Building links is critical for SEO success. However, proper link-building strategies necessitate time and effort. When your link-building efforts don’t immediately pay off, it’s tempting to fantasize about having a network of websites to place links on. This would undoubtedly make life much easier, right?
Unfortunately, this isn’t a novel concept. These website networks are known as PBNs (Private Blog Networks), and using them is against Google guidelines.
What Are PBN Backlinks?
Private Blog Network (PBN backlinks are links that lead to another website from a network of privately owned websites. The PBN sites are solely there to link to the primary website and, ideally, elevate the pages’ search engine rankings.
Due to the fact that Google’s algorithm considers a website’s link profile when determining its ranking, PBNs are effective. A page’s ability to draw links indicates that its material is worthwhile, hence a large number of links may indicate a page’s high quality.
Of course, it doesn’t signify anything at all if you’re adding your links from a PBN to your main site. You’re merely trying to manipulate the system, is all it means.
Because of this, PBNs are disliked by search engines. In addition, Google is now skilled at identifying these networks and penalizing users who use them, despite the fact that they were once a useful tool to rank webpages.
What motivates people to build PBN?
Despite the fact that it is a black hat SEO strategy, it has a distinct appeal. People hope to gain some advantages from using this link-building strategy. Let us look at some of the reasons why PBNs are appealing:
You have complete control over how links are displayed
Most link-building strategies do not give you the option of determining how your backlinks will appear. However, PBNs surrender control and discretion for how and where to build the links. You get to choose which anchor texts to use for backlinks to the money site.
Rapid link building
Reaching out to authority sites and establishing legitimate links takes time and money. PBN link building is a faster alternative to organic white hat link building strategy. When you have a PBN, you no longer need to spend a lot of money on blogger outreach strategies. It saves you the time and effort of creating authoritative content, reaching out to reputable sites, and sending follow-up emails.
See immediate results in search rankings
PBN sites leverage existing authority, making it easier to rank higher in SERPs for your keywords. PBN sites can influence search engine giants to push your website to the top of the rankings because they masquerade as an authoritative network of sites. In Google’s eyes, PBN backlinks will appear to be reputation online recommendations.
How Do People Build PBNs?
Backlinks from authoritative domains are the most effective. However, creating this type of site is both costly and time consuming.
As a result, people who run PBNs take a number of shortcuts.
First, they build the sites on expired domains with existing authority from previous owners’ links. The new owner simply adds content to the expired domain and links to the articles within.
Additionally, PBN owners frequently attempt to conceal the sites’ connections. They achieve this by utilizing various hosting companies, adding information that isn’t linked to their website, and utilizing various themes.
PBN Backlinks: How to Build Them
There are primarily two methods for building PBN backlinks.
The first is to create your own network and support it with your own site or sites.
If you choose this course of action, you will conceal the PBN and only sometimes link to your own websites from the network. If these networks are managed properly, they may be useful for a while.
The purchase of PBN backlinks for your site from an established network is the other method. You can quickly obtain a large number of links if you follow this route.
However, the people who run these networks are frequently less cautious about hiding the sites on their network. They may even disclose to buyers which websites they own.
As a result, people who buy links on these networks are unlikely to benefit from them. They are essentially link building scams that are designed to dupe people into paying money for ineffective links.
Not Every Website Network Is A PBN
Many people have multiple websites that they connect. We even do it when we link to our PPC advertising service, PPC Genius, from the VH-info website.
A PBN is not the same as this type of interlinking. There’s nothing wrong with linking between your own websites as long as you don’t go overboard and the links make sense.
A website network only becomes a PBN when it is built with the sole purpose of linking to other websites.
Should You Buy PBN Links?
Generally speaking, you shouldn’t buy PBN backlinks. But to be fair, let’s examine some of the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
- PBNs are a simple way to create links pointing to your website.
- You can specify which specific pages to connect to.
- You can select the ideal anchor text to utilize.
- PBN backlinks can be created in bulk.
- Links that belong to your PBN are free.
- PBNs can be effective in some circumstances, such as generating temporary traffic surges.
- PBN links could result in serious Google penalties.
- PBN setup costs are high because you must purchase expired domains and add content.
- Almost always, buying PBN backlinks are useless.
- Even if your rankings do improve, this could disappear if Google finds the PBN.
- If a site is constructed utilizing PBN links, it may be difficult to sell it
Read More:Top 7 Link Building Mistakes to Avoid 2023
Google’s stand is crystal clear: PBN backlinks are not preferred. Although PBNs are not officially included in the search engine’s Webmaster Guidelines, several relevant practices are covered.
Any link “intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines,” it specifically states.
Finally, if you want to stay within Google’s guidelines, avoid using PBN links.
How Will PBN Backlinks Affect Your Website?
If you decide to purchase PBN backlinks, one of three things will usually happen.
1) Your money will be wasted
The first result is that your rankings will not be impacted at all. Your website won’t go up or down, but your wallet will be a little lighter as a result.
This usually happens when you have a few links on a website that Google recognizes as a PBN. The link is simply ignored by the search engine’s algorithm.
2) You’ll be hit with a manual penalty.
When a human reviewer determines that your backlink profile is artificial, it results in a manual penalty.
You will receive a warning on your Google Search Console account if you are subject to a manual penalty. Rankings may drop as a result, and your website may potentially be removed from the list.
It’s good to know that this is not fatal. By sending Google a disavow file, which is a spreadsheet with a list of all your unfavorable links, you can get rid of the links.
The search engine may decide to reinstate your ranks after you submit a reconsideration request.
3) You’ll see rankings increase
It’s common to believe that PBNs never work. However, if you construct one carefully and use it sparingly, you will see positive results.
The problem is that if you use PBNs to build a site, you are always at risk of a Google penalty. Even if you see a short-term boost, your rankings and earnings could vanish at any time.
It’s also worth noting that when people create their own PBN, they get positive results. There is almost no chance that links purchased from third parties that sell PBN backlinks will work.
How to Identify PBN Backlinks
We’ve established that buying PBN backlinks are generally bad for your website. The next question is how to tell if your site has links from a PBN.
The good news is that PBN links are usually easy to spot. You simply need to use an SEO tool to learn more about the websites that link to you. Then you can look for unnatural links.
We use Ahrefs to identify bad links when performing backlink audits for clients.
Simply go to the “Backlinks” report, filter the results for “Dofollow” links, and then set the display to “One link per domain.”
This will highlight all of the domains that link to your website. Signs in this report that a link is from a PBN include:
- Doubtful anchor text
- Low organic traffic
- Sudden large spikes in organic traffic
- Re-directs from other domains
- You should keep in mind that PBNs are frequently created on expired domains, which means they might potentially have a high domain authority
Another option is to search for websites with a high spam score using Moz. This is a metric that represents the percentage of sites with features similar to the one you’re looking at that Moz discovered were penalized by Google.
It’s not perfect, because good PBNs are designed to look different from other PBNs. However, sites with a high spam score should be investigated.
- Bad content
- Suspicious outbound links
- No “about” information or contact details
Removing toxic links
You have several options if you discover a suspicious link or links during the audit described above. The first option is to do nothing.
If you don’t have many suspicious links and your search rankings are stable, Google is probably ignoring the PBN backlink. You can use other methods to focus your efforts on other aspects of SEO, such as creating content or building high authority links.
If you have a large number of suspicious links or are concerned that they are affecting your rankings, you can remove them by creating and submitting a disavow file to Google.
Simply create a .txt file with all of the domains you want to remove backlinks from and upload it to Google Search Console’s disavow tool.
The links will then be added to Google’s index. According to the company, the process can take several weeks to complete. More information can be found in this Google blog post.
Are PBNs worth it to you?
The answer to whether Private Blog Networks (PBN) are good or bad is in the grey or dark area. On the one hand, buy PBN backlinks for your site appear to be a simple way to build links. PBN backlinking, on the other hand, is a risky endeavor that may result in penalties. It may end up doing more harm to your site in the long run. Building legitimate organic traffic takes time, but it is a low-risk method of obtaining backlinks. You are also confident that you are building your company and website on solid ground.
You won’t have to worry about your house of cards collapsing if Google finds out! To boost organic growth and visibility, you should invest in a whitehat link building strategy. To improve organic rankings, increase website traffic, and build brand awareness, you can work with a reputable link building service agency.
Vishal is a Founder & CEO of vh-info .He loves to talk about SEO, Link building and Digital marketing tactics.In his free time, he likes to read and stay updated on Link building.
You can always reach out to Vishal on linkedin.