PBN Fox https://www.pbnfox.com Complete PBN Setup and Ranking Solution Mon, 05 Jun 2017 06:43:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 3 Ways to Generate Traffic to Your PBN https://www.pbnfox.com/generate-traffic-to-pbn/ https://www.pbnfox.com/generate-traffic-to-pbn/#comments Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:43:01 +0000 https://www.pbnfox.com/?p=26480 Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am Did you know that traffic can increase the power of your PBN more than any tier two link?I didn't believe it myself.Until I tested it and got these results Huge jumps after only two links from websites with traffic and engagement.Previously it took more than 10 links […]

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Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

Did you know that traffic can increase the power of your PBN more than any tier two link?

I didn't believe it myself.

Until I tested it and got these results

Huge jumps after only two links from websites with traffic and engagement.

Previously it took more than 10 links to get similar results in this niche. So it got me thinking, what if all my PBNs had traffic?

I have talked about the importance of traffic on Lion Zeal show and Matt Diggity mentioned it in his post about next-generation PBNs.

In this post I will go over three of my favorite methods of generating traffic to PBN websites, making them more powerful and long lasting.

Method #1 ...

Ranking Long Tail Keywords

Pretty straightforward method. You are going to take one long tail and create an even longer one with just a few dozen searches per month, which should make it easy for your site to rank without any links.

That’s the theory.

Let’s see how it works in practice…

Say you are in weight loss niche and your PBN is a more general Health themed website.

Step 1: Find a Target with Long Tail Keyword

This can be any authority or smaller website in your niche that’s ranking for a broader long tail term for example “weight loss after pregnancy”.

Step 2: Ahrefs/SEMRush your target

Go to “organic keywords” in Ahrefs or appropriate section in SEMRush and see for which terms this website currently ranks.

Ahrefs organic search showing long tail keywords

Step 3: Find a Really Long Long-Tail Keyword

Search for a long tail keyword that has the least competition and 10-150 searches/month on Ahrefs but SEMrush returns similar values. Have in mind that these searches generate a lot more than 150 visits.

Ahrefs keyword result with 150 searches

You can check on google if it has even longer keyword.

For this example, I have found “how much weight do you lose after giving birth to twins

Verify that there are no huge authority sites and magazines ranking with this title.

Note: This example is still too competitive but it gives you an idea.

Step 4: Build a High-Quality Article around that Long Tail

This is easy. Create and optimize the article pretty much like you would a money site page. Make sure that it’s better and longer than competing pages for this keyword.

Step 5: Increase Topical Relevancy (Optional)

If the niche is a bit more competitive you will need to increase the topical relevancy of this page. You can do so by creating supporting content around this subject and linking internally to the main page.


· Easier to create

· Long term traffic

· Search Traffic


· Takes some time to rank

· Can be hard for some niches

That's for search traffic, let's see how to get some social activity ...

Sharing on Facebook Groups and Pages

This method requires a bit of commitment from you or your VA.

You can create a persona or several of them and engage on relevant Facebook pages and groups in your niche.

Start by using Facebook Search to find niche relevant pages and groups.

facebook graph showing niche relevant pages and groups

After several questions/answers, you can post a link to a high quality article or content on your PBN site.

Here are some guidelines for this method.

Infographics work very well

People share Infographics all the time. You can get one on fiver for the price of a decent article, and if it is good enough, you can expect some shares too. Free social signals, what’s not to like.

Be active and contribute before linking out

It’s time-consuming but when you become a known member of the community, you can share pretty much anything. And posting on same pages/groups is not a footprint.

The article has to be High Quality

This goes without saying, you can’t expect to share crappy iWriter article on Facebook groups and get away with it. Write a good money site grade article, spend double on what you usually pay and it will return tenfold.

Don’t Rush it

Do not rush with linking out to your site, give it a few days for people to get to know you. Be human.


· Large amount of social traffic

· Clicks to your money site

· Potential Sales


· Becomes a huge issue to manage at scale (30-50+ sites)

· Requires a time investment

Answering on Q&A Sites

Q&A sites like quora.com or reddit.com are a great way to generate traffic to your PBN.

Much like Facebook method, it requires some time commitment so that your account is not flagged as spam.


A well-known Q&A website with huge amount of daily traffic.

Create an account and fill out your bio section. Make sure to use niche relevant "about me". People want answers from experts, not random people.

Prior to linking out to any websites, you need to “marinate” your account a bit. That means answering about 10 questions and getting at least a few followers and upvotes. You can link out to studies and news websites.

Here are some steps to follow:

1. Search for something in your niche

2. See what kind of questions people are asking

3. Create a High Quality blog post or infographic that answers one or several questions

4. Write an exceptional answer that really adds value (important) and link out to your article in the resources section. (Make sure to include few links to authority sites too)


Reddit is amazing. You can get tons of traffic but you have to be careful. If Quora was tough for you, Reddit is 5x tougher.

It has a karma system where you have to contribute by answering, upvoting and generally being active before you can do pretty much anything let along linking out to some shady sites.

The whole website is organized as a forum so instead of threads you have “subreddits”.

reddit search

The key here is to find subreddits with a lower amount of traffic and engagement. Those threads are usually less moderated, but you will still get some clicks and visits.

Similar to Quora, you will need a really good article (if not better) to get past Reddit moderation algorithm.

If you have Wayback content you can leverage the age and authority of the old website and get that in as an authority link.


  • Huge source of traffic
  • Clicks to PBN site and even sales on your money site
  • Link from Reddit 😉


· You need to “age” your account with dozen posts prior to linking out

· High Standards for answer quality

· High standards for content quality

· Difficult to manage at scale much link Facebook

Why not just use fake traffic?

I have tested this and somehow in both tests, fake traffic gave absolutely no results when compared to websites with real visits. It’s definitely something I will have to test further.


Having quality blog network sites with traffic proves to be one of the best methods to power up your network. You can still send Tier two links but without traffic, those links are unjustified and would most likely get you on Google’s radar.

Links need to be justified with social activity, and shares need to be justified with traffic.

I agree that sharing on Facebook and Q&A sites is a tiresome process, but after you figure it out you can write a proper documentation and outsource it to pretty much any VA with decent language skills.

Over to you

Have you ever attempted to send traffic to your blog network sites? What kind of results did you get? Feel free to comment and let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

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43 PBN Footprints Checklist and How to Avoid Them https://www.pbnfox.com/avoid-footprints/ https://www.pbnfox.com/avoid-footprints/#respond Thu, 29 Dec 2016 12:05:32 +0000 https://www.pbnfox.com/?p=26276 Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am In this post we will cover the most important Private Blog Network Footprints and how to avoid them. There are many more but I included most major ones along with some general guidelines at the end.  Contents: Registrar HostingSetup and Backend FootprintsDesign FootprintsContent And Linking Out FootprintsGeneral Footprints:ConclusionUseful […]

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Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

In this post we will cover the most important Private Blog Network Footprints and how to avoid them. There are many more but I included most major ones along with some general guidelines at the end. 

Bonus: Download a complete PBN Launch checklist, a system we use and follow for quality control of all sites created with our service.



Using One Registrar

It’s a huge footprint to use only Godaddy or namecheap for your entire network.

Solution: Mix it up, use this list of iCAN Accredited hosts and sign up for few dozen.

Who is Privacy on all domains

You should not use privacy on all your domain names. Real business sites use proper address and name.

Solution: Use privacy 10-20% max, and use fake name and address on others.

Same Who is Email providers

Do not use only Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo across all of your domains.

Solution: Use brand email (name @ yourdomain.com, contact@, info@, etc.)

Same Registration and Renewal Dates

It can be a major footprint to register a bunch of domains on the same day or even hour. One other thing is that if 100 of your sites expire within a week of each other, it can look very fishy.

Solution: Spread your registration over several days and register some of them for 2-4 years if the domains are good.

Using custom nameservers too much

Try not to use custom nameservers (ns1.domain.com ns2. Etc.).

Quick fix: Use default NS provided by your hosting company (us102.hostgator.com, ns1.digitalocean.com, etc.)

Same TLDs

It can easily become a footprint if you have 99% of your link profile from .com domains

Tip: Register net,org,tv,info and country TLDs like .co.uk (if you can) and so on.



SEO Hosting

Goes without saying that using SEO hosts is a no go these days. Not only that the IPs are spammed to death and in a bad neighborhood but you will suffer from insane downtime and 20 seconds load times.

Solution: Use Premium cPanel hosting or Easy Blog Networks.

I made a complete guide about pbn hosting Here.

IP Diversity

Having multiple sites within the same cluster is a clear indication of a blog network. You can learn about clustering and how to protect your PBNs while using the same IP in our first chapter.

Solution: Isolate or Cluster your network linking to the same money page. Or just buy more servers or IPs.

Server Location Diversity

Servers can be scattered all over the globe. If they are all in the same datacenter and state, it becomes a problem.

Solution: Invest in servers in US, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. US and EU will usually do the trick.

Using Same Hosting Company

Forget about using a single company for all your hosting needs. As much as we all love Godaddy (sarcasm), we can’t use only one host.

Tip: Download the List of all Premium Hosting Companies that we use and mix it up. EBN uses premium cloud platforms, so you are good to go if you sign up with them.

Cheap Hosting Companies

I know it’s tempting to use cheaper hosts, but they are in 95% of cases abysmal. Loading time is slow, they have huge downtime and crappy IPs.

Tip: Just don’t use them.

SOA Records

Some hosts show SOA records when performing DNS check. It’s usually information you used to sign up with the company. Having multiple sites with same SOA records is a major footprint.

Solution: Make sure that you change this info in your cPanel. 

Using Cloudflare to mask IPs

Back in the day you could host 1000 websites on a single Dedicated server and use CloudFlare to mask the IPs. It’s no longer viable although you can still use CF for other functions.

Solution: Don’t count on CloudFlare to mask your IP


Setup and Backend Footprints

Redirecting 404s

It was a common practice to redirect all 404 pages to home to preserve link juice. Now days it’s considered a quick way to deindex your PBN.

Solution: Recreate original URLs and put wayback content or write a new one if necessary. If you have to, redirect only the best 10% of pages to home.

Blocking bots and crawlers

Google can see if you are blocking crawlers like Majestic and Moz. Think about it, how many real websites do this kind of stuff? Not many.

Quick Fix: Don’t block crawlers unless you have to. If you do, make sure that you block only a few most important ones.

Plugin Diversity

What are the chances that 50 sites will have same plugins? Close to zero I bet. Note that this does not mean that you should not use W3 total cache or Yoast SEO. Those are widely used and are not a footprint on its own. It’s the combination and pattern of plugins that is.

Solution: Diversify Plugins with the same function (yoast, all in one SEO, squirly, etc) and add some that you don’t need, just for the sake of diversity.

Theme Diversity

Even though some frameworks are very popular (Elegant Themes, Genesis), you can’t rely on a single framework and theme to do the job on large networks. If you cluster carefully, you can easily use these two for a huge number of sites.

Tip: Grab some 3rd party theme from Themeforest or others. The more popular, the better.

Using the same author multiple times

This goes without saying. If you use the same author name and image on multiple sites, it’s a clear footprint.

Tip: Use different images and author names for every site.

Tracking or Affiliate IDs

If you use tracking IDs (Analytics and Affiliate Links), you need to make sure that they are unique. You can’t use a single Google Analytics account on all your sites. Same goes for affiliate links.

Tip: Sign up for a new account every time if you need Google analytics that much. Jetpack and Clicky can do the trick.

No contact form and legal pages

A clear sign of a low-quality web-page, and guess who hates low-quality stuff? A quick way to deindex is having a thin site with no contact form and legal pages.

Solution: Do it, it’s not that hard, and make sure they are nicely formatted.


Design Footprints

Bad Design

I’m a big advocate of good design for PBNs. If it looks good, it will pass manual review and visitors will have some kind of value if they ever visit your site, and they should.

Solution: Invest in making your PBNs look good

Design and Layout Pattern

Having 10 blogs with blue/red color scheme and same layout can quickly turn ugly if manual inspection visits your website.

Quick Fix: Take some time to diversify layout and look & feel.

Poor Silo-ing and Categorization

If you have 1 category (Tech) and 4 pages (about, contact, privacy, terms) it doesn’t scream authority, does it? Another clear sign of a thin website.

Tip: Create Multiple categories and subcategories along with pages (request a quote, testimonials, our clients, etc, etc.)

Too many homepage outbound links on all websites

Google pretty much hates homepage outbound links. You can get away with some but having 20-30 across your entire network is a quick way to penalize your main domain.

Tip: Use inner page linking on your best domains and limit OBL on your homepage.

Full posts on homepage across all sites

Few years ago, many blogs had full posts on homepage. These days it’s just plain ugly, and 99% of bloggers use a different layout. Try to avoid having 100% of your blogs with full homepage texts.

Tip: Use different layouts (Business, Magazine, Masonry, etc.)

Not enough Pages or Same Pages on multiple sites

Try to diversify legal page names as well, like About, About me, About us, About the author, etc. It is much more natural.

Tip: Add more than 4 legal pages. You can add events, our location, signup and so on.

Too many general and unrelated sites

Niche relevancy is not a big ranking factor (at the moment), but you still need to be somewhat in the niche to pass a manual review.

Tip: Avoid too many general type blogs. Go with a mix of general (City Portal), wide niche (Health) and narrow niche (Dentist).

No Social Profiles

Imagine a blog or a website without social following? Although you can get away without social profiles for some business layout pages, it is considered a good practice to create them no matter the niche.

Tip: Use IFTTT on some of your sites to automate and syndicate content.

No real authors

Have you ever seen a blog with author’s name being “Admin”? How bad is that?

Solution: Get a proper name, picture and social profile for your author.


Content And Linking Out Footprints

Using Spun and Duplicate Content

Spun and garbage content is your #1 enemy, after cheap hosting. Google detects and penalizes sites with spun content within few months.

Solution: Use handwritten content, you can grab a decent article for $4-5/500 words.

Every post links out to your money site

If you only link to your money pages without any filler content without or with links to authority sites, Google will quickly realize what it’s all about.

Solution: Post 1-3 filler articles with after each money site post.

Using only Wikipedia as an authority site

Wikipedia is not the only authority out there. It’s easy to uncover huge networks just by reverse engineering Wikipedia pages.

Tip: Get a list of other smaller blogs that are not your main competition and link out to them too.

No Internal Linking

Interlinking your pages and posts is a common blogging practice. If you do not do it, visitors will have less value, they will bounce from your site more often, and nothing good comes out of it.

Tip: Spend some time to interlink relevant posts and pages.

Same Post Length

“Every blog post has to have at least 500 words”. You heard that one before, right? Not really, a minimum amount of words for Google news is 250, and why should it be any different for us?

Tip: Mix it up with post length (250-1000 words)

Posting on the same day on multiple sites

10 bloggers decided to post AND link to your domain at the same time. How unlikely is that?

Solution: Use WordPress schedule feature to spread your posting date and time.

Interlinking PBN Websites

It’s common sense. Don’t do it.

Same Link Type

All PBN links are contextual do-follow links, period. If you want to avoid this footprint, try to mix some no-follow ones and some sidebar or nav-bar ones, just for the sake of diversity.

Not enough rich media

If there are no images or videos, your visitors won’t be happy and nor will Google bot.

Solution: Add 1+ images and occasionally some videos.


General Footprints

These are not directly related to footprints but still worth mentioning.

No traffic

Traffic is an indirect ranking signal. Although this is not a footprint, it’s still an indication of the quality of these sites to Google.

Tip: Try to rank some long tail keywords with good onpage and you will get some small traffic.

No social shares and interaction

You can’t have a social share without traffic. Don’t just blast 1000 social shares to your network if it doesn’t have any traffic.

Tip: Get initial traffic, then send a drip feed of social signals.

Broken CSS and Code

WordPress or some plugin updated and broke the code and CSS? It happens. It’s just a matter of fixing it and not leaving it for 6 months.

Solution: Do a weekly overview of all your websites and fix any errors.

Long Downtime

Closely related to hosting. Downtime can get your site deindexed, and if your network goes down at the same time, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it’s all connected.

Solution: Use premium hosting

No Value

This is the key. Your PBN doesn’t provide any value, and that is what Google is all about.

What is the purpose of this site? Is it to provide information, capture leads, to make a sale? If you can take a look at your site from a perspective of your visitors and think about it, does it provide any value? If the answer is Yes, you are good to go, if it is a No, you should invest some time to make it look good and to provide some usefulness to potential visitors. For example, our team now takes approximately 300% more time to finish a single site than 6 months ago. That't the level of detail you should aim for.


I hope that this list helped you prevent or fix issues on your network. If you invest just a bit of time and care into these sites they can even rank for long tail keywords, generate leads, make affiliate commissions and rank your main site along the way.

Useful Resources:

The Definitive PBN Guide - Our main hub containing all guides and resources (Management sheets, our favorite themes etc.) 

37 PBN Footprints Checklist by Daryl Rosser

​Cloud Income's Checklist by Lewis Ogden

Avoiding Hosting Footprints by Steve Rendell from PBN HQ

Let me know if you have suggestions or if I missed something that you think should be on this list. 

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PBN Best Practices – Anchor Texts, Testing and Linking Out https://www.pbnfox.com/best-practices/ https://www.pbnfox.com/best-practices/#comments Sun, 20 Nov 2016 12:54:11 +0000 https://www.pbnfox.com/?p=26043 Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am 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 […]

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Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

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. 

Let’s start:

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: 

diagram showing pbn link to multiple website deep urls

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.

Google serp showing synonyms or LSI keywords

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.

Write Naturally

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.

ahrefs export showing position 11-19

Click to enlarge the image

  • 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.)
ahrefs backlinks section

Click to enlarge the image

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).

ahrefs anchors and backlinks

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. 

Negative Result

​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. 

Positive Result

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 . 

positive result
Neutral Result

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. 

Your Turn

What are your best practices for using the blog network sites? Let me know if the comment section below 🙂



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How to Structure, Design and Setup your PBN Websites to Pass Manual Review https://www.pbnfox.com/pbn-design/ https://www.pbnfox.com/pbn-design/#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2016 18:10:56 +0000 https://www.pbnfox.com/?p=25874 Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am Back in 2012-2013 setting up your PBN meant slapping a free WP theme, spun article and your links. And it worked well. After that, in 2014-2015, after a mass deindex by Google everyone started taking more care of their sites which meant using premium themes, making some […]

The post How to Structure, Design and Setup your PBN Websites to Pass Manual Review appeared first on PBN Fox.

Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

Back in 2012-2013 setting up your PBN meant slapping a free WP theme, spun article and your links. And it worked well.

After that, in 2014-2015, after a mass deindex by Google everyone started taking more care of their sites which meant using premium themes, making some sort of logo and using handwritten instead of spun content. That worked well too, until everyone and their uncle started using PBNs.

In the year 2016 and most certainly in the upcoming year, you need to take care of your PBN just like you would a money site. 

Domains are a scarce commodity these days and the competition is growing every day. You can not afford to have your network deindexed and expect to recover within a month. 

In this post, we will go over how to make a good looking website and how to cover your backend and plugins to minimize footprints, maximize the power of your network and stay safe for years to come.

How to Structure, Design and Setup your PBN Websites to Pass Manual Review

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Bonus: Download the list of WordPress themes that we love and use with our PBN setup.

Before we go into how to design specific elements, structure and so on, let’s cover few important question.

CMS – Is WordPress Only PBN viable?

WordPress is used by 59.0% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 26.9% of all websites according to w3techs.

WP is not a footprint by itself, and instead of wasting time building Joomla and Drupal sites, get a proper hosting for your PBN, it will have much more impact on your network performance and deindex rate.

One thing you can consider if you want to diversify, is to grab some HTML sites, but that’s less than 10-15% of your network. For everything else, go with WP.

Wayback Restore vs WordPress

One of the frequently asked questions is “Why should you build a brand new WordPress site if you can grab a wayback export and finish in minutes instead of hours.”

While this is entirely true, there are some pros and cons to each setup.

Wayback restored sites

When you find a domain, you can check how the previous site looked like on Wayback machine. If the domain had any history, you can export the files and just reupload them on your server. 

wayback archive for pbn fox

I use Blackhat community wayback export tool​ (you may need to become a member to use the tool) 

wayback downloader

You can just upload the whole content on your root folder. (This does not work on Easy Blog Networks since they do not provide FTP Details)

cPanel File uploader

Some domains do not have a wayback history and in that case this option is not possible.

“Waybacks” are cheap to deploy. Usually just a basic HTML sites, and you don’t have to add more content to them except few hundred words and your link. On the other hand, they are full of errors, 404s, and broken CSS or images. Not to mention that WordPress nails it performance wise.


· Cheap to deploy

· No additional content needed

· Same look & feel (like the previous owner renewed the domain)

· Low maintenance

· Inner Page Link Juice


· A lot of 404 errors

· Broken images and scripts

· Poor performance compared to WP

· Takes longer to get indexed and crawled

Note: You may run into a problem that the old owners will contact you about the site and request that you transfer the ownership back if it’s a branded domain. If they are friendly and cool about it, I usually return the domain to them after they cover the registration fee (or auction fee if it was purchased at auction). Otherwise, I just ignore it and redesign it in WP.

Complete WordPress Re-design/Re-purpose

Complete WordPress redesign gives you the freedom to change the niche, look & feel and adapt the domain to your needs. Of course, the domain needs to be somewhat brandable to repurpose it.

A perfectly viable solution, and it’s what I use for the most part, or a partial redesign in some rare cases if the inbound links point to specific URLs that need to be restored.

This way you can change everything on your site, from niche to content and the author. No one can question the ownership, and as far as you are concerned, you only bought the domain name, which happens to have some good inbound links.

Restoring Old URLs is still an option, but if you completely repurpose the domain, it becomes a bit weird (Having law related articles on your home improvement blog). It is still possible to re-theme most domains. Let’s see some examples:

  • Mikeandrews.com – Previously some personal SEO blog, you can repurpose it to be almost anything you want, from a health blog to construction firm website.
  • Etsysky.com – A random brandable domain. You can repurpose it to almost any niche.
  • working-mom.com – Previously a site about how to earn money online, it can be redesigned as a parenting advice site for moms with careers.
  • Boxerguide.com – Used to be a site about boxing (sport). It can be redesigned as a dog training website for boxers (dog breed).
  • ChocolateLoveAndMore.com – Previously a blog about chocolate recipes, it can also be a personal blog and the author enjoys eating chocolate. 

I’m not that creative, but you can figure it out. Here are some pros and cons to complete redesign approach. 


· Freedom to change the niche, look and feel

· Organize structure and content however you want

· Built on WordPress with all its benefits

· No Performance loss compared to wayback restore and wayback redesign


· You might miss on some incoming links pointed to your deep URLs

· Some domains are hard to retheme

Partial Wayback Redesign

This is a bit unusual approach, and it means that you will take a look at the wayback archive and see how the old site looked and re-design everything in WordPress.

You can follow the same color scheme and layout but build a modern looking site, something most business owners are doing these days.

This way you get the best of both worlds.


· Built on WordPress

· Similar to the old site but with modern look and feel

· Same company/author (or change this, it’s up to you)

· URLs Restored (keeping the inbound link juice)

· You can use some of the Wayback content

· More Link Juice from Inner Pages


· Costs more than building a new website (URL restoration and fixing old content requires a lot more time)

· Similar ownership issues like the wayback restored sites

· The domain needs to be in the same or similar niche

· You need to keep it in the same niche

Restoring Inner Pages for Better Topical Relevance

When you find an expired domain (or auction) you are buying it for its inbound links. Most of the links will be pointed to your homepage, but in some cases the links can go to your domains deep page. This is how it looks like:

As you can see, there are two strong inner page links that you can restore on your new WordPress site to prevent 404 errors and to keep the link juice on your site. 

You need to use the exact same /blog or /the-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-a-money-making-blog-in-1-hour/ URLs.

If you can find content on wayback for these pages great, if not, write a good 700-1000 word topically relevant blog post and contextually link out to your homepage or other blog post containing your money site link. 

If the topic has any keyword searches you can even go the extra mile and optimize the entire post around that topic, add more support content (reviews, guides etc.) linking to this URL and it will rank naturally due to incoming links and your domain authority. 

Organic traffic is a great signal to Google that your PBN website is real and any links from a topically relevant authority site will be worth much more.

If you wish to find out more about this, Matt Diggity wrote an awesome article called "How to Boost your PBNs with Topical Relevance". Another must read post was written by Charles Floate on topical seo not long ago, make sure to check that out too. 

Website Design, Layout and Structure

In this section we will go over the design elements, different layouts and structure.

Choosing a theme

For the most part, you want to use Premium themes for your PBN sites. Not only that they look better, but have a much better security and load speed.

Ultimately you should use a different theme for every PBN site that you have, but it’s not mandatory.

Think about it, what’s the chance that a niche site built on Thrive themes will get 2-3 links from other related blogs built on Thrive themes?

I would say that it’s perfectly natural as long as they are not cookie cutter builds and that they provide some value. Thrive has a huge number of clients, and it’s not rare to see many blogs in certain industries built by their visual builder. (This post is build with Thrive visual builder). The X theme, Avada, Elegant themes, they all have a huge number of users and are not a footprint on their own.


If you want to have a diverse, and safe network you need to mix things up and avoid using the standard PBN layout and look. A typical blog network site looks like this:

  • Content + Right Sidebar layout
  • Full posts on homepage
  • Bad or no logo
  • No proper structure
  • No optins or call to actions
  • Bunch of links to Wikipedia (Because Wikipedia is the only authority site? It sure isn’t…)
  • No real purpose

It looks like its only purpose is to link out to certain sites and Wikipedia every now and then. You need to break that pattern and think outside the box.

There are three main layouts that you should consider.

Business/Corporate Layout

Image: Bostan WP Theme

For example, PBN Fox has a business layout. It has a clear call to action, headlines and value proposition. It doesn’t have to be as long as our landing page, but you should include several pages and sections on your business layout sites:

  • Header (Where your value proposition is)
  • Call to action (You can add a button to the contact page or signup for something)
  • Our services/What we do/How it works etc…
  • Further explanation of the services ( you can add bunch of text about each service and even link out to some of your clients here)
  • Our clients / Testimonials etc

You can mix it up and go wild with this, add ebooks, products and so on.

Adding links on a business layout PBN:

Business/Corporate layout can fit less links on the homepage simply because it can look very un-natural. You can fit your links in testimonials, case studies product boxes, featured services or products and so on. You can also add a preview blog section on your home with links in excerpts. Makes it much more natural.

I aim to go with no more than 5-6 links on the homepage.

Personal Blog

Focus Blog by Thrive Themes

Focus Blog by Thrive Themes

Most review blogs are built as personal blogs. The author writes about his or hers passion and reviews certain kind of products or services. It can be hard to fit such layout in certain niches, but you can make it work.

A company can also have a blog, not just a person. It gives your PBN more depth with multiple authors, more content, and ultimately more legitimate feel.

You can design the homepage in a classic recent posts + right sidebar, and you can switch the sidebar to the left or go with no sidebar at all to randomize your network further.

Few things every blog should have:
  • Social Buttons
  • Social profiles
  • Optin boxes
  • Author box or about us box
  • Call to action or subscribe to newsletter

Adding links on a blog layout PBN:

We are all used to this layout, and it’s the easiest out of the three. I do not like blogs with full-text on the homepage. It's ugly, it's not natural, and I don’t do it. It looks much better if you add a 100-150 word excerpt with your links on the homepage with a nice featured image.

Magazine Layout

Magazine or news layout is what you see on most of the news sites out there. Take a look at the NY Times, Search engine journal, Visibility Magazine and our beloved Huffington post.

This type of layout screams authority if done right. You will most likely need a lot of filler content to make it look nice, and good looking featured images are a must.

Individual posts are similar to personal blog with the exception that there can be multiple authors, teams and it’s much more natural for such a site to curate content from other news/magazine type blogs, saving you some money on content.

Must have elements for a magazine site:
  • Good looking featured images
  • Large number of categories (5-10+)
  • More content than a business site or personal blog
  • Social widgets and profiles

Linking out from a Magazine PBN:

It can be difficult to link out from magazine sites. Some themes have limited ability to add links in excerpts or even control the homepage and add custom content. You should choose your themes wisely but most themes with visual builders will allow you to add custom sections.

The most natural way to link out to your site is from the excerpt or make a section called “our top contributors” or something similar.

Design Elements


By far the easiest, you can grab a solid logo for $5-10 on fiver. Nothing fancy, just not something that looks like it was not made in paint.

You can also make it yourself with basic knowledge of Photoshop. 

Head over to FreePik.com and grab a vector that you think will look nice in your niche. Here is a good video:

A Font can make or break your logo. There are thousands of fonts out there but you only need dozen good ones for your PBN needs. Here is a list of good fonts on typewolf.com.

Make sure to save your logo in .png format to preserve transparency.

Featured Images and Banners

Images are the most important aesthetic thing for your PBN. Not only that your site will be an eye candy, but to a manual reviewer it will look like someone has made a proper effort and that the site is real.

You can easily create custom banners, featured images and ads with canva.com

You can theme your featured images to follow certain design and color scheme. It makes everything looks much better than slapping some default stock image.

If you are downloading the images from Google make sure they are "free for commercial use" photos to avoid DMCA complaints. 

Navigation bars

Many people leave the main nav with a link to home, contact, about and legal pages. Most real sites have many more navigation links.

Business sites will have services, case studies, testimonials, FAQ, pricing and other pages designed to sell a particular service or product.

business site menu

Blogs on the other hand, will have links to certain categories, events, signups, hire us page and many other. Here is an example from Yoast blog:

yoast blog navigation menu

And the magazine navigation menu from Search engine journal

search engine journal main navigation

Daryl from Lion Zeal made an awesome post about website structure and he explains how to create Navigation bar, logo and sidebar ads.

Sidebar Ads

Every blog or a website has a purpose. It can sell something, collect leads or sign-ups. A business website shouldn’t have too many ads or banners, it looks very spammy and low quality. Magazine sites on the other hand can have more banners since renting ad space is how they earn money.

There is a website called Moat (Credit to Daryl for this, I never knew about this site before) and search for ads and banners in your niche. Simply upload the image to your media library in WordPress and use this code in sidebar text widget.

Moat ad search

Upload the selected image to your wordpress and grab this link:

upload the PBN ad to wordpress

Place your Ad in the sidebar or footer of your PBN site with this code:

<a href="https://www.elegantthemes.com/" rel="nofollow"><img src="https://www.pbnfox.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Divi.jpg" alt="elegant themes" /></a>

Author Box

Authors image and Bio is another thing that can look nicely on your site. I like to use pixabay for these images but there are many other free stock photo sites out there. 

When searching for the image for your author try to be more specific than typing “woman” or “man” on google. You can bet your life that thousands of low quality pbns are using those images.

Instead, type something niche related like “playing with a dog” (if its a dog related blog) and you should get something more natural.

Author Bio should be something short but it should also explain who the author is in 50-100 words. From the above example lets say its a blog about a woman who likes to travel with her dog. We can write something like:

"Hey, my name is Lissa. I'm 22 years old and currently living in New York City. I grew up in Boston with my grandmother and grandfather, and they gave me a puppy for my 14th birthday. Since that moment, Buddy and I are inseparable. We visited 8 countries together, and this is our journey."

It's just something I came up in a minute, but you can do better than that.

Popups and Signup Overlays

Popups, overlays, slide-in offers and other sign-up widgets are a familiar sight on many blogs and websites these days. Even Forbes is using a welcome screen with quote of the day and ads. 

And here is a popup from Search engine journal that pops up after few seconds.

You can use many free or paid wordpress plugins for this:
  • ​Thrive Leads (Paid)
  • Sumo Me (Free)
  • Hello Bar (Free)
  • Bloom (Comes with Elegant themes subscription)
  • Optin Monster (Paid)

Social Buttons and Widgets

An essential design element for every site. Even most business sites have some social profile buttons (like, follow etc.) these days. I use Monarch plugin from Elegant themes on this blog and you can check it out at the bottom of this post or on the left hand side of the screen. 

Here are some good plugins that you can use:
  • Monarch (Elegant themes) - Comes with share and follow buttons
  • Easy Social Share buttons (Paid)
  • Sumome (Free)
  • shareaholic.com (Free)
  • Simple Share Buttons Adder (Free)
  • Metro Style Social Widget (Free) - Good looking follow buttons

Mix it up, there are many other social buttons that you can try. 

Must Have Plugins

Google can crawl and see some of your plugins, and it’s important that you diversify as much as possible. Plugins are also an essential part of your PBN setup.

Have in mind that having plugins such as Akismet and Yoast SEO are not a footprint, as they are widely used.

To break the pattern, just install some random plugins on every site.

Here are some plugins for specific tasks that you can shuffle.

SEO Plugin


  • W3 total Cache
  • WP Super Cache
  • WP Rocket (paid)

XML Sitemap


WordPress Settings

There are several important settings that you need to take care of before going live with your site.

Settings > General:

Shuffle your Timezone, Date Format and Time Format. 

Settings > Discussion

Here is my current setup. you can tick to automatically close comments 14 days after you publish a post. 

wordpress discussion settings

Settings > Permalinks

I usually switch between these three but you can also include a custom structure like domain.com/category/post-name

Content Strategy

There is no question about this. You need to use quality handwritten articles. No PBN with spun content will live to see the next month.

We can use pages for more static content such as contact, about, events and similar and posts for news, blog posts and useful information or guides for your niche. Let's start with pages.


Your PBN sites should have basic legal pages such as Disclaimer/TOS/Privacy, About and Contact page. After adding those pages decide if you can add any additional pages to the setup, and it largely depends on the niche.

For example, you can add pages such as:

  • FAQ (questions and answers for your industry or niche)
  • Events (for example a restaurant can have a page with upcoming events)
  • Start Here (explain what your site is all about and have some useful links and pages)
  • Our friends/Recommended services
  • Case Studies (It can also contain links to your money sites)
  • Coming soon ( software, event or something similar)
  • Waiting List Page
  • Advertise page (magazines or blogs)
  • Write for us (for blogs)
  • Affiliates Page (for business sites)

Contact and about pages can be 100-200+ words, and you should take a few minutes and make them look nice, not just slap the text and call it a day.

As for other pages, you can make them as long as you want but I recommend that you do not go below 300-400 words if you do not have a lot of other media (images, videos etc.) 


Your PBN sites need to have a minimal amount of content to start with, and in most cases 1500-2000 words of text should be enough to start. 

In general, you should add 1-2 articles (500+) words to all your sites per month. One article/month is perfectly fine, and it’s what I do for my networks. Here are some types of new posts and content that you can add to your sites/blogs.

To break the pattern and randomize, don’t use 500 words for every single post. Place a 1000 word post and next time grab a video + 200 words of text and use that.

What is Filler Content?

Having only the articles containing links to your money site can be a disaster. Instead, drop a filler article with no links or links pointing to some other sites in your niche that are not your competitors. (Seriously, don’t just use Wikipedia).

This way your PBN will look natural and pass manual review with flying colors.

Adding more content is very expensive, especially on large networks.

Here are some strategies that can lower the cost of adding new content and still remain safe.

Curated Content:

You can use curated content from authority sites in your niche and add your editorial notes after each paragraph that you are quoting. You can add 300 words of unique text and end up with 1k+ word article that is perfectly fine to use and will get indexed. There is no reason that Google will slap you for using this strategy, just make sure that you add some value to the post.

That’s how the entire news world works. You grab an article or a paragraph, and you quote it. Make sure to add a link to the source with the no-follow attribute. (You won’t lose much of the link juice since its going from a deep page and Google wants to see attribution links if you are quoting someone)

Credit Curata.com

Explaining an infographic

A good solution would be to share an infographic you found on some other site (make sure to credit the author) and add your opinion about it. You can also hire a VA to transcribe and add editorial insight about the topic with the link to a client or your site.

Transcribe a video

Find a video in your niche and transcribe it (You can usually find such a service on fiver). Make sure that your writer or a VA adds an editorial opinion (few hundred words is usually enough) and place the link somewhere inside the article.

Image Posts

Adding 5-10 images with caption or description for each of them is a good way to diversify your post types, and you can add a link pretty naturally in such posts.

Social Profiles Strategy

Social presence is a must for any blog or business in 2016-2017, no way around that.

Since we aim to make our PBNs look like real websites, we need to make social profiles as well. Its not just for show, these profiles play an important role as a signal to justify traffic and links. It just makes everything more natural.

In most cases, you can just make a Facebook Page and Twitter Profile for your site and call it a day. Hell, I don’t have more than that for this blog.

But for the sake of being safe, and to get more social signals for your PBN you can create several or even dozen social profiles for each site.

To get the most out of these profiles and to provide your site with free social signals you can utilize IFTTT.

Using IFTTT with PBNs

IFTTT provides a great way to automatically syndicate your new blog posts to twitter, facebook, google + and other profiles.

Most bloggers use some sort of social media automation so this strategy is pretty white hat. The idea is to automate sharing on multiple profiles as soon as you release a new blog post. 

automatically post your facebook status on twitter

Here are some of the most popular social networks that you can integrate with your setup:

  • ​Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google + (I try to avoid using Google + these days but you can use it on a small percent of blogs)
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Youtube
  • Tumblr

You can just add 2-3 of these profiles or you can add all of them. But try to mix it up and don't go overboard. It can be a footprint to have 50 PBNs with exact same social profiles.

If you want to learn about IFTTT check out an awesome article on SEMRush by Hernan Vazquez. You should also check out SEMantic Mastery course called IFTTT Seo Academy


Going the extra mile to create beautiful websites that have a real purpose and provide value will allow you to pass any manual review and even rank for certain keywords, generate traffic and social shares which will, in turn, make your websites even more powerful.

Your Turn. 

How did you like this article and do you think it covers everything as far as PBN design and setup goes?

To your Success,


The post How to Structure, Design and Setup your PBN Websites to Pass Manual Review appeared first on PBN Fox.

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How to Safely Host a Private Blog Network in 2017 https://www.pbnfox.com/pbn-hosting/ https://www.pbnfox.com/pbn-hosting/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2016 08:25:09 +0000 https://www.pbnfox.com/?p=25782 Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am PBN Hosting is arguably the most important part of your network and is the single most important factor when it comes to deindexing according to our research. It is also the part of the process where many SEOs go wrong. The aim of this article is to explain […]

The post How to Safely Host a Private Blog Network in 2017 appeared first on PBN Fox.

Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

PBN Hosting is arguably the most important part of your network and is the single most important factor when it comes to deindexing according to our research. It is also the part of the process where many SEOs go wrong. 

The aim of this article is to explain different ways of hosting a private blog network, how to lower costs and to stay safe for years to come.

Before we dig into this topic, we need to cover some outdated solutions that will get your network deindexed. 

Cheap is your number one enemy. Good hosts cost a lot of money and there is no way around that. There are ways to lower the cost by grouping and clustering your PBN but in general, be prepared to pay if you want to stay safe.

Hosting Solutions to Avoid

Let's quickly cover some solutions that are plain bad for you or not good enough as a long term solution.

SEO Hosting

A few years back the easiest way was to grab seo hosting, purchase 200 IPs at few dozen cents per domain and go wild. You have an easy way to add new sites and everything is under one dashboard. Google took its time and finally caught up with this strategy making it obsolete nowadays.

VPS Hosting + Rocket IPs/Cloudflare

This was one of the most popular ways to host a large PBN (100+ sites) for less than $100. This strategy involves buying a VPS (Virtual Private Server) much like you do for a money site and use a CDN, CloudFlare, Rocket IPs or other ways to mask your true IP.

Rocket IPs quickly turned belly up much like other SEO hosts and having 100% of your network on CF is a footprint on its own.

You can still use it on a smaller percent of your network to diversify and eliminate footprints. CloudFlare is not bad for you (a lot of money sites use it), but don't count on it to mask your IP. 

Host Nine

I loved these guys for a long time. You could host dozens of websites and get a different IP most of the time. Over the years, H9 gradually got worse, and they are no longer viable as a hosting solution. IPs are ridden with PBNs and their support is non-existent. 

Let's move on and cover what's working nowadays

You pretty much have two options here, either go with shared/reseller cPanel hosting on Premium hosting companies or with Cloud based hosting solutions.

Cloud Based PBN Hosting Solutions

Cloud servers have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Many companies like Digital Ocean and Vultr allow you to deploy droplets or instances (Small virtual servers) with unique IPs for each of them. You can also choose multiple locations to diversify your network further.

Cloud hosting companies have a lot of clean IPs and host millions of real and reputable businesses, which means that your network will be in good "neighborhood."

Most of them provide root access and one-click WordPress install scripts. What they do not offer is support (In most cases they are non-managed services). So if your site goes down, you are left on your own.

Hosting your sites on cloud servers is a viable option, but you need to be a bit more careful with clustering, security and server size (to avoid crashes and footprints).

Here are some setups and services that use cloud servers. 

Self-Managed Cloud Server Setup

Price: around $5 per droplet/instance (512mb ram)

Setup Difficulty: Medium

Management: Hard

In this case, you need to make an account with each company, deposit funds and deploy the instances (droplets, mini servers) and sites with their one click install scripts.


· Easily deploy new servers and instances (More IPs)

· Quite cheap if you cluster your network

· Good "Neighborhood"

· Multiple Locations and Datacenters

· Very Fast Load time for your sites

· Reliable servers


· Requires Basic Linux Knowledge

· No support

· IP sharing can become a problem at larger scale

· Hard to Manage

Here are some good Cloud Server Companies:

  • Digital Ocean - Fantastic cloud server provider with multiple locations and clean IPs. I use them for money sites as well. ( This link link will give you a $10 bonus credit which is 2 months of free hosting. ) Disclaimer: The link is my affiliate link, you can sign up without it but you don't get the $10 bonus. 
  • Vultr - Another good hosting much like Digital Ocean. I use them frequently for money sites too. (Same as with digital ocean, but Vultr gives you $20 worth of credit, thats 4 months of free hosting on one server.)
  • Linode - I have not used them as much as Digital Ocean and Vultr but they are still very good. 
  • Windows Azure - Azure has a huge number of clean IPs, they can get a bit costly so use them only when you use all locations in DO, Vultr and Linode. 
  • Amazon AWS - Amazon Web Services is widely known for their quality and clean IPs. 

Easy Blog Networks

Price: $1.8 (200+ sites) - $3.5 (10 sites)

Setup Difficulty: Easy

Management: Easy

Easy Blog Networks is a service/software that allows you to host large networks on cloud servers with their intuitive and easy to use dashboard.

easy blog networks dashboard

Click to enlarge

EBN dashboard with a sample mini network showcasing the features and how indexed and deindexed sites look like.

You can separate your networks in groups (clusters) and they guarantee that the IPs will not overlap in a single group.

EBN counters pretty much all cons from self-managed setup and makes it incredibly easy to add and manage your network. It will cost a bit more than using self-managed network since you are paying $X /per site hosted instead of per server, but in the long run, it can save a lot of headaches.

What I love about EBN is that they are proactive when it comes to finding footprints and they research and test even the smallest footprints to make a bulletproof solution. Make sure to read their blog section for additional info on footprints and how to avoid them.


· Large amount of IPs from reputable cloud hosting companies

· Easily deploy dozens of sites

· Easy and Intuitive UI and Dashboard

· Good performance

· Backups

· Index, Metrics and Uptime Monitors


· No root access / FTP

· WordPress Only

Easy Blog Networks is a highly recommended service but it's also an invite-only service. You can get a backdoor access here and sign up for a 7 day trial. 

Hosting your PBN on Premium cPanel Hosting

Many people prefer cPanel hosting due to its familiar and easy to use interface over cloud servers. And its a good setup. You can host multiple sites on each server, eliminate most footprints out of the box and blend in with other real websites.

There is a slight difference between shared and reseller hosting. 

Shared hosting

Price: Varies ($5-15 per month per server)

Setup difficulty: Medium

Management: Hard

Hosting on shared servers has the advantage of hiding “in plain sight” among several thousands or even millions of real business websites and blogs.

The key here is not to use $1-2 hosts. Instead, use premium and “reputable” companies and try to mimic the real world distribution. I’m using quotes here because I pretty much think that hosting companies like Godaddy are a complete cr*p and I only use them for hosting a PBN. Still, Godaddy, Hostgator and similar companies account for half the Internet so we can't ignore that. 

With each shared server you buy, you will get a different IP and in some cases a different data center and geographical location depending on the provider. You do not get root access, but you still get cPanel which is enough for most users.

Reseller Hosting

Price: Varies ($25-30 per month per server)

Using Reseller hosting instead of shared is another option yet more expensive. You still get the same deal in most cases (shared IPs, cpanel etc.) but there are some pros to this. 

The main advantage of reseller vs. shared is that you get more resources for each server. You also get WHM access for more control and easier management. Most people with networks of 100-200 sites can go with shared hosting and manage everything in excel sheets. 

Some hosting companies such as Siteground and Godaddy do not have a classic reseller hosting (Where you get an improved shared hosting and WHM access). Instead, they sell their shared plan with a bulk discount. Just something to have in mind if you go this route.

How many servers can you buy with each company?

You can buy multiple servers/plans with each company to get more IPs. Now, if the hosting provider is popular (such as Godaddy and Hostgator) you can buy more servers with them without leaving a footprint. 

For example, you can buy 5 servers at GD or HG for every server at DreamHost or Siteground. 

Things to have in mind when choosing a hosting company

  • Renewal price - A lot of hosting companies offer large discounts for your first buy. Watch out for hidden fees and renewal price
  • cPanel - Make sure that they have cPanel or equivalent unless you want to spend 10 minutes per site manually installing WP. 
  • Multiple domains - Watch out for this. Some plans are cheap for a reason. They only allow you to host a single site. Make sure that you grab a higher plan with unlimited domains. 
  • WordPress support - No point if you can't install WP with one click
  • Shared IP - In 99% of cases, shared hosting plans give you a shared IP as well. You don't want a dedicated IP that's for sure.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of cPanel hosting setup.


· Easy to use, familiar cPanel interface

· Different IPs and Datacenters

· Hosted on huge servers among thousands of other sites

· Can accommodate many sites on a single IP

· Support


· A management nightmare

· Expensive (if you do not host multiple sites on the same IP)

· Poor performance (Sites usually load much slower than on cloud servers)

· Some companies have rather poor support

We use Premium cPanel hosting for our networks, and that's the same setup we use for our PBN Fox services

This is what Matt Diggity recommends in his post about hosting and we use a similar distribution with addition of some other companies.

Here is the list of some solid premium hosting companies.

  • Bluehost (a solid host for PBNs, definitely not for money sites)
  • Siteground (Good choice for PBNs and Money sites)
  • DreamHost (Similar to Bluehost, you can grab several of these for multiple IPs)
  • Hostwinds (Solid choice and not that expensive)
  • Godaddy (Use GD only for hosting PBNs and take good care not to connect your credit card or PayPal to them, they will steal from you with no remorse.)
  • Hostgator (EIG Hosting, and as such it should be avoided. But since we are hiding in plain sight, you can use it for your blog network sites.)
  • Arvixe (Pretty much the same as Hostgator)
  • A Small Orange (Decent host and you can take several servers there)
  • Green Geeks (Surprisingly good servers)

The 5000 PBN Sites Study

Our project manager, Vlade, conducted a research based on almost 5000 sites hosted across multiple hosting solutions. In the following diagram you can see the number of sites hosted vs sites deindexed on different hosting solutions.

5000 pbn case study
diagram showing the number of sites deployed vs sites deindexed

As you can see, cloud server setup, Easy blog networks and Premium cPanel servers are much better and have the lowest deindex rate based on this study. 

The research itself was based on more than just hosting, including the amount of content, website design, "who is" records and other footprints. He is writing a full case study and it's scheduled for late November. 

Conclusion – What is the best Private Blog Network Hosting Solution?

In the end, it boils down to your preference. Cloud and cPanel setups are harder to manage than Easy Blog Networks, but you can host more sites on a single IP making it cheaper if you cluster your networks. 

On the other hand, the ease of management makes EBN an excellent choice for anyone starting out or even advanced users who don't want to mess with spreadsheets and missing renewal dates for 50 separate servers.

Your Turn - What's your preferred hosting strategy? 

Feel free to share your opinion, strategy and results here 🙂

To your success,


The post How to Safely Host a Private Blog Network in 2017 appeared first on PBN Fox.

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How to Find Quality PBN Domains with Good, Clean Backlink Profile https://www.pbnfox.com/find-pbn-domains/ https://www.pbnfox.com/find-pbn-domains/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:50:12 +0000 https://www.pbnfox.com/?p=25705 Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am Ok, so you have made a plan for your new network, and you want to move on and start searching for quality domains. By the end of this post you will learn how to find clean, spam-free domains with good metrics for a reasonable price. Let's dig […]

The post How to Find Quality PBN Domains with Good, Clean Backlink Profile appeared first on PBN Fox.

Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

Ok, so you have made a plan for your new network, and you want to move on and start searching for quality domains. By the end of this post you will learn how to find clean, spam-free domains with good metrics for a reasonable price. Let's dig in.

What are PBN Domains?

Private Blog Network (PBN) Domains are expired or auction domains that have inbound backlinks from high authority sites and can be used for SEO purposes to increase Search Engine Ranking.

Domains are the foundation of your network, and arguably the most important part of the equation. The main difference between newly registered domains and the ones SEOs use for PBNs is that expired and auction domains have existing link profile and juice, and it’s used to pass that authority to your money site.

There are many ways to find a domain name, and in this post, I will cover the most important ones, what the difference between expired, backorder, and auction domains are and how to find each type. I will also cover the basics of SEO metrics (Trust Flow, Citation Flow, Referring Domains and Domain Authority)

Domain Metrics Explained:

When checking on a potential domain, I like to check all three metric authorities (Majestic SEO, Ahrefs and Moz). The reason behind this is that each one has it’s pros and cons and some major flaws. Together, they give a clear indication of domain power and if it’s a viable candidate for PBN domain.

Majestic Trust Flow and Citation Flow 

These two are the industry standard for domain "power". The more Trust Flow a domain has, the more powerful it is, in theory. I don’t care much about citation flow but having the ratio of TF:CF = 1:1 to 1:1.5 is pretty good. Generally, I try to aim for TF15+ as far as TF goes. 

Have in mind that Trust Flow is a very volatile metric and it usually changes every day. Also, it's very flawed. I found domains with TF5 with links from Washington Post, Dmoz, Wikipedia and several other authorities.

Moz Domain and Page Authority

A rather flawed metric and easily manipulated by spam. It’s still a solid signal, and the higher DA and PA are, the better. I try to aim for something above DA10 if not DA15+.

Ahrefs Referring Domains and Domain Rating

Ahrefs gives much more referring domain results than Majestic and this is why I use Ahrefs to check on Referring domains and individual links. Domain Rating is similar to Domain Authority and is an indication of domain strength, so the higher, the better. I aim for Referring domains 15-20+ and check individual links with Ahrefs as well.

Domain Spam Checks

Having clean anchor texts and wayback history is paramount for a successful PBN site. You don’t want to grab a domain that was previously used as a phishing site, pharma or gambling (unless you are in the mentioned niches)

You can use these tools for this purpose:

Archive.org wayback machine

Here you can browse the history of your domain and see what it looked like in the past. Domains with good history have not changed much over the years (re-design is fine but changes in niche are not). 

On the other hand, if you see drastic changes in niche or Chinese (or similar) letters it usually means that the domain was used for spam and it is not a good candidate for your network.

I don't mind foreign sites (French, German, Spanish) if the site was legitimate.


Sometimes, if wayback archive has no history, you can check screenshots. Usually, they hold much smaller database than archive.org.


Ahrefs has the best anchor checker and you can dig out all sorts of information about your domain history. Make sure to check historic index, not just fresh. 

These three tools will give you some insight how your domain looked like in the past and what kind of anchor texts and links are pointed towards it. You want to look out for any Chinese text, pharma, porn or any other activity that could be considered spam. You may also come across some domains that were used as a PBN before, and you should consider skipping those as well.

Have in mind that you might come across domains with no wayback or screenshot history. In that case, you should use anchor texts as a compass to guide you.

Checking anchor texts for spam

You can use Ahrefs for this purpose, and go to the anchors tab. There, look for any spam activity mentioned above. Ultimately you want to have more URL and Branded (that domains brand) anchor texts over keyword anchors, as it can be considered spam to have 50-60% or more keyword anchors.

My anchor profile is not perfect but its ok. 

ahrefs anchor cloud

Domain brand (pbn fox), domain anchor (pbnfox.com) or Author anchors are fine.

Brand anchors like (Nike, Louis Vuitton, Air Jordan etc.) are considered spam much like medication substances. Just google it if you are not certain. 

Here is an example of bad anchor text profile:

And this an example checked on Majestic:

As you can see, entire profile is ridden with spam anchors.

If the domain has a few (<2-3%) spam anchors but the rest checks out I ignore that fact. 

Domain Age

Google gives more authority to older websites and usually much higher ranking. It makes sense, why would G rank a brand new site that no one has ever heard of.

Having that in mind, backlinks from sites with age provide more value than links from brand new sites.

Expired domains lose any age they had when they expire. That doesn’t mean that these domains do not work.

They just take a bit more to get out of “sandbox” (Yes, PBNs have sandbox too) and after that they can be almost as powerful as an auction domain with similar links or stats.

Not every link type is treated equally in the eyes of Google. Contextual links are considered more valuable than directory listings, and those are more valuable than footer links for example.

Here are some common link types that you will come across when searching for expired domains.

· Blog comments - Natural and well-written blog comments can be very good, but they no longer pass that much link juice as they used to.

· Profiles – Forum and similar profile links were widely used for Spam so you should watch out if it’s a real profile or spam.

· Directory Listings – Usually found in local listings, these links can be powerful but watch out for the number of outbound links.

· Footer Links – Footer links pass the least link juice and can be considered spammy. But I would consider a good web design or similar domain with good footer links.

· Image Links or Sidebar ad links – Image links are good and can be very powerful when you enter a proper alt text.

· Contextual Links – This is what you will be sending to your money site via PBNs most of the time. It’s the most powerful type of link and passes both relevancy and link juice.

So, when looking into a potential domain, you need to check individual links and link types not only metrics.

In the end, it boils down to the links themselves and what Google thinks is a worthy link. You can have a TF30+ RD20 domain with blog comments or footer links, and it’s still worth less than a TF5 RD50 domain with links from Wikipedia, Washingtonpost, and BBC.co.uk.

I have seen hundreds of domains with TF <10 that have powerful links from high authority sites. Would I Register those domains? Hell yes.

Expired, Backorder and Auction Domains – What’s the difference?

There is a lot of confusion about this. What are backorder domains and are they stronger than expired domains? What are auction domains in that case and how they compare to the former two? Let's dig in.

What are Expired domains?

The owner purchased a domain name, hosted a website (or not) but decided that he or she has no use for it anymore or simply forgot to renew it. In any case, you now have the chance to register this domain as your own.

If there was a good website on this domain, the chances are that it will have some quality links pointed its way. For SEO, that’s pure gold, since you are getting backlinks out of the box.

These links, along with age and few other things discussed later, are the cornerstone of domain authority. The more quality links your site has, the more powerful it is SEO wise. This goes for your money sites and your PBN sites.

​Once deleted, expired domains lose any age they previously had. This is not a huge problem and after several months they will pass link juice just like backorder and auction domains.

This infographic should be helpful to understand the life cycle of a domain:


How to find Expired Domains

Expired domains are usually found by scraping.

Scraping involves going through thousands of URLs and checking for “dead” links to a domain that is available for registration. Making the list of URLs is very tiresome process and is usually replaced by domain crawlers nowadays. Back in the day there were only handful of tools that can check for dead links, one of them being good old Xenu.

Now, there are myriad tools out there which you can use to find expired domains. These tools can go over thousands or even millions of URLs and make their own lists of seed domains and URLs.

Our team tested pretty much everything on the market, and I will name several expired domain crawlers and vendors here that we think are worth checking into.

Crawler Tools:

· Domain Ronin – Operated by awesome folks at PBNHQ, Domain Ronin can find hundreds of expired domains every month. It includes a free metric checker (you dont need any of the accounts) and includes spam checks as well. There is a weekly trial for $37. 

· SERPDrive – A fantastic new tool with an interesting approach to pricing. You can pay for a single crawl and get all domains that this crawl nets. It also includes metric and spam checks and it is quite fast. 


· PBN HQ – Daily updated list of domains with good metrics and are already spam checked. 

· Ranknetworks.com – Run by the crew from SEMImpact, they offer quality domains at fair price. 

· BHC Marketplace – Good place to find everything you need for SEO, not just domains. 

Expiring/backorder domains

Expiring domains are due to expire in the next several days. This means that they are still on their original registrar, but the owner can not renew it anymore. Registrars usually hold these domains before releasing them so they can sell them via backorders and auctions.

You can ask a backorder service to “catch” the domain for you for a certain fee. If successful, they will take your previously deposited money, and you will become the proud new owner of the domain name in question. If they fail or some other backorder service catches the domain, your funds will remain on your account.

If several people are competing for a backorder domain, it goes to the auction, and the process is similar to Godaddy auctions or any other auction. 

Expiring domains retain their age and it does not reset like with expired domains.

How to find Expiring Domains

You can purchase expiring domains via backorder service. If you are not familiar with the process, once the domain is expired it goes through five stages and during the last stage you can grab the domain before it’s deleted and released to the public.

Typically you pay a Backorder service to “catch” these domains for you before they are deleted, hence “expiring” or “just dropped” domains expression.

Auctions and backorder services

· SnapNames ($69)

· Pheenix.com ($29)

· NameJet ($39)

Snapnames and Namejet also have the lists of expiring domains each day that you can go through and check for the ones you like.

Snap Names List

After you have the lists, go through the process of checking metrics, spam, anchors and wayback.

Auction Domains

Expiring domains are considered auction domains if there is more than one party interested in that particular domain.

Potentially the most powerful of the three, auction domains are the most expensive. You need to make sure that it’s worth spending $200-300+ on a domain name before bidding.

These days, auctions are very competitive, and you can end up spending hundreds of dollars on a domain name so do your due diligence before bidding on one.

How to get Auction Domains

Godaddy Auctions

You can head over to Godaddy Auctions (You have to pay a fee before you can bid, but you can search) > Advanced search and check:

· 2+ Years

· < $XXX Amount (how much are you willing to pay)

· Other things like “Auction ends in XX days” etc

Godaddy auction domain search
how to download list from godaddy

Download the sheet and check the metrics for TF, CF, RD and DA. After you clean up the list, you will be able to find the ones you like metric wise, and after that, you can proceed to spam check. If everything checks out you can bid or buyout a domain.


Flippa is known as a website broker, but they also have a domain auction. The problem with it is that you can not easily export the list like with GoDaddy, so you need to enter keywords or some other factor to narrow the search down.

flippa domain auctions

It is more difficult to export domains from Flippa, so you might want to use excel commands such as text to column

Much like with GD auctions, you should check everything from metrics to anchors and wayback archive to ensure that the domain is worth it.

Does it have to be indexed?

I prefer that domains are indexed in Google before I bid. I don’t want to spend $300 on a deindexed domain and smack my head for the next three weeks before I reindex it.

Conclusion - What is the best way to find PBN Domains

Expired domains work like a charm, except that you will have to wait a bit longer for them to take effect. Backorder and Auction domains are for those with higher budget and they are slightly more powerful and kick in much faster. 

​Your turn

What is your favorite tool or strategy for finding PBN domains? Feel free do drop a comment below and please share if this post was useful to you. 

The post How to Find Quality PBN Domains with Good, Clean Backlink Profile appeared first on PBN Fox.

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How to Plan a Proper PBN, Lower Costs and Increase Safety https://www.pbnfox.com/blog-network-plan/ https://www.pbnfox.com/blog-network-plan/#comments Wed, 19 Oct 2016 06:25:12 +0000 https://www.pbnfox.com/?p=25584 Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am Planning your PBN is a crucial step and often overlooked.The plan involves brainstorming the size of your PBN, budget, and the strategy on grouping your network. Not only that a proper plan will save you time later on, but you will decrease the cost and increase the effectiveness of […]

The post How to Plan a Proper PBN, Lower Costs and Increase Safety appeared first on PBN Fox.

Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

Planning your PBN is a crucial step and often overlooked.

The plan involves brainstorming the size of your PBN, budget, and the strategy on grouping your network. Not only that a proper plan will save you time later on, but you will decrease the cost and increase the effectiveness of your network.

To determine how many links you need to rank a website you need to determine the competition in your niche and the strength of your competitors.

There is no definitive answer here since every niche is different. What I like to do is to get 10-15 links spread over 30 days on an existing site, or a surrogate site (3rd party site that’s sitting on page two) and see how that affects it, much like when testing a new PBN.

If the site ends up on page one you should have an indication how many PBN sites do you need to build to rank in this niche.

You can buy PBN links from reputable members on BHC Marketplace or grab some Diggity links.

In some of our case studies, 10 site PBN was enough to rank a local lead generation site in a medium-size city.

On the other hand, for some affiliates sites in more competitive niches, numbers rose to 40 or 50 sites.

If you don't know your niche already, test it out. If you are new and starting out, build a 5-10 site PBN, test it and you will have an idea how many more you will need to rank in your niche.

How much does it cost to build a PBN?

There are handful things you need to make a blog network site.

Domain – If you are finding the domains yourself the costs are much lower but if you are sourcing them from a vendor they go for around $20-70 for a decent domain. Auction domains go for $80 up to $300-400 (or higher, but that’s a whole different story).

Hosting – This topic is covered in our post about pbn hosting and usually costs around $2-3/mo/site. You can go with lower than that if you have multiple network groups and sites hosted on a single IP. You can read our entire hosting guide here.

Setup (Design, structure, back-end) – The price varies in this case. You can do this yourself, hire a VA or a service to do it for you. Each option has its pros and cons. It's cheaper to do everything yourself, but you can’t scale. Hiring a VA is an option, but you need to teach him everything and find someone who is reliable. PBN Services are your best bet but are usually a bit more expensive, around $40-70 per site in most cases, for a complete design and setup.

Content – Content is usually the most expensive thing on your PBN after the domain name. It's best to use high-quality handwritten content, which is quite expensive if you have a lot of posts. You can get good content for about $4-6 per 500 words. If you hire a full-time writer, the cost is usually much lower.

Management – If you want to scale your network, you need to have good management in place. This means hiring a dedicated VA to schedule posts, take care of your domain registration and watch out that everything is working. The Cost of management varies.

You need to decide how much do you want to spend on your network. You can make a PBN for as low as $100 (or even lower in some cases), and you can build one for $500.

The main difference is the domain and the amount of content. What I urge you to do, is not to skimp on hosting and design/content if you are spending hundreds of dollars on a domain.

Should I build 5x $100 PBNs or 1x $500 PBN?

That’s an interesting question. You can grab an auction domain with TF35+ and RD150+ for $300 that’s more powerful than 5 expired domains with TF15-20 and RD30, BUT that’s still one domain and one anchor text.

These 5 domains, with a little care and love, can grow to become a lot stronger than a single auction domain.

And if you do grab a powerful auction domain, build a proper website on it.

How many money sites can I rank with my PBN?

Ultimately, you want to have your networks isolated and not link to more than 6-8 websites in total. If you run general type sites (portals, news etc...) I still recommend that you do not link out to all your sites from the entire network.

Total number of linking posts should not go over 6-8 and that’s with at least 10 more filler (padding) posts to have some other content other than articles linking out to the money sites.

Doug Cunnington wrote a great post about this at nichesiteproject.com

How to isolate (group) your network

This is an important step when planning your network. Failure to do so will just cause headaches later on. 

​This concept will allow you to host multiple sites on a single IP (since they won't be linking to the same money sites), and be safe in case of a manual inspection. Daryl from Lion Zeal calls it network clustering and he explains this well in his pbn guide. 

In an ideal world, you would have a separate network for every single money site. Since the cost of running such setup would be tremendous​, we need to think of the best way to group several clients/money sites and still be safe.

For example, if you have: 

  • 3 Clients in Law Niche 
  • 3 Clients in the state of California
  • 2 Clients in Home Improvement Niche 
  • 4 Affiliate Sites in Home Niche 

and a 50 site PBN, you can separate them into groups like this:

  • 25 site General PBN for the state of California (or the USA in general). These 25 sites can push client sites in California, and law clients.
  • 25 Site Home Network - These sites can push your 2 clients in home niche and 4 affiliate sites as well. 

Now let's brainstorm this setup a bit. 

In this case, you have two groups (clusters) and worst case scenario, you lose only one group instead of your entire network. 

Now, let's see if we can come up with a safer way. Same situation with client/affiliate sites but a different approach when grouping your sites.

50 Site Network grouped into:

  • 15 site Law PBN 
  • 15 Site network for California clients
  • 20 site home improvement network 

In this case, if your Law network is discovered, it will not pull all your California clients along with it. Yes, you will have less "power" overall, but it's a fair trade if you ask me. Cali clients will continue to pay and you will recover much faster. 

You may even go further, and isolate your affiliate sites from home/construction clients and host them on same servers, saving you tons of money.

As you can see, isolating and grouping your sites makes perfect sense in terms of hosting charges and security. You can even build smaller groups and exchange few links with your partners or trustworthy associates. You will get the same amount of links and have peace of mind.​

Niche Relevant PBN vs. More General Network

​Niche relevancy is a convenience, not a necessity. If you have enough sites or clients in the same niche, go for it.I have tested everything from closely niche relevant network to something as general as BuzzFeed.

And there is no real difference when it comes to ranking. It's just nice to have something niche relevant if manual inspection comes along so that you don't end up with only 20 news blog links.

Mix it up, that's the whole idea behind PBNs.

Domain Name - Does it have to be niche relevant ?

In most cases no, it doesn't have to be niche related at all.If you have a domain name bjr-new-york.com (I made this up) you can build anything from a Law website, home improvement blog, fitness blog or just a portal/news site.

If you have a domain jammie405.com you can go nuts and build anything you want.

If you happen to find a domain such as lagoonhotelnyc.com, your options are rather limited. You can re-theme it, but it just looks weird if you have such a domain name and a fitness site on it.

In any case, ranking wise, domain relevancy doesn't play any significant role (yet). I usually end up re-theming everything I find, except these rare occasions where the domain name is closely niche related.

And Last but not least,

Introduce a Management Plan

If you have a VA or a team, make sure that they are familiar with the way you keep notes and sheets. There is nothing worse than handing over a sheet with 50 rows and columns and thinking that a team member will have an idea how to use it.

I like to have one master excel sheet, split into several tabs. You can grab an example here

Everyone has a different way of organizing data, and there is no definitive “best” way to do that. In any case, you should have a sheet where you keep all your information or the whole thing will soon turn into a mess. 

Now that you have a proper plan you can start and first things first, you need a domain name for your site. 

Next Post: How to Find Good PBN Domains For your Network

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The Definitive Guide to Building, Managing and Scaling your Private Blog Network https://www.pbnfox.com/private-blog-network-guide/ https://www.pbnfox.com/private-blog-network-guide/#comments Mon, 17 Oct 2016 13:10:19 +0000 https://www.pbnfox.com/?p=25560 Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am In this guide, we will cover the entire process on how to build your own private blog network from scratch, or how to upgrade and use your existing network and get the maximum results. This post is a sum of 2 years of research and over 5000 PBN sites […]

The post The Definitive Guide to Building, Managing and Scaling your Private Blog Network appeared first on PBN Fox.

Last updated: June 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

In this guide, we will cover the entire process on how to build your own private blog network from scratch, or how to upgrade and use your existing network and get the maximum results.

This post is a sum of 2 years of research and over 5000 PBN sites tested during this period.

What to expect from this guide?

In the beginning we will cover some basic definitions for newcomers, and advanced users can read in-depth guides for each topic. You can skip the intro and beginner guide if you are an advanced you can skip to Chapter 1.

SEO is a dynamic world that changes every few months, so I will update the guide with new information from our studies and post them on our facebook page.

I will not cover obsolete tactics to avoid confusion (hosting on hostnine, cloudflare etc.) Only current and up to date strategies.

How to get ​the most out of this guide?

Go through each chapter and read it carefully. If you have questions, or if you need help implementing what you learned here, you can always contact me via facebook, skype, email or comment on a blog post (I check them every day).

Without further ado, let's dig in.

What is a PBN?

Private Blog Network is a group of sites owned and maintained by an individual or group, used as a source of backlinks to the money site for the purpose of increasing Search Engine Ranking.


“Money site is the main website that you intend to rank for certain keywords and make a profit.”

How PBN Works?

Blog network sites have existing authority from the expired (or auction) domain and pass the trust and relevance via a contextual link within the body of the content, increasing the overall domain authority of your main site.

Are there any risks involved?

Any form of link-building is against Google guidelines. The benefits far outweigh the risk of penalty in my opinion. If you do It properly, you will minimize the risk and maximize the results and ROI from your sites.

Why PBNs still work?

There is an endless debate about this. After each Google update, scores of people complain how their websites got deindexed and that PBNs are dead.

It’s not entirely true because backlinks are the single most important factor when it comes to ranking, right after good On-Page SEO.

Backlinks are the essence of trust on Google. If an authority site such as bbc.co.uk links to you, it means that your site is worth checking out. Just like a testimonial for a local business owner, a backlink is a vote for your site.

Unless Google completely disregards links as a ranking signal, PBNs will continue to work. It’s just a matter of adapting to changes.

Google algorithm updates are happening all the time, and usually, one or two major updates hit SEO world each year.

To survive these major updates you need to make sure that your network is bulletproof on all fronts, and there are myriad things to watch out when building and maintaining a PBN.

Chapter 1: Planning Your PBN


A good plan implemented today is better than perfect plan implemented tomorrow. - General George Patton

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I often get the question “How many PBN links do I need to rank in this niche?”

To determine the number of links and sites needed to rank a certain niche you have to check your competition. Are they using a blog network? Are they an authority in the niche? How many referring domains do they have? 

Making a spreadsheet of all these things will give you an idea how many sites you need to build in order to rank. 

In the first part of our series we will go over:

  • How to determine the number of links needed to rank
  • How much does it cost to build a good network
  • How to cluster your sites and keep them safe
  • Niche Relevancy and does it really matter
  • Common questions answered

Preparation is crucial to success. You will avoid headaches later on when you want to scale and even save money. 

Chapter 2: How to Find PBN Domains


Domains are the foundation of your network. It is important that we take things like backlink and spam checks seriously because it can mean the difference between good result, no result or even worse, negative result. 

In this chapter we will go over:

  • What are PBN domains
  • Metrics  ( Trust Flow, DA, RD etc.)
  • Spam Checks (to ensure that our domain is clean)
  • Importance of domain age
  • Individual backlink types and checks
  • Expired, Backorder and Auction domains
  • Tools and services to find each of these types

In this chapter you will learn how to find pbn domains that are clean and worth adding to your network.

Chapter 3: PBN Hosting

Hosting is the most important thing to watch out for when building a proper PBN and usually where people go wrong. I have seen a lot of people buying $200 domains, hosting them on $1 hosts only to end up losing the entire network. 

​A word of notice: SEO hosting should be avoided because of massive footprints. I have tested this and got 30-40%+ deindex rate. 

In this chapter we will go over:

  • Hosting Solutions to Avoid
  • Self Managed Cloud Server setup
  • Easy Blog Networks
  • Hosting your PBNs on Premium cPanel Hosting
  • Best Companies you can use 

In this post I will go over how to host a PBN with detailed description of the three methods I think are the best in 2017. 

Chapter 4: Setting up your PBN 


Now days it's not enough to have a basic WordPress theme installed with a spun text. Times have changed and you need to add real value to the users in order to remain indexed and actually benefit the sites you ranking to with your PBN.

In this part of the series we will cover:

  • ​Wayback Restore vs WordPress
  • Restoring Inner Pages for Better Topical Relevance
  • Website Design, Layout and Structure
  • Must Have Plugins
  • WordPress Settings
  • Content Strategy
  • Social Profiles Strategy

It will allow you to create beautiful PBN sites to pass manual review, drive traffic and even monetize your network.

Chapter 5: Best PBN Practices


Now comes the "what next?" part. You can build the best PBN in the world but if you don't know how to use it there won't be any results. 

​In this part of the series we will go over:

  • Linking out to your money site
  • How to find spot on anchor text ratio for your niche (Video)
  • Anchor Text Guidelines
  • How to test your PBN sites for positive push (Video)
  • Using LSI keywords

These are advanced strategies that you can use to ensure that your PBN is safe to use and that it will give you positive results every time. 

Chapter 6: How to avoid footprints and protect your PBN


A complete checklist of 43 major PBN footprints and how to solve them and protect your network. In this part of our guide you are going to cover footprints for:

  • Registrar and who is
  • Hosting
  • Setup, Plugin and Back-End
  • Linking out and Content
  • General and Misc Footprints

Chapter 7: How to Get Traffic for your PBN

generate traffic featured image

In this chapter you will learn three of my favorite methods of generating initial PBN traffic for your websites to increase the performance by as much as 300%. It will also allow your websites to bridge that gap between a PBN and a proper website.

Chapter 8: Managing and Scaling ( Coming Soon )


5000 PBN Case Study - Ongoing case study with over 5k domains tested in 2 years, mostly from our PBN building services. The Study is to be released in January 2017.

Lion Zeal - Great PBN and Marketing Resource

Diggity Markting ​ - Advanced PBN Strategies and tests

Serp Focus -  Michael Milas has some great premium links and writes about SEO

Easy Blog Networks Blog - Advanced Footprint Series

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PBN Fox Changes – October 2016 https://www.pbnfox.com/pbn-fox-changes-october-2016/ https://www.pbnfox.com/pbn-fox-changes-october-2016/#respond Fri, 07 Oct 2016 07:42:54 +0000 https://www.pbnfox.com/?p=25495 Many of you have noticed that we were closed for new orders last week. It was mainly due to our redesign and revamp of the entire service. Here are some changes and improvements that we made to ensure better quality, performance and that we eliminated all footprints. There is a general agreement among experts that […]

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Many of you have noticed that we were closed for new orders last week. It was mainly due to our redesign and revamp of the entire service. Here are some changes and improvements that we made to ensure better quality, performance and that we eliminated all footprints.

There is a general agreement among experts that PBNs should be treated as mini money sites.

I find adding new content to the network and managing the sites is the biggest issue people have with their network.

It’s time-consuming, and it costs a lot. Hence, many skipped adding new content and left the sites with a 500-word article for months. Recently, Google decided that this sort of action doesn’t float their boat and it resulted in deindexing of many domains.

On top of that, many people did not abide the best practices due to lack of information, or outdated information around the web.

Something had to be done, and we agreed that a complete revamp of the service is in order after Penguin 4.0 to ensure longevity and performance of these site networks.

Hosting Changes –

Vlade (our project manager) has done an extensive 3000 site research on footprints and the influence of hosting on deindex rate. Even some premium hosting providers are better suited for hosting a PBN than others. With that knowledge, we ditched the bad ones and kept the best-performing while still maintaining the diversity of datacenters, IPs (goes without saying) and hosting companies.

  • Premium cPanel hosting (Godaddy, Hostgator, Siteground etc)
  • Different datacenters
  • Different IP for each site
  • Shared nameservers (official nameservers that are shared with thousands of other sites)
  • Hosted among real money sites

Complete overhaul of the website design

Three times more content

Every site that we build from now on will have 1500+ words of text instead of 500. In research mentioned above, we decided that lack of content was among primary reasons for sites being deindexed. Hence, we now place 300% more content on each site.

Content spread across multiple pages and posts

Your content will not be used on posts alone. We will use pages depending on your layout (ex. Services page for corporate layout)

New Premium Themes

We purchased around 30 additional premium WordPress themes to diversify the look and feel of the site builds.

New layouts

We are now using a mix of corporate/business, magazine, and personal blog layout.

Homepage links –
Explained in our PBN best practices guide, you will get detailed instructions how to place your links on homepage to make it look as natural as possible.

Social Signals

Google + is removed from our builds. Some would argue that it doesn’t impact anything but after inconclusive tests about it, I decided to remove it. We now use a mix of other social platforms on each site to make it natural.

URL Reconstruction

Using majestic and ahrefs to identify the best incoming links and URLs, we will try to restore these pages to preserve the link juice.

More variation with plugins

Plugins are a vital part of each setup and it makes sense to add more diverse selection of plugins that do similar things (yoast / all in one seo)


You will have the option to include a complete IFTTT setup with 3 additional social profiles for each site. IFTTT will give your sites some social love, a very powerful signal that your site is legitimate.


Some sites will even have schema.org integrated, a powerful signal to Google (only small % of the best sites use schema).

We are still making significant changes and expect more news and features in the next two months or so.

To your success,

Nemanja with PBN Fox Team

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Choosing the Best Money Site Hosting https://www.pbnfox.com/money-site-hosting/ https://www.pbnfox.com/money-site-hosting/#respond Thu, 10 Mar 2016 14:26:35 +0000 https://www.pbnfox.com/?p=703 Some time ago we talked about PBN Hosting and it’s time to focus on another really important aspect, choosing the best money site hosting. I see this question a lot in proper pbn group and other Facebook groups. That is why I decided to make this post, and help you choose the best hosting for […]

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Some time ago we talked about PBN Hosting and it’s time to focus on another really important aspect, choosing the best money site hosting. I see this question a lot in proper pbn group and other Facebook groups. That is why I decided to make this post, and help you choose the best hosting for your new website or to move your old one to a better server.

Let me just quickly explain why it’s so important to have a good, fast server for your website. You all know that website load speed is a ranking factor, there is no doubt about that. So if your site is loading in 10 seconds you can kiss that #1 spot good bye. Yes, you can always brute force your way in but why waste good PBNs right? And even if you rank, think about the conversion impact people will have if the site is so slow. Hosting companies that I will mention here are the ones that I personally tried and tested for over a year, and have proven to be the best ones so far, quality and price wise.


397-2491-logo Inmotionhosting

Inmotionhosting is a company with one of the best shared hosting plans, I tested their VPS too and I was very satisfied with it. The only downside is that you have to use credit card to purchase and although there are monthly plans the best deal by far is paying annually.  Support is ok too, you can get a reply within 24 hours in most cases. One other thing worth mentioning is that their VPS plan comes with cPanel included, so that will make your life easier. When you take that into account its not that expansive.


  • Reliable and Fast servers
  • Good shared hosting plan
  • Good Pricing


  • Credit card required, no paypal option
  • Annual and semi-annual plans are much cheaper

Price : Business plan starts at 3.49 and VPS at 29.99



Siteground is another hosting company with very good shared hosting plan. I used it a lot for PBNs but its more than enough for money sites too. They do not have classic VPS plans but cloud hosting instead.  Support is also OK, comparable to Inmotionhosting, i usually get a response within 12 hours.



  • Reliable and fast shared servers
  • Cloud Servers a bit overpriced but very good and stable
  • WordPress hosting that starts at e3.95 ($4.5)


  • A bit overpriced cloud servers
  • I could not pay with paypal, had to use credit card

Price: Shared servers are around 3.9euro ($4.5) , Cloud Servers start at 48euro ($55) and WP Hosting is about the same price as shared server (One website)



Now these guys are what you call a hosting company with good support, that is the main reason why I stayed with them for long time. Any ticket is answered in 1-2 hours and they help with almost anything you need. If you are going with shared hosting, choose business type, it has more resources and is generally better.



VPS Plans: For a VPS with them i would go with SSD Linux, never really tested Budget or Premium KVM servers, I just love SSD that much. If you are going with cPanel make sure that you have at least 2GB of RAM as it eats it up like crazy.

2 core, 3 giga VPS plan can be enough for more than 10 WP websites with proper caching



  • Awesome Support
  • Great servers both for shared (business) and SSD VPS Plans
  • Good Pricing for what you get


  • Servers are in Dallas, TX so you don’t have much choice there
  • Hardware looks a bit outdated (but still good to go)


digital-oceanDigital Ocean

Once I found Digital Ocean I thought, that’s it, this is the best hosting hands down. The speed you can get out of these servers is unparalleled to any of the above mentioned. With just a few clicks you can get a new cloud VPS with dedicated IP ready to go. The interface is easy to use and beginner friendly.

The thing some of you may not like is the fact that this is self managed VPS, meaning you will have to fix any errors on your apps yourself. You will get support from them with anything regarding their servers but not your applications (WP). Despite what some people say, they have a great support for non managed hosting, all tickets are answered in several hours.

Digital Ocean Droplet


This is how the pricing looks when choosing a droplet. Do not get discouraged when you see 512mb RAM on $5 plan. It can easily manage 4-5 WordPress sites with no issues, and still be faster than any shared hosting.

It comes with 1-click WP installer but what I like to use with it is Serverpilot which can configure DO server and after 1 minute you have a WordPress optimized DO droplet. Serverpilot also comes with 1 click WP installer.


Page Speed on Digital Ocean Server for one of the recent websites we did as part of our Website Design Service .


  • Very Fast Servers
  • Dedicated IP
  • WordPress optimized server with serverpilot
  • Cheaper than most shared hosting plans


  • Self Managed servers
  • Installing SSL can be a pain
  • cPanel is hard to install

Price: Starts from $5 for 512mb server

You can get $10 upon signup using This Link, that’s 2 months free if you are going for basic 512mb server


traffic-planet-hostingTraffic Planet Hosting

Traffic Planet is by far the best WordPress hosting I tested. As a matter of fact, our websites pbnfox.com and leadsfox.com are hosted on Traffic Planet hosting now. Their interface is easy to use, and you can deploy your website in a matter of minutes. You do not get much information about the servers though, like the amount of memory or CPUs for their plans, but you can bet your sites will be very fast with them. They also have servers in one of the best Datacenters in the world (where Amazon AWS has their servers too). You can also get free SSL if you open a ticket and free website migration.

Traffic Planet Plans

Traffic Planet Hosting Plans. Subdomains count toward website installations, something to keep in mind

Support is awesome, all tickets are answered within few hours (sometimes minutes).


  • Dedicated WP Hosting
  • Very Fast
  • Awesome support
  • Cheap for what you get


  • No root access
  • Limited access to the server and customization


You can’t go wrong with any of these hosting companies and it’s just a matter of choosing what suits you best. Do you want plug and play options like with Traffic planet or fully customizable linux server like on DO, or maybe a shared hosting that still loads fast, take your pick. These are my personal picks for the best :

Shared Hosting – Inmotionhosting

Support – Traffic Planet Hosting

Load Speed – Digital Ocean

What is your favorite hosting company and why? Your comments and shares/likes are always much appreciated 🙂

Disclaimer: Yes, some of these are affiliate links, and if you are looking to sign up for any of these services, using the links provided would mean a lot to me, and would cover some of the hosting expenses.

Tell me if you need help, more info or if you want me to review some of these separately.

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