These are general guidelines. As with everything in SEO, “It depends…” there are no rules written in stone, but these guidelines are important to keep in mind in order for PBN backlinks to have a positive effect on rankings.
What is a backlink?
Backlinks also called “inbound links” or “incoming links,” are created when one website links to another. The link to an external website is called a backlink. For more info, click here!
What is a PBN?
PBN stands for Private Blog Network. Many in the SEO community frown on PBN links because if they are done improperly, they can get a site penalized on Google and are considered a “Black Hat” tactic. However, we have found that if done properly, PBN backlinks are safe and effective. For more info on the rewards and risks, click here!
We have created a network of PBN sites that have high authority, relevance, and trust. It is extremely important that we chose, host, and maintain these sites in a way that seems natural to Google.
Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO because they represent a “vote of confidence” from one site to another. The idea is that Google will see your site as a resource for valuable information that customers will come across naturally.
Backlinks are important for ranking because they are one way to show a site’s relevance, distance, and prominence:
How Google determines local ranking
Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.
Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.
Just like it sounds–how far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.
Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.
There’s no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. We do our best to keep the details of the search algorithm confidential to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone.
Why do we use PBN links when so many think that they are so risky?
Because we have found that our method has been easier and more cost-effective than email outreach, guest posts, and all the other ways to gain editorial links. In addition, we are in control of everything. We are extremely careful and thoughtful in the way we build PBN links and monitor them at all times. Think of it as creating a bunch of awesome blog posts that will help to inform the masses, because, in reality, that is what we are doing!
Of course, we should always keep in mind “taking it to the next level” by researching and trying new linking opportunities and methods.
The timing of backlinks is extremely important! Back in the old days, SEOs were “spammin’ and jammin’” The more links you threw at a site the better, no matter the quality of those links….
Then along came Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, and everything changed. Many, many sites were penalized and dropped drastically in Google rankings.
Prior to the Penguin algorithm, link volume played a larger part in determining a web page’s scoring when crawled, indexed, and analyzed by Google. This meant when it came to ranking websites by these scores for search results pages, some low-quality websites and pieces of content appeared in more prominent positions of the organic search results than they should have. These days, we want to focus on QUALITY, not quantity!
We should add backlinks at a pace that seems natural to Google. Here are some rules:
- Building a link every other month is a good rule of thumb. This gives Google a chance to index the link and gives us a chance to evaluate the effect it has on rankings.
- If a site has experienced a dramatic drop in ranking, we should not build a link right away. It may be that Google is “testing” to see if you “react”. First, investigate to see if there is an obvious reason for the drop. If not, wait a week or two and reevaluate. The same goes for when they have recently experienced a dramatic increase in ranking.
- 4 or 5 links per client should be enough. If they haven’t had an effect on rankings it’s time to dig deeper and look for other ranking factors that may have been overlooked. Of course, we can add more over time if rankings drop slightly.
Here is a list of criteria when determining if clients should get a backlink:
- Clients whose SEO foundation is complete.
If the client’s SEO foundation is not complete, (meaning that the website content, title tags, GMB, important citations, etc. are optimized ) then the link will be ineffective if not detrimental to rankings.
- Clients who are stalled in rankings.
- If rankings have climbed steadily and plateau
- If they are in a highly competitive area and have not progressed
- Long time clients who may have dropped slightly.
- Clients who have expired links should have them replaced.
- Link rental clients whose links have expired, or have ordered new links.
Where to build links:
The goal is to place links on high authority, industry-relevant sites. The sites should always contain helpful and relevant information for consumers.
Here is a list of guidelines for acquiring PBN sites:
- Domain Authority of 15 or higher (check-in MOZ), we want to shoot for DA 30 or higher if the price is right.
- We don’t usually want to spend more than $200 to $300 on a domain, but if the site has high authority and a good history we can spend more.
- Site history (check at archive.org/wayback machine) should contain a relevant topic. Look for topics that are relevant to service area businesses, for instance:
- Real estate
- Home improvement
- Business News
- Small Business Advice
The site should have a low spam score in MOZ. Also, look for spammy links. One or two are OK, but we want to avoid sites with a bunch.
Once there are 12 to 15 links on a page, the site is “full”. Acquire a new site and continue to monitor the site.
Our goal is to maintain 30 PBN sites per 100 clients.
The hosting for our PBN sites is extremely important! We want to be sure that we leave no “footprint” for Google. If they were all hosted on the exact same server, it would be clear they are all associated with each other. We are using Launch CDN to host our PBN sites https://www.launchcdn.com/pbn-hosting/, this way all of the sites are on a variety of servers at different IP addresses. Remember, the P in PBN stands for Private!
These guidelines are general and subjective. All of the factors work together and, in some cases, will outweigh each other. We want to keep a variety of different sites to keep up a natural appearance.
Where to direct the link:
In most cases, the link will go to the Client’s home page. Once the homepage ranks for the client’s primary keyword, we can direct links to a service or city page.