We get asked this question all the time, and we are tired of some SEOs saying that PBN links don’t work anymore.
They work just fine, trust us. So long as you don’t build tons of cheap links in unnatural ways, and don’t rely on them as your main ranking strategy, you’ll probably be fine and avoid penalties. Now, onto the real questions that you should be asking about using and buying PBN backlinks:
Is It Worth It to Set up a Private Blog Network?
The short answer to this is no. Why? Because the costs are super high, constant maintenance is required, they reduce the resale value of the websites they are pointed at, and there’s always paranoia about leaving footprints. Setting up a private blog network is simply not the most effective nor the most sustainable method for link building in 2019.
What Would We Recommend Instead of Building PBNs?
When it comes to building PBN backlinks, we are a little bit more cautious than most SEOs. We don’t really use them in the same way as we did a few years ago. Nowadays, when we rent or buy PBN links it is mostly to rank/power up parasites or to power up links on tier 1. Quality guest posts are so readily available and they generally work better than PBNs, so why waste money on something with a bunch of downsides?
Rank Brain and AI
Engagement is a ranking factor that Google considers, and with the expansion of machine learning, it is becoming more and more important. Therefore, we have a new strategy that we would like to present to you for using PBN posts and guest posts to rank in 2019.
What we like to do is to actually rank keywords with our guest posts so that they can boost the value of the backlink with traffic and other engagement signals. This will probably make it way more powerful than A machine spun article you throw onto a PBN site. That being said, this requires more work.
The process of doing this will include:
- Keyword research
- High quality content
- An authoritative domain
- Backlinks (optional)
Step 1: Keyword Research
You do not need to try to rank for some crazy competitive keyword, just make sure it is niche related and has some traffic. The way we do keyword research for national topics is by simply finding websites in that niche that are ranking for a bunch of keywords and then putting those websites into Ahrefs. Once in the Ahrefs dashboard, clicking on the “organic keywords” tab will display the keywords that they are currently ranking for.
We typically look for low competition keywords that have a keyword difficulty of 2 or less, at least 40 or so searches per month, and maybe a little bit of CPC. If you do not find that many keywords with low difficulty, you can try to go after longtail versions of the more difficult keywords using our autosuggest tool.
Once we have our keyword(s), we can go ahead and base an attractive blog posts around the topic.
Step 2: Write or Purchase High Quality Content
This step is important, and it is often overlooked in the world of PBNs. Just because an article passes on a site like Copyscape, it doesn’t mean it’s high quality.
We recommend writing the content yourself or hiring someone that can actually write an informative article. You want the content to be engaging because the goal of a guest post is to build authority in your niche so that people visit your site. The goal is not just to get a backlink to your site. Please get that mentality out of your head.
How to optimize your content:
- Write 2k+ words or so
- Use multimedia (pictures and videos)
- Link out to an authoritative website
- Include your main keywords and LSI variations of your keywords throughout your page (in the URL, the title, the first paragraph, the heading tags a couple of times, and in your multimedia if you can.) You can use our content average finder to give you more detailed on page SEO recommendations for your keyword.
- Use our autosuggest checker to find long tail variations of your keyword that you can include in your content.
- Assuming your website’s anchor text profile is not over optimized, make sure the backlink in the guest post contains some variation of your keyword.
- Optimize your content to match the searchers intent (learn more in the video below)
Step 3: Secure a Guest Post Spot
There are tons of cheap “high DA guest post outreach services” that really just place your post on one of their PBNs. Avoid these! What you need is a powerful domain that is ranking for all kinds of keywords and receives tons of real traffic from search engines. Simply plug the potential guest post site into Ahrefs, Spyfu, or SEMrush to see some of the keywords it is ranking for. Our general rule of thumb is to look for a traffic value of at least 4k or so in Ahrefs.
Where to Find Websites to Post On
If you Google something along the lines of your niche + guest blogging, you should be able to find some sites that accept them. Simply reach out to these sites and try to get your article published. Alternatively, you can post on a self submission site like Medium. Even though the links on sites like Medium are nofollow, we find that they can still pass some authority to your money site. One final method is to find people that are selling guest posts on quality sites. Superstar SEO has a good guest posting service that handles this for you.
Step 4: Buy/Rent PBN Links for the Guest Post (Optional)
We noted this step as optional because if you followed all of the previous steps properly, you should be able to rank the guest post without building any links to it. That being said, we will give you some recommendations on building links to your guest post below.
Buying vs Renting
If you want high quality PBN links, it’s generally a better idea to rent them instead of buy them. This is because the link sellers are more incentivized to maintain the PBN websites when they are getting paid monthly for them. That being said, since these links are not pointed directly at your website you could probably also get away with buying them if you wanted to.
Where to Find PBN Links for Sale?
You can find PBN backlinks for sale on various SEO market places including Fiverr, Legiit, Konker, and BlackHatWorld. We find that BHW tends to have the highest quality links compared to the other platforms on average, but you can find decent paid links on all of them.
What to Look For?
If you choose to rent or buy PBN links, you should keep in mind these few things:
- If they provide a report make sure all of the PBN domains are indexed by putting “site:” + the PBN domain into Google.
- The amount of out bound links (OBLs) on each PBN website.
- If they provide you a report of the links or not. Oftentimes, the private blog networks that provide you the backlinks are a little bit lower quality, but are still fine for a parasite or guest post.
- Consider the metrics of the websites. They should have a 1:2 Majestic trust flow and citation flow ratio. Ideally, the trust flow will be at least above 20 or so.
- Web 2.0 backlinks are slightly less powerful, but they are often a little bit cheaper and you can get dedicated ones made for you.
- A niche relevant website and webpage can help.
- You may not always be able to check this, but if possible, make sure the content on the page that is liking to your post is at least human readable, niche relevant, and passes on a site like Copyscape.
- What the page authority (PA) of the page linking to you is. A homepage link is often slightly more powerful than one on a new inner page.
- If the link stays on the PBN permanently or not.
You can run some ads or social traffic to your new blog post, and/or buy some decent social signals via this gig.
We mostly use generic and naked URLs for our anchor text in order to keep it looking natural.
For a relatively low competition keyword, these steps, along with the powerful domain you are posting on, should be enough to get you ranking on the first page. If not, you can simply find some more PBN links for sale to point at your guest post until it starts ranking.
When setting up a private blog network, you need to be careful to not leave any footprints, including interlinking your websites. The benefit that guest posts have over PBNs, is that you can interlink them. Now you can go out and guest post on a bunch of different websites and have a “guest post network” (we just made that up) that can power up your website or anything else you want to point it at. This is particularly easy to do with self managed guest posts like those on Medium or LinkedIn because you can always edit the content and add new links.
There you have it, our guide for using and buying PBN links and guest posts to rank in 2019. Have you given this a go, or have any questions, comments, or concerns? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section or in our Facebook Group!