just take a little longer 😛

  19. Agree 100% with you Nathan, PBNs are still most powerful way to fight in rankings but it must be done right. I wonder if you can show any other tricks to build topic related PBN. What’s your way to acquire niche targeted domains ?

  20. Like your articles very much, contain many useful information, btw, do you have some tutorial about how to find PBN domains, thanks

  21. Thank you for the guide. I didn’t see you have mentioned that, but I wanted to chump in with an observation: lot of rookie PBN builders don’t work with existing domain backlinks in any way, or at the max they just 301 every 404 to the homepage… There are even WP plugins for that. But in fact it’s a deadly tactics. One totally needs to 301 all the worthy backlinks to different inner pages of the site.

  22. Agree with you, i am doing pbns from the last one year and none of pbns get deindexed.
    All i do add 100% unique content along with quality designed theme so the website looks legitimate.. it works perfect for my Niches..

  23. Has anyone heard of this: Ant Aladdin 2.0

    Is this risky product to build links? I am very new to this and was wondering if this product could be used without the threat of a site being de-indexed or a manual being action taken.

    Thanks

  24. Hey Gotch, quick question. I do have some PBN links to my site, unfortunately they were in my “newer” years of SEO link building. They are from a service, but they are ranking my keywords quite well. Unfortunately, backlink crawlers are still able to see the links, and they are wide open to competitors.

    The pages themselves also have a ton of weird and irrelevant posts, so they would never pass a manual review. But regardless, I was wondering what would happen in case they did happen to get slapped or de-indexed.

    Would my site also get a penalty? Or would rankings simply go down a little because the PBN is no longer indexed/or penalized? The money site also has a lot of natural, high quality links too, so I am curious about your thoughts.

    Cheers

    1. Joe,

      Thanks for the comment. If the PBN sites are identified, then will get deindexed. There is a chance that all of the sites being linked to from the PBN will get a manual action as well. However, if these PBN links are a very small percentage of your overall link profile, then you should be fine. Just know that there is always a possibility for manual actions when you use PBNs.

  25. Thanks for an amazing article sir.Well, I have some doubts regarding PBN’s,
    1. Can we use PBN as 301 redirect to money site ?
    2.PBN can be directly used as money site or only link passer to money site ?
    3.Do we need multiple low authority PBN’s to rank our sites or One Good authority PBN is enough (Ex :Which worth 2000$) ?

  26. If you have PBNs in separate niches, for example 1- Healthcare (each separate site designated by latter, so 1a is one PBN site, 1b is a separate site, etc), 2 – Dating, 3 – Travel, is it ok to host 1 of each on the same account/IP range? For example:

    Registrar (using WHOIS protection):

    Godaddy – 1a, 2a, 3a
    Namecheap – 1b, 2b, 3b,

    Hosting :

    Bluehost – 1a, 2b
    Hostgator – 1b, 3a

    Then point, for example

    1a, 1b, 1c —–> Health money site
    2a, 2b, 2c —–> Dating money site

    Etc. Is this a safe strategy or should you create separate hosting / registrar accounts for EACH PBN site?

    1. Hi Andy,

      Thanks for the comment. As long as they aren’t linking to the same sites, it doesn’t matter. Keep in mind: there is never a 100% “safe” strategy when using PBNs. No matter what lengths you go through to hide them

  27. Hi Nathan, from your experience, can I use PBN networks to target websites with different categories? (One of my money site is about online promotion, another one is health related)

  28. Great article, I am currently running Infoddle.com and almost all my articles are ranking in between 10 to 40 position on google without even link building because of the quality. My question is that would you prefer me to build up a PBN and boost my ranking or simply use other white hat link building strategies like Guest posting, Broken links, etc.

  29. nathan Hi , I’ve been thinking about making a pbn to better position , because in the Spanish market is difficult to get good backlinks , I think it’s 80% of seo if I’m not mistaken

  30. Thanks a lot for the valuable information. I had a doubt about it whether it is safe or not. finally I understood whether I should avoid or not. I am impressed. whenever I have a SEO related question I find your blog almost on the top

  31. Hi Gotch,
    how about using weblogs such as tumblr as PBN?or other platforms!
    scraping them and finding the HQ ones then spamming them to death in order to get their juice pass as possible
    waiting for your answer
    thanks for your awesome article;)

  32. I think your cost estimations are off. Yes, having a PBN can become expensive very quickly. I’ve talked with some PBN experts with networks around 100-500 domains with a 1% or less yearly deindexing.

    1. Using a reverse proxy on your sites (not on all – that’s a red flag) will allow you to host multiple domains on the same hosting account granted that you know how to play around with the DNS.

    2. You can get high-quality domains for $10-50 if you look in the right places. No, these aren’t PBN marketplaces.

    3. Don’t use private WHOIS, Google can get around it. There’s plenty of case studies out there with more information about it. FakeNameGenerator is what the experts use.

    4. When it comes to content, if you know the right places to look you can find high-quality unique content for $0.50/100 words.

    I have nothing against what you said. Someone who doesn’t know where to look could very well pay over $100 to buy, register, host, and set up a domain.

  33. Thank you for the great article. I have a small PBN(5) for local seo. I have opened a gmail account for every 5 of them. Is it a footprint to connect each one of my PBN’s with google tools like webmasters and analytics via their own gmail accounts? Especially when I’m connecting let’s say for PBN n1 pbn1@gmail.com, and after pbn2@gmail.com and so on… from the same IP? Appreciate the answer 🙂

  34. Hello Gotch, thank you for sharing so insightful information.

    But, I’ve a question. Hope your response would solve it.

    Suppose, I’ve 10 keywords to work on. Could I create 5 different blogs for 5 of my keywords and start creating backlinks by blogging?

    Is it a PBN?

    Btw, I always publish the fresh content on blogs, no spin or duplicate content piece. And then, I promote the blog posts by other means, you know already.
    And nothing has ever happened to my link-profile, no links or sites ever spammed or penalized by Google.

    I do it all with proper relevancy of keywords and backlinks frequency.

    But, I don’t know if this is what is called a PBN.

    I’ve simple blogs on blogger and some on wordpress, they don’t even have their domain names, its just the http://www.abcabcabc.blogpsot.com or http://www.abcabcabc.wordpress.com.

    Please let me know if this is a PBN. Thank you.

  35. Hi Nathan!

    I’ve been looking to learn more about PBNs and landed on your article. May I ask if purchasing an expired domain is crucial to build one? Also, It would be absolutely wonderful if you could write a piece on – How would someone like you build one? With all the necessary caveats like not linking with GA or Search Console like you mention. Would you also advise against using Gmail? I currently use Zohomail

    Thank you

  36. If pbn’s are greyhat what is blackhat? Good read, I like articles that can quantify ROI with link building strategies, better than reading articles about theories.
    Btw, the site looks good, don’t know what you did to spruce it up, but it’s noticeable.

  37. I agree that PBNs shouldn’t be the main link type you go to for ranking a site. However I’m currently setting up DR30+ sites for the price of registration, hosting is a small cost and in terms of time taken to get these domains, setup the hosting and a site it’s about 30 minutes per site. I guess the real issue here is how good your processes are and whether or not you either know how to improve them or simply have the time to. For me PBN links make up maybe 5-10% of what links I build for clients, so for me it’s a highly efficient link type in any campaign.

  38. PBNs work great…until they don’t. I know several SEOs who do great with them. I’ve done great with them.

    But I’m also starting to get nervous about the long-term effects. Learning content marketing & white-hat SEO, paid search, paid social, email marketing, etc. are necessary for our growth as people and companies. Like any entrepreneurial tactic, we use it while it works, but when the door closes, it’s time to move on.

    Another good post, Gotch.

  39. I don’t personally think that PBN’s are really worth it. Since all the time and effort you put in your websites, and get ranking after writing that good piece of content and all those hours. They could just go to waste, only because you skipped one corner, when it came to link building. I have always been a white hat seo enthusiast.
    Almost all of my blogger friends, no matter how much precaution they maintained, their PBN’s got tracked down by google, and the websites using that link juice cam with it, deranked. After all, they say “What Goes around, comes around” . I don’t personally see the point taking the risk with your hard work, and putting it under Google’s Spam Radar. Another great post 🙂

  40. Hmmm intersting topic…

    PBN’s definitely still work (and have for the last 10 years or so hahah) if you don’t use them like a fool they’ll continue to work long into the future.

    There is nothing that’s going to move the needle faster than relevancy+power – and in terms of your example above a handful of relevant + power PBN’s will trump most of the first page results for the injury lawyer niche – no need for hundreds…

    Having said that, we are doing outreach and content promotion at the same time – always good to diversify to solidify results.

    Great post – just don’t quite agree with the ROI you’ve outlined, but for people who don’t know how to use PBN’s the right way it probably it’s probably right on 😉

    1. David,

      Thanks for the comment. Yeah, as I mentioned, the numbers can change depending on your quality vs quantity approach for expired domains. The main point is that your site needs at least equal authority to those that are ranking (in most cases). That can be achieved through quantity or high-metric domains. But I agree, the ROI needs to be a big consideration for anyone who isn’t experienced in building PBNs.

  41. Hi Gotch, I like the post especially because you also want to hear about what others think in this field. I am very new to SEO but I think that your strategies of social signals, well I also read that post too, together with blogger outreach, which I may consider, and other white hat techniques should do the job. For the time being, I am just trying to rank my website. I will definitely consider these techniques. I also understand that it is hard to get hold of a good PBN and it may also require some experience. But I sincerely think that its worth all efforts especially because we can control the anchor text. I intend to consider them at a later stage in my career after I gather enough experience to take the risk. Thanks again for sharing.

  42. Hey Nate, if I have great tier 1 backlinks from HA sites (DA 60+) should I still use cheap PBN’S with different IP’s. I only have a list of 90 tier 1 links, mainly directory profiles pages, guest blogs, etc…I wanted to do PBNbutler but was quoted 900 bucks. Most of these backlinks are nofollow 🙁 Only 30% are dofollow but they are directory listings or resource links.

    As for anchor links, would: ‘visit website’, ‘click here’ work better than generic keywords for my terms: attorney, lawyer, law firm, criminal, instead of: criminal attorney, criminal lawyer, etc or LSI. Naked links?

  43. In my situation links from PBN are about 20% o higher but not more than 30%. Afert an update which took place in september i didnt have any penalties. I think is because not any artice has external backlins. And all content is unique 🙂

  44. Thanks for the article! I think that if your network is built well however, you don’t run a whole lot of risk. There are also ways to build on the cheap without sacrificing quality. Learning to scrape for expired domains yourself saves a big chunk of money, using shared hosting and cloudflare to keep your IP unique is another good way. While any strategy that relies exclusively on PBNs isn’t going to have legs (or maybe it will…), I think they are still a hugely powerful tool and will be for some time!

    1. Hey Howard,

      Thanks for the comment. There is more risk relative to “whiter” hat strategies, but I agree there are ways to minimize risk.

  45. Thanks for the awesome info. I was very curious if I should be using pbns or not, but the way you put it as far as using it as a smaller percentage of your links makes perfect sense! One question, what about if your not sending all you pbns straight to your money site, and maybe a web 2.0 which then goes to the money site? Would that make a difference?

  46. Considering the fact that one has to invest around 120$ per domain, do you think this PBN strategy gonna work for niche sites which has potential of making around 5k USD a month?

    Is there any alternative where I can utilize this money? Something like infograhic link building or similar?

    Cheers

  47. I want to create my own PBN but I was little bit confused about cons and pros of PBN and you have cleared my all the doubts . Thanks for sharing. The way you explain each and everything about PBN is really great, Thanks once again.

  48. Where do you actually buy domains for $100 or more? Every registrar i know sells for less than $10.
    I build 10 PBN with $100.

    1. Thank you for the comment. I explain in the article, but the $100 cost was based on buying pre-vetted expired domains from a vendor.

  49. The discussion on PBN’s has been going on for years and continues to be fascinating. Google will continue to weed out low quality link networks and PBN’s and gets better at the process every year. The smart SEO needs to understand that PBN’s give a powerful ranking advantage with the ability to use anchor text at will, but also needs to understand that even with the utmost care, all or part of their network can get taken down by Google.

    Ultimately, if PBN usage is sprinkled in with “white hat” linking methods, you’ll have a much greater chance of keeping your PBNs safe and keeping your money sites (or your client’s money site) safe as well.

  50. Hello,
    Theres nothing about hiding Your PBN! I’ve got a 328 blogs withs few posts (30-50) linked between this blog. Also I’ve got it on one server so that’s the cheap trick and hidding it by setting for every site to block ahrefs and majestic SEO, setting different for every site server header and mask DNS for all sitest. Is a good choice?

  51. Hey Gotch!
    There are certain measures to take care of while building a PBN , Hosting is most important requirement now days. I do build the PBN with c class IP Address and always publishing unique contents.

    Hope it will add more value to your Post.

    Thank you
    Regard
    Jim

  52. Fantastic read Nathan. You hit some good points here. My question is, What happens when SEO agencies buy links from already built and maintained PBN networks from “black hat” websites/individuals? Would love to hear your thoughts on this?

    1. Thanks for the comment! It’s hard for to say what is “going to happen”. All I can say is that using PBNs carries risk

  53. great summary, gonna send this link out to my fellow teammates. We are currently having issues with the start of PBN, but i guess we should invest in other links after reading this great article. Thanks!

  54. Great article, thanks!
    I have one doubs though, if you could answer I’d appreciate. When searching for expired domains, does the domain name matters? Does it have to be related to my niche money site or it can be anything as long as it has good metrics?

    1. Hey Roxana,

      Thanks for the comment. There is some evidence that social signals impact organic search rankings, so they are definitely worth the effort

  55. Happy New Year, Nathan! And thank you for the interesting post. I do not mind using PBN sites if they look like real sites and get some traffic from the search engines. But I think that if using the right tools and approach, Outreach is cheaper and also takes less time than building PBN sites.

  56. I have read recentley that google stated they will soon no longer be giving any authority to links from expired domains purchased by a third party. if this is true its the death of PBN’s

  57. You state here that your agency uses expired domains. I’ve been seeing a lot of information recently about Google planning to wipe out the value of inbound links upon expiry of a domain. Such a move would destroy the effectiveness of expired domains. Some commentators are saying there is no evidence that Google is doing this or are likely to; and that they are just trying to scare people into ditching this tactic for SEO. What are your thoughts on this? Will you continue using expired domains (along with your balanced approach to SEO link-building)?

    1. Hey Elliot,

      Thanks for the comment. I avoid giving value to SEO rumors. Instead, I make decision based on what our testing and data shows. I highly recommend this approach above all else

  58. Good post. I see others here are using PBNS still.
    It’s powerful for foreign language SEO.
    If you look at some of the foreign language sites even 2006 spam techniques are still working. Which is why a lot of SEOs are making affiliate sites with this method and monetizing with clickbank, maxbounty, and other affiliate offers off offervault/odigger and other aff sites.

    Authority sites with a content-centric approach to SEO will last as will anything that improves the user experience.

    Good stuff

  59. Perfect article. I agree that PBNs shouldn’t be the main link type you go to for ranking a site. I have a small PBN(7) for local seo and nothing has ever happened to my link-profile in webmaster.

  60. Travis you are right. Gotch thanks for this useful article on PBN link building. PBN are risky to use but I have use strategy for one of my clients in 80%-20% pattern where 20% are pbn. It help me a lot

  61. Maybe I am reading between the lines too much but it seems to me that mixing in PBNs to one’s SEO strategy is a good idea. I mean obviously, you need to have your normal outreach and backlinking methods and strategies but to have control of anchor text have a high value as well.

  62. Good read, useful comments as well. I think I’ve finally made up my mind that I will invest in an own PBN (so I can also show the client some ‘builded links’ quite soon) but not rely on it too much.

    May I remark there’s a duplicate sentence in the article?

    Here it is (I copied it from the article):

    So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret of mine… I think of link building the same way I would my retirement account. (thanks to

    I think of link building the same way I would my retirement account (thanks to Gen Wise Wealth).

    Greetings and thanks for the useful article

  63. After visiting your site and reading your in depth articles it really fill a new life in my seo strategy and i have change my on page setting according to your suggestion and its show a good result and my pages shows in serps. But the next day it disappear but i know its due to no back-links for my site that why it happens.But my question is that which type of back links strategy will be effective for me without BPN, so i can rank my website pages well on the first page of google.My website niche is technology by the way.

  64. Hey Gotch, I 100% agree with you on this article. Many SEOs rely on 1 type of link building as they should be focusing on many different link building strategies such as PBN building. It is better to diversify your link portfolio in Google’s eyes to get you that 1st page ranking.

  65. PBNs generally do perform if you treat them like you would any other site. If the content is real, good gramar is used and the site is updated regularly, then to me this scenario is white hat. The author states it is grey hat seo, I think that a broad brush. I have been using what the seo community calls PBNs for years before it was even a thing. I think ANY site or business with multiple sites, if one links to the other, that is technically a PBN 🙂 I agree though, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Link diversity is the safest bet.

  66. Hey Gotch,

    Awesome posts! I learned a lot. One question for you,

    Is it okay to build more than 1 site on same vps server, and use cdn to make them looks like different IP?

  67. Am I just being naive? I started working in digital marketing nearly 5 years ago and everything I’ve ever read has taught me to produce “good, shareable content” and that would produce backlinks. however, what I’m seeing is that to realistically have your content shared by way of backlinks, your website has to GENUINELY be loved by the masses. So here’s my dilemma: should I start using PBN’s? It seems that PBN’s are black hat SEO… aren’t they? Additionally, how can I claim to help customers with their own SEO when I can’t rank my own site on page 1? Granted, the keyword “SEO services” is tough to rank for, but am I going about this the wrong way? I focused all my energy on on-page SEO, but that hasn’t made much of a difference. Any advice?

    1. Hey Victor,

      It depends on your risk tolerance. I personally don’t like the risk involved with PBNs and I think a content-driven approach is a better long-term strategy. Either way, backlinks are going to fuel your results. Read this article: https://www.gotchseo.com/backlinks/

  68. Great article, I think that the killer for me (in terms of PBN use) is paying for hosting. I don’t mind spending some time hitting up an auction or register compass. But when it comes to forking over money for hosting that’s what really gets me. I totally understand spending money on the PBN domain but you need so many different hosting packages (if I spend top dollar on a PBN I put it on a decent hosting company too $$$) that I tend to buy less PBNs so I don’t have to go through the whole hosting process!

  69. You gave me a helpful topic which is good for ours. Thanks for sharing a great article with whole people. PBNs links are useful or not that does not matter but your writing on this topic are too good.
    Again thanks for it.

  70. I have to agree with you about the value. I have ranked my SEO site in my hometown (San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua) with no PBNs. I also rank for multiple keywords in the Southwest, my US hometown is Chandler, AZ. I have used no PBNs and rely on outreach and other methods of link building.

  71. Gotch, All information is very valuable for me thanks fro sharing such type of article.
    But i have a question in mind, If i post 1 same article on 10 web 2.0 sites, does this activity is said to be called black hat? or My content is said to be called plagiarized content?
    Please let me know about it.
    Thanks!!!

    1. Thanks Rashid! I don’t recommend that you do that. Using web 2.0s for the sole purpose of getting backlinks is a grey hat tactic

  72. Hi, Gotch. Very elaborate post. I think the main problems with link building through PBN’s is the time and cost. For a professional blogger, that may not be a problem but for an amateur blogger, it may be better to build relationships and friends.

  73. I have a question. If I create one blog per niche in one IP address, making it 10 blogs per IP, will it be considered as a PBN.

    I’m looking forward to publish a lot of good content (with or without links). Nofollow wherever applicable.
    Also, expired domains are good or shall I go for brand new domains. Note: I do have the patience to work on SEO for these blogs.
    I await your response.

    1. Hey Karan,

      That depends on what your plan is with each site. Are they individual sites that you are trying to rank?

  74. Great Article, like you said you have to look at everything you do in SEO as an investment, currently I believe you can buy quality sites at auction for very cheap because mot people are still basing everything off power. If you look past the overall power and look into more specific factors you can find gems for $12 all day long that will do more for a website then a $200 dollar PBN would. Overall great article and I’ll definitely be back for more very soon.

  75. Hey Nathan,

    I still think good PBN domains are valuable, especially when you hold onto it for a long time. Think of it as an online real estate. In the future, chances of us SEOs getting homepage links from 600+ RD will be slim to none unless we start buying up LEGIT expired domains.

    Only my $0.02

    Regards,

    Matt

    1. Hey Matthew,

      Thanks for the comment. That’s true that homepage links are nearly impossible to get, but that also makes them unnatural. If a large portion of your backlinks are coming from homepage links, it’s a huge footprint.

  76. Hi Gotch,

    Are you prefer using PBNs for long term niche sites? For getting relevant backlinks, the work pretty good.

    Anyway, thanks for the guide, mate!

  77. Totally agree with you Nathan. PBN’s are always risky and time to time search engines are fighting against them. And there is chance to get manual penalty. You will spend much more on bringing website back to index then on building PBN.

  78. Hey Nathan quick question. I know a guy that is ranking really good in a health niche with PBNs that are created on fresh tld domains on T1 (.info for .88$ I guess). With no existing link profile at all. You will find 3-4 posts where 1 contains a link to the MS. Then those T1 pbns are spammed with web20 (probably rankerx) on T2 and gsa on T3. Can you tell me how is that possible? Shouldn’t such domains have no impact at all?

    1. Hey Leon,

      Thanks for the comment. It’s very hard for me to say without seeing the situation directly. There is a good chance his results won’t last if he’s going that route

  79. Thanks for sharing excellent information. Your site is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you’ve on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched all over the place and just couldn’t come across. What a perfect website.

  80. I enjoyed reading your article alooot, made some notes as well, but how do you comment on the latest rumors that Expired Domains don’t carry/will not carry link juice anymore?
    Thanks.

  81. I totally agree with you.PBN is a risky strategy.Specially when Google is keeping an eye on every website that is created on web.It has both advantages and disadvantages but unless and until you know how to manage your own accounts its worth paying money.
    Creating a network of your own and managing them properly will definitely payback in sometime .hard work always gives result.

  82. Nice post , I learn about the pbn network , plz replay my mail is that safe to used web2.0 back link to money site . if yes how many back link need for a one web 2.0 site

    1. Hey Kedar,

      I wouldn’t say it’s “safe” because any artificial form of link building carries risk

  83. I still use PBNs for SEO but the change it that I have made each site content driven with the monetization by money site. Not just putting up sites and abandoning them like I had done in the past. It takes more time and money but seems to be working.

    I appreciate the point you made that SEO takes investing money and/or sweat equity. I tried the sweat equity for a couple of years but noticed the difference when I added investing money to the equation. As always a lot of good content.

  84. Hi.

    Thanks for sharing your views.

    I was trying to build the PBN and wanted to sell links from it. Will it be beneficial…what you think?

    1. Hey Krish,

      Thank you for the comment. That’s not something I can answer. I will say it’s a risky business model

  85. Hi Nathan, great post. I have a question regarding outgoing links on my PBN: follow or nofollow? I mean follow to my money site for sure, but what about the outgoing links to authority websites? Thanks

    1. Hey Alessandro,

      Thanks for the comment! They should be DoFollow because that’s what a normal website would do

  86. hi,
    I am planning for buying link for PBN sites to bring my website’s ranking. but little bit confused because i read on another blog that this strategy falls under black hat SEO.
    So scaring from spammy website, please suggest anyone should i buy it or not ?

  87. I agree that PBNs are a future risk for every website owner. The only way you can get away if your PBNs all look like a real website and would pass manual inspection. In which case you might as well just build a real website in the first place, like one that funnels traffic to your main site.

  88. I would say stay away from PBNs the reason is Google is always doing updates. Plus there’s always a “reporter” that tells Google that there’s a pbn. There’s other ways of getting your website ranked #1 on Google. Thats my 5 cents.

  89. Gotch, I concur with you totally, I have been stating for a long while that external link establishment resembles speculation, you need to measure the hazard versus the reward. Topically important and well-manufactured PBN destinations are an incredible expansion to a third party referencing technique when you have to get a lift to make the last push onto page

  90. Thanks for the informational piece. Am starting my digital agency after years of consultation. I believe i will be dropping by to check out some of the latest stuff that you have . About PBNs I am planning to set up one and make it run like a real website so that it can serve a certain niche. I hope it will work fine. Wish me Luck Nathan.

  91. Hi Gotch, I just want to share my finding based on one experiment I did with PBN (personally, I prefer to call them publishing platforms) for my new blog from a fresh domain. I gave it a bit of a boost by sending just 2 or 3 PBN links to the site, and then my SERP ranking skyrocketed with 2 months (of course, the keywords I was targeting was much less competitive). After a year, all those PBN domains expired, but I can still get fresh content ranked on the first page within hours after it’s published until now. It appears that because of the top ranking, I have managed to get a lot of traffic to my site because of the high ranking. But then, it’s really the quality content that keeps my links on no.1 of SERP (one of my content even got 2K+ organic share on Facebook within months). So I would say the best way to get the most out of SEO is to initially give it a little boost, but after that, we really should invest time in creating quality content to keep the site on high ranking.

    1. Hey Aliff,

      Thanks for the comment. I agree, but you don’t need to risk using PBNs to achieve the same objective 🙂

  92. Am just curious to dig in if pbn still works…. I have scrapped some domain but looking for a detailed article to set up. Thanks gotchseo

  93. Hello Nathan,
    Very Useful Information!!
    Is it easy to outrank those sites which use PBN as their main link building?

  94. Amazing Post! I absolutely love that it takes more time and effort to build a network to keep it safe for the long haul, as its weeded out alot of the spammy players in seo, and cleans the whole image of online marketing up just a tad.

  95. This is the right website for anyone who hopes to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need that .¦HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic that has been written about for many years. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!

  96. I am intrigued with the concept of PBN.
    It just seems so effective and quick to get rankings.

    However, i was strongly advised by a friend that runs an SEO company that PBN’s are very risky and any websites using PBN’s will be severely penalized and cause rankings to vanish when the next Google Algorithm rolls out.

    What are your views on this? Is this a calculated risk?
    Can we take such risks with our client’s websites?
    Regards.

  97. Hey Gotcha, now I realize that one man one follow approach is danger. Of course both white hat and grey hat both have their own pros and cons, yet we need to be aware of them. Thanks for creating that awarenesses through this blog….

  98. I have tried PBN in some areas of competition in the local area such as real estate, architecture, gym, Food weight loss .. but quite effective initially but it also brings many unforeseen risks.
    Looking forward to using everyone please wake up 🙂

  99. The PBN method is attractive but we must follow the Google Search Engine guidelines. A SEO worker should always be in search of new way to grow their website rank. Thanks for the place to know more about PBN backlink.

  100. I agree to this post. Building PBN’s will really cost you more time and money. You need to make sure that the domains history was not been penalized or spammed and no abused backlinks. You have to consider also the trustflow, page authority and referring domain.

    IMO, you can still use PBN but not too much with it. Just like in the graph above. Spend more time with the white hat seo strategy.

  101. I am still unsure whether or not to use PBN, As of now, I think it’s best to build organic backlinks rather than PBN in my opinion. Thanks for detailed guide Nathan.

  102. Thanks for the article. I think PBN are still powerful way to rank site but as you said comes at a price. Owning multiple PBN and renewing every year can be costly.Would you use PBN for new webiste ? and what do you think of sharing PBN with others?

    Thanks

  103. After Spying on my competitors backlinks I’m surprised to see most of their powerful links are coming from PBNs. Maybe that is the reason they are ranking better than my site. I’ve decided to start my own PBN network. Well, After seeing the excel screenshot above my thinking is changed. Too much of time and effort to be invested there. I dont think so it is a good option now.

    Apart from guest posting and is there any other ways we could get powerful backlinks which can match PBNs?

  104. Thanks Gotch for sharing this imformation. i have a new website amazon affiliate one i made social profiles, bussiness listings. Do u think i have to go for pbn’s?

  105. Never thought about this kind of tactics which can increase traffic to a website, PBN seems interesting as it is a self controlled network. Hope building a safe PBN can disguise Google.

  106. Hi Gotch,
    Thanks for a great and useful insight about PBN.
    I’ve tried this technique and it works but it cost a lot of money as you said.
    But i meet a strange problem in recent months when i use PBNs.
    The problem is: Google Search Console doesn’t show backlinks from my new PBNs.
    Actually, all my new PBNs are indexed on Google and these sites have Organic Traffic for longtailed-keywords.
    I set up these PBNs using Expired Domains.
    Gotch, do you know why?

    1. Hey Thao,

      Thanks for the comment! Not totally sure why that’s happening. I don’t build PBNs any more, so I’m the wrong person to ask

  107. Nathan,

    I see a couple websites that came out of nowhere and began to rank in top 3 in just a few months’ time. Without a shadow of a doubt, they’re using PBNs. I just used ahrefs’ new Keyword Explorer to see the SERP, and again, they have low DRs and backlinks/domains, yet… ranking in top 3.

    What’s the best way for me to look for their PBN? All I basically see is their backlinks are PR sites.

    And ps: do you use PBNs?

    1. Hey Mark,

      No, I don’t use PBNs. As far as finding your competitors PBNs, what’s your reason for wanting to do that?

  108. Thanks for post. I’m confused 🙁
    Everybody talks about how great PBN’s are but seems less effort and no money spent putting a video on youtube. I mean would 10 youtube videos be as valuable as 10 links from PBN’s?
    I got a chance to buy a site from Domain Hunter Gatherer a site closely related to mine with DA15 PA29 and 1300 back links for about 9 dollars, wouldn’t I be better off doing a 301 redirect and if I could find 9 more similar sites wouldn’t I be best advised to 301 all of them?
    Thanks in advance for your reply 🙂

    1. Hey Mike,

      It’s hard to compare those two things. Getting links from YouTube are practically useless because they are NoFollow

  109. Thanks for the article Gotch. But what to do to get high quality backlinks to get high rank for clients. Even on freelancer site they want quick backlinks. Because usually people have feeling that restrict other to grow. Suggest.

  110. Hey Gotch, I 100% agree with you on this article. Many SEOs rely on 1 type of link building as they should be focusing on many different link building strategies such as PBN building. It is better to diversify your link portfolio in Google’s eyes to get you that 1st page ranking.

  111. Thanks for the nice evaluation of PBNs.
    My question: Is the PBN way appropriate for financial affiliate websites? Upon my experience, PBNs may be too risky for this high competitive section.
    Further question: What type of SEO techniques works for financial Website?

  112. Dear friends,
    first this article is grate and shareable. second if PBN links is risky than all website who using PBN links got band including Google, Youtube, and other big websites because they are using PBN links .For Example you can also chek in SEM Rush tool and go SEM Rush tool and type Google , Youtube and after click referring domains you will see Millions of links from one website, this is pbn links.

  113. Hello Gotch,

    I am new blogger but when I send mail for guest posting contribution, many people reply to say I need organic post not pbn site. At that moment I can’t understand what they exactly want and what do they mean by pbn site? But to read this article, now I am very familiar with pbn site. I hope, I will reply them in proper way.

    Thank you for making me familiar with pbn.

  114. PBN’s are useful if you know what you are doing. They should be treated as special forces are treated in the military. You don’t send all special forces overseas during combat, but you do send special forces to accomplish very specific important missions. PBNs should be treated similarly. 90/10 is a great rule.

  115. Hi Nathan! I build links to my website since New Year. I use WEB 2.0, forum, blog comments, niche directory and I am going to add to my strategy link exchange with bloggers from my industry. I am curious if link from link exchange ( high DA and PA) has the similar power to PBN. What is your opinion? Is it dangerous?

  116. This is really good cut to cut article I event seen on PBN, very clear way to explain PBN strategy. can’t wait to apply on my next project. Thanks for sharing awesome stuff!
    – Nio

  117. It was Amazing Article. Enjoyed it and cleared the concepts.
    That Means You want to say that if I need nearly 100 backlinks to beat competitor then I should create 90 backlinks from commenting, web 2.0, directories and using 10 from PBNs will help me and safe?

  118. That’s a really good article. It clearly explains upsides and downsides for PBN. I have an SEO startup as well and I think instead of having a PBN, great content can help you reap much more benefits and power of social media generates a better ROI for my clients than PBN networks.

  119. Nathan, thanks for the great post!

    I’d appreciate if you could share your opinion about the role of “good content” in a PBN strategy. I read some authors mentioning that PBNs are all about backlinking, much more than generating actual “human” traffic by readers who appreciated the content. The mere existence of the backlinks is more important the apparent relevance the content actually has to readers. This makes me think that PBNs are more more about tricking Google into believing a site is relevant (by its numbers), than actually making it relevant in its own right (by its content and its relevance to readers).

    In your opinion, does this make sense? Is someone who is thinking about building a PBN necessarily putting “quality of content” as a minor priority? Or can a PBN-model be used to actually distribute high quality content WHILE ALSO leveraging the usual practices of a traditional PBN?

  120. The article is very informative but nothing is evergreen in the field of link building, PBNs are working from the last many years and they will work in the future too, because Google love contents and its always willing to provide good and relevant contents to its readers, if PBNs provides good and relevant information Google have no objection on PBNs.

  121. Thanks, for sharing such a informative blog post. Now, I completely aware the difference for having and not having PBNs.

  122. Thanks for sharing This informative article about PBN. According to Google Updates only they are saying that link should be genuine and Related to the Targeted industry but PBN seems different here. First thing is that it is very costly and secondly it takes 2 or more months time.

  123. Hey Nathan

    Thanks for the amazing article I have been reading allot of your content lately.

    I do have 1 question though, allot of people here are saying expired domains and yet I don’t hear much about auction domains the difference is that auction domains do not drop.

    My question is this I heard some time ago that expired domains for pbns are useless now as their age is reset and also the links pointing to the domain are no longer counted by google so basically it’s the same as a freh domain, is this still the case in 2018?

    1. Thanks for the comment! I put both in the same umbrella.

      I haven’t seen any evidence to prove this. Some expired domains are just garbage and won’t work, but I don’t believe Google would discredit backlinks just because a site expired.

  124. I think you are right about PBN’s I like to use mostly evergreen tactics. What about using the expired domain as a 301 redirect instead of building a site?

  125. What a nice post as usual, big fan of your works, i have question in mind or more likely im desperated for answer. If you have bunch of pbn you developed for previous project and you facing new project on same niche with previous one, will you build new pbn or using same pbn, in my case im out of fund and not a problem if they two ranked as rival. I just scare it would be leave a footprint or somehow get penalty. Please enlight me mate.

  126. Thanks a lot for the amazing post. I wish if you can give me some feedback on my own project. I have two domains for my new site, one is [short] and the other is [long and keyword rich]. I’m going to use the short domain for the site and wondering if I should 301 redirect the other long domain to the short domain? that would be useless as both domains free from links (brand new). PBN is my other option for the long domain and wondering if it could help boost the short domain? Thanks a lot in advance and keep up the amazing posts.

  127. Thanks for sharing Nathan! There are pros and cons investing for PBN, but I think when you know the flow and does it works I think it is a better way to link build. I’m currently into ProperPBN services, so far there’s no harm that affect to my sites. Hoping for the best!

  128. Hi Nathan,

    Very complete and informative article. I often found myself chuckling as I read along, for I know all too well finding the right ratio of risk to reward in the link building game is no easy task. Or how tiring and frustrating it can be continuously building out your PBN(s) after losing X% after each update… Or the amount of sleep lost on whether tomorrow will be the day you wake to find your money site(s) slapped with a manual penalty…

    Anyhow my question to you, that I hope you’re aware of and able to answer with at least a modest degree of accuracy is:

    How long did it take you to develop this blog post, including the generation of the excel sheet as well as any DIRECT research that went into writing it? By direct I mean, don’t include all the hours and time taken for you to learn what you had about building and testing PBNs for example; but DO include perhaps any additional time spent researching the “LA Private Injury Lawyer” space for its use as the ROI calculation example in your article, and say, the time spent building the pie charts, or any other custom graphics etc. If possible & necessary, please do include time/labor invested by others as well and specify the hours dedicated by you, yourself, separate from those of others that assisted and/or were hired to help with specific tasks.

    1. Thanks Dustin! My time estimates for PBN development were from my experience. As far as developing this post, it wasn’t long. Maybe 4-6 hours? This is actually one of my least comprehensive articles on Gotch SEO (and it needs to be updated). Some of my other guides can take weeks to complete.

  129. It’s funnny to me, this whole “PBN” thing, or trying to game Google and company in general. At what point does Google push so hard and so far that the only way to win the SEO game is…..

    To actually create content of value.

    Crazy, I know. The thought of actually using our time to write an article with something even slightly beyond the regurgitated, spun and overall worthless content that plagues 99% of the web.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve created and ranked/used to rank thousands of PBN sites from expired domains. Each time I’d get hit, I’d simply get smarter. Build slightly better sites. Go a little bit further then the next guy. Soon enough, After getting my PBNs slapped around enough, and seeing all that hard work flushed down the drain, I realized something….

    “Wait a second, I got it! All I have to do to create the perfect PBN is to focus on finding expired domains in niches that I am knowledgeable and interested in! Instead of hundreds of shit sites with shit everything, I’ll just get three or four great domains and focus on them.

    Then I’ll write the content, and have a social media account, and some YouTube videos. I’ll even link build it by writing guest content, under my own name, and only publish on sites that get real traffic! I’ll even accept quality guest posts….

    …and through all this, I’ll further build out my own network of relevant, niche sites and publishers, where I can also publish more of my (quality) content, perhaps even linking to myself or a client (assuming they have relevant, quality client that I or someone else made sure they did)!

    It’s brilliant! It will be the perfect PBN!

    Oh, wait a second, did I accidentally become a REAL marketer somehow?

  130. Very nice blog for searching . it is so informative and easy to understand. keep it up… thank you

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