First off, if you’re looking to buy some PBN Links I sell them at: findbysearch.com
- Let’s Get Started
- What Metrics Really Matter For Your PBN
- Buying The Domain
- Blog Network Hosting – Setting It Up
- Putting It All Together
- How To link From Your Private Blog Network (PBN) To Your Website
- Extra Tips – Keeping Your Blog Footprint As Small As Possible
- Managing Everything
- Why You Probably Shouldn’t Build a Blog Network
Why would I make a blog network?
A blog network will allow you to rank your keywords for some seriously competitive terms easily (relatively), that’s why you want a private blog network. Don’t think a private blog network will help you? Do a quick Google search for some competitive terms, maybe something like website hosting reviews; then check the backlinks on a website like ahrefs.com. You’ll probably notice very quickly that many of the top ranking websites are using blog network links, weather it’s public blog networks or their own private ones.
Rather buy PBN Links?
You can now. I’ve created a new PBN for my subscribers. You can buy links here: http://www.findbysearch.com/
What skills do I need to make a private blog network?
If you know how to install WordPress you’re set. It’s not difficult to make a blog network, but it can be time intensive to set up and manage. Making a good blog network (Also know as a PBN) that actually works can be very expensive. I would expect to spend at least $3,000 starting my blog network (a very small one at that); the more money you can spend buying quality domains the better off you’ll be. $3,000 should be able to get you about 5-15 decent domains + hosting for the year, and a little bit of content.
Let’s Get Started
To create a blog network we’re going to need three things:
- High Authority Domains
- Website Hosting.
- Patience, Money & Some Coffee
Let’s get started with the domains first, since that’s the most important thing.
How To Buy High PageRank/Authority domains
Updated May 24th, 2017 – I would highly recommend checking out Domcop (Not an affiliate link) to find authority domains.
Here’s an example of my settings on Domcop:
With the settings above you’ll get something like this:
The settings you used will depend on a lot of things.
Like what type of website you want to buy. An expired domain, expiring domain, or archived domain (domain that’s 1 + years old).
I generally focus on buying expiring domains. Since they’re the most “fresh”. I would recommend focusing on that. I don’t recommend archived domains for unless you know what you’re doing.
What to look out for
- Making sure that the domain is indexed in Google.
- Making sure that the domain wasn’t used as a PBN before. Check the history on http://web.archive.org/
- Making sure the backlinks to the domain are good (Explained below)
What Metrics Really Matter For Your PBN
Why this matters: If the domain you want to buy has low quality backlinks coming from spammy websites that are clearly done by a SEO, stay away. These backlinks will not last, and will get penalized sooner or later.
How I define “low quality” backlinks is like this:
- Backlink is coming from a domain in a completely unrelated niche
- Backlink is coming from a domain with weak authority
- Backlink is poorly placed
Okay so you found a domain that has some good quality backlinks, that look like they’ll last and you’re about to buy the domain. Don’t! If your potential domain purchase has only a few backlinks passing along the authority you put yourself at serious risk. When you buy an expired domain your bound to lose a few backlinks, this is referred to as the:
Stickiness rate: How likely your backlinks are to stick. For example if the domain you want to buy has a nice PR7 backlink pointing to it, and it’s the only decent backlink for the website you’re putting yourself at risk.
When you buy the domain there’s a good chance that in a few weeks (or already) that the webmaster of the PR7 link has removed it. What you need to do is go the page where the PR7 link is and see if it’s still there. If that link is still there great, if not you should move on an look for a better domain. Now if the link is still there that doesn’t mean we’re safe yet; what we need to do is look at the page and the domain and try to determine how likely the link is to stick. For example is the PR7 link on a University’s web page that was made 9 years ago and hasn’t been updated since? If so that’s good news. Now on the other hand, what if it’s on a small blog that gets regularly updated? Well that’s not so good. When buying a domain you need to do an quick analysis of how likely you think the link is going to stick. Here’s what I look for:
- How regularly the website is updated. Updated often = Not good. Updated Rarely = Awesome
- Where is my link located? Is it on the homepage, is it an inner page? Homepage links are more risky, inner pages links are more likely to stick
- Is my link surrounded by others, or is it by itself? If the author is linking to many things on the page that’s better for me. Solo links are the first to go.
- How big is the website? Does the website linking out have hundreds of thousands of pages? If so that’s good.
Doing all this work isn’t really worth it when you may be spending $50-$200 for an expired domain, but when you move to the $500+ range it’ll start to matter more.
I use two tools for this, ahrefs.com and majestic.com. Both are backlink checker tools, and both have there own analysis of what a good domain is. Both tools are paid, but you can use majestic.com and ahrefs.com for basic analysis as long as you make a free account. Here’s an example domain I found: Comicpress.net (Found in January 2015 when this article was originally written)
Checked it out on majestic.com:
Why it’s good:
- Lots of referring Domains, referring IPs and referringSubnets.
- Decent Trust Flow and Citation Flow
I looked at the Root domain, and used the Historic Index option. You should also do a quick check with the Fresh Index option and see how it changes.
Then I go to the Backlinks checker feature:
Click through the websites and apply what you learned above, such as the Stickness Rate. I took a quick look and as of now ( Jan 11, 2015) it looks like the links are still live, which is good. The links are homepage links, and some of the links are on websites which haven’t been updated in a while (Awesome). Now to take a look at the anchor text:
The anchor text distribution above is great, the anchor text is “comicpress” which is the domain name (Brand) which is something you always want when buying a domain. If the main anchor text was something like “free comic books” that wouldn’t be very good. A SEO (a bad SEO) would use something like “free comic books” for 90% of their backlinks, while a “real” website would have a variety of backlink anchor text, with most being empty, or brand (Like the one above).
Now to go on ahrefs.com and do a double check:
Ahrefs uses something similar to Majestic’s Trust flow and Citation flow, it uses URL Rank and Domain Rank to asses the quality of Backlinks. Basically the higher both are the better. Here’s a better explanation for the overly curious. A Domain Rank of 60 is not shabby at all, it’s actually very good. Now is it PR6 good, and is it worth $$$$? That’s up to you and your budget. Ahrefs also has a pretty awesome backlink checker:
I like using the First Seen / Last Check feature, it lets you know when the backlink was first seen, and when the last time Ahrefs crawled to confirm that the backlink was still alive. This feature rocks.
Everything looks good and you’re about to buy the domain
Buying The Domain
Now we’ve done all our research and the domain Comicpress.net looks pretty sweet, and we want to buy it. First things first, you should decide your bid limit, basically how much you’re willing to bid. When deciding the bid limit take into account all the factors above (Backlinks, Stickiness rate, etc).
Lets pretend that the domain above has 2 more days until the auction ends, has 14 bids so far and that the price is around $200 right now ( All made up numbers). What I do is usually wait until the last 15 minutes to start making my bids. Godaddy will extend the auction when people bid last minute (Which they will to grab a great domain), so if the auction is set to end in 30 minutes you should add at least another hour or two to the auction end time. Whatever you do, make sure not go over your decided bid limit! A lot of people lose all rational when they start bidding for domains, bidding 2x, 3x what a domain is worth will make all your work unprofitable right from the get go. I repeat, do not go over your previously decided bid limit.
Okay, so lets pretend you bid $700 for the domain and managed to get it, beating out all the other bidders. Now what do you do?
After we get the domain we need to get Private Whois for it. We don’t want people to know who we are, if they do they can easily find out about all of our domains (making our PBN not so private).
Now that we have the domain we need to get some web hosting for it.
Blog Network Hosting – Setting It Up
Hosting your blog network is probably the easiest part of creating a blog network, but something that people over-complicate. So I’m going to make this as simple and short as possible.
I host the majority of my websites on two hosts: Hostgator and Bluehost (Updated Sep 20, 2015. I now use ASmallOrange as well, and recommend it highly). I have multiple share hosting accounts and re-seller accounts with both hosts, on which I generally host 3-5 domains per account (with exception to my reseller account).
I would not recommend doing the above, if I could go back in time what I would recommend to myself would be much different. So with the power of hindsight and my mistakes, let’s make sure you don’t repeat them.
More Host Variety = Better
I hosted the majority of my domains on two hosts. I did it for two reasons 1) Laziness, 2) Cheapness. Neither of these reasons are very good… Here’s why the way I hosted was a bad idea.
1) My websites were hacked. Hostgator and Bluehostare both great hosting providers, the hacking was my fault (I didn’t update a plugin; my laziness gets me again). One of my websites got infected, then it infected the others; typical shared hosting problems. While in this scenario it was my fault that I was hacked, what if it the hacking was due to Hostgators or Bluehost’s poor security? What would have happened is the majority of my blog network would be down (Not good!) and it would be hassle to clean up the mess.Having your blog network spread among many hosts provides more protection; don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.
You might be thinking “Having so many hosts will be expensive, and I’m already spending so much money on domains!”. Your right, domain buying is expensive; hosting on the other hand is very cheap, but very important. In the long run hosting expenses will be minuscule in comparison to domain buying, blog maintenance and content costs.
2) Having multiple Hosts is an easy way to get separate Class C IPS( Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classful_network). There’s a decent amount of debate about Class C IP’s and their importance. While I’m on the fence that it really doesn’t matter too much for a small blog network (Sub 100 domains) a lot of people seem to believe otherwise. One thing I do know for sure is that separate Class C IP’s don’t hurt, and that it may not matter so much now, but you never know what the future has in store.
Here’s what you should do:
1) Find a bunch of good hosting companies. I recommend checking out Hostgator, Bluehost and asmallorange, I’ve used all three for a long time and have nothing but good things to say about them. I’ve also tried Godaddy and I would NOT recommend them, bad hosting, expensive and horrible service.
2) Host 4-5 domains per hosting company/account.
I’d find 5-10 hosting companies and keep this up, then go back the the original hosts and buy more shared hosting accounts. This method seems like a hassle, and expensive. And it may just be; but if you’re a person who is very paranoid about Google and wants to protect their blog network investment then this is the safest way to do it. This is what I would do.
I’ll repeat one more time, the domain acquisition costs, the content costs and the maintenance costs will be far higher then the hosting costs. When your blog network starts making you money you’ll sleep better at night knowing you’ve done everything you could to keep it safe from Google’s evil hands.
My View’s On SEO Hosting
“I found this great hosting company, they say they specialize in SEO hosting, and blog network hosting” . I’ve heard a lot of people say something like this, and ask what I think about SEO hosting, so here’s what I think:
STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM SEO HOSTING COMPANIES
SEO hosting companies do three things better than anyone:
- Overcharge. Most SEO hosting companies advertise things like “wide variety of IP’s”. Which is great, unfortunately they charge 2 to 3 times what a regular host would for the same thing.
- Die.. Literally SEO hosting companies pop up and die all the time. Do you really want to host with a company that may or not may exist in 3 months?
- Just suck at hosting. Their whole pitch is generally around “Class C IP’s” which I’ve already mentioned above; which may be important, but not as important as your website actually loading in a reasonable amount of time.
Also do you really want to host your blog network with a host that’s hosting a bunch of other blog networks? It’s like painting a target on yourself and begging for Google to shoot. Hiding your blog network amongst legitimate websites is far safer and smarter than surrounding it with questionable websites..
I may seem a little harsh towards SEO hosting and while I’m clearly no fan, I’m sure there are some decent companies out there. With the right circumstances there just may be a reason to use SEO hosting.
Putting It All Together
Okay so you’ve bought a domain, bought hosting and now you’re good to go! First things first we’re going to download WordPress for the domain. You’re going to start with some ugly WordPress theme and no content. Let’s start with the plugins
Essential WordPress Plugins
You’ll notice from the above that I don’t use a lot of Plugins. I don’t use a lot of plugins for two reasons:
- More plugins = creates more hacking vulnerabilities; and way more problems when I want to update WordPress.
- No point. You don’t need anything fancy, keep things as simple as you can.
I usually add a few more plugins; like random social network plugins that add Facebook/Twitter/etc, if the blog is worth it (High Domain authority/ Trust/ etc). Adding random plugins here and there also has the benefit of stopping a blog footprint from forming.
There’s lots of great free & paid themes, I use a lot of free themes but I also buy some nice ones occasionally from Themeforest.com. I use nice themes for my High PR/Authority websites.
Okay so you’ve got the domain, installed WordPress, have the plugins & theme set up. Now comes the most important part. Creating links from your PBN to your website. This is what I do:
Make your (Private Blog) PB website an actual blog
Here’s an example:
Lets say that you own a health insurance website, and you’ve just bought NYBeerreviews.net, it’s a PR 3 website, with a decent and diversified Backlink profile (Backlinks are related to beer reviews). What should you do with this domain?
What I would do is simple, I would make it into a beer review blog. I would write/or have someone write a few beer reviews for the blog ( Probably 3 or so reviews). Then here’s what you do:
Create a character
What you need to do when making your PB a blog is to create a persona. For NYbeerreviews.net I would create a character named “Daniel” I would give him a realistic back-story; I would create an about page for Daniel, something like this:
Hello everyone my names Daniel, I’m from New York. I moved to NY 7 years ago from Miami. I’ve been a part of the craft beer industry for years, and enjoy drinking and reviewing. This blog will be about the craft beer industry in New York and about my day to day life of living here. You can reach me at contact@NYbeerreviews.net, or follow me at Twitter / Facebook.
Now obviously “Daniel” is not a real person, he’s a completely made up persona. If NYbeerreviews.net was a PR 5+ website I would even go to the trouble of creating a Twitter/Facebook Fan page for the domain. The PB would essentially become a real website, one that you would never guess is a part of a blog network. That’s the end goal for you’re blog network, making it REAL.
I would post a few beer reviews and in between that would post generic blog posts with my intended Backlinks. For example:
Today I had to go to the doctor, since I’ve been having some stomach pain. Unfortunately I don’t have health insurance so it ended up costing me $200 to run some tests. I’ve looked for some good health insurance providers in New York, and found this awesome review website: www.Yourhealthreviewebsite.com. It has a health insurance reviews for over 20 companies in the area, I decided to go with bluecross.
We’ve just created two very natural and high quality links for our domain (Yourhealthreviewebsite.com). This is the type of Backlinking and PBN that can and WILL survive a manual Google review. It’s so real, even I think Daniel’s a real person now, and I made him up two minutes ago!
Don’t be greedy with the anchor text
Using anchor text like health insurance reviews for 90% of your blog network is guaranteed to do two things:
- Create a footprint of your blog network
- Get your website penalized for over optimization
When I build Backlinks I almost completely ignore anchor text, I use generic long tail keywords or the website url. Like so:
- site here
- click here
- go here
- Yourhealthreviewebsite.com click here
- more info
- see this
- get health reviews here
- best health reviews website ever
I keep my anchor text distribution as natural as I can. Here’s a good read: https://moz.com/blog/anchor-text-distribution-avoiding-over-optimization
Making Your Blog Look Real
- Fake about page. I like to take some of the text from the about page and stick it in a homepage sidebar + I also add a picture of a person (you can get stock pictures from shutterstock.com or from a billion other websites).
- The writing style should be natural, don’t stuff keywords. Write like the persona you’ve created would write like.
- Give your persona a story, make them real to an audience.
- Get social proof. I add social shares ( Facebook/Google plus/Twitter/Etc) to the blog, then I go to fiverr and get some shares for about $5. This makes your blog look realistic.
- If the domain is a PR5+ I like to create a Facebook fan page/ Twitter account. I post all the content from the blog to the Facebook fan page, and tweet about it on twitter. I also buy some fans/ twitter followers from fiverr
- Vary post length and make sure to add pictures/ videos if you can.
- Add fake comments on your blog to fake interaction.
That’s a good question, so here’s a good answer: https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/how-many-links-per-page/
Can’t get a better answer then the one above. But if you’d like my opinion; here’s what I would recommend: under 20 links, less if possible. The more you link out the more link juice you’re losing.
Home page or inner pages?
I would leave about 1-10 posts on the home page, and the rest on page 2. All you need to do is make sure your most important outbound links are on the home page ( generally where all your link juice is).
I like using inner pages to help index/ give a little nudge to secondary keywords. My main keywords always go on the home page.
Extra Tips – Keeping Your Blog Footprint As Small As Possible
A lot of people will do everything above, but then fuck it all up by leaving giant footprints in there blog network. Here’s a few common mistakes Managing your PBN get’s a little tricky when you start buying more and more domains (that’s why you should focus on quality not quantity). You need to update plugins, update WordPress, update themes, pay for hosting, add content, renew domains and make sure everything is running fine. Honestly it’s all a pain in the ass. You’re probably thinking, what the hell. I just read like 4,000 words of how to build a PBN and now you’re telling me I shouldn’t build a blog network? Yeah… Pretty much For most people blog networks suck, and I wouldn’t recommend building one, here’s why: PBN’s don’t make a lot of sense from a financial / time perspective for most people. Most people have 1-3 websites/ business which they spend their time on. If you’re one of these people you probably won’t benefit too much from a blog network. For example: Lets say you have 2 websites in a super competitive market (Insurance) and you have about 30 PBN’s. If you’re PBN is strong you should be able to rank low to medium keywords in the Insurance market without much difficulty. You should be able to make a return on your investment in a reasonable amount of time. If the money and time you used was spent buying/ building “natural” links you would probably be able to rank quicker, cheaper and you’re links would probably be a lot more secure in the long run. Bottom line is, while PBN’s are great the costs associated with creating and maintaining them are greater then would be if you did things the “proper” way. I wouldn’t recommend building a PBN in 2017; if this was 2008 I would scream at you to go build a PBN. Things have changed, and will continue to change. Website content, social media, your website (time on site, speed, etc) are all playing a more important role in rankings. Links are important, and will continue to be important, but the role they play has been diminished, and will continue to diminish. All in all there’s better ways to build links, for less money and time. Something I’ll probably write a post in the future (hint: Subscribe) My example domains above are from January 2015, which is incidentally when I began writing this post! And now it’s September, so as you can see it took me quite a while to write this. Some of the links above are affiliate links, but some are not. The things I recommend, are things I have used. Whats you’re take on PBN’s? Are you pro building it or against? Have any tips to share on building/ maintaining them? Have any questions? Post below! Last Updated May 24, 2017 Looking to buy some of the highest quality PBN Links available? I sell them at: findbysearch.com.
I do everything myself (I have a team now), but I would recommend you get a virtual assistant or use software to manage your PBN. I’ve heard good things about: managewp.com, but I haven’t used them so I can’t recommend them. I know there are some self hosted solutions out there, which is what I would recommend looking into. If you decide to manage it yourself you can track all the important details with excel, or google docs like I do.
Why You Probably Shouldn’t Build a Blog Network
The math doesn’t work for most people
These are the people PBN’s make sense for:
A lot of people will do everything above, but then fuck it all up by leaving giant footprints in there blog network. Here’s a few common mistakes
Managing your PBN get’s a little tricky when you start buying more and more domains (that’s why you should focus on quality not quantity). You need to update plugins, update WordPress, update themes, pay for hosting, add content, renew domains and make sure everything is running fine. Honestly it’s all a pain in the ass.
You’re probably thinking, what the hell. I just read like 4,000 words of how to build a PBN and now you’re telling me I shouldn’t build a blog network?
Yeah… Pretty much
For most people blog networks suck, and I wouldn’t recommend building one, here’s why:
PBN’s don’t make a lot of sense from a financial / time perspective for most people. Most people have 1-3 websites/ business which they spend their time on. If you’re one of these people you probably won’t benefit too much from a blog network. For example:
Lets say you have 2 websites in a super competitive market (Insurance) and you have about 30 PBN’s. If you’re PBN is strong you should be able to rank low to medium keywords in the Insurance market without much difficulty. You should be able to make a return on your investment in a reasonable amount of time.
If the money and time you used was spent buying/ building “natural” links you would probably be able to rank quicker, cheaper and you’re links would probably be a lot more secure in the long run.
Bottom line is, while PBN’s are great the costs associated with creating and maintaining them are greater then would be if you did things the “proper” way. I wouldn’t recommend building a PBN in 2017; if this was 2008 I would scream at you to go build a PBN.
Things have changed, and will continue to change. Website content, social media, your website (time on site, speed, etc) are all playing a more important role in rankings. Links are important, and will continue to be important, but the role they play has been diminished, and will continue to diminish.
All in all there’s better ways to build links, for less money and time. Something I’ll probably write a post in the future (hint: Subscribe)
My example domains above are from January 2015, which is incidentally when I began writing this post! And now it’s September, so as you can see it took me quite a while to write this. Some of the links above are affiliate links, but some are not. The things I recommend, are things I have used.
Whats you’re take on PBN’s? Are you pro building it or against? Have any tips to share on building/ maintaining them? Have any questions? Post below!
Last Updated May 24, 2017
Looking to buy some of the highest quality PBN Links available? I sell them at: findbysearch.com.