The biggest problem I am facing right now is that after building a PBN, I have no clue what to do next. How many links can I send to my money sites? How long should I wait before linking and how to test if my PBN is safe and not “toxic?”
What should I do? – Michael
This topic was supposed to be the last in the private blog network guide series, but I have realized that many people have a similar problem.
A lot of PBN owners do not know how to use a their network correctly after creating one, which led to poor performance and even worse, deindexing of individual sites or whole networks.
By adhering to the best PBN practices, you can minimize the risk of deindexing, keep your network safe while getting the best possible results in return. We are starting off with basic linking out guidelines and ending up with one of the most important thing to do with your new PBN, and that's testing.
Linking out to your money site
This is the main reason why we built our PBN in a first place, to link out to our money site and pass the link juice and authority from the blog network domain to our money (Main) website.
How many times do you link to your money site from each PBN domain?
I stumbled upon this question in Proper PBN Group recently.
The main question here is, are there any diminishing returns when you link out to the same money site multiple times from a single PBN? It looks something like this:
This is a typical situation for larger money sites with many products/services or serving multiple states or cities.
Google introduced an update to its algorithm several years back that diminishes the power of multiple inbound links if they are coming from the same domain.
Now, it does not mean that you cannot link multiple from a single PBN site, just have in mind that you will get diminished power and I do not recommend that you go with more than 2-3 links to the same money pages from a single PBN domain.
Number of All Outbound Links
The more outbound link a site has, the less “link juice” it passes. Think of it as pie where every link is a slice. If you have more outbound links, each slice gets smaller.
If you have only one outbound link, that link gets 100% of the link juice.
Two links get 50% each. Ten links get 10% each.
Or is it?
I have tested this theory in practice, and it is not really written in stone. But in general, the more outgoing links you have, the weaker they get.
It means that you should try to limit the amount of outgoing links to your money sites and authority sites across the board.
I have found that a good practice is to limit the amount of outgoing links to less than 15.
Should I No-Follow Authority Outbound Links?
In most cases, I do not no-follow links if it’s a trusted source like Wikipedia or edu/gov source. If it’s another blog or a small website, I will no-follow it. This is why Google implemented this feature, so you can say “I trust this source” or “I can’t be 100% sure if this is true”.
How to find spot on anchor text ratio for your niche
There is no general sweet spot like 50% keyword anchor, 20% branded and 10% misc.
Instead, for every niche, you need to check the first three to five websites on SERP, determine their anchor ratio and get the average for that particular niche.
For this purpose, I use ahrefs since it gives a lot more referring domain results than Majestic.
Let’s say we go with the keyword “best gaming laptop”, this is how it looks:
Sorry about the accent 😀
If you want to read more about this, Matt Diggity explained this subject very well in this post.
Anchor Text Guidelines
Anchor texts are likely the most important thing when linking out. In many cases, anchors are also the cause of being "stuck" on page two or three. Let's see some important guidelines regarding anchor texts.
Never use the same anchor multiple times
It just doesn’t make sense that two blogs will link out with the exact same anchor text. It makes it very unnatural, mix it up. From our gaming laptop example if the keyword is “best gaming laptop” you can make tons of anchor variations and still have the core keyword. Some examples:
· Is this the best gaming laptop?
· I found the best gaming laptop
· This is the best gaming laptop
· Asus XX is the best gaming laptop
It is important that you do not go overboard with your exact anchor text even if you append text. You should use synonym words as much as possible.
Use LSI (Synonym) Keywords
Google is very good at recognizing synonyms these days. You should use LSI keywords when linking out to your money site to make everything more natural.
Google gives you the idea what it considers a good match or related synonym for your target keywords.
Take a look at this screenshot.
In this example, “Best video game laptop” is the LSI Keyword of “Best gaming laptop.” You can recognize Google synonyms if the text is bolded.
Try to diversify and fit an appropriate anchor in your text, don’t try to force the exact keyword in. Which brings us to the next point.
Many people try to force a keyword in a sentence. It makes it very bot-like, and it’s obvious that it’s there for nothing more than SEO purpose.
Most SEOs think that you need to use a keyword “as is” to get the best result.
You can see a lot of these examples in local niches where the keyword is for example “roofing Atlanta”.
Google is good at reading at sentence level and if you use anchors such as “roofing in Atlanta” and “Atlanta Roofing company” it knows what it’s all about and it will rank you higher for your “roofing Atlanta” along with all other related keywords as well.
Never change existing anchors
Google implemented an anti-spam algorithm almost two years ago that scans for unnatural changes in the content and anchor text manipulation. While in some cases it works perfectly fine in some cases the new link is completely ignored by Google or devalued.
To prevent that, if you need to change existing anchors, add 50-100 words of text, image or a video along with that to justify the change.
Use Future Tense Anchors
If you are ranking for the keyword "best laptop 2016" it makes sense that you want to rank for 2017 as well. You can use anchor texts containing word "2017" to rank for future keywords. A good time to start linking with next year anchors would be November - December.
James Dooley suggested this idea to me and he wrote a blog post about future tense anchors too. Make sure to read that as well.
How to test your PBN sites for positive push
It’s very important that you test your PBN websites for the positive push before using your network to link out to your money site.
By doing so, you are ensuring that your PBN is not "toxic" and that it will not hurt your money site rankings instead of boosting it.
Let's see how the process looks like:
Step 1: Choose a surrogate (3rd party) Website
This means that you will use some website in your niche that’s hanging on page 2 for quite some time and see if it moves up or down when you deploy a link from your PBN site over the next two weeks.
If it's ranking on 2nd page it usually means that it is in good standing with Google but lacking the power to break to page one.
For this purpose, I will go with the domain toptengamer.com, its one of many gaming related blogs.
Step 2: Analyze the domain with Ahrefs or SEMRush
I use ahrefs for this purpose but semrush will work just fine. The process is similar.
- Put your selected domain in site explorer and click "explore"
- Go to top pages section
- Filter by position from 11 to 19 (2nd page)
- Select a suitable keyword. (I usually go with some non-commercial keyword that doesn't have many searches.)
Next, check the backlinks of this particular page and see if it has a link with that anchor (g3258 gaming in this case)
Confirm that this page has no exact match anchor sent to it and that there are no authority sites linking to it. (If the authority site doesn't rank this page, neither will your PBN).
If everything checks out, you can proceed and create the link on your PBN site.
Step 3: Creating the Link
Go ahead and create the link on your PBN website. Grab a 300-600 word article that is related to the topic or keyword that you are trying to rank. In this case, it would be something "Pentium g3258 gaming benchmarks for 2016".
Use the exact anchor text and link out to the page we found in step 2. Make sure to add some images or videos to pass spam filters.
Plug your keywords and URL in any rank tracker and wait.
Step 4: Check the Results
Make sure to wait at least 7-14 days after creating the link. Check your rank tracker and see if there is any movement.
If your website drops in ranking, wait another 10 days (to eliminate the possibility of Google Dance), remove the link and if it returns to normal, do another test and if same thing happens, consider removing this domain from your network.
If you get a positive push like in the image below, it means that your PBN is rock solid and it can be added to your network .
Somehow the worst of the three results, its the neutral result, when nothing really happens. In that case you either selected a bad surrogate site or keyword, or your PBN can't make a dent in this niche.
In this case, I suggest that you run another test and if the same thing happens your PBN is most likely too "weak" for this type of niche or competition.
Test it in some easier niche with a long tail keyword and see what happens.
Hope this video guide helps.
What are your best practices for using the blog network sites? Let me know if the comment section below 🙂
Be the first to know when we release new guides
Stay up to date with Google algorithm changes, and be the first one to know as soon as we release new guides, updates, and SEO test results.