Backlinks from a network of interconnected websites and blogs are known as PBNs (private blog networks).The same person often owns all of these websites, and they are all used to build connections to their money site. In order to make more money, they can also choose to sell PBN links to other website owners.
A publishing corporation like Gawker Media LLC, which owns websites like Deadspin, Lifehacker, and others, has a framework similar to that of a personal website. However, the difference with websites located in a PBN is that they serve their target audience with valuable material secondary to link development.
The site network is hidden from the public to prevent detection because Google views this type of artificial link creation as exploitation (hence, “private” blog network). In order to conceal your online trace, you need also to utilize several hosting companies for each website.
Google’s Opinion on PBNs
Looking at Google’s Link Scheme policies, we can observe that:
Any links that have the goal of changing PageRank or a site’s position in search results on Google may be seen as being part of a link scheme and in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines. Any actions that affect links leading to or leaving your website fall under this category.
Private blog networks undoubtedly fit under this category since the links from these sites are put there by someone operating on behalf of the site and are meant to skew Google search results.
The greatest method to encourage other websites to link to yours is to make original, pertinent content that can spread naturally throughout the online community. Good content production pays off: Links are often editorial endorsements made voluntarily, thus the more beneficial your material is, the more likely it is that someone else would find it is beneficial to their audience and has a link to it.
Editorial links that are placed as a consequence of excellent content are not PBN links. They are only a means to artificially affect search ranks, and they won’t be effective in the long run.
How Can PBN Backlinks Be Built?
You need to buy expired domains with current authority and clean backlink profiles free of spammy links in order to develop PBN backlinks. The next step is to create a blog on those PBN domains and provide excellent material that links back to your website, with each domain containing only one PBN backlink.
To pass internal PageRank, the web page that carries your backlink has to have many internal links pointing to it. To further boost page authority, you should aggressively build backlinks to that page from other high PR websites.
In an effort to improve your website’s search ranks for its target keywords, this PBN backlink approach helps to raise the PageRank value that is transmitted to it through the backlink.
To boost a website’s domain authority, some individuals just send PBN backlinks to the home page, whilst other SEOs link to both the home page and specific web pages to distribute PageRank throughout the whole website.
The Dangers of Private Blog Networks
Penalties are applied to your website, and it falls in the rankings
Your site may be punished and subject to manual action in the majority of situations when the use of manipulative link-building strategies is excessive.
What is this, though?
When we read Google’s instructions, we can see that “When a human reviewer at Google determines that a site’s pages do not comply with Google’s webmaster quality requirements, Google takes manual action against the site. The majority of human corrections aim to undermine our search index. The majority of the vulnerabilities mentioned here will lead to pages or sites receiving lower rankings or being excluded from search results without providing any visual cues to the user.”
In other words, if your site is subject to manual action, it will have worse ranks overall or for certain pages. You must correct the problem (delete the offending links or submit a disavow file) and submit a reconsideration request in order to reverse a manual action.
Your rankings are unlikely to recover to their original position even if this is effective because unnatural connections artificially boosted them.
Unnatural connections may also cause an algorithmic change when the system determines that the links shouldn’t influence a site’s rankings. In the majority of cases, especially in 2020, it is likely that the algorithm ignores the links rather than adjusting itself as a direct response.
In the past, Google’s Penguin filter would regularly update, which resulted in sites losing ranks because of artificial connections.
Links Are Disregarded
The fact is that connections that the Google algorithm deems to be unnatural are likely to be disregarded rather than result in a human action for the majority of SEOs that are employing private blog networks.
Nowadays, manual activities are often only observed when a site is subjected to a review by Google’s web spam team due to the overuse of manipulative techniques. However, if Google rejects links leading to your website, what does it actually mean?
Simply put, it indicates that they have no bearing whatsoever on rankings. Links that are not likely to be natural are ignored, according to John Mueller of Google. Not to mention, Google now has access to data from a sizable number of disavowed files. SEO specialists have been assisting search engines in better comprehending the origins of unnatural connections for many years.
Resources used to establish links (effort and/or money) are basically squandered if they don’t affect rankings in either a favorable or bad way. Nobody likes to believe their efforts were in vain.
Recognizing PBN Links
When a lot of the technical information on the sites, such as the hosting company, site ownership, themes, duplicate content, backlink profile, photos, and videos, is the same throughout the private blog network, you can tell whether a network is a PBN.
A list to use for spotting PBN backlinks:
Hosting: PBNs that share a hosting company or IP address can be immediately detected.
Site Ownership: When numerous sites share the same contact information, PBNs may be quickly located using the public WHOIS information. Additionally, it may be a warning sign if a suspected network of PBNs has suppressed WHOIS data.
Site Design: The navigation, color palettes, and website design of PBNs are frequently the same.
Duplicate Material: To cut running expenses, PBNs sometimes reuse the same content across several websites. To check if the text is available on other websites, you can paste a paragraph into Google search.
Backlink profile: PBNs frequently link to the same websites. To determine the degree of site interlinking, investigate the backlink graph of a suspected PBN in Ahrefs or Majestic.
Images and Videos: Since these digital assets are expensive or challenging to generate, PBNs frequently employ the same images and videos throughout the network. To discover comparable content on other websites, use the Google image or video search engines.
As you already know, PBN backlinks are used to manipulate search engine results by transferring PageRank from a website with a high domain authority to a single website in need of a traffic boost. Additionally, PBN links are a popular link-building tactic that is still effective today. However, it is regarded as a black hat SEO technique that is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and should be avoided on sites that are important to you if you want to achieve long-term success.
Shahid Shahmiri is a digital marketer who helps online businesses grow with smart marketing tactics to improve sales and leads. He is passionate and driven to grow businesses online and is responsible for analyzing marketing, SEO, growth and managing promotional and media channels.