You probably must have heard about private blog networks (PBNs) before – but do you really know what they are?
A private blog network refers to a network of websites used in building links towards a single website with the aim of manipulating search engine rankings.
Although this scheme was commonly used several years ago, the use of PBNs still exists and it still works. But there is some risk involved.
Google has been fighting PBNs for a long time and severely punished businesses caught using them.
The best way of identifying private network blogs is through cross-site “footprint” – where most of the information on the websites are similar. When it first started, PBNs were mainly on a single IP, WHOIS information and shared servers. Footprints galore.
It wasn’t hard for Google to find a PBN footprint to identify the network. This resultes in a loss of rankings and even manual penalties.
However, today it is very difficult to recognize a private network blog because they are much sophisticated. They spun different topics, layouts and industries. Good SEOs know how to avoid footprints that search engines could find to penalize your network.
The following are some of the pointers that can help you determine is a site is part of a PBN – for a more thorough overview you should follow a tutorial on how to set up a PBN, there are many out there, but this one is probably the best: PBN GUIDE.
- Design of the website – You want unique looking sites that resemble a real website. It should not look bland or only made for link building.
- Hosting – Are all the websites on the same IP? You can use tools such as SpyonWeb.com to find out what sites are being hosted with another site. You want all your PBNs on unique ABC class IPs, and not hosted with other websites.
- Site ownership – make sure that you use private whois on all sites, in times where privacy is valued, it’s not a footprint anymore.