Evaluating a private blog network (PBN) before using it for your link-building needs is critical to avoid getting penalized by Google. Fortunately, there are several simple ways of evaluating PBNs that you can use to identify the right private blog network to help you boost your search engine optimization (SEO). 

But before you even start identifying PBNs for your link building, you should understand a bit about how they work. 

How to Evaluate PBNs

The effectiveness of any PBN depends on how long it can go without getting detected by Google as a black hat SEO trick. Therefore, your main task is to ensure that the PBN links you buy for your SEO activities are healthy and undetectable–this involves doing your due diligence before you purchase. 

To be clear, the fact that a PBN is selling links is already a red flag. While there are some legitimate PBNs that sell links very judiciously, you generally want to avoid this practice. 

It’s obvious that as soon as a private blog network starts selling links, it becomes a public blog network. That said, here are some things you want to look into before spending a dollar on PBN links:

1. How long has the PBN been active?

Generally speaking, the longer a PBN has been around, the more experience you can expect its owners to have running and maintaining it. Any PBN older than around five years is worth considering. 

2. Read reviews

Every PBN that wants to sell link-building services will be more than happy to provide dozens or hundreds of positive reviews from happy customers. If at all possible, try to identify reviews from users that you either know or whose history you can trace since most of the reviews will be phony. 

3. Ask for samples

It’s very common to see samples of the types of links you’ll get before paying for them. To the point that you should always ask for samples if you’re considering purchasing. 

There are some exceptions to this, though. PBNs that are exceptionally exclusive don’t usually let you see any examples of their links before buying with the excuse that they want to protect the PBN. 

What Is a Private Blog Network?

A PBN is a collection of websites or blogs put together solely for linking out to the main website for SEO purposes. With a PBN, you can easily improve your website’s organic search and overall visibility on the internet because the “feeder” sites and blogs will supply your main site with link equity, boosting its ranking and authority.

Although PBNs are seen as a way to manipulate Google’s algorithm, they’ve proved to be quite effective in SEO. Still, you must use them carefully not to get penalized by Google–you need to understand that Google doesn’t condone the use of PBNs to boost the ranking power and authority of your main site.

The safest option is to build your own PBN. It’s a long process if done right, but you’ll always know exactly what you’re getting and you’ll have full control over the links. 

How PBNs Work

You’ll only be able to evaluate your PBNs more effectively if you understand how they work. The entire idea of using PBNs is to impress Google’s algorithm by making your main website seem like an authority in your area of specialization; this concept is based on the fact that backlinking is one of Google’s main ranking factors. Google’s algorithm sees every link back to your main site as a vote of approval, indicating the trust and confidence people have in your website and the content therein.

The blogs and sites in your PBN will link back to your main site, giving it more votes of confidence, albeit artificially. Consequently, Google will notice and rank your “money” easily when someone searches for information relating to your area of specialization. This will improve your site’s ranking power and visibility.