What Is A PBN? And Should You Have One?
A PBN is a “private blog network.” That’s fancy talk for a website or websites you set up for the benefit of using them to link to other websites so that your rankings will go up.
For example, I could go out and try to build links the natural way by creating great content and hoping people like it enough to link to it. I could email other webmasters asking them to link to my website or an article on my website. I could submit to countless directories, web 2.0 properties, new social media sites, and the like. I could find mentions of my company name on other websites and ask for a link. I could find broken links to content in my industry and tell the webmaster that I have content on the same topic he can link since the other site or page is no longer working.
Those are some things I could do. Or, I could simply make another website and link it to the website I want to rank. That is what a PBN is.
PBN’s are a scary topic for many so-called “white hat” SEO professionals and with good reason since Google has been known to kill ranking because of them. That right there is enough for many of you to say, “No thank you.” I’m not going to tell you that you should or should not use a PBN. But if you protect it by having it on another web host than the website that you are linking to, and you make the PBN website look like a normal site and not just some tossed up site to link to another site (because Google does employ real people to look around), you should be okay.
“But wait,” you ask, “why would Google give value to a new website that has no links to it? How would I benefit by linking it to my website?”
I’m glad you asked! You see, the PBN strategy of the day is that you buy an expired domain name. You find the right one by researching several expired domain names until you find one or more that have lots of good quality links pointing to it and that is in the same niche/category that you are in. Then you buy that domain, set it up on a web host that is separate from the site you are going to link to, and there you have it, a “safe” PBN. It would already have some quality links pointing to it so you would have Google finding the link you make from that domain. And you could add more links to it. It would be like a zombie that you’ve raised from the dead and are controlling for your purposes (yes, there is the tie-in to the featured image).
In fact, you should see if there are social media properties you could take over. If the previous owner of the domain used the domain as an email address to register Twitter, Linkedin and other such accounts, it’s possible to reset the password. You would simply set up a catch-all email address that would receive any email that is sent to that domain address.
Your host can help you do that if you don’t know how but you should see how to do it in the cpanel and there are some tutorials online about how to do it but it’s not difficult to figure out. In fact, I’ll tell you the steps below:
1. Login to your cpanel
2. Under the “Email” section click on “Forwarders”
3. Click on “Add Domain Forwarder.”
4. On the next screen you’ll see where you can set it up so that any email to that domain forwarders to the email address of your choice.
So if that person used firstname.lastname@example.org to register a Twitter account for your newly acquired PBN domain, you can go to Twitter and click the link to reset the password and you’ll receive the email to do so. Again, that’s if he indeed used an email address from the domain.
You can build links to your PBN like you would a regular website to make the link (or links) it provides more powerful. And you could use anchor text so that the link uses the exact keyword you want to rank for (just be careful because as I’ve said before, you can overdo that pretty easily).
So there you have it, a slightly more than basic explanation of a PBN or Private Blog Network. Your decisions are your own.