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How to Use a Private Blog Network to Improve Rankings – My SOP

Are you wanting to know how I use my private blog network to improve mine or clients rankings? This post goes into exactly how I use a PBN to get better rankings for my sites.

If you have followed the instructions on my site to build your own PBN or purchased a PBN from me this post will provide you with some actionable information on how to make the most of it!

It is very clear that PBNs are currently very effective at helping quality websites rank…both from my data here and a recent analysis done by Tung showing examples of profitable amazon websites here .

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How to use a PBN to improve rankings

How to use a PBN to improve rankings

Quick Overview of How to Use a PBN for The Best Results

But exactly how do you get the most out of a Private Blog Network while at the same time minimizing your risk of Google penalizing you.

This article outlines the strategies I recommend when using your own PBN.

First let me share my general philosophy:

I would rather have a simple to follow safe strategy then a perfectly optimized strategy

With that in mind here are the guidelines my team follows when building PBNs for me or clients and how I recommend people use their own PBN.

This is not the only way but it is what I have found is the right balance of easy to understand and effective!

Overview

Here is a super short summary of the guidelines in this post.

  • All Links Must Be As Natural As Possible!
  • Articles
    • Frequency – 1 article per week is ideal, 1 per month per site is great and 1 per site every 5 months is the minimum to keep your site fresh
    • Quality – Articles must be of reasonable quality (can’t be spun and I recommend native English writers)
    • Length – Article length should vary from 500 words to 1000 words
    • Relevancy – Articles should be relevant to both the PBN site and the money site
    • Rich Media in Articles – Include both images and video in posts in varying quantities
    • System I use to get inexpensive high quality articles created – here
  • Number and Location of Links
    • Number of Links – 10 links max per site if the PBN site IS relevant and 1-2 links max if the site IS NOT relevant
    • Location of Links – Links should be in the body of the article with the best location being in the first couple of paragraphs (but don’t have it in the same spot on all articles)
    • Number of Money Site Links per PBN Post – Only 1 link to a money site from one PBN post is what I recommend
    • Other Authority Links – 1-3 links to authoritative non-competing pages such as news stories relevant to the article.
  • Anchor Text and Destination
    • Anchor Text
      • 1/3 – General or Name
      • 1/3 – URL Only
      • 1/3 – Phrase Match or Title of Site
  • Don’t use exact match at all! (play it safe)
  • Destination of Links
    • 50% homepage
    • 50% to a sub-page or post
  • All Links Must Be As Natural As Possible!

Step 1 – Articles

The first step of building links to your money site from your PBN is to get articles created.

NOTE – For customers of my done for you service I build 1 article per month per 5 site network but more articles can be added as customers see fit.

Frequency – In an ideal world each PBN site would get 1 new article per week but that isn’t practical so I suggest 1 per month or as a minimum 1 new article every 5 months to keep the site fresh in Googles eyes.

Quality – The articles must be of good quality as Google continues to get better at determining quality this will continue to be more and more important. Spun articles are not recommended and I am yet to hire a non native English speaker who can produce articles that meet my quality standard.

Length – Article length should vary from 500 words to 1000 words

Relevancy – My theory from the start with PBNs is that relevancy can not only overcome weaker metrics but also provides a a safer link in terms of exposure to a Google penalty. Getting a link to an appliance repair website in Tulsa from the former website of a church in Alaska is tough to pull off. However, it is definitely possible I like to use the image below to picture what the title of an article should be…

relevant article title

The articles should be relevant to the website you are posting on, it should be relevant to the target domain and target niche. Let me show you what I mean with an example using “appliance repair in Tulsa” at “jimsappliance.com” (not a real site) being linked to from an Alaskan church website within a PBN…

The title should be relevant to the website it is being posted on, it should be relevant to the target niche and also the target domain…

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Where to Get Articles – Getting quality articles created from native English speakers is a challenge! The best way I have found is using the system I outline here and hiring a content manager to manage the whole process including title creation.

Rich Media in Articles – Including images and video in varying quantities is easy to do and really helps make a webpage look natural. One image after the second paragraph in every post is NOT what we are after. We want a nice spread of both embedded, relevant YouTube videos and from 0-3 relevant images.

 

Step 2 – Number and Location of Links

Number of Links – The maximum number of links back to your main money site from one private blog network site is often asked. Lots of people believe that 1 link per site is best…I take a different approach to this question.

If the PBN site is relevant to the money site than as a rule of thumb I say no more than 10 links. People may think 10 links per site is crazy but here is my logic…if there is an authoritative site in a given niche it only makes sense that you link to it from your site in that same niche several times.

For example from this website (authoritywebsiteincome.com) I link to a few sites regularly including SEOMoz.com and NichePursuits.com.  Both of which I have probably linked to more than 10 times over the last year from this site naturally.

So if your PBN site is relevant to your money site then I would suggest thinking about using a limit of 10 links from it to one of your money sites.

Now there is a diminishing rate of return with links from sites…everything else being equal it is better to have a link from a different URL/IP then another from a site you already have a link from.

If the site isn’t relevant then I would suggest sticking with only 1-2 links from the PBN site to your money site.

Location of Links – The best location for a link is in the first couple of paragraphs of an article and naturally inserted into the middle of the text to be as natural as possible.

However, every link should not show up in the exact same location…they should vary from the top of the article to the bottom.

One place I DO NOT recommend the link going is at the very bottom of the article. The reason for this is that it could easily be mistaken for a lower value guest post which Google is cracking down on.

Contextual links higher up the article is the best place for a link.

Number of Money Site Links per Post – Limit to 1 link from an article to your money site, again people may disagree with this but it is the safest approach.

Other Authority Links – Nothing screams a PBN post like one link to one site, what I recommend is 1-3 other natural links to relevant authoritative sites. Wikipedia is the often recommended link destination but my preference is relevant news stories from any media outlet. HuffingtonPost or similar news outlets are great. Other great authoritative links are any niche organization. Try and avoid linking to competitors!

 

Step 3 – Anchor Text & Destination

Anchor text is where I believe most people go wrong and is the question I get the most.

After looking at literally THOUSANDS of expired domains on MajesticSEO.com I have both data and an intuition for what a natural backlink profile looks like.

Here are the guidelines I recommend to follow to keep your backlink profile looking clean while at the same time making sure to communicate to Google what your website should be ranking for.

Anchor text ratios I recommend…

  • 1/3 – General or Name
    • General are keywords such as (source, website, link, click here, visit us) a quick google search will provide you with lots of lists of generic keywords to use
    • Another great anchor text to use that I group into the general 1/3 is name based anchor text such as (Jim, Jim Smith, Jim @ website name). I recommend if your money site has a name/alias attached to it to use it in your anchor text as well.
  • 1/3 – URL Only
    • This is simple but 1/3 of all your anchor text should be only the URL
    • Tip – Don’t just link to the www or just the non www version. Make sure to link to both, one of the easiest ways to spot artificially built links is if the www has lots of links and the non www has zero links.
  • 1/3 – Phrase Match or Title of Site
    • Here is where people over do it all the time. Keep this group of keywords to 1/3 of all links to your money site.
    • The keywords in this group should be related to your target keyword but not an exact match of your target KW.
    • In this 1/3 of the links I also recommend using the exact title of your website
  • Note  – if your title is your exact match I would still play it safe and modify the title slightly in the anchor text.

recommended anchor text ratio for links

TIP – Play it Safe – Don’t use exact match.

The general consensus right now is to keep exact match anchor text to below 5% to avoid an off page over optimization penalty. In my mind it is simply safer and the results are still working if you simply don’t use your exact match anchor text at all. This keeps tracking easy and I never worry “oh crap will this push me to 5.5% exact match” which I think is a waste of time to have to think about.

Destination of Links – Where should your links be pointing? Well like everything I will take simplicity and safety over perfect optimization so my guidelines are simple…

  • 50% Homepage
  • 50% to different sub-pages or posts

recommended destination of PBN backlinks

Wrap Up

Like at the top of this post this can all be broken down into a very simple checklist.

  • All Links Must Be As Natural As Possible!
  • Articles
    • Frequency – 1 article per week is ideal, 1 per month per site is great and 1 per site every 5 months is the minimum to keep your site fresh
    • Quality – Articles must be of reasonable quality (can’t be spun and I recommend native English writers)
    • Length – Article length should vary from 500 words to 1000 words
    • Relevancy – Articles should be relevant to both the PBN site and the money site
    • Rich Media in Articles – Include both images and video in posts in varying quantities
    • System I use to get inexpensive high quality articles created – here
  • Number and Location of Links
    • Number of Links – 10 links max per site if the PBN site IS relevant and 1-2 links max if the site IS NOT relevant
    • Location of Links – Links should be in the body of the article with the best location being in the first couple of paragraphs (but don’t have it in the same spot on all articles)
    • Number of Money Site Links per PBN Post – Only 1 link to a money site from one PBN post is what I recommend
    • Other Authority Links – 1-3 links to authoritative non-competing pages such as news stories relevant to the article.
  • Anchor Text and Destination
    • Anchor Text
      • 1/3 – General or Name
      • 1/3 – URL Only
      • 1/3 – Phrase Match or Title of Site
  • Don’t use exact match at all! (play it safe)
  • Destination of Links
    • 50% homepage
    • 50% to a sub-page or post
  • All Links Must Be As Natural As Possible!

How to use a PBN to improve rankings

Other Questions

If you have any questions please ask and I will be sure to include the question and answer here. If you have a question I am sure other people will as well.

About the Author Jon Haver

I am a 31 year old husband, father of 2, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours. I am not a GURU but just a regular guy who is grinding out 12+hr days to build a life for my family on terms.
Jon Haver, Online Entrepreneur

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