A private blog network, or PBN, is a network of websites created specifically to build backlinks for a particular domain. This practice allows owners of domains to easily build backlinks and grow their search engine rankings without needing to go through the process of building legitimate backlinks.
Many domain owners use PBNs to increase their search engine visibility. Building a private blog network often starts with purchasing expired, closeout, or auction domains that have established authority, and then hosting them on a PBN host. This tactic is considered a risky, black hat search engine optimization (SEO) practice because PBNs built this way are violating Google’s Webmasters Guidelines.
However, as PBNs become more sophisticated, they have developed more advanced ways of hiding their backlinks. PBN hosting tools take extreme measures to hide backlinks and reduce the footprints left behind to ensure the domains are not de-indexed by Google and other search engines.
How to Find Hidden PBN Links
As search engine tools evolve, they have become very efficient at finding hidden PBN links. These tools find not just one, but all the hidden PBN links connected to a domain.
SEO Analytics Tools
Most SEO tools are built with backlink scraping features, which allow users to find hidden PBN links. Using an SEO analytics tool is one of the easiest ways to find hidden PBN links. By entering the website you want to search for hidden PBN links, the tools will then present options such as Inbound links.
With these tools, you can also get information on the domain authority, page authority, and spam score. Some of the services on SEO analytics tools are free, but you may be required to upgrade to a premium membership to get detailed information on a website.
Some PBN links can evade backlink scrapers, but there are tools specifically designed to check just for hidden PBN links. With these tools, you can find PBN links even when they are hidden from popular backlink scrapers.
Like SEO analytics tools, you need to enter the domain of the website and start comparing the backlink profile. After analyzing the domain, these tools will usually display the trust flow of every domain linking to the central domain.
Another way to find hidden PBN links is by searching for their IP addresses. Most PBNs using outdated tools have one IP address for all the websites in the network. As with backlink scraping, some tools allow you to analyze the IP addresses of domains to spot PBNs.
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz. DA predicts the possible rank of a domain in search engine result pages (SERPs). The higher the DA score, the more valuable the backlinks.
If you’re wondering whether a PBN is needed to rank higher, the answer is yes. While this is the fastest way to raise SEO rankings, it is not the only method available. Because PBN links are often obtained from expired domains, their DA scores are very low, often below twenty-five. Analyzing a website on Moz makes PBN links easy to spot.
As a general rule of thumb, because managing multiple sites can be a lot of work, PBNs often have limited design elements and navigational features, as well as little or repetitive content. This is one way to spot a domain that is possibly linked to a PBN. However, it is not always a conclusive way to find all the hidden links of a PBN.
As PBN hosting evolves, it will become easier to create footprint-free natural backlinks that can’t be found by common PBN search methods. Because many people are worried that PBNs can be hacked, domain owners need to take care not to make their sites vulnerable while trying to improve SEO rankings.