You are here because let’s face it, you have been hearing talks of Private Blog Networks, and wanted to know more. You are in the right place. Today, you will learn what they are, how they work, why they are controversial, the risks involved and tips to using them more effectively.
That is a lot to cover so let’s get started.
Private Blog Networks
It is important to first know how search results work, and since Google is the dominant search engine worldwide, we will use it as our reference.
Google crawls all active websites with every search request looking for those that best suit the visitor’s intentions.
There are a few criteria that the spider looks for to determine usefulness. One is the number of links from other sites directing traffic to yours. These links are backlinks.
The more backlinks you have, the higher your SERP will be. So, the greater the chances of being seen and clicked on by visitors. The problem with backlinks is that you have no real control over them. They also take years to return any tangible benefit to you. To gain more control and speed up the process, some people use Private Blog Networks.
A Private Blog Network, PBN or blogger network, is a group of expired domain names that you have systematically used to increase the SERP rankings of a particular website within a short time. That website is called the money site.
How blogger networks operate
By acquiring an expired domain, you also inherit any backlinks that it would have earned while operational. It is these ready-made backlinks that you harness to speed up the rankings of your money site. By being in control of the source of the backlinks, you retain control of the process, which means a more efficient system. But you can imagine how this would raise a few eyebrows within the Internet fraternity.
The Controversy surrounding Private Blog Networks
Controversy means prolonged debate, and that is exactly what is happening. Some frown upon the practice, and those who believe that, if used properly, blogger networks can be beneficial. FLATsite throws in our two cents on the issue, not to take sides, but to ensure you are provided with balanced non-partisan information.
The disagreement stems from the fact that it is seen as cheating by some. This side believes that everyone should work their way up from the bottom like Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of Happiness, no exceptions. Terms such as ‘unfair advantage’ and ‘cheating’ get thrown around readily on this side of the fence, as well as calls for and reminders of penalties.
On the other side, there are those who, having surveyed the World Wide Web in the 21st century, did the calculations as it relates to the number of websites, and the likelihood of making it to a respectable page in SERP rankings organically within a viable time frame. They found that they need help. In fact, it is this help that levels the playing field. In other words, blogger networks allow them to stand a chance.
What about your competitors?
Check out what your competitors are doing (they could be using PBNs). A Level playing field is relative to the field in play. Your response should at least allow you to remain in the game.
Where does Google stand on Private Blog Networks?
The term is not specifically referenced by the tech giant, but the Webmaster Guidelines and Link Scheme Guidelines reference ‘unnatural link building’. If your site is determined to be using tactics that are deemed unnatural, penalties range from ignoring the offending links to ignoring the entire website altogether. The former means that only links deemed in compliance will be used to rank your website, and the latter means your website will be treated as if it doesn’t exist.
Tips on using blogger networks successfully
Having heard the two sides, the only thing left to know is how to reduce your risks of being deemed in violation of the guidelines.
- Are you a developer hosting many sites new to PBNs, or do you want to operate multiple PBNs? Using a private blog network service is the best way to help you successfully implement blogger network. These are professionals who can provide you with the best advice, and guide you through the steps involved.
- Reducing your PBN footprint is a must. Everything needs to look and function naturally. This means spending some time and money on your network:
a. Use different themes, colour schemes, fonts, layout designs… for each
b. Do not use the same articles with superficial changes across the network. Try varying lengths, emphases, angles and more if articles are similar.
c. Make keywords appear natural. Google’s algorithm will detect keyword stuffing, which now has Penguin built-in.
Now that you have the facts, the decision to use or not to use Private Blog Networks rests solely with you. Google is clear on what it deems unacceptable use of link building and will sanction offenders. Therefore, employ one of the two main ways to use PBNs safely if you choose to use them: hire help, and reduce your footprint.