You might have heard about Private Blog Networks or PBNs associated with SEO strategy and noticed the divided opinion of experts. PBNs are a significant component of the SEO market. While obtaining backlinks is still a significant factor in Google’s search algorithm, PBNs will continue to be a topic of discussion and interest for SEO professionals.
If you are curious about PBNs, you must understand what it is and what risks it presents to your website once you choose to use this method. Before we go through each of those risks, let’s first discuss PBNs, their purpose, and how they work.
What are PBNs?
A network of websites known as a private blog network or PBN was set up specifically to connect to and raise the visibility of another website in organic searches. The “feeder” sites are supposed to send links back to the main site, increasing its authority and, thus, its ranking power.
Utilizing PBNs is considered an effort to manipulate the algorithm. Google categorizes this behavior as a link scheme that contravenes its webmaster guidelines. It is a black-hat SEO strategy.
What’s the Purpose of PBNs?
There are three ways to use PBNs. These uses are as follows:
Creating Backlinks To Your Main Site
It is the most common use of PBNs. Use an outdated domain to launch a new website, write articles, and link it to your own websites within the content.
Earning organic, high-quality links takes time with no guarantee of success. That’s why link building strategy is crucial in SEO. However, linking to your website using PBNs could work if you won’t get caught by Google.
Aside from linking your PBN articles to your website, you can also monetize your PBN by selling links to other SEO companies or businesses that want to earn a backlink.
You Can Include Them On Your Homepage
You can buy several PBN websites, rebuild them, and then place their links on your homepage. This usage is considered to have the greatest trust flow.
How Do PBNs Work?
PBNs give the impression that a website has “earned” backlinks from other websites. Google uses backlinks to determine rankings since each one demonstrates to the search engine that users value and trust your content.
Google strives to combat unnatural links by advancing its algorithms regularly. Black-hat groups, however, provide enough proof that PBNs continue to be effective for many sites.
It is why even though PBNs are considered black hat SEO, there are still SEO firms using this strategy. So, if you want to avoid your website being associated with PBNs, you should be careful when selecting your SEO agency.
So, to ensure that you can work closely with your SEO specialist, hiring an SEO agency locally is highly recommended. For example, if you’re located in New York City, you must choose among the top SEO companies in your location to market with the latest trends among New Yorkers.
Meanwhile, if you are currently in Dallas, it would be best if you opted for a top ranked Dallas SEO company to ensure that your rankings are done authentically. This setup will allow you to know your SEO firm better and create a solid relationship. As a result, you don’t need to worry about your website getting flagged by Google.
The Risks of PBNs
For you to better understand what PBNs are and how they can impact your website, it’s best that you also know the risks associated with using them, such as:
Your Website Will Get Penalized
When unnatural link-building methods become excessive, you will risk your site getting penalized and, as a result, will lose its ranking. And the worst thing? Your website will even get omitted from SERPs.
Ignore Your PBN Links
No matter how amazing the PBN article is, there’s still a high chance that the link will get ignored by Google. If this happens, PBNs won’t have any impact on your website, whether it is positive or negative.
Google also has access to information from a significant amount of disavowed files. SEO specialists have helped search engines fully comprehend the origins of inorganic links for several years.
Therefore, all your efforts in creating an article, inserting a backlink to your website, and risking your website being flagged will all go to waste.
Is Using PBN Worth the Risks?
Whether using PBN is worth the risk or not depends on you. PBNs can provide amazing benefits for your website when it comes to backlinks if it is done properly. On the contrary, it could also put your website at risk if it’s overdone or if you get caught.
If you are comfortable with taking the risk and keeping your eyes on the price, or you want to play it safe and are willing to wait to earn organic backlinks, it is all up to you. While a few individuals may operate in sectors where the SEO scene is relatively uncompetitive, others might need to compete with rivals who will stop at nothing to succeed.
But in general, you should steer clear of using PBNs as much as possible. Violating Google’s webmaster quality guidelines is enough reason to avoid PBNs altogether. Instead, it would be best if you focused on developing high-quality and unique content for your website to earn organic links that won’t risk your website getting flagged.
Additionally, real websites run by most individuals are probably more trustworthy than spamming PBN sites.
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If you don’t want your site to be associated with PBNs and avoid getting penalized, you must learn how to identify them. Doing such is vital, especially if you are making guest postings for your link-building efforts.
The first thing you can do to identify a PBN is to read the blogs published on that website. Most PBNs have fewer wordcount and low-quality blogs. While checking the blogs on the site, ask yourself a few questions such as:
- Are these blogs well-researched?
- Will these blogs fulfill the visitor’s intent?
- Does the writer spend time and effort crafting the blogs?
Answering these questions will give you a hint if the website is a legit, high-quality blogging site or if it’s nothing but a try-hard PBN website.
Aside from the blogs, you should also scrutinize the entire website. Check if the site was overhauled recently or if its current form was still its original form when created. Many PBNs look very different from how they looked during the setup process.
Additionally, it would be best if you also examined the website’s backlink profile. PBN websites are more likely to contain tons of broken links. The individual who developed those websites has only one goal: to manipulate Google’s ranking. They might not be interested or have the time to update those broken links with relevant content.
You will notice that the URL of the website is different from the site’s name. This is a huge red flag. Stay away from that website, as it is most likely to be a PBN.
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To Sum it Up
PBNs are SEO strategies that are considered the black hat methods. Although it is an effective way to earn backlinks to your website, you can get penalized when you overdo it and when Google flags your website. As a result, your site will suffer the risks associated with using PBNs.