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How to Recognize Good Link Building Services/PBNs from Bad Link Building Services/PBNs

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by exvinet, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. exvinet

    exvinet Newbie

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    Hello fellow nerds. I've been a long time lurker here. I recently registered an account to reply to Rokot's "Tired of this bullsh*t" thread which gained a lot of momentum. People seemed to mostly miss over my post specifically talking about the PBNs themselves and were hyper-focused on seller claims and buyer expectations. I want to expand on my post some more because I thought people missed out on a much bigger point - some PBNs provide no value, and some of the ones mentioned in the post would most definitely harm your website/money site in the long run. Even for t2/t3 they are a complete waste of money. Also, props to Diamond Damien for keeping that thread open, had it been shut down I would've definitely stopped coming onto this website.

    Small background on me: I run 2 online businesses - one generates consistent 1m+ yearly revenue (no - i'm not rich). The other is a work in progress that is health niche and is ranking p1 for many high volume keywords (30k+/month searches), and is ranking for 100k-500k+ volume searches, but p2-5. I have a really good understanding of what I'm doing. The health website is a newish project, and I've consistently gone up during every Google update that's come up.

    The reason I'm posting this is that while 95%+ of the stuff on BHW website is nonsense, I have gleaned some valuable information here over the years. More recently the valuable sections I've been finding are the people who test and post the social media limits for botting on different networks (I thank you).

    So I'm going to break up a checklist of indicators for Good PBN, vs Good Cheap PBN, vs Bad PBN, with some image examples from a PBN belonging to a few people who sell on here. I'm not going to mention specific names of the people, but you know who you are and I'm hoping readers here will know who they are too.

    Bad PBNs - If Any of these are true
    • Stock theme or free theme with no additional effort into customization (on it's own it's not bad, but it ain't a good sign either and will instantly fail a manual review)
    • no logo, or ms paint logo
    • Fake e-mail
    • Fake phone numbers
    [​IMG]
    • Lorem Ipsum ANYWHERE on the website
    [​IMG]
    • Bad interlinking throughout the website. Some of these PBNs don't offer a way to crawl to older posts from the main page. So after they get enough sales your post will effectively disappear into their website and the only way to find them is by doing a search for keywords in the article. Over time these links won't be providing any juice.
    • Dead links, such as "contact us" going nowhere
    • non-legible spun content
    • PHP code/errors showing up - this is a URL for an internal link on one PBN
    [​IMG]
    • Does not appear in Google's index for keywords outside of it's domain. Only appears in google for keywords that don't make sense and have no intent "clsgo". THIS IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FACTOR. If they don't rank, they won't help you rank.
    • Non-purposeful pages/sections
    [​IMG]
    (wtf is this supposed to be? - this is nothing and google will recognize it as nothing)
    • Miscategorized articles (seo services in health section)
    • Hidden reports (see my take on hidden reports below)
    • Consistent grammar/spelling errors
    • They allow all content and do not compartmentalize/separate offensive categories from non-offensive.
    [​IMG]
    This was on all pages on one PBN site. 100% guaranteed this will not help you rank in any form. Even if you are in the scat niche, having hack software won't help you rank.

    How to recognize on BHW
    Uses only DA/PA as a selling point. Tells you reports are hidden because it's super legit PBN. No ahrefs/semrush/ranking reports of any of the PBN sites. Hyper fancy graphics that entice you into buying their services. Most of the legit-looking link building services I see are the ones where the only graphics are report screenshots from ahrefs. Use overly sensationalized/comical titles that you would never see in a real commercial setting in real life.


    example
    [​IMG]
    "Johnson's XXX Big D PBN. Helping you inch closer to the top of the rankings!"

    I might swear/use euphemisms in this post, but I wouldn't use it in real life, nor would I use it if I had a legitimate business proposition and was trying to sell you something. It's also been proven that these sort of advertisements are designed to specifically target the naive who wouldn't know better - which should be an indicator on its own on the type of person the seller is and the type of customer they are looking for. The real MVP on these sales pages is the person who designed the graphics, to begin with.

    What you should expect to pay
    typical BHW prices if you want to tank your competitor's websites, otherwise nothing.

    What would happen if these websites link to you
    from best to worst: nothing, algorithmic penalty (extremely likely), a manual penalty

    But DA/PA/CF/TF is off the charts
    Do they rank? No? Then it doesn't fucking matter.

    *************************

    Good Cheap PBN (where most/all of the posting process is automated)
    • Looks visually good. A premium theme that most people wouldn't recognize elsewhere online.
    • Has no phone number or a fake phone number that is not listed else-where online. If you use a fake phone number make sure Google cannot identify it as belonging to anyone else.
    • Has a legit e-mail in place
    • All details on all pages filled out, no empty pages.
    • IS RANKING, this is the most important factor, the rankings can be complete garbage ($1 semrush), but the articles they're posting need to be ranking for something. It could be long-tail keywords in position 80, that's good enough. Google in the past has said that pages that do no show up in its index generally provide no link value
    • Articles are written by someone who speaks English (could be a foreigner) OR An article spinner that uses AI to make readable text. The grammar is accurate, spelling accurate and words appearing in proper order. A legit writer would make links cost more, but if you want ranking for cheap then aim to have a spinner that uses AI and doesn't madlib the posts with synonyms
    • Each page/article has a purpose
    • Visible reports with URLs you can check
    • Custom logo
    • Categories are properly separated. You won't find porn on a health website.

    How to recognize Good Cheap PBNs on BHW
    They show ahrefs/semrush/ranking scores of their PBNs. They have specific websites for specific niches. They refuse certain niches on some of their PBNs (having porn links on finance targetted page would cause their page to tank in ranking).

    Peter NGO and MisterF both provide ahrefs screenshots in their link services, and if I were buying links from this category I would go with them.

    What you should expect to pay
    typical BHW prices ($100+ish for a package of x links)

    What would happen if these websites link to you
    from best to worst: ranking improvement, nothing, algorithmic penalty, manual penalty (really unlikely unless these sites are 99% of your link profile, or you're balling out of control so google sent in a human to do a manual review of your link profile. If it's the later you should've invested heavily in legit guest posts by the time this does happen).

    *************************

    Good PBN (manual work)

    • Phone number (if it makes sense) hooked up to VoIP with a GMB listing
    • NAP citations
    • Different B/C-class IPs (not as significant)
    • Looks 100% like a legit website. Custom theme, everything filled out on all pages as if it were a real business
    • Articles are written by a native English speaker (not a foreigner who speaks English - 100% Google can identify the difference).
    • Topics are fully compartmentalized. Meaning if you have a health nice, and want a health article, the PBN would put on an article in the health section and you won't see unrelated topics (like pest control). You can get away with mixing topics if the PBN is aimed as a news website that publishes news publications, but even then I'd be wary of it.
    • Visible reports
    • Articles also link to other authorities on the topics that aren't your competitors. As an example, for an article in the health niche, I would expect 1 link to my site, and 2 going to .edu or .gov references on the topic as well.
    • Custom logo
    • Each article is purposeful. Meaning there's a reason for the article to be written and be put up on the site.
    • Each article they put up ends up ranking for some long-tail keyword that is relevant to what the buyer's article is trying to rank for.

    How to recognize on BHW
    it ain't cheap, ahrefs/semrush/ranking reports. They refuse specific niches (adult/gambling/crypto - unless the pbn is built specifically for these topics).

    What you should expect to pay
    Here you're essentially paying someone the hourly wage - in a western country - that would take to do this and a premium for the link and the value of each domain. You could end up paying $150 for a single link on a single article. You're also paying for the effort to get voip numbers, GMB listings, etc. It ain't cheap running a PBN like this.

    What would happen if these websites link to you
    from best to worst: ranking improvement, nothing, algorithmic penalty (but only if Google ends up recognizing as pbn AND 90% of your link profile are websites that google has recognized as PBN). You could also get a manual penalty, but it would be because your website is doing extremely well or someone is consistently reporting your website to Google. (really unlikely)

    *************************

    Hidden reports vs Visible reports

    As a seller, there is no valid reason to not give a visible report of the URLs. If it's a legit pbn that does provide value then there will be crawlers online that will be able to find them based on websites they link to. You can ban ahrefs, semrush bots, add them to robots.txt, but at the end of the day if it meets the minimum criteria of being a "Good Cheap PBN" then 1. Google must have access to it 2. It will show up within Google's link reports within a week. Anyone who doesn't provide URLs is needlessly paranoid, and IMO they're more paranoid about you seeing the quality of the PBN they have set up. Also if you are genuinely scared about people here revealing your PBN, I would say that you generally have nothing to worry about. The way the mods/site-admins have this website set up if they wanted to they can make any comment vanish to protect the identity of the networks. For a legit pbn, even with no urls revealed, there is always an inherent risk. Everyone who buys into a legit pbn has vested interest in seeing it staying alive.

    "But what about link diversity" (as a reason to buy into a cheap pbn)

    This is nonsense. To use an anecdote from the health niche, I've seen websites that are ranking really really well with only a few hundred links. They don't use expired domains, but what they do is disavow any link that does not come from a genuine source. They'll disavow web2.0, forums, third party blogs that look like it could be paid. If you have 1000 bad links and you're thinking adding 9000 forum/web2.0s will dilute the 1000 bad links then you're completely doing it wrong. The right strategy, in this case, is to disavow the 1000 and get 1 legit paid post. Don't get suckered into the sunk-cost fallacy.

    Nowadays, many links can provide no value or negative value. Even blasting cheap pbns to t3's won't pass link juice to them. It's a complete waste of money. Back in the day Google was a number's game, now it's an authority/legitimacy game.

    The best business model is one where you're providing a legitimate service so that your customers end up making money so that they can buy more services from you. I don't understand these guys who put low effort into pbn and high effort into scamming people when they could put high effort into pbn and no effort into scamming people.

    Do not be afraid to speak your mind on services you buy

    If the service is garbage, what's the worst that could happen? They neg seo you by giving you more free links from their PBN? Put them on blast and disavow any shit that comes from their network. They can't harm your business if you're diligent with the disavows, but you can harm theirs if what you say is true and their main income is hustling naive users on BHW. These guys thrive on you not knowing better.

    To the people whose main point is "buyer beware" in defense of more prominent members

    Karma is a thing, whether in the religious perspective or from the perspective that you're promoting a system that will eventually end up biting you in the ass. You might be on the side-line laughing now, but if you're in a community that supports this sort of behaviour then you'll eventually be a victim to it too.

    I hope I put this in the right section if not can a mod/admin do a solid and move it over to the right forum. Maybe blackhat SEO would make more sense.
     
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  2. Toz

    Toz Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Excellent, excellent post!
    I agree with everything you said.
    Well done. Very well done.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. mlrb9483

    mlrb9483 Newbie

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    I second this.
     
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  4. DuckingOutstanding

    DuckingOutstanding Regular Member

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    Clearly you had quite a bit to say after a few years of silent lurking! But I must say, it was Golden :D

    The "Cartoonish" names for services always triggered my crap detector as well, even back when I was a newbie - so I have no direct experience in purchasing those services, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were truly just as :poop: as you described lol...

    I'm hoping this post reaches as many newbies as possible - it could probably help a lot of people avoid some early pitfalls and save some precious $ that could be more wisely spent

    Kudos bro
     
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  5. Naysayer

    Naysayer Junior Member

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    Posts like these should be sticked. Will save bhw from all the whining and scamming.
     
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  6. Narutito

    Narutito Registered Member

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    Thanks for taking your time for the post. What is the best SEO service you would recommend ? tHE BEST?
     
  7. DuckingOutstanding

    DuckingOutstanding Regular Member

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    "Fish for a man, he eat's for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for life" - Ancient Chinese Proverb

    I'm pretty sure OP "Taught you how to fish" in that post - the answers are right there
     
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  8. Narutito

    Narutito Registered Member

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    OP started a discussion. I started my own by asking him about what is the best service(his opinion) which then will start more discussions. He recommended 2 members in the post, but I want to know more in depth and experiences and keep this thread going so others can give their opinion on the services they use.

    You have a different view on my post though. You probably read it as a "do this job for free".
     
  9. nifras

    nifras Regular Member

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    You should post this 1 year before. i lost Some $$$ anyway thanks
     
  10. DuckingOutstanding

    DuckingOutstanding Regular Member

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    @Narutito Nah, I was just inviting you to take the knowledge you gained form the content of OP's post (which I found to be a very clear illustration of each category) and, bearing that in mind, browse the "SEO" Section of the marketplace...

    Opportunity to put what you've learned into practice without the "training wheels" lol
     
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  11. Narutito

    Narutito Registered Member

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    You missed completely the purpose of my 1st post. lol I wont draw you a map though . Thanks though
     
  12. sponkel

    sponkel Registered Member

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    Thanks for this! So.... Say I naively bought links from these crap sellers, do I disavow all their links right away? Or do I just wait and see and hope I don't get a penalty?
     
  13. Purush

    Purush Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Very detailed write mate. Quality always come with price. Appreciate your efforts , would help lot people.
     
  14. lauratorgerson

    lauratorgerson Newbie

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    It was an amazing post ever. Thanks for your sharing.
     
  15. HAkorehdeh

    HAkorehdeh Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    There are just too many rules on building a PBN. Great article anyway!
     
  16. fatbusybee

    fatbusybee Junior Member

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    This is a money saver for me...just about deciding to buy into one of the pbn sellers here. If i decide to build a pbn for myself can you tell me how to go about hosting them (5 domains for now) and from your experience what would be the average cost per a complete 'good' pbn? Any resources that answers my query will be appreciated.
     
  17. Toz

    Toz Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    If I were you, I'd keep a list of the backlinks created and visit each one. You'll only then be able to figure out which you should disavow. When you purchase an SEO service and receive the report, what are you doing, next? Do you just download the report, check a few links, and then go on about your day? And when I say, "check a few links", I mean, are you clicking on the links, skimming the articles, and then closing the report and waiting for weeks (or longer) to see what happens?

    Or....

    Do you check each link by visiting each page, checking the quality of the page, checking the quality of the domain where the pages lives, checking the content to make sure that it is as "native" and / or "manual" as advertised, checking the domain's actual ranking, checking the page's actual ranking, AND THEN checking the metrics to see if they are as advertised?

    We refer to these as our "money sites" for a reason. They can either make money or not make money. Organic search is a great way for our websites to make money, but if you don't even know what you're buying, AND while having these mystery links that you're buying, point to (either directly or indirectly) your money site, you can either be doing great harm, minor harm, nothing at all, minor positivity, or great positivity to your money site.

    @exvinet has literally provided one hell of a blueprint of things to look for, when figuring out what to purchase and what to do after you purchase. I 100% agree that this should be a sticky post in the Newbies+ section. Hopefully one of our BHW Moderators will see this thread and agree enough to make it happen.

    After reading his post, it's easy to see that he has literalll provided us all with an amazing blueprint to help find the perfect marketplace threads to buy from and then what to look for, next. Your purchase does not end with receiving the report. It ends when you understand what you've just bought.
     
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  18. darulez

    darulez Elite Member

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    So, ditch the PBN Crap, and get some outreach stuff on real sites with real owners..
    If you aint sell dickpills, gambling and slutsmachines, why bother?
     
  19. sponkel

    sponkel Registered Member

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    Thanks for this
     
  20. supereek

    supereek Power Member

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    Thanks for the effort and the post. I completely agree. The link building sections are disgustingly filled with crap type "Dr. D#CK PENETRATES GOOGLE 2019" and all your Marvel and DC heroes you can want, on a service 100% irrelevant of what it represents. On top of that overspammed with fake reviews from shady fresh accounts.

    I have a question for others in this thread who are suggesting to skip PBN's and go with outreach/guestpost:
    How do you recognize a legit blog for a guestpost? I mean.. someone could have a low quality pbn site looking like a legit blog..