Private Blog Networks (a.k.a. PBNs) are a tool you can use to give you an advantage over your competition that you are trying to outrank.
They are only necessary if you are competing against local business websites that have a lot more powerful websites linking to them than you have, and you have already capitalized on every possible non-PBN backlink opportunity that you can find. If you have already completed every other backlink strategy taught on this website, including getting all of the possible backlinks your competitors have that you can also get, then creating a PBN might be the only way you can get enough high-quality backlinks to outrank them.
In this article, we will go into the specifics of how to know whether your only option is to create PBNs or whether you don’t need PBNs to outrank them. See also my article “Do PBNs Really Work for Local SEO?“.
What Backlink Strategies Should You Do First?
Before you ever think about putting in the work to create a quality PBN, you should do all of the other backlink strategies we discuss on this website. You should hover over the “Off-Page Local SEO” tab in the main menu of this website and read all the articles under each of the subtabs as shown in the above image.
Start first with building out the quality relevant business citations you need. Then, build what I like to call an “Authoritative Digital Footprint.” Next, you want to focus on getting all the “high authority backlinks” you can get.
Finally, once you have done all of that to the best of your ability, then you want to analyze the backlink profiles of the competitors that are outranking you to find any websites that are linking to them that might also be willing to link to your website.
It is not until you have done all of this well and find that they still have more high-quality backlinks than you do and are still outranking you that you want to consider building some quality PBNs.
When Don’t You Need to Build PBNs?
You don’t need to build PBNs if you have done all the backlink strategies I have talked about above, and after four to six months, you find that you are now outranking your competitors for all of your key search phrases in both Google Maps 3-Pack (as shown in image above) as well as just below that in the regular organic search.
In the majority of situations, you won’t need to build PBNs for backlinks. In less competitive towns and industries, it just won’t be necessary.
However, if you are in a highly competitive field or a large city, it is possible that your competitors are building PBNs and doing all of the other backlink strategies we have discussed. In those cases, you may find it necessary to build some PBNs to compete.
Be Sure To Focus On Quality Over Quantity!
When I search the competitor backlinks of my client’s competitors, I see lots of PBNs that are done very poorly.
They will use too many of one kind of PBN, such as too many Web 2.0 domains. You want a variety.
Also, some do 1 or 2-page PBNs. They put just 1 or 2 articles on the website and link to their business site. If they are using a quality expired domain, this will boost their rankings for the short term, but over time, the authority of the domain will decrease along with its ability to pass trust and authority to your local business website.
Never use spun or poor-quality content. The better the search engines like your content, the more powerful the links will be.
Think about how many articles a legitimate website needs to rank well and attract readers. Do that. Build PBN websites with enough engaging and helpful content to attract a following. And interlink the website properly to maximize its link juice and pageviews.
Remember that adding quality PBNs to your local SEO arsenal is a powerful weapon when needed. However, PBNs don’t typically make up for poor local SEO in other areas. Before considering building PBNs, go through all of the On-Page and Off-Page local SEO necessities we teach on this website and implement those first. If you do a great job with that, in many cases, you will not need PBNs.
That being said, it is beautiful when you have done everything correctly, and you just can’t seem to outrank your competitors, to then build some quality PBNs the right way and watch them over a few months propel you to the top of Google! It is really, really a fun thing to do!
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