This probably isn’t the best image for how I build Private Blog Networks (PBNs), but it was the best I could find. I found it on techtricksworld.com. The image shows ten different PBNs pointing to one site. For a local business, if you do PBNs the correct way that won’t get penalized by Google, 10 PBNs just is not practical.
The correct way to build a PBN to link to a local business is to create a high-quality website that is either in the same industry as your site or the same city. It has to be a site with the value the search engines will like, and its articles will rank. Then naturally, as appropriate, not too many times, you mention your business site and link to it directly.
Spammy scammers do it wrong because they create a bunch of websites or blogs with AI-written or spun content, which is extremely low quality. Typically, they know the articles will not rank on their own so they build these networks on expired domains that already have strong authoritative backlinks pointing to it from whatever website was previously on that domain.
This is a way for people to game the system. Eventually, the search engines figure out what these sites are and penalize them and the sites they link to.
In this article, I will walk you through when it makes sense to build PBNs and exactly how to build quality PBNs that the search engines will love and not penalize.
Briefly, before we get into this article, I just want to suggest that if you have come to this article because you are trying to learn Off-Page Local SEO, I recommend reading the following three articles: “What are Private Blog Networks (PBNs)?“, “How Do I Acquire High Authority Backlinks?” and “Can I Do Local SEO Without A Website?“
When Does It Make Sense To Build PBNs?
In local SEO, it really only makes sense to build PBNs if you are a local business owner who has enough resources to put into the PBNs to make them of a high enough quality on their own that they can pay for themselves like normal blogs through ad and affiliate income.
For example, the above image is a dental directory website created by the American Dental Association (ADA). If I were a dentist, I might want to pay an employee to set up my dental association, dental business directory, or dental magazine. I would set it up as a separate entity and build a high-quality website where I either charge for memberships or make money from ads or affiliate income.
If done right, a website like that could be profitable in its own right and power up your local dentistry website in time.
For SEO agencies, it only makes sense to create PBNs if you have enough clients in a given industry or city to justify the time and energy invested to create and maintain them. Again, done best, you would do them quality enough that they would be another profit center for your business and earn revenue themselves.
What Should PBN Websites Look Like?
The image above is another example of a possible idea for a quality PBN. It is austincityguide.com. It would be a marvelous backlink for any business in Austin, Texas, and would really help those businesses rank in the Google Maps 3 Pack for their industry.
I am not saying this website, or the Find A Dentist website, are actual PBNs. But these are good examples of phenomenal backlink sources for local businesses. The first gives authority to the dental industry, and the second gives locational authority to any business in Austin, Texas. And you can see creating sites of this quality is a business in and of itself.
You wouldn’t necessarily have to build them to this quality. But your blogs are going to need at least 100 quality blog articles that are on topic and that rank well. They need to bring significant traffic (interested readers) to the website.
A quality PBN can generate its own income and be very profitable. But to build something like that will take some time and/or resources to make it successful.
Finding Expired Domains
I know I mentioned that spammy scammers use expired domains as a part of their gaming system program. We don’t do that. We are going to build a real website answering real questions and helping people, the kind of thing search engines like.
All an expired domain is a domain that used to have a website built on it, but for whatever reason, the owner allowed it to expire.
If the domain was used in the same industry or town that your PBN will be in, and if it already has strong relevant backlinks, it can give your PBN a great head start.
The key here, though, is finding the right expired domain. If the links pointing to the domain don’t match the topic or location of the website you plan to build on, you are better off buying a fresh new domain that has not been used yet. And it will just take longer.
How To Find An Expired Domain
I found a video on YouTube that does a great job of walking you through a quick demonstration of finding a relevant quality expired domain. The service he is using is called Spamzilla.com.
How Many Times Should You Link To Your Local Business Website?
This is another thing that separates a PBN done the right way from the scammers. Scammers sell links, so they run many links from each of their PBNs to each site that “buys links” from them. So they end up with their PBN websites that have below-quality content, linking out abnormally high amounts of links to tons of websites that don’t make sense given the content.
You don’t think the search engines like Google can’t tell what they are doing? Of course, they can. It might take a bit of time, but sooner or later, they will figure it out and penalize everyone involved.
If you build PBNs that have high-quality content and are designed to produce significant income, you would only ever want to link out when it is natural and benefits the PBN site. So that is how often you link to your local business site, when and only when it is natural, fits into the topic of the content, and makes sense.
PBNs Should Be Hosted & Worked On From Different IP Addresses
This is the only thing I recommend that might be considered to be gaming the system a bit. You see, when websites are worked on, Google knows the IP address of the person doing the work. Google assumes the person working on the site owns the site.
When search engines know the same entity owns two websites, they view links between those two sites as a person linking to their own site. That is not considered a strong recommendation, and it won’t give the links the full power.
Links are recommendations. So, to get the maximum benefit from your PBN linking to your local business site, the search engines need not know the same entity controls both. Hopefully, that makes sense.
This can be easily remedied by working on your PBN sites using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN allows you to work from the same location but using an IP address from a different location. Thus, the search engines don’t think you own the website.
I would also host the PBNs from a different hosting company than you host your website. You will want to either have a different entity own the PBN sites, or it might be possible to pay for privacy protection from your hosting service that keeps that information private, even from the search engines. I’m not sure about that last one, so check with your hosting service about that.
PBNs Should Be High-Quality Blogs
So you want to approach building your PBNs just like you would if they were the main business you were concerned with. Quality, quality, quality. No spun content. No spammy, scammy practices.
I say PBNs should be blogs because if you build a blog correctly, it generates tons of its own traffic and interested readers, and that traffic can be monetized through running ads and generating affiliate income.
If you have never built a successful blog before, I have many times, there are several really good training courses to teach you how to do it successfully. And you can pay an employee to learn and do this for you if you don’t have time yourself, as long as you know enough about it to double-check their work.
The best blog training course I know of for people of all skill levels is Project 24 from IncomeSchool.com. If it makes sense for your situation to build a PBN, I recommend taking Income School’s course.