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How effective is a Private Blog Network – Actual Results Revealed


For all my talk about the effectiveness of expired domains and private blog networks there is little in the way of quantifiable proof showing just how effective it is.

Not just if it is effective but by how much can a private blog network improve your search engine rankings?

I will break this post into 2 parts…

  • Part 1 – By the numbers – We will deep dive looking at the search ranking movement of 13 sites who all had quality private blog networks built linking to them using this service.

NOTE March 31 – This private blog network service is now OPEN – There are a limited number of spots in order to ensure quality

  • Part 2 – Other Peoples Results – Results of expired domains / private blog network as shared by other people online, some of which has been shared on this site before but some new information as well. Including an impressive $6k/month amazon affiliate site!

Obviously I am a little biased in this discussion so I will do my best to let the numbers speak for themselves and accurately capture other people’s comments.

When I am talking about private blog networks I am talking about PRIVATE blog networks not ones that are shared with other people.

Part 1 – By the Numbers – Effectiveness of Private Blog Networks – Based On 13 Customers Results

This is where this post gets fun! I now have enough data to be able to answer some important questions with reasonable accuracy. I am not at 99% statistical certainty but using some common sense and the numbers I think the answers to the key questions become pretty clear…

I have come up with the answers to the questions below based on the dozens of networks I have built and the 13 money sites I have been able to track their ranking on (not all clients choose to share their money site and keywords).

When I am talking about a Private Blog Network here I am referring to the service my team offers to find, buy, create content, build, host and manage 5 relevant authoritative expired domain names to promote one(or more) money sites – done for you PBN service.

 5-relevant-expired-domains-network

Have Your Own Relevant Authoritative Private Blog Network Built Here

The data is from 13 clients who shared their money site with me and the keywords they were targeting. Using the tools

I analyzed the sites and their results to see what works and what didn’t.

PBN-Results-1

Overall Summary of Results for 13 Money Sites with PBNs Built to Them

The questions I was wanting to be able to answer were the following…

  1. How effective is a private blog network? How often is it effective?
  2. When is a private blog network most effective?
  3. When does a private blog network not work?
  4. How long does it take for a blog network to work?
  5. How many sites does it take? Are more sites more effective?
  6. Can you be penalized for using a private blog network?

How effective is a private blog network? How often is it effective?

From the numbers 75% of sites that get a private blog network will improve their rankings in 1 month. Eliminating the 1 outlier who had a Google Penalty applied to it the average increase was a 40% increase.

75% of sites saw improved rankings with the average increase being 40% better rankings!

75% of sites saw an increase with the average increase being 40%!

75% of sites saw an increase with the average increase being 40%!

When is a private blog network the most effective?

These results were surprising! I thought that a low KC and a quality site(judged by me doing a human review) would be the most closely correlated to the amount the blog network helped the site.

But the results are clear, the biggest sign that a blog network will perform well is having good on page SEO of the money site.

So the stats show that a private blog network will help 75% of sites rank higher but sites that have good on page SEO will see the biggest benefit.

More telling is that sites with bad on page SEO should not waste their time building a private blog network.

Highest Correlation For PBN Effectiveness was On-Page SEO SCore

Highest Correlation For PBN Effectiveness was On-Page SEO SCore

To improve your on page SEO there are a couple guides to follow.

  • The classic Yoast Guide here and plugin here
  • NoHatSEO recently published a great post on on page SEO here 

When does a private blog network not work?

I really thought the reason for a PBN not working would be the quality(as judged by me doing a manual review) of the money site but that showed almost no correlation to improved rankings.

Based on the sample we have a PBN will not work in 2 cases…

  1. The on page SEO is bad (2 instances)
  2. An unrelated Google penalty strikes at the same time (1 instance)

So the bottom line here is that if your on page SEO is in the dumps improve it before considering building a powerful private blog network.

If your on page SEO is solid B or higher based on the free tool at http://www.quicksprout.com/(free) or http://www.woorank.com (paid) then there is a good chance that a PBN will result in increased rankings.

The other potential scenario is that the ongoing Google updates had a on-page SEO update which impacted the 2 sites shown below.

3 Cases Where SERP Was Lower 1 Month After PBN Was Built

3 Cases Where SERP Was Lower 1 Month After PBN Was Built

How long does it take for a blog network to work?

The short answer is it does not take long at all. The increase in the rankings seemed to be almost immediate then stabilized off after the last site was built.

Many ranking profiles looked like the image below…

Timeline of PBN Sites Being Built vs Search Ranking

Timeline of PBN Sites Being Built vs Search Ranking

How many sites does it take? Are more sites more effective?

5 sites is clearly effective however the most impressive graph turning around a steep downward trend and bouncing back to exceed its previous rankings had the most sites built as part of the PBN.

I do not have enough data to answer this question accurately at this point though, eventually I will.

PBN-Results-2

Can I be penalized for using a private blog network?

The answer is most definitely you can! Every business venture involves risk and to me building real websites with quality content and no footprint is the lowest risk link building strategy you can own/control.

With one site getting penalized it is impossible to say exactly why. However, based on the backlink profile and some of the previous basic black hat link building he had done I believe it was that which bit him.

Can a PBN allow me to recover from a Penguin Penalty?

I have 2 sites which appeared to have/had a penalty applied to them.

One site was recently penalized we believe due to some blackhat tactics and the recovery did not go well for it -770% drop in rankings (ouch).

While on a more positive note, 1 site that was clearly slipping in Google got turned around while the PBN sites were being built…

PBN-Results-2

However, this is only one example and I don’t want to claim it would work in every case!

Part 2 – Effectiveness of Expired Domains/Private Blog Network – Based On Other Peoples Comments

Back in the summer I shared the 3 case studies that used expired domains to get great results in Google.

I share them again here along with some other people opinion on the effectiveness of a private blog network / expired domains…

#1 – Tung Tran from CloudLivingJourney.com has his niche site bestadjustabledumbbells.com ranking # 1after only 38 days and went on to sell it for $10k. He talks about his impressive results and all the strategies he used. One item that a lot of people would miss is the expired domain he picked up to generate a high PR backlink for his site.

See the image below showing where he describes how he used his expired domain…

Jon Comment

#2 Spencer Haws from NichePursuits.com had his website BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com ranking #1 in Google for his target keyword after 62 days! He has also used expired domains to trade links and get high PR relevant links from sites in his niche.

Trade Links

 Spenser

#3 – Myself -My case study Site, (My Case Study Website URL is Now Hidden), generated over $3k/month from search engine traffic and has been promoted using expired domains. I have wrote about how I use these only a little bit twice…

Secret SEO

Source

Feeder Site

Source

In addition to the above 3 there are two more publicly shared successful case studies…

  • EmpireFlippers Using Expired Domains found using this service

EmpireFlippers-Icon

2 Minute Segment from Justin and Joe talking about my Ultimate Expired Domain Guide

Listen to the full episode here

The earnings have continued to increase to their content hub site using the expired domain for the Empire Flippers.

  • Doug at NicheSiteProject – $6k/month Amazon Site!

Doug’s story is definitely worth a read and although he doesn’t talk about it much expired domains played a small piece in his sites massive success! $6k/month from 1 amazon site – his 2013 earnings

Summary – How and when is a Private Blog Network Effective?

Both from my findings and the anecdotal feedback from others I am confident in my summary…

  • 75% of all sites that built a private blog network saw improved rankings
  • The % increase in rankings was on average 40% better (example a site currently ranked 15 will improve to Rank 9 on average)
  • Results are immediate and sustained
  • A private blog network cannot overcome bad on page SEO
  • Decent or better on page SEO is the key to making the most of the private blog network
  • The authority (link metrics) of the domains in the private blog network is correlated with the amount of improvement in SERPs.

If you are considering a private blog network first make sure you have your on page SEO in decent shape and then either build one yourself (following my tutorial here) or let my team help you with my done for you private blog network service.

NOTE Jan 12 – This private blog network service is now Closed – There are a limited number of spots in order to ensure quality – Get notified and receive a discount when it re-opens

About the Author Jon

I am a 33 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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