Building Private Blog Network: Why And Why Not?

This is the first post from the series about how I build a PBN for my money websites.

In the beginning, I wanted to briefly cover the strategy and methods I am using. However, the more time I spent writing the bigger the post became. So, I decided to split it into multiple articles and publish it as a series. This post is pretty short and it covers the topics about what a PBN is, why I am building one myself, and basic footprints that can be left.

Since I am a total newbie in this subject, I won’t try to teach you or anything like this. I do not know a perfect answer how to build a reliable private blog network – not yet. I will simply share my own experience and discoveries. If you have any questions or comments – or you see that I am wrong – feel free to drop a line or two in the comments.

What Is a Private Blog Network?

So… What is a private blog network or PBN?

Wikipedia says that…

A blog network, also known as a link farm, is a group of blogs that are owned by the same entity. A blog network can either be a group of loosely connected blogs, or a group of blogs that are owned by the same company. The purpose of such a network is usually to promote the other blogs in the same network and therefore increase the search engine rankings or advertising revenue generated from online advertising on the blogs.

Thus, a private blog network is a network owned by one person or company and is not shared with anybody else.

The advantages of having a PBN are pretty great:

  • fast ranking of money websites;
  • increased competitiveness compared to the other websites in the niche.

Meanwhile, the disadvantages are pretty horrible. There is only one disadvantage in fact:

  • if Google finds out about it, it will deindex PBN and strip your money website from ranking – so all your hard work will go down the sewage.

Google And PBN

Google has never liked PBNs. This way of ranking websites has been always considered to be a gray / black hat SEO. If Google finds out that blogs exist only to improve ranking of some other website, that website will get a serious penalty (by being pushed waaay back down the search results) and the blogs will get deindexed. So, the main goal here is to over-play Google by hiding the true nature of the blogs.

As one of the recent examples comes a story by Matthew from DumbPassiveIncome.com.

In October last year, he lost 4 (four!) of his niche website in one day. Horrible, isn’t it? Matthew suspects that the reason was partially a PBN. He shared his blog network with other webmasters and allowed them to host his links on their blogs. Meaning his blog network was not private anymore. Eventually, Matthew lost track of his blackhat buddies and their blogs… and thus, he lost control over what was happening with a crucial part of his money-making machine. Because of that, troubles had eventually found him. Read the full story here.

So no, this is not a game.

Why Am I Doing It Then?

There are two reasons.

First of all, I want my money websites (the ones I am building myself) to actually make money 🙂 Without a PBN in place, the proper ranking will take a lot of time, and maybe the websites will never be able to reach the 1st page of search results because their competition uses PBNs.

Second, I am also curious 🙂 I see it as a challenge and as a valuable learning experience. I want to try it out and see how it works and how it does not to gain an understanding of the PBN building mechanism.

Many niche webmasters start saying “no” to PBN after experiencing deindexing and losing ranking of their money websites. I think it will happen to me too. But I kinda hope to be luckier or maybe care more (hehe, I am probably overconfident!) and postpone the fate as much as possible.

5 Basic Things To Watch Out

While building a PBN, your main goal is to make sure that all the blogs look like they were created by different people who never heard of each other. It is technically not hard to do, but when the PBN starts growing beyond 10 blogs, it eventually becomes a tedious task that is hard to keep track of.

The traces or footprints you leave may be a good indicator that the blogs were built by one person. This can and will be used by Google to crack your private blog network down.

So, the majority of the work of building private blog network is about how to avoid making these footprints.

I’ve learned that I have to take care of many things including these 5:

  1. each blog on a PBN must have a different IP address;
  2. blogs have to differ from each other on every possible level: domain registration date, domain WhoIs info, website structure, content, etc;
  3. each blog must have one and only one link to a money website;
  4. each blog must have other links to low authority websites to make it look more natural and hide links to money websites;
  5. blogs should stay alive by having more posts published and software updates installed.

How exactly I am executing on that, I will write in my next posts.

As you saw, I wrote “not shared with anybody else” as a part of the definition of a PBN.  This is a very important part. Each blog in a PBN has to have one and only one link to a money website, and it should be a link to your money website. Otherwise, the chances to get caught are higher. You lose the control over your PBN – who knows that the other guy is doing with their money website?

If you use a PBN, you must be in control of it. It is not a very good idea to let someone else handle it without giving you a proper access. PBN is meant to be cared of and nurtured. Otherwise, Google will come and stop the game.


Photo by aotaro. Modifications: brightness increased, text added

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