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Constantly Improving Our Systems – Spamzilla

With every business I operate, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our systems and either make them more efficient or to provide better results. This is no different when it comes to our LightningRank services. For each Lightningrank service, we rely on expired domain tools to help us fulfill our services, and in the past, we have used Register Compass, but more recently we have switched to Spamzilla.

RegisterCompass was great over the years but it’s more expensive and I find the usability of the program to be a bit harder. When taking a 3 hours period, with Register Compass we would find about 5-6 quality domains, however with Spamzilla since we have started using it, we have been able to find double that amount in the same time period on average.

We have been using this tool for just under a month and since then our team has loved it and has been able to be more productive with it, so we wanted to show you some of the cool features that go along with it. If you are interested in building out your own PBN or having us do it, using our improved system, you can take a look at this case study we did a few weeks ago.

Variety of filters to choose from

The filter section is great. It allows you to customize exactly what you are looking for down to the Topical Trust Flow you are looking for. Another feature I really like is that you are able to select the anchor text language, which helps to quickly eliminate thousands of spammy domains.

If you have a particular set of filters you like, you can also save the preset so it’s quickly usable the next time you go to find domains as well.

Usability of the Dashboard

Once you are searching for domains, the look and feel of the dashboard is very user friendly. You can quickly see the Topical Trust Flow categories under the Maj Topics heading which allows you to easily look for domains that are in the niche you are looking for.

You also have the ability to click on the number in the TF column and it will bring up the MajesticSEO screen where you can dig deeper and look at the backlinks. The one thing I don’t like is that you can’t move the headings and arrange them the way you want them to be arranged, but it’s pretty easy read the headings that it’s not a big deal.

If you are looking for domains for either building out private blog networks or you are looking for a money site domain, this tool is a fantastic tool to have and it comes at the fraction of some of the other tools in the space.

PBNs in 2019 – Do they still work? Rankings to Show

I always get emails from potential clients asking about PBNs and whether or not they still work in today's day and age. The last time I did one of these updates was back in 2017, which you can find here. However,  I decided to do a little test with one of my sites to see how it reacts to PBNs in 2019. During this test, I decided to try and improve 6 keywords by pointing 1 PBN link to each. Below are the results, most of the results were positive however there are a few that had little improvement. This could be due to competitiveness of the niche or that it may need a little more time to pass the link juice onto that keyword.

Keyword #1: This keyword was stuck around the  38-40 rank but within 2 months of the PBN link being live, it bumped up to #7.

Keyword #2: This keyword lost its rankings back in October, where it fluctuated between 55-60. I wanted to try and bring it back to life as it was a high volume keyword. The link went live on Feb 20th so less then a month later it popped back up in the charts at 48. I am hopeful that after a few more weeks it will move a little more.

Keyword #3: This keyword is one where it either may need a bit of time or it may need more links in order to help it move more in the rankings. The PBN link was added Jan 5th, it did drop its rankings in October and the link seemed to help it gain back its rankings. Hopefully in a few more weeks it will move a bit more.

Keyword #4: This keyword was consistently sitting at 5 in Google for a long time. After getting a PBN posted on Jan 3rd, the keyword took a bit of a ranking hit but soon increased its rankings and is now sitting at 1 for a keyword with a volume of 2K/month and is a buyer intent keyword as well.

Keyword #5: This keyword was sitting at 4 for a while. After the link was posted, the keyword lost its rankings completely, however about a week later the ranking came back and within 2 months, the keyword bumped up to #1.

Keyword #6: This PBN link was posted on Jan 10th, it initially had some good traction and climbed to 29th but then dropped to 32. It would of been nice for it to stay up but it is ranking higher than it was prior to the link, so although not a huge push, it still moved a bit.

Frequently Asked Questions on PBNs

What is a PBN link?

PBN (private blog network) are sites that are built up with the intent to link to your site. We find expired domains that still have quality links pointing to them, build a similar website on the expired domain and link to your money site. The end result is you can create network of high authority and relevant sites linking back to your money site and increasing its rankings in Google.

How do you get PBN links?

There are two approaches you can take when building PBN links. One is to create your own sites, which I have created a how to guide here. The other is to use services such as LightningRank who will do everything for you.

How many PBN links do I need?

This is a very hard thing to judge as there are so many factors that are involved in the process. What we usually like to do is look at a few similar sites that are ranking higher for a particular keyword and look at how many links are pointing to that page in Majestic. If there are 10 links but 7 of them are very low quality (ie TF<10 and CF<10) we do not count them. So we would only count 3. Meaning we believe that we would roughly need about 3 links to rank that keyword similar to that site.

How risky is it to use PBNs?

Just like any links on the internet, there are risks associated with using PBN links. You must decide if the risk is worth it to see if you can improve your rankings. We do keep up with Google algorithms and make changes to our process so that we keep up with building sites that are able to mostly withstand Google.

How to Quickly Analyze Backlinks before Buying a Website or Expired Domain

Whenever purchasing a website or an expired domain there are a lot of risks that need to be considered. One of the biggest is the exposure to a Google Penalty based on the sites backlink profile (penguin or manual un-natural link penalty).

In this article I will show you the 9 common kinds of backlink SPAM and how to quickly spot them.

For an even more in depth guide on performing due diligence before you purchase a website checkout https://www.motioninvest.com/buying-websites-for-sale/

With both my expired domain finding service and my recent focus on purchasing a couple of websites I have been deep diving into analyzing backlinks.

What is the Risk?

Several months ago I purchased a website which I knew had paid for a few links. I believe as a result of those links the site went from making close to $1,000 in the first month I purchased it(after making monetization changes) down to $250/month due to a penalty!

I was aware of the links and believed I priced the risk fairly into the purchase ($4k to buy the site)…unfortunately for me the site got hit pretty quickly after purchasing.

Analyze Backlinks before Buying a Website

What Happened When I Purchased a Website With a Few BAD Backlinks

The 9 Types of Backlink Spam

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.

PART 1 – 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
      • bedandbreakfastparksville.ca – 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.Un-Natural Anchor Text Density
      • naturesgoldspecialties.ca – This one is very obvious, 95% all with the same keyword – avoid!all with the same keyword
  • Obvious SPAM in Anchor Text
    • classic-purse.com – 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?Obvious SPAM in Anchor Text

PART 2 – LINK METRICS

  • 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)
    • bushybride.ca – 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.

mis-match with Trust Flow to citation Flow

  • 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!

Root to URL completely different

    • goteamintraining.com – Here the metrics on the Root Domain are ok but then the metrics at URL are non-existent!

metrics on the Root DomainVS…

metrics at URL

  • 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.
    • whoswhere.ca – 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.Concentration of Links on the TF
    • bedandbreakfastparksville.ca – 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. Large consentration

PART 3 – TYPE OF LINKS

  • Non-Relevant Link Pages/Directories/Blog Network Pages
    • legal-professionals.net (non-relevant links) – Non-relevant backlinks like the ones to this site provide no value.
    • trendier-diaper-bags.com (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!
    • nadafhospitality.com (directory) – Here is another example of too many low value link/directory pages.
    • howtotreatkidneystones.net (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.
    • kitchenexhaust.info (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.
    • theweddingdiamonds.info (non-relevant directories) – Again relevant directories and link pages can be natural however, low value directories as shown by these links are bad.
    • whoswhere.ca (Blog Network) – There is the famous quote from Judge Potter Stewart stating 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
    • allhandbags.info (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
    • fantastic-bags.com – 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.

Summary

Most of the instructions above are pretty obvious. The intent of this post with the videos was to hopefully show a nice effective way to quickly determine the quality of the backlinks pointing to a site. Using MajesticSEO daily is a huge time saver for me and I wanted to share some of the tricks I have learned analyzing thousands of domains and dozens of sites over the last few months.

What other tools do you use to analyze a sites backlink quality? Ahrefs? OpenSiteExplorer? other?

How to Check Backlinks of Domains

 

Over the last 8 years my team has been finding domains, buying domains and building PBN sites for both my own portfolio as well as clients. One of the most important parts in the whole process is finding quality domains that can give your PBN some power, and in turn give your money site some power.

 

Most people believe that just going based on metrics such as Domain Authority (DA), Page Authority (PA), Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF) are really the only things that matter when deming whether or not the domain is good. However most people forget that these expired domains were once used for something else and so checking the backlinks of the domain to ensure there isn’t anything spammy going on is very important and is often overlooked. You don’t want to put your money site at risk by getting links from a domain that has spammy links pointing to it because Google could penalize you for that.

 

Below, is a step by step guide on how you spot check the backlinks of the domains to ensure they were not once abused. For looking at the backlink profile, we always like to use Majestic as it is one of the more reliable tools that we have used.

 

Example of a Bad Domain

For this example, we are going to use the domain ablasor.com

 

As we can see in Majestic, it has a bit of TF and CF (although you want to try and get to as much of a 1:2 ratio as possible. If you can get a 1:1 that’s even better.

But there are two other places that need to be checked. The anchor text profile and the backlinks.

 

For the anchor text profile, you can see that their are not only spammy words being used but also foreign anchor text. This is a clear sign that this domain has been abused.

However, sometimes the Anchor Text appears to be normal and we would have to also check the backlinks to ensure there isn’t any foreign or spammy links.

As you scroll through the list of backlinks, first check to see if there are any unusual or foreign texts.

If there isn’t anything that stands out, click on a few links and open them up to see if there is anything suspicious that pops up. When we open up a few we get some pages that look like the below. This is a clear sign of spam.

Example of a Good Domain

In this example we are going to look at the domain platinumassetdiscovery.com

 

That domain has good TF and CF and has a pretty close ration of 1:1 which is a good start.

When looking at the anchor text profile of the domain, we can see that the anchor text words are relevant to what the domains topical trust flow is which is Society/law. There is also no spammy or foreign words.

When we go and look at the backlink profile we can see that they all look good and no foregin words are present.

When we open them up they go to sites that are relevant and not foreign content.

What’s Next?

 

After you have looked at the domain in Majestic.com, you then want to check it in archive.org and check a few different dates to see what the domain once was. Ensure that the domain wasn’t used in an inappropriate way or that it had foreign content on it.

 

Conclusion

I find that a lot of people miss a few of these steps which can be vital when looking at potential domains to link to your site. If you have any questions at all or need some further clarification on how to follow these steps please let me know!

 

Are PBNs Working in 2017 – Case Study and Test Results

So the big question…. ARE PBNs STILL WORKING IN 2017???

See the case study process and results below and how I generated 800 organic visitors in a day!

This post is a case study aimed at identifying the potential power of expired domains with actual traffic data and link metrics revealed.

Some of the results are pretty surprising…

PBNs have been a very controversial subject to talk about but have also been the most systematic way of ranking a website I have found.Continue reading

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