You set up your money site. You begin building a private blog network to go with it, to manage your high authority links and build up your online presence.
Now the sites in the network are looking fantastic.
Wait! Did you take all the necessary steps to avoid leaving a foot print during your private blog network creation?
Broken into a cold sweat at the thought that all of your hard work maybe doing your money site more harm then good?
In this article we will be looking at all of the possible footprints that your Private Blog Network may leave. I will provide you with two checklists for which to check your PBN. One for the server level and one for the website level.
After reading this article you will be able to:
- Make an informed decision on the best web hosting option for your business
- Optimise your existing server and site for great search engine ranking results
Private Blog Network Checklist #1 – The Server Level
#1 – What is SEO Hosting and Private Blog Network Hosting?
SEO Hosting is a service provided by web hosts where servers are hosted on different A, B or C Class IP addresses, each with their own nameservers.
Private Blog Network Hosting is where your Content Management System (CMS) hosts your content with various cloud providers in different locations.
The significant difference is that with hosting for –
Private Blog Networks you are hosting your top Nameservers alongside millions of other sites.
With SEO Hosting you will be hosting a few on a much smaller SEO hosted network.
#2 – Avoid Cheap Hosting Companies
When it comes to hosting a large number of sites it’s best not to cut costs.
The cheapest web hosting account may be sufficient for one website or a landing page that you are not planning on optimising too much.
However, when it comes to setting up multiple websites the last thing you want to do is to host them all on a badly set up network. With a low cost hosting plan this is the danger that you could be likely to face.
Consider that you may find that all of the neighbouring sites on you network could be part of other Private Blog Networks.
#3 – Block Crawlers and Spiders
Why would you want to do this? I hear you asking.
The simple answer: Safety First.
The last thing you need is your competitors finding out about your blog network and either spamming it, or worse still reporting it.
Download the txt file below and simply copy the contents into your robot.txt file to block Crawlers and Spiders.Block SEO bots using robots.txt
#4 – Use Multiple SOA Records
For each one of your domains use a different Primary Nameserver and Hostmaster Email Address.
#5 – Use Different MX Records
Take care that you have different MX Records to avoid the possibility of leaving your MX entries as your footprint.
#6 – Use different A records
An A record is a real giveaway for anyone looking to find out where you are hosting your website.
In the image below you can easily see the IP address of the hosting company.
Each site on you network must be hosted on a unique IP address.
#7 – Use servers in Different Locations
Your average Blogger or Site owner tends not to have multiple sites.
For that reason individual blog sites when looked at as a whole tend to be set up in random locations worldwide.
That’s why it’s crucial that you do the same. Ensure that your network is made up of a combination of sites in various locations for maximum diversity.
#8 – Look for Best Server Uptime
This is arguably as important as having top level and engaging content on your private blog network.
This is also a further reason to avoid cheap hosting accounts that promise 99% uptime.
Your PBN needs to be running 99.9% of the time so don’t cut corners here.
Private Blog Network Checklist #2 – The Website Level
#9 – Don’t Write Content, Write Blog Posts
If you are thinking about stuffing the web with cheap or spun content to pad out your private blog network then don’t bother.
Google is getting better at spotting spammy content with it’s updated PANDA algorithm.
This can be a tough ask for the fledgling Network builder.
High level content is either hugely time consuming to do yourself or massively expensive to outsource.
But if you are in it for the long haul it will pay off. Top notch content across all of your sites is the only way to be in with a chance of hitting the top spot on google.
#10 – Avoid Thin Content
Thin content is content that adds no value.
Usually it will have been posted with the vague hope that the high volume of keyword contained with in it will help it to rank highly.
Matt Cutts best explains how thin content is of little or no added value and what you can do to fix it in this video:
# 11 – Better and Real Silo Site Structure
Understanding how websites are structured is very important.
Try to avoid just throwing up as many blog posts as you can on a newly registered WordPress site.
Instead make use of categories and plan what areas or topics you will be covered. This is what is referred to as Silo Website Structure.
#12 – Avoid the Standard 500 Word Article
If all of the 10 articles on one of your sites in your PBN are only 500 words then for sure you have just left a footprint.
Avoid this by varying the length of each article. Some can be short say around 300 words, others can be mid-length say around 800 words and some should be maximum length – around 2,000 words.
#13 – Never Spin Content
Spinning in content is the act of duplicating a master article using content spinner tools. Granted if done well you can create 10s of unique versions of the same article.
However, to do this alone requires painstaking effort. Furthermore, the results are never particularly outstanding.
Spun articles are usually quite easy to spot even to the untrained content reader’s eye. Bad content will do nothing to enhance the overall quality of your blog.
Think again about the long term.
Invest time and money in top quality content.
#14 – Put Only One Link to Your Money Site in Each Blog on Your PBN
Filling up the articles in each of the blogs on your PBN with multiple links to your money site is a surefire way to get all the flags raised.
Link to your main site once but be sure to include plenty of other outbound links to other sites within your niche.
Pro Tip: Put your main keyword on the homepage for maximum possible link juice.
#15 – Use Multiple CMS
Ask yourself why do all of the articles about PBNs recommend using WordPress? Answer: because WordPress is easy and building a PBN is not for the lazy.
Then look at it this way: all of your High-Quality backlinks are coming from “ONLY” WordPress?.
In a real environment of multiple unique bloggers this just wouldn’t happen.
Again, cutting corners for ease of use just doesn’t cut it when creating a Private Blog Network.
#16 – LSI Keywords or Long Tail Keywords
This is one of my most used strategies as it’s one of the simplest to implement. You can do it as you write each blog article.
I tend to always look for low search volume keywords (10-100 monthly searches) that have low competition to use in my content.
Why would i do this? Well, low competition keywords will rank almost instantly which will help drive organic traffic to my sites. Thus making the set up more natural.
Then consider that when you have a lot of low ranking keywords in your content, those low volume search numbers all start to add up.
#17 – Give a name to your Author
It’s hard to believe but so many site owners leave their default author name as admin.
Statistics show that readers tend to warm more to personalised blog content. So create a full profile for your article author.
Pro Tip: Use different author profiles across all your blogs, to make it even more unique. Source stock images of people to use. The more you do this the more realistic the sights in your network will look!
#18 – Use Different Themes & Plugins
Again the tendency is to go with what is easy to set up here.
If you want to give your network the realistic look then you must mix up the layouts, themes and plugins that you are using.
Don’t always go for the cheap themes either. A good blend of premium and budget themes will show a diverse array of expertise amongst your sites, again adding to the unique feel.
It’s easy to always go with what you know. WordPress alone comes with hundreds of individual themes. So mix them up and you may learn some more in the process.
#19 – Re-Create your Website
One of the smartest things you can do for your SEO ranking is to acquire some expired domains that already have good ranking. Then using the Wayback Machine recreate a few of them.
Here is an archived version of an expired domain from the Wayback Machine:
#20 – Use Images & YouTube Videos
Rich media can provide a whole range of benefits to your articles. They say an image can speak a thousand words, well a video can speak a million words.
Videos and images, particularly images that back up your information with statistics, show authority. In addition, they build up confidence in the reader that you know what you are talking about.
On top of that they make your site visually more appealing and your articles more easy to read.
Pro Tip #1: Include multiple videos and images, but do not overdo either
Pro Tip #2: Save your images with your LSI keywords and add the same LSI keyword in the ALT tag of your images
#21 – Keep Away from Google Analytics And Webmasters Tool
I know – another controversial point.
Like me, you probablyI love using Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools.
But think of it like this: Google doesn’t like Private Blog Networks because they can be used to influence the search engine results. That’s why they bring out ever more sophisticated algorithms for ranking websites.
That said, if you can’t help checking your sites’ stats, then set up each blog on a separate Google Analytics account. Just be sure you use proxy servers to manage them.
Make sure your cache is clear or use incognito.
#22 – Get Your LOGO Done Professionally
Getting a custom designed logo for each site in your PBN will make them all look unique. Logo design has never been one of my strong points as they all tend to come out looking far too similar.
Pro Tip: Head over to Fiverr to get your logo done by a professional for just a few dollars and it will be ready within 24 hours.
#23 – Never Use the Same Images & Videos
Sounds really obvious.
Believe it or not though I have seen different sites all in the same niche with the same images and videos.
Worse still when looking at the image links I realised that they were hosted on the same domain. So I was able to track down the owner of a large number of sites in one network just by looking at the images.
This is a big no no if you want to avoid leaving a footprint. If I was able to spot quickly the owner of all of these sites just think how easy it would be for Google to do it.
Enhance the look and feel of your site and don’t waste a good opportunity to hide your footprint. Use multiple different images and videos from a diverse range of sources and host them in different places.
Pro Tip: Never scrape images from Google and use them because if you search using Google Images you will find you are duplicating that image.
Bonus Pro Tip: Save your images as your LSI keywords. For example: My Keyword is how to build a Private Blog Network so I will save my image as how-to-build-a-web-2-0.jpg
#24 – Get Organic traffic!
The target of a blog is to get organic site traffic.
Therefore you must ensure that the blogs in your PBN are using Long Tail Keywords to target organic traffic.
Pro Tip: Keywordtool.io is one of the best and my most used free keywords tools for finding good long tail keywords.
#25 – Fix Your Broken Links NOW!
Broken links are not good. No one likes browsing for something, finally finding the solution to a problem only to find that the trail ends with a broken link.
Google especially doesn’t like broken links and will penalise your site if it finds any.
The best way to fix broken links is to use a broken link checker. Try Screaming Frog for Mac and run the program on Power Up Hosting’s Windows VPS (if you are a Windows user) to find and fix broken links on your site.
#26 – Never use Advertisement codes
The purpose of your Private Blog Network is to optimise SEO and improve the ranking of your money site.
For that reason, avoid the temptation to put in a few extra affiliate links or advertisement codes.
#27 – Avoid using Google Chrome
This should be obvious….
#28 – Embrace Social Media
Real bloggers are some of the most active social media users.
Why? Because social media is a huge factor in SEO and helps drive traffic to articles and blog posts.
So if you are in the real blog business, creating social media accounts for all of your sites is a must.
And don’t worry, this isn’t as time consuming as it sounds. Many blog providers have automatic posting options for publicising your blog posts and social media.
Make good use of them!
Private Blog Network Checklist – Website Level
#29 – Use Multiple Registrars
There are over 1,000 Domain Registrars listed on ICAN. So having all of yours listed with just one won’t make for a convincing PBN.
Prices will vary from one provider to another.
But setting up domains with multiple different providers is a big step towards hiding your PBN footprint.
Here is the entire list of ICANN domain registrars.
#30 – Mix Up Your Whois Details:
WHOIS Lookup allows you to lookup any generic domain name, such as “icann.org,” to find out the registered owner.
According to Anonwhois.org: Approximately around 60% of the domains in the world are using WHOIS protection.
So to play it safe you could register only, say 20-30%, of your domains for WHOIS protection.
Then you could use Fake Name Generator to register all of the rest under different accounts.
Take the time to check your whois details once you have completed the registration.
#31 – Unique Email in WHOIS
The last thing you want to do after creating unique whoIS privacy accounts is to then use the same primary email address. Make sure you use a unique one for each account.
Pro Tip: Avoid using the same email providers. Mix up the domain level email and vary the domain email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
#32 – Expired Domains:
Sourcing out expired domain names is a way to acquire domains that already have had some SEO work done on them. Check out expired domains for Domain Authority, Page Authority, Trust Flow & Citation flow.
Once again the Wayback Machine will help you find out what they were used for previously. That way you will avoid ones that were used in other PBNs or have too many spam backlinks.
#33 – Different Domain Registration Dates:
There’s no rush with setting up a PBN. So only register a domain when you plan to start using it.
Leaving months even years between each domain registration will make your PBN much more realistic.
#34 – Combine New, Expiring & Expired Domains
There are options for purchasing cheap expiring domains. This will allow you to acquire a domain that is still ranking.
You will find more options for expired domains available. There is a good chance of finding some gems that are still ranking and have high authority backlinks.
The question then arises why purchase a brand new domain at all?
Again it is imperative that your private blog network creation looks organic. It is unlikely that so many bloggers would have an exact domain anchor text match. The more variety – the more authentic.
#35 – Backlink Profile For your PBN
Backlinks are the ultimate reference for how good your site is. The more high authority, niche relevant backlinks you have the higher your site will rank.
When purchasing links, however, be wary. You may be purchasing multiple spammy links that contain next to no authority.
You can easily check with Ahrefs backlink profile analysis tool to be sure of the quality of links.
Any domains with a spammy backlink profile consign to the trash.
#36 – Use Different TLDs
A TLD is a Top Level Domain.
Remember that you can’t fool Google so be sure that you don’t work only with .com domains.
Mixing up with the TLDs will allow you to use a range of domain extensions too.
#37 – Populate Your Site
Adding the following pages to your site will again add to the authenticity:
- Contact Us
- About Us
Pro Tip: Don’t cut corners by using the same content for each site!
#39 – Avoid Using Public Blog Networks
There are perhaps 1,000s of Public Blog Networks in the market.
A word of advice – avoid them. Eventually sites on these networks will get de-indexed therefore the backlink will become worthless anyway.
Stick to you guns, take the time and effort to build up your own PBN and you will have the results to show for it in the long term.
#39 – Have a REAL address
Every blog out there is associated with a real address.
For that reason make sure all of yours are not the exception. Use a Fake Address Generator to keep them original and real.
So now that you have read through this list I expect you are already making plans to update your sites. Or if you haven’t started yet you are keen to start building up your very own PBN.
Just remember – The key to building up a successful PBN is to think of the long term and avoid cutting corners.
If you follow the checklist you will find a healthy and traffic rich network of indexed sites.
Thanks for reading. Do you have any suggestions that helped you with your PBN? Is something that you have read here that has worked out for? Please let me know and keep the conversation going in the comments section below!