Private blog networks (PBNs) are becoming increasingly common in the world of search engine optimization (SEO) and they’ve proven to be quite effective at improving the ranking of sites and blogs on search engine results pages (SERPs). However, PBN links can easily get your website penalized by Google because they violate its Webmaster Guidelines. Therefore, if you don’t want to engage in the risky business of buying aged domains with backlinks, you have to learn how to spot a PBN link. This article offers you some quick and effective tips on how to do so.
What Is a PBN?
PBN is short for Private Blog Network, which is a network of expired domains with good backlinks. As a website owner, you can buy expired domains with authoritative backlinks, revive their original content, and use them for backlinking. This way, instead of waiting for sites viewed as established authorities to link back to your site, you’ll have a PBN linking to your site.
For these PBN links to be effective, you have to find safe PBN web hosting services. Fortunately, Easy Blog Networks is a reliable choice for safe PBN hosting because it ensures that every site is given a unique IP address and stripped of potential footprints to make it difficult for Google or your competition to spot your PBN. If you don’t know how to get backlinks from high-authority sites naturally, you can use PBN links to achieve the same objective.
How to Spot a PBN
Google discourages website owners from using mass-generated blog links to trick Google’s algorithms into ranking their sites higher. The search engine has been punishing websites for using backlinks from private blog networks since 2014.
However, as PBN hosting becomes more sophisticated, Google hasn’t really invested the effort it takes to identify PBN links at scale.
If a PBN is constructed correctly with all the right precautions, you won’t have a definitive way of knowing it’s a PBN. But, there are some signs you can look out for in less advanced PBNs.
One of the main features of some older PBN websites is their identical IP address. Because they’re interlinking websites designed to link back to a single website, PBN sites are usually owned and maintained by one person or organization. Therefore, if the owner of the site is using the same hosting company, all their sites will have similar IP addresses.
In most cases, the domain authority of PBNs is relatively low across all sites. However, not every PBN website has a low ranking—some of the latest PBNs come with impressively high domain authority. Investigate before you accept any backlink. For instance, you should check the history of the website to make sure it’s been consistently active, as most PBN sites are developed from expired domains.
A site’s WHOIS data can carry many clues about its ownership. This database carries the stated details of the site owner, including their contact details, so it’s easy to see if the PBN sites belong to the same person. You should also avoid links from sites that have hidden WHOIS data, because webmasters managing PBN sites often hide their identities by keeping their details private.
Because most PBN sites are created from expired domains, they don’t have significant traffic. Many free online tools can help you to check the projected traffic data of different websites.
Regularly check your backlinks to ensure they aren’t from PBN sites, because your site may, at times, be part of a private blog network without your knowledge. Use the above tactics to know exactly what to be looking for.