Private Blog Networks

Are Private Blog Networks (PBNs) Backlinks Worth In 2024?

PBN i.e. private blog networks are the tactic of go-to link building and are widely used in grey hat SEO. If you are thinking of building the PBN in 2024, then you need to think about whether PBN is worth it? Do you know how to build the PBN? Is PBN safe? What are PBN backlinks? All of these answers you will get in this blog, just keep on reading.

Few facts about PBNs that I have found based on my experience

1. It is expensive to build PBNs:

This is the biggest negative factor in creating and maintaining a network. If you make use of auctions then it will cost you between $40 to $400, if you are looking for a good domain. Making use of domain vendors will also be a similar cost. This can even be more.

After getting the domain you will have to pay for hosting, making the domain private, and then add content to it. So even if you get a domain for say $100, you will have to spend around $150 for hosting and other services. Isn’t this a high cost?

2. The complete process of building PBNs will waste your time: 

If you put efforts into getting REAL backlinks from good websites then you need not worry about getting blocked or penalized by Google or other search engines. 

For this process, you will first have to find domains that are worth purchasing. After doing that you will start building a network. To do so, you will have to spend at least 10 to 12 hours to find 10 domains that are qualified. A qualified domain is the one that has a domain authority of 15 and a trust flow level of at least 15. The domain of a lower metric can be used only if it is having relevant topical trust flow topics. 

After you choose 10 domains then you will have to set these domains and it will need 2 to 4 hours to choose to host and make the websites set for development. Then the websites need to be created by making the necessary pages, setting the theme, writing content, installing the plugins, and making the website look normal. To be extra safe for search engine crawling, you might need to make accounts on social media for these websites.

This would need around 25-30 hours more for 10 websites together. This does not include any sort of hacking or hosting issues that you would face during this process. It is possible that if you choose any cheap hosting then the host might go out of business suddenly without giving any warning and might have horrible support and uptime.

Handling such issues can be a big time-waster for you. For this, you might choose to outsource these processes. But this will further increase your development and link building expenses. This will then affect your ROI. 

3. The ROIs and ROT of using PBN are quite uncertain: 

The main point of investing in any marketing strategy is to get returns from it. First of all, let us take any keyword and then look for the root domains with average linking for your competitors on Google’s first page. The data that you get is the number of expired domains that you will require to rank for the keyword. This number is usually greater than 100. 

But this is not the exact number, it might be more or less and it is impacted by the quality of your domains too. If your competitor is getting links from websites that are of high authority then using low metric domains that are expired will not be effective. You can predict the ROI of the keyword that you are targeting by knowing about the average linking of root domains. 

You should also be aware of a few other things: 

Average CTR or SERP – usually 3-30% 

Average PTL i.e. prospect to lead conversion rate – usually 5%

Average ILC i.e. inbound lead converted to a new customer – approximately 21%

Approximate cost for creating one network website – around $120

Approximate time to create one network website – around 2 hours

According to these calculations, it is found that it will take a lot of time to achieve a positive ROI.  

4. It is not evergreen to manipulate the search engine: 

Your PBN link building can be made obsolete by Google overnight. This is not any worth even if you have spent several years while learning about the perfect PBN strategy. All Google does is make changes to the algorithm and reduces the dominance of the ranking factor of your backlinks. 

After this, your website ranking will be washed away overnight just because you were focusing on a skill that was not evergreen. So what should you do instead?

You should focus on white hat SEO techniques such as learning about:

  • How to make content that people would want to link to
  • How to give a better user experience that can drive more sales
  • How can you build customer relationships that will promote your business growth?
  • How can you get quality backlinks from real websites 

5. Making use of PBNs makes your business foundation shaky: 

If you are making use of PBNs to build your network, then you would be at a risk to get your websites deindexed and you can also get a manual penalty for having unnatural inbound links. 

If this happens then your time and cash investment can be worthless. Then you will realize that you should have put your money and time into white hat SEO which is evergreen. 

Some reasons for making use of PBN:  

Let us now look at the pros of using a PBN i.e. private blog network for link building

1. More control: 

With a PBN you get more control over your SEO which is a powerful thing. With your network, you can dominate the anchor text, and your links and test the links in any combination to check what works for page rank. You will not get this freedom and control in any other strategy of link building. In the worst case, you might get a manual penalty. But if this happens you can remove those links and then the penalty would be revoked. 

In the case of GSA links i.e. buying links on your website, you will not be able to remove any manual action because you do not own these websites. 

2. Instant authority: 

PBNs are quite powerful as you get the power of using your authority on a trusted and aged website. If you have any experience in SEO then you would be 100% aware that getting these types of links naturally through outreach is quite challenging.

3. No relationship/outreach building: 

If you are trusting the power of private blog networks for your website then you will not have to spend your time building relationships or reaching out. While it is not a good thing for you, it can surely save your time. 

Now we have seen the pros and cons of making use of a PBN, now let us look at a PBN strategy. 

Ultimate PBN Strategy

 There are too many SEO which is relying heavily on private blog networks and they are making a big mistake. I am also sure that you have also heard this before, as you don’t need to put all your eggs in a single basket.

This is true for all types of link building.

Google has destroyed SEO who is never diversified and relying on a single link building method. So let us know the little secret about it. The link building is the same as the retirement account. First, evaluate the strategy of link building. Then decide on the time and capital requirement needed to allocate the strategy.

For example, if you are investing in the riskier stocks due to the higher returns, but the riskier stocks will compose only a small percentage of the overall portfolio. This is exactly how you should start link building on the private blog networks. If all 100% of the inbound links are coming only from PBN then you are playing on the fire.

PBN should also supplement the other link building efforts. They should not supersede the other important link building authorities like cultivating the relationships for content promotion, within the industry and creating assets. The safe limit for the PBN is considered to be 5-15 % in the overall link profile.

When PBN is in a small percentage of your profile then the risk will be reduced a lot. The other links are coming from the internal pages like business listings, editorial links, niche blogs, forums, or branded properties.

White Hat Alternative for PBN

It is always possible to leverage the power of private blog networks without building one. The strategy for this is a White hat and it is safe too.

White Hat strategy

You will use the links which are making powerful expired domains. The tier one link is going to the expired domains and this is the reason for considering it.

Working of Expired Domain

You have to first buy the expired domain, hosting, content, and have to take all the kinds of measures for eliminating the footprints. This model will not give you a 100% link equity as it is acting as the buffer. Tier one link is the most powerful as mentioned above and you have to use that. 

This strategy is not so glamorous or cool. You have to work hard and invest more time in it. If you want, you can outsource some of the tasks for saving time. You can also take a look at some of the tools needed for this task.

Ranking PBN

You can simply open the new tab and launch Google keyword planner and then search and see how much volume PBN is getting. This is ok and this is the point where you can start.

Search Volume Flawed

PBN keywords will get only a few searches in a month. And these only search, not the actual visitors.

When you are ranking the target keyword then you are not just ranking for the single phrase. You are also ranking for many other related terms. So my article will get only a few hundred searches alone in a month. So let’s see when the disconnect is. 

The first reason is that most of the keyword phrases are unknown. So when you are ranking for the target keyword then you are ending up with long-tail variations ranking. And many of these variations will show the zero volume search in the google keyword planner.

The second reason is the title modifier. When you are adding the current year to the content then it is very effective for driving the search traffic on your target keyword. As this is time-sensitive. 

The last reason is to click-through rate. The average CTR for PBN is 5.81% in the month. The highest is 60% for a month. If you will improve your CTR then you will get more search traffic.

So it is very important to learn about improving your CTR and it will indirectly help you with a better ranking in Google.

Below are a few points for creating good SEO content for driving more traffic on PBN:

  • Try to be Unique

Unique content creation is coming in #1 position for increasing rank on google. Analyze your SEO competitors. This would apply the same when you are creating the PBN. Always try to create something unique and different. Create something which people would love to share and link.

  • Unique Data

Unique data will differentiate your content from others. If you are looking for dominating for the long-term then create unique data. The crazy part about this is that the data don’t need to be real, hypothetical data should also have an impact on your content.

In PBN also in the ROI section, you can make use of the rough estimates as per your experience. There is no requirement for a data analyst for doing that for you.

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