Website Income

How to Build a PBN in 2020 – Ultimate Private Blog Network Guide

In 2013 I created the ultimate guide to expired domains and since then have built over 10,000 PBN sites the right way!

This new and improved guide has everything you need to  build a Private Blog Network in 2019 the right way! I get asked many questions about wether of not PBN backlinks are still powerful in todays SEO world and my answer is... yes and I have some data to show you just how PBN backlinks in 2019 still work in this case study here.

This MASSIVE 9,000+ word guide provides you with everything you need to build a powerful private blog network the right way easily and surprisingly cheap! 

This free guide is the result of years of experience, weeks of work, 10,000+ PBNs built, hundreds of customers, 230 comments on my last guide and dozens of people contributing questions.

​Thank You to everyone who has helped make this guide the MONSTER it is!

I truly hope that by the end of this how to build a PBN guide you will have gained a lot of valuable information that you can apply to your sites.

You will learn how to...​

  • ​Find premium expired domains that are powerful, relevant and free of SPAM
  • Build an effective PBN with no footprint
  • Use a PBN the "right way" to improve your rankings
  • Use an exact repeatable process (with my procedures)
  • Build a quality PBN at a remarkably low cost!

This guide has everything you need to build a powerful PBN by yourself but if you are tight on time and want to simply pay my team to build you your PBN right visit my service...

Jon Gillham & 

This Guide Works - Less than 10% of the 10,000+ PBN sites my team have created have ever been de-indexed!

90 %
% Sites Still Indexed

I have kept my original Ultimate Guide to Expired Domains post up to date but it covered a lot of different topics not just focused on building a PBN. This post is meant to be for the action orientated among you who want to build your own PBN!

Included in this post is all the newest tools you can leverage to build a PBN by yourself for less money than ever before!

This post will NOT show you ALL (some advanced/complex strategies I use are not shared) the different strategies I use in my done for you services but will provide you with everything you need to build a HIGHLY effective PBN for yourself as economically as possible!

Want My Team to Build You A PBN?

Although I provide everything you need to build your own PBN in this detailed guide I know some of you will be looking for a more efficient use of your time!

  • 100% Done For You
  • Indexation Guaranteed!
  • Access to Better Domains & Hosting
  • Remarkably cost competitive (often less expensive) compared to building it yourself
  • 75% of Customers see a 40% ranking improvement in month 1!

Everything You Need to Build Your Own Effective PBN As Easily and Cheaply as Possible!

This guide is free of fluff and as a result may gloss over some of the nuances. As a result there is a glossary and questions section at the bottom to try and fill in any gaps.

Finally... Enjoy & Good Luck Building!​

If you are looking to purchase expired domains to use for your PBN my team has the following service 

BUY HERE - Option 2 - PBNHQ Marketplace

For a great marketplace that offers Expired Domains at reasonable prices and domains that have been manually SPAM reviewed (very rare) I recommend checking out this marketplace...

Do It Yourself

If you are looking to find domains yourself, I would suggest using RegisterCompass to help sort through domains. It provides you with access to both expired domains as well as auction domains.

Metrics to Target

What metrics should we be targeting?

Here is the table I like to use for reference. Finding a clean good domain is difficult…finding a clean Amazing domain is incredibly hard!!





CF (Citation Flow)




TF (Trust Flow)




PA (Page Authority




DA (Domain Authority)




NOTE - Good domains seem to provide the highest ROI. Meaning building out more relevant domains that have Good metrics is the most efficient way to improve your sites rankings. I target a site that hits 3/4 metrics to put it in each group. EPIC/Amazing domains are very rare and can cost thousands!

Importance of Relevancy

What should you emphasize more? Relevance or Authority? My preference is to consider both and get a natural mix. But having a relevant domain provides a few benefits…

  • Relevancy is considered by Google (meaning a relevant but less powerful link improves your rankings as much as a more powerful but less relevant domain
  • It is easier to appear natural. When you have a site pointing to or something similarly unrelated it screams of PBN. However if you had linking to it would make a lot more sense. (all sites in this example are 100% made up)
  • Creating content to be relevant is easier if the site is reasonably relevant. Natural content can be done in almost any combination but it is easier if the sites are relevant. I had a client in the Adult Diaper niche and we were able to generate links from sites in a bee keeping niche.

Enter your text here...

How to Use Register Compass to Find Expired Domains

Once you have a RegisterCompass account, you will want to go to the Domain Search section.

Step 1: Setting Filters

You will want to set your filters to the following, you can play around with this to find out what brings you the best results but we find these help to find the best quicker.

  • Exclude digits (0-9)
  • Only want .ca, .com, .org and .net
  • Set Domain Authority to 10

If you are looking for a specific niche, you can use the the topical trust flow filter by clicking on it and choosing the niche you are looking for domains in.

Step 2: Eliminate Spammy Domain Names

Any domains that look spammy are usually spammy so no need to check those but highlight the cell in your assigned colour so that others do not check it.

Step 3: Check Metrics

Any domain that doesn’t look spammy we then run them through 3 different tools:

**** if opensiteexplorer doesn’t work, or you don't want to pay an alternative you can use is SmallSEOTools 

We are looking for the following metrics:

  • Page authority= PA (we want over 20)
  • Domain Authority = DA (we want over 15)
  • Citation Flow (we want over 15)
  • Trust Flow (we want over 15)

NOTE: If one falls below what we want that’s okay as long as the other three meet or exceed their number.

First thing we need to do is check the Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) of the site using We will take a look at the domain as an example.

You want to check both the non www (Root) and the www version (URL) to see which has the better metrics.

From the above photo we can see that domain has the following metrics:

DA 10 (doesn’t meet metric, we want 15+)

PA 1 (doesn’t meet metric we want 20+)

From the above photo we can see that domain has the following metrics:

DA 10 (doesn’t meet metric, we want 15+)

PA 20 (meets metric)

As we can tell the root domain (non www) will be no good as both fail the DA and PA metric check. However the URL domain (www) so far only has 1 metric below, so we will now go ahead and check the URL domain in

Please note: If both the root domain and the URL domain don’t have at least 1 metric above the minimum then you would find another domain on the list and try again.

If the root domain or the URL domain has at least one metric above the minimum then you will move onto using First thing we want to check is the Trust Flow and Citation Flow of either the root domain or the url domain (whatever one passed step 6). In the example using only the URL domain passed the metric check, so we will only check this domain.

Type in domain and click the magnifying glass

Click on the correct domain that you want to look at. In this example we want to look at the URL because the root domain failed step 6.

Check the Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF) to see if they meet they metrics.

From this photo we can see that:

TF is 19 (meets metric as its 15+)

CF is 20 (meets metric as its 15+)

Look at all 4 metrics and see if 3 out of 4 meet the minimum

What We Need

What the Domain is

PA 20+

PA20 (meets metric)

DA 15+

DA 10 (doesn’t meets metric)

CF 15+

CF 20(meets metric)

TF 15+

TF 19 (meets metric)

From the table we can see that 3 out of 4 of the metrics are met with this domain so we can move onto 8e. If the domain doesn’t meet 3 out of 4, then the domain is no good.

Step 4: Checking the Backlinks

​Checking a site to make sure it has a clean backlink profile is VERY hard and the step that most people screw up!

Originally this section of the article was posted at How to Analyze Backlinks

I use MajesticSEO(not an affiliate link) to analyze backlinks because of the graphic representation of the link profile which makes it incredibly easy to quickly see the quality of the backlink profile.

Anchor Text

Anchor Text manipulation is pretty easy to spot in Majestic SEO. Using the Anchor Text section there are 2 key things to look for..

  • First unnatural anchor text density
  • Secondly obvious SPAM in anchor text keywords (porn/poker/pharmaceutical or completely un-relevant keywords)
    • Unnatural Anchor Text Density
      • – Not as obvious an example but with the large number of links and only 3 different anchor texts this site shows clear signs of manipulation.
      • – This one is very obvious, 95% all with the same keyword – avoid!
    • Obvious SPAM in Anchor Text
      • – This example is subtle! Often the spam is far more obvious with Porn/Pharmaceutical/Poker or other highly SPAMMED niches like PayDay loan anchor text. Whenever there are obvious signs of anchor text manipulation avoid it! In cases like the one below we need to ask ourselves if the anchor text could naturally occur in the way that it is being shown?
  • Large difference Trust Flow to Citation Flow – Links build naturally should be balanced between citation flow and trust flow (or for MOZ PA/DA should not show a large (~3x or more) difference between them)
    • – Here there is an obvious mis-match with Trust Flow = 2 and Citation Flow = 15. Ideally we want that ratio to be close to 1:1 but anywhere up to 1:3 can naturally occur but be cautious whenever you get below 1:2 Trust:Citation.
  • Root to URL completely different – This one is often miss-understood. When there are good metrics for one domain and then none for another it often means that links were intentionally built to one URL and then none to another. This represents link manipulation!
    • – Here the metrics on the Root Domain are ok but then the metrics at URL are non-existent!


  • Concentration of Links on the TF vs CF Map – This is one of the reasons why Majestic is so great. A quick look at the TF vs CF graph can tell a lot about the backlink profile. The ideal graph is a series of domains spread along the line moving 1:1 from the origin. Two indications of a SPAMMY backlink profile is when there is an unreasonable concentration of links all in one location or when all the links are low trust. On the graph each dot represents a single link and the Trust and Citation score of that link.
    • – In this example shown below there are 2 concentration and another grouping along the bottom representing Trust Flow on each of those links of ZERO. Typically what occurs is when a link building service is purchased a lot of the links will come from similar sites with the same CF/TF which results in concentrations on the TF vs CF graph.
    • – Here there is one single high density concentration of links, there is a chance with this link profile that it could occur naturally but this is a warning flag. Whenever there is a single concentration of links on the TF vs CF graph there is a reasonable expectation that the links are artificially created.
  • Non-Relevant Link Pages/Directories/Blog Network Pages
    • (non-relevant links) – Non-relevant backlinks like the ones to this site provide no value.
    • (directory) – Here is an example of a site that only uses directory links. Relevant human-reviewed directories are good but having only non-relevant free directories are bad!
    • (directory) – Here is another example of too many low value link/directory pages.
    • (PBN & Hacked Sites) – Sometimes most metrics can look good but when you visit the pages linking to it it becomes obvious the links are all blog network links or sites that have been hacked.
    • (SPAM sites) – When the sites linking to the URL are only SPAM sites then it is obvious the site provides no value and should be avoided.
    • (non-relevant directories) – Again relevant directories and link pages can be natural however, low value directories as shown by these links are bad.
    • (Blog Network) – There is the famous quote from Judge Potter Stewartstating in regards to Porn vs art “I know it when I see it” and this applies to most of us who look at websites and can quickly determine if the site is built only for links or not. When the majority of the links pointing to a domain was clearly built for the purposes of providing a link, like in this example, we should avoid it.
  • Blog Comment or Forum SPAM
    • (Forum) – Blog comments and forum SPAM are old low value black-hat tactics that still many domains have links from. In these cases it is important to look at the comment and forum post and just think if it is reasonable. Blog comments and forum links that are real are fine, blog comments and forum links that are only left for the purpose of the link are bad! Another fast way to tell is to see if there are A LOT of useless comments on the post…if that is the case then the site likely has auto-approve comments on and has been hammered by low-value black hat SEOs.
  • Foreign Language Links
    • – Here is an example of english links on foreign language websites. This is almost always a sign of link manipulation and if spotted should be avoided.
Step 5: Checking the site in Archive

Check to ensure it was not a foreign site but was a real english site.

 Click on a few blue circles to see what the site use to look like.

  • 9b. The sites should have been real sites that are in english. If the content is foreign then it is no good. The image below is an example of a good site.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 7.27.38 PM.png

After you have checked a few, if it looks like it was always a real site and didn't change themes dramatically, or was used as a PBN in the past then it should be good.

13 Point Pre Purchase Checklist

Originally published here (Done for you PBN Service)


  • Highly or moderately relevant. Is it conceivable that this website would naturally link to your money site? If you think it would conceivably naturally link to your site than it is moderately relevant. If there is no way it would link to your site unless completely randomly I do not consider it relevant.


  • Page Authority (from I use DomainSpoon or my custom tool to check) 15+
  • Domain Authority (from I use DomainSpoon or my custom tool to check) 15+
  • Trust Flow (from 15+
  • Citation Flow (from 15+

Spam Check

  • Check anchor text for Porn, Pharmaceuticals, Poker or foreign language anchor text in Majestic SEO – If any signs of this kind of anchor text do not buy!
  • Natural Profile (no SEO) – Check backlinks for signs of blog network links, comment spam or directory spam – Use your discretion but if it looks like someone was doing low value SEO on the domain do not buy it!
  • Does the exact match anchor text look natural? Below 15% at least – If no Do Not Buy
  • Review website in and see if the domain had content not related to the domain name – If the content does not make sense with the domain name it means it was already used as an expired domain (poorly used) – Do not buy it!

Redirection/Duplicate Check

  • Check if the site was last redirected to a new site by checking the most recent page in to see if it was being redirected to a new site. If it was redirected before expiring then most of the juice seems to stay with the redirection. Do not buy.
  • Also check if all the old content has been moved to a new site – this may mean even though the redirection did not show up in they did a 301 redirect on the old URL and Google has passed all the link juice to the new site. or this free alternative for this.

Registrar History

  • Check the registrar history if it has been registered and dropped multiple times you need to be confident it was not abused by checking it in You can check the number of times a site has been registered by visiting –

Register Domain

Registering the domain is a relatively easy process but there are a few critical things you need to do to make sure you don’t either lose your domains or expose your network…

7 Steps To Successfully Buying and Registering a PBN Domain

  • Use FakeWhois ideally or PrivacyProtection if you prefer
  • Use a “Real” email – buying 10 phone verified emails for Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail on is an efficient option and be sure to verify each domain by emaila. Gmail – 10 phone verified accounts for $5b. Yahoo – 10 phone verified accounts for $5
  • Don’t register all your domains at one registrar (GoDaddy, & NameCheap are all very popular)
  • Don’t registrar all your domains at the same time (spread out over a couple days)
  • Mix up the TLDs don’t use all .info, .org, .com, .net, .co, .ca etc
  • Create one master email to forward all your free emails too so that you can keep track of the confirmation
  • BONUS TIP - For additional benefit us the same Alias information on the WhoIs data on the About/Contact page

We register domains at different registrars, This guide will go through GoDaddy and NameCheap registration for example. other registrars have some differences.

How to Get Fake WhoIs Data

  • 1. Buy an inventory of Phone Verified free email accounts
  • 2. Forward those emails to a central email for managing your PBN domains
  • 3. Generate Fake WhoIs namea.
  • 4. Correct the Address to ensure it shows up as a real address
    • a. To find a correct address and other contact information we use search from any American or Canadian fast food locator website for example
    • b. Advanced Option - There is another method using Google map
      • i. go to google maps and search for any city. It will usually take you to what it considers the city center. There look for a 3 way intersection. Since it's a 3 way intersection, one road will end in dead end. Click on the beginning of road and see what address does google display.
      • ii. It could be something like 200 blahblah street. As you keep moving up the street, it most likely will increase like 240 blahblah, 260 blahblah. You get the point. Then you enter 180 blahblah street in search box. Even though it doesn't exist, google will most likely still show this address.
    • c. BONUS – Reflect the WhoIs alias on the About/Contact and even homepage
    • d. BONUS – If this is for local SEO use an alias/address from the local area you are looking to rank for
  • login to the registrar account.
  • find the search box and enter the domain name. click search
  • When you get the domain available, click “continue to cart”
  • Leave “Keep my personal info public” selected and click “proceed to checkout”
  • Click “Use alternate domain registrant contact information”
  • 6. You will have this popup, fill it as you can see at the second section in this guide. Important! Make sure that you checked “Apply this contact information to all 4 contact tabs for all domains.” down of the form. and remove all existing information.
  • After login to the account and chose the new domain, you should change auto-renew option to on and delete WhoisGaurd. Then Click to “Confirm Order”
  • Click to “Review domain configuration”
  • Select “Add New Contact” from Registrant Contact dropbox

Hosting PBN sites is not easy but this section will help you cut through the crap and provide you with a very practical solution!

  • Each site must be on a unique or shared class A IP with a lot of other “real” sites.
  • The servers must be geographically spread out. All PBN sites hosted in the same data-center would be an easy footprint for Google to spot.
  • The host must not send me a “to much bandwidth” email after 10 visitors and try to force me to upgrade to a more expensive package. This can be very frustrating when my team has set up sites only to have to move them because the hosting company tries to force me to upgrade even though I know my sites are not pulling much bandwidth.
  • The uptime and speed of the host must be acceptable. I don’t expect extremely high numbers here but to expect average up time. Several hosts (fatCow in particular) I have had problems with uptime.
  • Ease of use of the host must be such that my VA can easily build the PBN site (sorry IXWebHosting but you take too much work to set up WordPress!)

Done for You Option

As you will find out properly hosting PBN sites can be a massive pain! Even with quality shared hosts there is a lot of effort that needs to go into keeping sites up and running.

My team can take care of this headache with our Done For You PBN Creation and Management.

Want My Team to Build You A PBN?

Although I provide everything you need to build your own PBN in this detailed guide I know some of you will be looking for a more efficient use of your time!

  • 100% Done For You
  • Indexation Guaranteed!
  • Access to Better Domains & Hosting
  • Remarkably cost competitive compared to building it yourself
  • 75% of Customers see a 40% ranking improvement in month 1!

Easiest Option - New Generation of Class A Diversity Hosting

Although this isn’t the best PBN hosting option (multiple shared hosts is the best PBN hosting option) for the purposes of this post it is the best option for someone looking to build and manage a PBN on their own efficiently.

BulkBuyHosting – Currently the best push button PBN hosting option!

EBN takes the concept of of a centralized dashboard connecting multiple popular hosting accounts and connects them seamlessly!

Benefits of BulkBuy Hosting

  • Popular hosting providers used (GoDaddy, BlueHost etc)
  • One click wordpress setup
  • Automatic updates
  • Uptime monitoring
  • Network organizing for larger PBNs
  • Ongoing Indexation Check
  • Ongoing Metric Checks

All in one dashboard…

  • Signup at EBN – Here
  • Click “New” and enter blog details
  • Go to your registrar and change your DNS as instructed.
  • Login directly with one click from your dashboard and complete the customization of your site. This hosting option is not quite as good as having your own shared hosting accounts to spread your sites across but it is a very close second!

Done for You Service

Again my team produces some pretty incredible sites and would be happy to produce sites for you.

If you are interested in a complete done for you solution from start to finish for a PBN then have a look at my offer here.

Want My Team to Build You A PBN?

Although I provide everything you need to build your own PBN in this detailed guide I know some of you will be looking for a more efficient use of your time!

  • 100% Done For You
  • Indexation Guaranteed!
  • Access to Better Domains & Hosting
  • Remarkably cost competitive compared to building it yourself
  • 75% of Customers see a 40% ranking improvement in month 1!

Create Decent Quality Content Inexpensively

One of the most difficult parts about building a PBN site is getting quality articles created inexpensively.

This process is NOT easy and as you scale it is one of the most difficult things to do at scale.

Right not my business can be producing as many as 700 articles! Continuing to deliver quality at this scale is very difficult.

We refuse to use spun articles and try to strike a balance between quality, cost and quantity.

Here is the strategy I first shared in my Quality Cheap Articles post that still remains valid.

This strategy hadnever been shared before and I had reservations about revealing this part of my process for getting articles written since I know it will likely be copied. But, I made a commitment with this site that I would be 100% transparent so in the name of that here is my step by step process for creating quality articles.

I use UpWork for almost all my hiring needs. The benefit of UpWork that I love is that you can easily assign a team manager to take care of hiring/firing/supervising tasks. I simply set up a process, teach a team manager it and then let them run with it while I monitor.

Over the last 8 years me and my team managers have paid for over 66,000 hours of work and worked with 1,404 contractors!

Every time I check these numbers scare me! Huge!

Only $50k (I Wish!)

In UpWork I have a team created called my “Content Creation” team and it is managed by one of my project managers.

The system works like this…

Identify Articles to Be Created

I have a few different simple Google Document spreadsheets for my various projects with a typical list of…

  • Website
  • Title(target keyword)
  • Type of content (500, 750 or 1,000 word blog posts)
  • Link to eventual Google document of the article (for when the article is created)
  • Link to published URL (either on my site or another page online)

These details are all added directly into my  

Post a Job on ODesk

The job on ODesk doesn’t have to be anything special. The key to hiring good writers is understanding what they are looking for and providing it. My ideal writer is looking for an opportunity to get 5* feedback and steady work. I am looking for someone who is…

  • A Native English Speaker (USA, Canada, Great Britain, Australia)
  • Has writing experience
  • College educated
  • Newer to UPWork and looking for experience/exposure•
  • Returning to the workforce and hungry to prove themselves

These qualities typically reflect themselves in a stay at home mom returning to the workforce or recent college graduates who is looking to get experience.

Here is my article writing job posting I like to use…

I have a quick 10 article writing job if you are interested in getting some 5* feedback on your ODesk profile and potential long term work.

I will provide you with the article titles and would like you to research them and then write 500 word articles

– Native English
– Interested in completing this job quickly for the fixed bid amount and receiving 5* feedback
– interested in potential longer term writing assignment after the successful completion of this job
– Bid at or below the $30 for 10 articles

Hire 2 Writers for Each Group of Keywords

No need to interview since there is very little you can learn to better inform your decision. By not interviewing you take on 2 risks…

  • Writer is not serious and does not complete the work – However, I don’t believe interviewing would reduce this risk and the consequence of not getting your articles is minor since you are hiring 2 writers for each group of keywords.
  • You receive of sub-par quality content – Again, this risk is minor since you have 2 writers working for each group of articles and if the content is decent(which it almost always is)

Many people will disagree with me on this but hiring them right away without an interview saves me and my team a lot of time!

My 2 Reasons for Hiring 2 Writers for Each Group of Keywords:

  • Timing – Some percentage (around 25%) of writers will not follow through on the contract so by having 2 writers I will have a high chance that articles will be ready for the site when I am ready for them.
  • Quality – Sometimes even when I hire my ideal candidate the quality of content is lower than I want on my main site. So by having 2 writers I have 2 articles to choose from on what to post.

Since my PBNs I am creating are relevant PBNs if I end up with too many articles I can easily use the articles on another site with an adjusted title.

Send Them a Message with Instructions

Here are the instructions I send via UPWorkas soon as my team manager hires them, this email is nothing special but lays out what deliverables are expected and when they are expected. A great podcast if you are interested in running an efficient team is Manager Tools who teach the basic principle of project management is defining “who is doing what by when”.

One change I made to this template that improved the number of writers that completed their articles was asking for a small action right away “email me confirming you have received and understand these instructions”.

Welcome to the team. I really look forward to working with you!

My name is _____ and I am the team lead here, please email at _______ to confirm you have received this email right away.

If you ever have any questions or concerns you can get in touch with Jon the owner at _______

Here are the 10 articles each article needs to be 500+ words and 100% unique…

Title 1

Title 2

Title 10

Following the general instructions provided at the link below (specifically section 4)

Please send all articles in individual .doc form to the emails above.

Hopefully you can complete all 10 in 1 week, 5* feedback and more work will follow.

If you have any questions please contact me.

Thanks and I look forward to speaking with you more.

_______ (Team Lead)

Receive, Review & Upload Articles

Once the articles have been received they should be checked for the following…

  • Quality – Review the article to see if it is good enough to go onto the PBN. A tool that can quickly help improve the quality of an article is Grammarly.

My Content Creation Manager then uploads each article once it has been improved with Grammarly to a dropbox folder for my website creation team to pick up and publish.

In addition to uploading to the dropbox folder my Content Creation Manager updates the .

How many Articles? This question has no perfect answer but my belief is that a site with less than 5 articles looks suspicious. For that reason and with unfortunately very little data to back it up I have decided that each site will have around 4-7 articles and we vary this for each client with our Done For You Service.

Build a Great Looking PBN Site That Can Pass a Manual Review!

Question 1 – Do I use WordPress for all my PBN sites? My golden rule is whenever faced with a question ask myself if I believe this setup would be naturally occurring in Google and therefore nothing statistically significant sticking out. Based on asking this question do I think it is reasonable that another 5, 10 or 20 sites all running wordpress could link to the target Money Site? My believe is that yes as long as there is some other form of promotion occurring than having all the PBN sites be running wordpress is very low risk.

Question 2 – Do I block backlink Spiders to hide the PBN? I strongly disagree with a lot of people online about this one! My argument is simple, lets run through a simple mental experiment…

  • Q - What type of sites install lines of code that tell Backlink Crawlers(Like Moz, AHrefs, Majestic) to not index their sites and their links?
  • A – PBN sites or other shadier sites that all have something to hide from someone including Google.
  • Q – Is the code that was entered to tell the crawlers not to index the links visible to Google?
  • A – Yes
  • Q – Given that only shady sites enter a few specific lines of code visible to Google does it make sense that Google could look for this code as an initial indication of a potentially suspicious site?
  • A – Absolutely! And the reason I recommend against it in 95% of the situations.

There are a few exceptions… when the risk of being detected by competitors is higher than the risk of being detected by Google it makes sense to use these plugins.

To keep it simple if you believe there is a higher than 10% chance that one of your competitors is cut-throat enough they will be reverse engineering your link profile and reporting you than you should consider hiding your network.


This entire setup process is made easier with EasyBlogNetworks but has remained very similar over the years and proven itself with my de-indexation rate of under 10% ever!

Some of these plugins are now defunct but there are many similar options.

Change general settings

  • Title, tagline and description similar to old site but should not be the exact same (we dont want to be mistaken as the same as the old website ( (WayBack Machine Alternative)

Change Permalinks

  • Vary which setting you choose and sometimes use the custom structure /%postname%/ or other variation you choose. NEVER use the default


  • Unselect the email me when someone leaves a comment option

Install Theme

  • Install a different free good looking theme everytime and make changes to them options as required. Pick a theme that doesn’t require a lot of modifications.

AntiSpam Plugin

  • Vary which plugin is installed on each site, use one of the following

Link Checker

No Follow No Index

Create Email & Forward to [email protected]

  • Vary – Info, admin, administrator, webmaster
  • Following the Domain Registration process above you can use the same email as the WhoIs for a perfect setup.

Create a Contact Form (no follow & no index it)

Privacy Policy Page (no follow & no index it)

Install a related post plugin

Install a Social Share Button/Bar etc

Install one social sharing button plugin


Speed Up Website


404 to 301 redirects

Remove Old Content

  • Remove hello world and sample page

Add Content

  • From follow the link to the created content in the dropbox folder
  • Publish 5 articles immediately
  • Confirm title is relevant
  • Include the more tag around ~75% of the time
  • Include an image (~25%-~75% of the time)
  • Include a video from YouTube (~25%-~75% of the time)
  • Ensure there are subheadings
  • Ensure there are bullet points
  • Ensure tags are used – vary the number
  • Select 1 category
  • Complete SEO plugin settings
  • Link to 1 or more posts on the site
  • Link to 1 or more relevant authority sites
  • Do not link to money site in the first articles Schedule the remaining articles at 1 month intervals
  • Follow the above checklist
  • Link to the money site on the specified articles based on the – include the link above the more tag ~50% of the time

Finish the Layout

Modify Graphics

  • Make sure any graphics on the page (slider) etc are relevant
  • Include a custom logo on the sites

Widget Area – HomePage Description

  • Ensure somewhere in the sidebar there is text with a description of the site that is similar (BUT NOT THE SAME) as the original site

Mirror the original layout

  • If the original layout had a left or right sidebar match it

Widget Area (vary the layout with each site)

  • Links widget to relevant authority sites (not the money site)!
  • Video Widget – relevant video
  • News RSS widget
  • Custom Menu
  • Blogroll – link to other similar blogs if applicable
  • Ad – include the image of a relevant Ad and link to the home site – do not monetize with my affiliate links

Final Review – Does the site look/feel “real”? – If Yes done

Here is the exact training I originally created to train my team on how to make the most of the PBNs for our clients!

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 section 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”

Jon Gillham

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 of Part 4 – How to Most Effectively use a PBN

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

  • 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 (and shared above in this Ultimate Guide to Building a PBN)
  • 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!


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 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…

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 “” (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…

How to Keep Your Congregation Warm in Winter – Expert Jim Shares His Heating Tips

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.

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 ( I link to a few sites regularly including and 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!

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 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.

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

With this case study I will build a HVAC $ Website and use both my 301 building block (Part 1&Part 2) strategy and a 5 site PBN to demonstrate how it works.

I obviously expect that this site will be reported and will be de-indexed eventually but I accept that and will use it simply as a demonstration PBN.

    Final Result – PBN Example

    This PBN example would be perfect for a HVAC small business or Amazon Affiliate Site promoting HVAC or Furnace Products. 

    How Much Did This Cost?

    ​Building a quality PBN is not easy! However following this guide will result in a quality PBN being built.

    $ 532.95 Initial Cost to Build a 5 Site PBN
    $ 37.75 Monthly Cost of a 5 Site PBN

    Want My Team to Build You A PBN?

    Although I provide everything you need to build your own PBN in this detailed guide I know some of you will be looking for a more efficient use of your time!

    • 100% Done For You
    • Indexation Guaranteed!
    • Access to Better Domains & Hosting
    • Remarkably cost competitive compared to building it yourself
    • 75% of Customers see a 40% ranking improvement in month 1!


    • Page Authority (PA)
    • Domain Authority (DA)
    • Citation Flow (CF)
    • Trust Flow (TF)
    • Linking Root Domains (LRD)
    • Page Rank (PR)
    • MozRank
    • Private Blog Network (PBN)
    • Expired Domains
    • TLD
    • 301 Redirect
    • Class A vs B vs C IP Address
    • Outbound Links (OBL)
    • Network Saturation

    PBN Questions

    How Many Outbound Links Should a Site Have and How Many Money Sites Can I Link To?

    Does Directly 301 Redirecting an Expired Domain to your Money Site Work?

    Will a PBN Help Rank an Amazon FBA Product Page?

    What are the other hosting options?

    Where to Find and Buy Domains for a PBN?

    http vs https for PBN

    Should we add Social Signals to a PBN?

    Do I need to do anything for an expired domain that is deindexed when purchased to get it reindexed?

    Should we build links to a PBN site?

    Do I need different A B C or D class IPs for my PBN?

    What is the #1 Metric You Look For in PBN Domains?

    How big a PBN do I need to rank #1?

    About the Author Jon

    I am a 36 year old husband, father of 3, 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 AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
    Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

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