Do PBNs Really Work for Local SEO?

Location Relevant Private Blog Network

The other day, I was talking to an SEO vendor that wholesales some basic SEO services. When I brought up the topic of building a Private Blog Network (PBN), he surprised me by stating, “I didn’t know SEO people still build PBNs.” Then he asked, “Do PBNs still work?”.

PBN backlinks work if the PBNs are quality websites with engaging written content that benefits those who read them. But if the PBNs use duplicate, spun, or poor-quality content and link out an unnatural amount of links, then they may actually hurt your rankings and cause your website to get penalized.

In this article, I will talk about what makes a quality PBN that works and what makes a garbage PBN that could hurt your website. See also my related articles “What are Private Blog Networks (PBNs)?” and “Are PBNs Necessary in Local SEO?“.

What Makes An Effective PBN

Example Of A Private Blog Network

I am unsure if “Things To Do in Austin, Texas,” shown in the above image, is a PBN, but it would be a perfect example of one. Remember, the best PBNs are real sites that produce income on their own, independent of the sites they link to.

The main thing about a PBN is that it has to be a quality website with articles written on topics people search for. The articles need to be well written so that they are interesting and engaging to the reader and benefit the reader by imparting interesting or helpful information.

If the website is good enough on its own to attract interested readers, as long as its material relates to either the business’s city or industry, then that website passes trust and authority to the websites it links to. It will work if you create a website like that as your PBN.

To get the maximum benefit out of a PBN, the search engines cannot know that the same person controls the PBN and the websites it links to. So when building a PBN, it should be hosted by a different service and logged into from a different IP address than the sites it links to.

What Makes A Dangerous PBN


Again, I am unsure if “Visit Lubbock” shown in the above image is a PBN, but it would be a perfect example of one. Remember, the best PBNs are real sites that produce income on their own, independent of the sites they link to.

I can’t find an image of a spammy garbage PBN, but I bet you can imagine what one might look like. It could be a nice-looking website or an outdated, funky-looking website, but its main characteristic would be that either its content is duplicate, spun, or very poor quality, or it links out to an unnatural amount of websites or both.

People who make these types of PBNs buy expired domains with high trust and authority ratings and a good backlink profile and then throw their garbage content on it and link to a bazillion websites. Google doesn’t like these kinds of websites because they know the value of the website is artificially created by the domain that was used rather than the actual content of the website.

And since it links to a massive amount of websites, Google knows that the link’s purpose is to boost the rankings of the websites linked to rather than being a true recommendation of those websites.

There is nothing wrong with using an expired domain. It can give your website a massive head start. But you have to put quality, real content on it so that its authority and trust will continue long term.

Benefits Of A Quality PBN

FairFax PBN

Again, I am unsure if the website “Things To Do In Fairfax County, VA,” in the above image is a PBN, but if it is, it is great. A good, high-quality PBN should first achieve the purpose it was made for, and it should pass a massive amount of trust and authority from itself to whatever article or website it links to. This will help those websites outrank their competitors.

And it should do this over the long haul because Google likes the website and shows its articles high in the search terms they target. A website that is high quality enough to have its articles rank well passes a lot of credibility to the websites it links to.

Second, a quality PBN that ranks well for things people actually search for has regular traffic or visitors that visit it. The PBN can then make money by putting ads on the website that will be shown to the visitors reading its articles.

Similarly, if, through the natural course of the article, it mentions products or services that would benefit the reader, the PBN can also earn money from affiliate commissions when the readers buy those products and services. Building a large and quality, PBN can produce thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars a month for the website owner.

Final Thoughts

The main image I am trying to paint in everyone’s minds is that a quality PBN is not one that guards the system better than others. It is a quality website that search engines like and like showing in related searches.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end of this article. If you have learned something and gotten benefit from this article, please share it on your social media. That really helps us get the word out!


When I was first introduced to the local SEO industry, I took a job working for a company that did it nationally. To my surprise I eventually learned that the company I was working for had no idea what they were doing. As I began to take various local SEO courses to try to help my clients, I also learned that most courses didn't teach methods that actually worked. Fortunately, over the years, I was able to find some that did know what they were doing and over the last decade or so, have had great success getting my business clients on the first page of Google locally, even in competitive niches and markets. The purpose of this website is to teach any local business owner, or employee, how to do their own local SEO so that they can get their own websites in the Google Maps 3 Pack, and on the first page in the regular organic listings as well.

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