Private Blog Networks, or PBNs, are networks of websites owned and controlled by an individual or organization to build backlinks to one or more other websites that also belong to that individual or organization. It often involves using high domain authority websites, such as expired domains, to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to improving the visibility and rankings of one’s sites in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
When attempting to increase their visibility in the SERPs, many people quickly turn to PBNs as a way to exploit the power of backlinks. Despite the effectiveness of PBNs, they come with significant risks associated with them and should be used cautiously. This article will attempt to explain the potential risks associated with PBNs and provide best practices to follow if you want to use them.
How They Work
At their most basic, PBNs are networks of related websites, usually with a common owner, all designed to build backlinks to one or more other websites to help improve search engine optimization. This is done by buying expired domains, often with high domain authority, and building out content on them that links to the target websites. Ideally, the content is related to the niche of the target websites, making the links look more “natural” and less like spam.
Why People Use Them
The main appeal of using PBNs to increase search engine rankings is that it’s a much faster way than other methods to build backlinks. It involves less work and requires no interaction with an external source. It also has the potential to save money by not requiring a large amount of resources to acquire the domains and host the websites.
Risks of Using PBNs
Despite the appeal of using a PBN to increase one’s search engine rankings quickly, there are risks associated with them.
Firstly, they can be easily spotted and ignored by search engines. Since backlinks from PBNs usually lack diversification and come from IP addresses located too close to one another, they can easily be identified by search engines as not being “natural” links. As such, they can be discounted or even ignored.
Secondly, they can even trigger a penalty if detected. Search engines frown upon PBNs and will likely issue a penalty if they detect a website’s links are coming from a PBN. This penalty can be anywhere from a devaluation of the site’s links to a complete removal from the SERPs.
The best practice when it comes to PBNs is to do your due diligence. Research is essential to identify any potential red flags that would indicate a website is part of a PBN. Also, it’s best to avoid buying websites from sellers who advertise them as “private blog networks.”
If you have already built up a PBN, which is likely to have been detected by the search engine, it’s important to disavow the PBN links. This will help demonstrate to the search engine that you are taking the necessary steps to ensure you’re not creating links to your website from low-quality sources.
Lastly, it’s best to do link outreach rather than creating links from a PBN. By linking to other quality websites, you can slowly but steadily increase your website’s domain authority without risking penalties.
Are PBNs safe?
No, PBNs are not safe and come with significant risks. They can often be detected by search engines, leading to a penalty which can range from a devaluation of the site’s link profile to a complete removal from the SERPs.
How do I know if I have links from PBNs?
You can search through your current backlinks to determine if any come from PBNs. Look for any patterns of ownership or IP addresses that might indicate a PBN. Make sure to do your due diligence to ensure any potential PBN links don’t lead to a penalty.