It is amazing how PBNs are still the 'go to' answer for ranking on BHW, despite the fact so many people do not seem to get it right. I would like to shine a little light onto PBNs, how I set them up (At least how I do things differently than most others) and the key misconceptions people have about PBNs. What is a PBN? PBN stand for PRIVATE BLOG NETWORK. Everyone, let's say it together 'PRIVATE' Blog Network. If any other person is giving you access to their PBN, it is not a PBN. It is a PUBLIC Blog Network. Any blog post you buy on BHW, Fiverr, Seo Clerks, WF, etc are all PUBLIC Blog Network posts. Why does it matter? Let's say you made an amazing site and spend dozens of hours on it. You are a newbie to IM and need some help ranking. You can't afford to build your own PBN yet, at least you do not think so. So what do you do? You want to buy this magic ranking power. You shoot over to BHW's Marketplace and see a couple hundred PBN sellers. Ranging from 'Penguin VS Batman Beyond: This time it is PERSONAL!' to '******Number 1 SUPER SECRET Google Buster ******'. You have a bunch of cool graphics and amazing promises. You read all the threads on BHW and know you can't buy quality for $1 a post so find a nice $10 seller who promises some great things such as: 'Unique C Class IP' 'Manually Spun Content' 'Home Page Links' 'Guaranteed for One Year' You read all of this good stuff and then you decide to take the plunge. 10 posts for $120. After a week your KW jumps up ten places. Then, before you know it, it TANKS. What happened? You check your links and find out the entire PBN was hit. How could this happen? The seller had Unique C - Class IPs! Come to find out, when the seller was selling you posts on the home page, he was also selling posts that roll off the home page for $2 each (Yes, it happens). You do a little digging to check the sites on the home pages of your purchased PBN links and see a couple links to .xyz domains. You click on the links and it takes you to a crappy one page site targeting 'Daffy Duck Licensed Towels'. The site is stealing the Disney logo, has a non - readable article on it, and looks awful. You check the Who Is and it is set to private. You check the back link profile and you find that this site had several thousand links of spam blasted to it. Like a game of domino, when that site got hit, a manual reviewer looked at its 'good links' coming from a 'high quality' PBN. Every other site linked got looked at as well as there back link profiles. Before you know it penalties are raining like beads at Mardi Gras. Am I fear mongering? A little. But most PBN links I have bought have left my site exposed to some interesting, to say the least, other sites. It is FINE to restrict "Casino, Gambling, Adult Websites" but the fact is, even a safe niche can cause a PBN to be burned. You never know if the other guy is using the PBN links for Churn and Burn or will blast the entire PBN with GSA or Xrummer. Even if the OP provides no reports a simple check in WMT can uncover any 'hidden network'. Let me sum this up plainly. A Private Blog Network is a secret. It is only safe if only you have access to it. Unique C - Class IPs! I see this so often it makes my head hurt. Some, and by some I mean very few people, use anything but C - Class diversification. Why is this bad? Host Maximusissupercool uses the same A and B class IP on all of its domains. You buy a hosting package and this host offers all 'Unique C Class IPs' and you snatch it up and put several sites on the same hosting plan. This is fine, except the A and B class IPs are still the same. It does not matter if the C class is different, the A and B class are the SAME. Does that even look real? What do you think the odds are of your website having ten strong links from ten sites all on the same A and B Class IPs? Sure, it is not as bad as all the same C Class IP, but use a little effort and common sense. You want everything to be random. I am not a fear mongering type and I am super lazy. But this is a simple step that can avoid a potential hole in your PBN from being secure. If a seller is offering you unique C Class IP then they are simply offering you a lazy cop out. Their are plenty of cheap unique A class IP providers but it does take a little more work to have extra hosting accounts. Some of us do not care about the extra work for the sake of being secure. If it looks like a duck... How many times have you seen a PBN site that did not LOOK like a PBN? Not very often. The only time it is acceptable for a PBN site to look like a PBN site is when you are using it to Churn and Burn and know you will get caught. Some basic things people miss which blows my mind are: - Free Themes on all Domains - Wordpress on all Domains - No profile pictures - No about us, contact or privacy pages - One page sites - No Logo - Obviously spun content - Horrible formatting - Etc What am I getting at? Your PBN should look like a real site. You should have social pages, do a Press Release, add content regularly, etc. Most of my PBNs look better than my own money sites. This is entirely up to you but if you think your PBN looks like a PBN, so does everyone else. Your Domain has some pretty sweet metrics, bro. This one bothers me quite a bit. I see a LOT of sellers selling PBN links and domains by metrics such as: PR, DA, etc. I have bought several of these domains (A few dozen) and you would be amazing how horrible they are. The actual back link profile looks bad. The metrics are great and all, but the back links are awful. This is what people get wrong: Metrics are a filtering tool. That is all. you use metrics to filter domains. You use metrics to filter domains for your PBN, Web 2.0s for your Web 2.0 network, and where to put blog comments. They are just filters. This implies that you should use those metrics just as a filter. Every month a new thread pops up 'I can't get my domain to index.' The metrics look great. The domain has an authority back link to boot. But the domain also has 500 blog comments. That looks fishy if you actually check the domain. This is not my way of basing all of the sellers of PBN domains on BHW or off BHW. Some are actually wonderful domains I have used and have ranked some great KWs with. At the same time, others...not so much. A side note, it does not matter how many reviews a seller has, or thread views, or stars. Some of the highest reviewed were the worst. Some people like Seo Lover and Pyronaut (Who recently stopped selling domains because of this very issue - people were buying spammed domains over his clean domains) sell great domains. There are a couple other sellers of quality but they are out sold and there threads are bumped down by people selling domains which are not...quite as clean. You need HOW many sites? I am NOT in the camp of 'you need 1,000 domains to rank' or in the camp of 'One link makes the difference!' The truth is somewhere in between. Depending on your KW competition, a couple of good PBN links from strong domains can move an easy KW all the way to the top. Most people are afraid to start a PBN becuase it is expensive, or they will need many domains, or...I dont even know all the excuses. The hardest part is hosting. Finding good domains is number two. Expenses? It is somewhere around number 10. You deal with down time, competition trying to find your network, posting content, keeping back ups, a lot of actual work. The $30 bucks to host ten sites when you are being cheap? That is not expensive. You can make ten Go Daddy accounts and use the dollar coupon for the first year if you need to. You have a lot of ways to make a PBN on the cheap. Cost should never be the reason you do not build a PBN. That was a diatribe. My point is, you need less sites than you think if you did good KW research. A PBN site with ONE OBL to your money site is stronger than several Public Blog Network posts linking out to 100 different sites. The ROI on a PBN is crazy good if you pick some decent KWs. One site can make all the difference. You may need ten PBN links to rank your site. But it is not 100 sites, or the 1000 sites you assume. Start building today and you will be surprised how quickly the links help you. Who Is this registered to? The Who Is details, or lack there of, is a major foot print I see a lot of people doing, so I am going to give away a 'secret' on how I reguster my own domains. Step One - Who Is privacy off the bat and registered under my registrar account. Step Two - Add new Who Is details to my registrar account. Step Three - Associate new Who Is details with the domain. Step Four - Remove Who Is When I was being super anal I made a new account for every domain. I would create a new hushmail / private paid email, make up a persons name, google search for made up person in the USA, find the last known residency of said person (For example, is John Doe lives at 1234 Main Street in Tampa Florida, I search for the LAST place he lives, so before Tampa John lived on 4321 Miller Ave in Tampa Florida.) and use that as my registrar information. As far as SE's know I am John Doe. My email address is [email protected]. It looks legit. This takes the most work out of everything I do differently than most people. I make sure I cover my butt. Most people lazily slap Who Is privacy onto EVERY domain, or use Po Box addresses, or use fictional addresses and information. I am paranoid to an extent, but I think it makes sense to make the registration details as real as possible. Name Servers can be a foot print. Remember the diatribe about unique hosting? have all your nameservers the same is also a foot print. I do not think this matter much, but if you have real diversity in your hosts, you avoid another potential foot print. What am I missing? This is just my little combination of the most common problems I see with PBNs. This is not how to build a PBN and a lot of other threads exist which give great advice. Read EVERY other PBN thread before you start to build your own. It really does not take that long. One on finding your own domains, Nick Flames on making a PBN for under 275. T0mmy has a PBN thread. A LOT of great threads are on BHW which will answer any question you have.