For a long time, Private Blog Networks have been the king when it comes to ranking a website at the top of Google. You could literally take a website, slap a few links from expired domains and then rank at the top of the search engines.
However, recently there have been many people in the SEO world talking about PBNs and how their networks are getting deindexed. Some very highly respected bloggers have publicly mentioned a large percentage of their PBNs being hit by this Google update…
- Jon Haver lost some of his network
- No Hat Digital lost 40% of their network and closed the doors on Rank Hero
- Spencer from Niche Pursuits is abandoning PBNs altogether
These seem to be really big blows, especially in the community of niche site builders who have for the most part been told that PBNs were the way to go. Well, the truth is, if you want to rank quickly in the searches, they still are they way to go.
Examples of How PBNs Are Still Alive and Well
Lets first take a look at examples of the current look of search engines after the big “PBN scare”.
The image above shows two websites ranking at the top of Google for “best adjustable dumbbells”. Both of these are niche sites that have the goal of making affiliate commission by sending visitors to amazon. Using Majestic SEO, let’s take a look at a sample of the backlinks pointing to these sites:
The links on that list are bonafide Expired Domains from someones PBN. Seems like these sites have not been penalized.
Let’s take a look at another example below:
In the screenshot above we see that the top ranking website is “ShaverList.com”. The keyword we’re examining here is “best electric shaver”, which is the keyword that Perrin was going after with his website aPennyShaved.com. On NichePursuits.com, Spencer mentioned that aPennyShaved.com took a hit with this update and it was due to the expired domain links they used.
However, ShaverList.com also uses expired domains to rank, as shown in this sample of links according to Majestic Seo:
After a quick visit to these urls, these too are links from expired domains.
As someone who regularly monitors several dozen niches, I can tell you that sites using PBNs are still going strong… VERY STRONG.
I can also tell you that my PBN so far has not received a single deindex.
You’re Telling Me That Everything Is Alright?
So PBNs are great and I can keep using and buying links? No! Not at all.
It is my belief that something has definitely become “more dead” than before – and that’s PUBLIC Blog Networks. It has now become more RISKY than ever to buy links from someone who has a blog network. The fact of the matter is, that most public blog networks allow links to all sorts of money sites in all niches. Even blog networks that claim to be niche specific are not.
I can understand why a blog network like Rank Hero took a hit.
Rank Hero, used a technique called link injection where you can link to any site, as long as you make the context of the post sound relevant. It was a good idea, and I was happy to use their service and recommend them at the time. Their links worked well. The problem lied in allowing dozens and dozens of links to money sites. A manual review of any one of these sites would be enough to take down an entire network and all the sites it supported.
Many other publicly used networks are feeling the same wrath.
The bottom line is that buying links from people for your affiliate website is probably not a good idea. Most of these networks link to too many of the same sites which puts them all at risk.
Building Exclusive Networks
Success with expired domains lies in building exclusive networks. The idea is to build a site that truly looks, feels, and acts like a site that is built in a niche similar to the niche that it was in before it was dropped.
When you decide to build a link from that site to a money site, you should only really allow links that are related to that niche and you should only link to about 1-3 sites total.
Assuming that you follow the basics (using privacy for registration, building one site per host, and leaving no footprints on your site itself), then your network should remain undetected.
The Local Client Approach
An even safer method of doing SEO as a business is to take the local client approach.
The idea is to build expired domains specifically for local business. For example, I may build a domain for a few surgeons who are willing to pay high dollar for SEO services. The domain would be built around the health/surgery niche and would only link to 2 or three surgeon businesses.
Overall, the expired domain would be linking to REAL websites (not simple affiliate sites), the content would be 100% related, and by having low outbound links each business would be receiving tremendous link juice from the expired domain.
Diversify, Diversify, and Diversify
I fully understand why some people are giving up on SEO. It’s a game of change and adaptation and it certainly is not for everyone. I was lucky enough to have none of my expired domains hit. Will that last? Maybe or maybe not.
Right now PBNs still work, but Google is like a crazy dictator that owns a complete monopoly on search engine traffic. Even if you build out your expired domains perfectly, you’re still not 100% safe.
The more they push for these “white hat” methods, the more they open the door for a little something called “negative SEO”. I have already had a site hit with negative SEO, so I know it is real!
If you want to ensure the longevity of your online business, diversifying where you get traffic is essential. Along with SEO, capitalize on social media, online communities, blogs of your peers, ads, forums, etc. By doing this, you’ll set yourself up for long term success regardless of what Google has to say about it.