3 Valuable Lessons I Learned From Auditing My PBN – And 1 Rookie Mistake I Will Never Do Again

In my last income report, I was complaining that my Honeybee 🐝 Website (the one I am building completely myself from scratch) does not move in keyword ratings. It is still very true and still makes me quite upset.

I am building a PBN for it and it already has 7 websites that seem to have powerful metrics and backlinks profiles.

Then what’s the problem?

Bad Expired Domains

Yes, the problem is that I picked up expired domains that are not good enough.

When I was buying them, I did do a due diligence. I checked many different things:

  • the niche (Majestic topical trust flow),
  • DA,
  • the Majestic trust flow,
  • the anchor text distribution,
  • the website history,
  • and the number of backlinks that belong to the same niche.

Quite a big list of things to check, n’est-pas?

And still it was not exhaustive.

What I did not check very well is the quality of the backlinks. The main thing 🙁

Since the money website the PBN was pointing to was not moving in terms of ranking, I decided to finally check it out.

Oh man, I found so much crap:

  • some backlinks were affiliated ones pointing to ClickBank; they had expired and I saw the following message: “The link you clicked on has expired. The link was created by an affiliate of the ClickBank network that has since been deactivated or temporarily suspended. We apologize for any inconvenience!”
  • many of them were a simple redirect back to my blogs – I am not sure I understand what’s the purpose of such links;
  • some backlink domains were down;
  • some were links from same blogs on Blogger but in different languages; given that the DA of the blog that had them was 6, these links were useless;
  • some had different backlink URLs that hosted exactly the same content – yep just dups;
  • for some blogs, I got only a single-digit number of good backlinks out of more than 20.

Out of 7 PBN blogs, I thought I had I am actually having only 5. Which are even not as good as they were when I bought them.


What To Do?

How do I plan to improve it? Well, I will get more expired domains and simply migrate my content onto them.

This time, I will be much more careful about choosing expired domains! This experience taught me three valuable lessons.

Three Lessons I Learned

1. Examine each and every do-follow backlink of an expired domain

Doesn’t it sounds so obvious! However, I was so caught up with hunting for sites with “good” metrics (high DA, high TF, etc) that I was in a rush of buying domains without checking them properly.

After all, buying a PBN involves so many steps: get a fake personal info, open a registrar account, register the domain, and keep track of it.

While I do create personal info in bulk (my last VA was very good at that – probably the only task she did without any problems), still logging into accounts and purchasing domains take energy I do not always have. I would rather spend it only on domains I am sure about.

2. Do the PBN audit regularly
Do it to weed out the ones that have stopped providing the juice. Having a PBN is not a “hands-off” approach alas! If you want to make it work, you have to nurture it.

In addition to putting more fresh content to PBN sites, the health of their domains should be monitored equally carefully.

3. Do not use cheap services that expose expired domains to everyone

Instead, either buy domains on auctions or use a personal crawler. This will give me more time to investigate the backlink profile of sites.

I realized that I cannot compete with more knowledgeable / “hungry” users who buy any cheap domain with high metrics. I need more time for the analysis and I cannot really afford to buy dozens of domains only to discover later that they are no good.

Choosing between an auction and a personal crawler, I think I will go down the crawler route.

Having the crawler that finds domains that only I can see should give me enough time to make the decision and use my precious resources only for acquiring good domains. And potentially, it should not be as expensive as buying domains on auctions.

One Rookie Mistake I Will Never Do Again

I did one rookie mistake in the beginning that cost me a few good domains down the road.

I did not work with the domain backlinks at all.

I did not restore the old pages. I did not redirect the old URLs.

“Thanks” to that, a few domains I bought when I just started got spoiled faster than a piece of meat left in the summer sun.

I quickly realized that, and I am not doing this mistake anymore.

Now, after buying a domain and putting on a hosting, I install a redirect plugin and point all the 404 URLs to the front page.

When I get a content prepared for the website, I restore the URLs of the old pages one by one.

I know that having too many 301 redirects is a new footprint for Google. That’s why I try to fix the most of them by the time when I publish a post with a link to a money website.


I am learning a lot while making my money journey. Hope my experience is being useful for you, too! 🙂

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