If you go and ask any SEO expert if PBNs are still a thing in 2019, you would probably get a hard No and for some extreme cases, a two-hour heated discussion as to why you shouldn’t do it. But it’s not always black and white when it comes to the SEO industry. Some strategies might work for you, and it might do more harm than good for others.
But what is a PBN anyway? PBN stands for Private Blog Networks. It is a collection of expired domains that have authority and use it to build links to attain a higher ranking in the Google SERPs.
Back when Google search results can be easily manipulated, online marketers buy pbn sites to help them rank their sites faster and more frequently. But when Google released their Penguin Algorithm, everything went crashing down for sites with black hat SEO strategies.
In 2019, Google is still fighting a long hard battle against private blogs networks. They see this SEO tactic as a way of manipulating their search results that can sometimes primarily affect a user’s experience if the wrong results are displayed for a search query.
Since they’ve implemented and continually update their algorithms, it’s now getting smarter at detecting websites that use this strategy to build site authority. If the Google crawler catches you, you’ll be getting a very devastating penalty which can affect your sales and conversions, primarily if your business largely depends on organic rankings.
What happens when you buy PBN sites in 2019?
Building links through private blog networks has its fair share of pros and cons. You can use it to increase your SEO and be more visible to your searchers or could lead to a total disaster if not done in the right way
Google intentionally penalizes websites that are caught red-handed with this tactic. For SEOs, it’s called a Manual Penalty. It is where a member of Google’s webspam team has enforced a mandatory penalty of your site after manually reviewing your backlinks, site content, and more. It is somewhat a more substantial burden to lift off compared to an Algorithmic penalty.
Here are some things to think about if you’re planning on implementing a PBN strategy for your SEO campaign in 2019:
PBNs are very costly
When you have a basic knowledge of domain real estate, you can easily say that domains can either be very cheap or outrageously expensive.
Securing domains through auctions or vendors can go for about tens to hundreds of dollars per domain. You also have to include the additional cost of hosting, making your whois information private, and the content you have to put out.
Depending on how many blog networks you have under your belt, you could end up spending thousands of dollars every year when you buy pbn sites.
Building a private blog network takes a lot of work
To effectively implement your PBN strategy, carefully planning and curating the things you will need and have to do is a must. Unless you want to get penalized.
But building a network of private blogs not only costs a lot of money, but it will also cost you and your team a lot of time where you could have spent all those wasted hours creating evergreen content and building links the natural and organic way.
In the whole private blog network process, you first have to look out for qualified expired domains. Meaning, it should meet your required standards for Domain Authority and Topical Trust Flow. Depending on how many domains you were planning on purchasing, this process could take up about ten working hours.
Once you have your domains, you have to secure it in a host and get a website developed for it to be ready for publication. If you’re using CMS, you can use free themes, build the whole site’s page structure, and of course, don’t forget to include the content. If you want, you can even create social media accounts for those blogs to make it seem more believable. Depending on your skill level for CMS platforms, this process will usually take up for about 2-4 hours per site.
If some of the sites on your network does well, you can even outsource them to get back some of the investment money you’ve put into this strategy through AdSense or affiliates.
You don’t build relationships
One thing a link building campaign can bring to your brand aside from links is you get to build relationships and collaborations with the people you reach out.
If you solely rely on private blog network sites for your links, you tend to miss out on great opportunities for collaboration and getting more influencers under your belt. Though at least you don’t have to spend a bunch of your time curating leads and making proposals, which is an upside if you’re the type of person who likes instant results.
Will you get a good ROI with PBN sites?
There are ways and specific calculations you can do to predict an estimated ROI on your PBN campaign. But first things first, you have to consider how competitive your niche and keywords are. How many searches does your keyword have every month? How many backlinks will you need to reach the top spot for that specific keyword?
With those questions in mind, remember that keyword search trends can change every month. They are very fickle because they depend on the users’ interest and how trendy that was for them.
If the top result for your money keyword has 387 links, that doesn’t mean you should also go and create more or less than 387 private blogs. That’s just unnecessary expense and human resources. Instead, go for links with higher domain authority and has a lot of related links under its belt as well.
Summed Up Wisdom
Many still debate whether buying private blog network sites belong in the grey hat or black hat scheme. But one thing’s for sure, if not implemented correctly and thought off decisively you would lose not only your rankings and sales but also thousands of dollars worth of investment.
Instead of spending your marketing dollars on time bomb campaigns, you should invest it on strategies that would bring you long term results and put you on Google’s good graces. Put more money into creating high-quality content and building real backlinks from real high authority websites.