One question I am often asked is how to avoid footprints when building a private blog network. This guide is dedicated to just that.
Running your own Private Blog Network (PBN) can be broken down into 5 key areas;
- Site Creation & Maintenance
- Link Building
This guide will cover everything you need to avoid footprints on your PBN. I think we all respond well to lists, so you will see a lot of theme here, they are easily digested and you can refer back to them at any time.[sociallocker id=”781″]
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The domains you buy, form the foundation of your private blog network. If you buy and build upon junk, your network won't be worth jack. So let's get it right from the start.
I have already covered how to buy expired domains, below I will show you what you need to do to avoid footprints when buying your domains names.
- Mix up the TLD's – I use .com, .net, .org, .ca and .uk. You can throw in some .info, .us and .eu if you find a good one.
- Does the site cover a range of topics? – I make sure that any domain I buy for a PBN can cover a wide range of topics, these are generally broken down into;
- Home & Garden
- Sports & Entertainment
- Business & Finance
- Tech & Toys
Below is a list of tools (some free, some paid) that you can use to help find expired domains for your private blog network.
- GoDaddy Auctions
- TBS Solutions
- In short, mix it up – don't use GoDaddy for all of your domains, sure it's easier and cheaper when using Godaddy promo codes, but ultimately it's a footprint and a huge one you want to avoid.
- Use WhoIs privacy – not on all of your domains but some. NameCheap offer free whois privacy with each new domain.
- Use fake information – for domains without whois privacy I use this tool to generate a complete fake user profile that I keep consistent over all aspects of the domain – e.g registrar, hosting, email address etc.
- Use different email addresses – Check out the Fiverr gigs and get 80 phone verified Gmail accounts for just $5. Get a few of these for hotmail, yahoo etc and you're all set.
- Register on different days – don't register all of your domains on the same day, wait a few days in between.
Below is a list of some of the biggest registrars, you can find loads more by doing as simple search in Google.
- Network Solutions
- 123-reg (uk)
- Fasthosts (uk)
I mention this forum in my private blog network guide, however, it's so important to get the correct hosting, I feel I should mention it again. So here it is;
What's so good about Bulk Buy Hosting?
- The price – as little as $1.71 per domain
- Large Hosting Companies – All of the hosts used are large companies that would charge $5 per month per domain if you did it yourself
- No Maintenance– They do all of the hard work maintaning the servers/accounts
- Unique IP's & Name Servers – You are given a unique IP's address and Name Servers for each account in your dashboard. This is KEY.
- All under one roof – No need to go trawling Google looking for cheap hosting offers. Bulk Buy Hosting delivers them right to your dashboard.
So it is essential we have the following;
- Unique Class-C IP's – don't use SEO Hosting, this is more than likely a footprint, we cannot be sure but it's best avoided in my opinion.
- Good server location mix – Europe, US and Canada are all good. Some will be in India and Soth Africa etc but thats fine.
- Reliable Host – Minimal down time. I have yet to experience down time with any of these companies.
I will get one thing off my chest right off the bat. I have never had any problems with using WordPress for all of my PBN sites. Some may argue that it's a footprint in itself, however a study conducted by W3Techs revealed that over 20% of websites run on the WordPress CMS.
Therefore I DO NOT see WordPress as a footprint that can be detected by Google…at the moment. There's nothing to say that in 5 years time Google will some how be able to detect a normal WP site from a PBN WP site.
For now I am happy to use WordPress and that's what we will be using in this section and the next.
- Logo – you can create your own if you prefer, or even use a plain text logo for some sites. However my preferred method is to use Fiverr.com for a cheap, nice looking logo to make the site look a little more cared for.
- Theme – Free themes are good enough here, mix it up and grab some from WordPress and some from external sites. There are thousands of free premium looking themes knocking around. Magazine style themes are my fave.
- Give it a voice – This is a biggy, you MUST give your site a personality. Think about the following;
- Who is the owner/author?
- How old are they?
- Get an image of that person (any stock image will do)
- Set the scene, what is the site about and why does it exist?
- Get creative and make it believable
- Content plan – this doesn't have to be anything elaborate, but your writers will need to know the flavour of the site. What topics should be covered, should they give opinions or just quote other references?
- Plugins – We all have a set of ‘go-to' plugins for our money sites, however for PBN sites we need a different approach. Change up the plugins, don't install ‘Yoast SEO' on every domain!
- Regular – You should post regular content on your PBN sites, weekly is my preferred frequency however feel free to mix it up. I have my VA schedule articles for me which saves a lot of time.
- Find cheap, quality writers – My post on finding article writers reveals the exact process I use to find article writers for less than $3 per article, and often less than that.
- Images – Add relevant images to your posts, with alt tags.
- Video – Find some relevant videos from YouTube and embed them into your posts.
- Length – a website with 100's of pages with 500 words on each is stupid. Mix up the content length, 250 – 1,500 words, some can be a paragraph with a video, others can be top 10 lists and some full blow 1,000 word articles.
- Plugins – Stay away from any kind of network manager plugin such as InfiniteWP etc. Installing these on all of your sites is stupid and you are asking to get caught out.
Rule of Thumb – If you find a shortcut, a way to save time or money or a cheat for your PBN that you think you will use on all of your domains….the chances are it will leave a footprint.
- Use the same theme = FOOTPRINT
- Install the same plugins = FOOTPRINT
- Have a single page website = FOOTPRINT
- Use spun content = FOOTPRINT
- All articles are 500 words = FOOTPRINT
- Use a multisite managing tool = FOOTPRINT
You get the idea. It's not easy, but man is it worth doing right the first time.
Check your PBN metrics once per month for the following;
- Domain Authority (DA)
- Page Authority (PA)
- Linking Root Domains
- Trust Flow (TF)
- Citation Flow (CF)
- PageRank (if you're still hung up on it and can't let it go) (PR)
You can use the following tools;
This section covers the 2 parts to linkbuilding;
Part 1 – building links to your niche sites
Part 2 – building links to your PBN sites
Niche Site Outbound Links
Linking out to your niche site is one aspect people love to over complicate. You should be writing content that fits both your domain and niche, therefore adding links wherever feels natural and relevant should be easy.
I would recommend you do this exercise yourself to begin with. By understanding how to inject outbound links into your articles, you will learn a key skill that can be shared with your VA and writers.
Here are the simple rules I follow;
- Don't have OBL's in every single post, keep it to 1 in every 3 posts has OBL's.
- Link out to other authority sites such as YouTube, Wikipedia and News sites.
- Don't go crazy on the anchor text, mix it up with some long tail anchor text.
- Send links to inner pages of your site, not just the homepage.
- You can use images to create backlinks to your sites.
- Link out to other related sites in your niche, don't be scared, just don't give them keyword anchor text!
Building Links to PBN Sites
Lets keep this simple. Don't bother.
If you have followed my previous article and video on buying expired domains, then you should have a network full of sites with aged backlinks that will stick around. Building crappy links to them now will do no good.
I have not seen any benefits to building additional links to my PBN sites. If you have the time and money to build some really high quality links, or even create social media accounts for your PBN sites then go for it.
If you are thinking of firing up Scrapebox and blasting comment links, forget it.
I won't lie to you, building a blog network is not easy, it does take time, money and effort both in the creation and maintenance. By following the steps I have outlined in this article, you can greatly reduce the possibility of your network being detected and suffering the same fate as BMR, ALN and Linkvana to name a few.
If after reading this article you are still having trouble, please ask any questions you may have in the comments below.