How To Build a Strong PBN: The Ultimate Checklist

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Creating your own Private Blog Network will not be an easy undertaking and you’ve got to have a building checklist for you to know how to build a PBN that is powerful to drive your money site to the top of the list.

The 2021 Ultimate Checklist for a Strong PBN

The opinion over PBN is divided whether or not it’s illegal and that’s why this is one of the favorite gray hat techniques that is being utilized for strengthening a website ranking.

One reason being is that there are so much spammy and suspiciously link farming activities happening online that it leads to a tsunami of misinformation and worthless websites ranking in the SERP.

Of course, search engines were designed to deliver the best information that one could get in every search query a user enters in the search bar.

Also, these search engine developers want to keep a fair competition for every webmaster and site owner especially now that the modern society that we’re living is spending much of their time on the internet.

Okay so, before we go too far from our checklist today, what is a PBN anyways? What are the important things we need to know about this?

What does PBN stand for?

PBN means Private Blog Network.

It is a cluster of different blog sites owned by a single person to forward strong backlinks that will serve as online recommendations that the main money site is the best answer for a search query in a search engine.

What made this blog network private is that search engine crawlers cannot go to the page or these blog sites through a robot code in the domain to avoid being tagged eventually as a PBN.

History 101: Link Farms

Before the rose to prominence of these PBNs, Link Farms were its primitive predecessors. These link farms have the sole purpose of giving backlinks to the main money site and that’s it.

That meant links pointing to the money site comes from different websites regardless of its relevance and most article posts are either spammy or plagiarized.

Just imagine your main money site is all about rubber tires and you’re getting a link from a website that is all about cosmetic products. That doesn’t make any sense right?

These link farms soon became obsolete as search engine algorithms have improved that they are now able to track and crack down these link farms.

Is PBN Illegal

Going back to PBN, this network of different blog sites owned by a single owner is actually a link farm by nature. So what’s the difference?

Private Blog Networks are now made with technical knowledge and careful planning. But why so?

We could all definitely agree that Google is the most popular search engine and thus, they have enough power to dictate rules of engagement on search engine algorithms.

In December 2017, Google updated their Webmaster Guide and has included a penalty for sites that are being pumped by Private Blog Networks as Google considers inbound links coming from PBNs to be unnatural.

Well, that’s something sensible to think that a website is suddenly becoming at the top of the SERP without a viable reason for organic traffic and purely based on technical alteration, that is, an unnatural link.

Well, search engines are still made by humans and these brainy guys still want to keep the human essence of searching which means that Google still wants to have organic web traffic.

This measure keeps the competition for the SERP fair for all website owners by keeping natural links, or in layman’s terms, web recommendations by humans based on their clicks on links.

Now, to answer the question, a private blog network is somewhat placed in the gray area of it being legal or not. There are many factors on why a PBN could either make or break your main money site.

To put it simply if a private blog network is illegal, our answer is yes and no. Understanding both answers would help you on how to build a PBN properly and maximize its benefits.

Should I Go for PBN?

Let me begin with this that according to Google update on 2016, two of the most considered factor for website ranking is its content and its links.

Link building is very vital towards the rank of your website since having good links shows that your website is the most recommended by many search engine users for the target keyword.

You could simply understand that on how the link farms we’ve mentioned earlier have made it even for trash sites to top on the search engine results page way back then.

Now that private blog networks are built with care and technical knowledge, our answer to this is you definitely should go for a PBN to boost your site ranking!

There’s a lot of benefits to using a PBN that are enough to outweigh the risk that it accompanies. After all the risk can be managed and mitigated.

What is PBN Backlink?

Backlinks that are coming from a network of blog sites pointing back to your money site are called PBN Backlinks. But how do these links have their value?

These PBN backlinks are rivers of online referrals flowing to your main site that tells search engine crawlers, you’re the best answer to a search query.

It’s like having spoken to a group of people that when somebody asks a question, they are to point to you with the group of people being you yourself as well. Sound funny, isn’t it?

PBN backlinks assure you that your website will be most referred on a target keyword and on how it becomes legal or illegal will depend on how well your PBN was built.

To further understand, let’s dissect how does a PBN Blog site is being built. Take good note of this fully understand how to build a PBN that will rank your main money site.


Building A PBN

We know you’re serious about diving deep into the building of your own private blog network as you’ve already come this far in this article.

Building one is a serious undertaking and requires a lot of research analysis and careful implementation to maximize the benefits of your PBN because the lack thereof would result in getting penalized.

You will surely spend money on this campaign and so you don’t want to burn money just to get your main money site to burn away as well out of the SERP so it is important that you fully understand how to build a PBN.

The Ultimate PBN Building Checklist

Step by step, we are to divulge how PBNs are built, and along the way, we are going to discuss the do’s and don’t’s to avoid getting busted and but rather gaining much of what you are to spend in building one.

We at T-ranks have collated the following checklist that you have to consider to build a strong PBN that is algorithm compliant ensuring a maximized benefit for your main money site.

Thorough Keyword Research

The process of building a private blog network begins with knowing pinpointing the very niche of your main money site. The domain you are to buy will rely on this. You’ll ask, what do we mean, yes?

Since this is a network of different blog sites to gain a good amount of link juices, you need to buy old domains. Yes, with “s”, it’s plural because you are to buy a handful of these domains.

Also, one important aspect of PBN building is the content that you are to put on each of the blog sites in your private network so be sure to do well-rounded keyword research before you embark on purchasing domains.

Relevant Domain Purchase

The goal of building a PBN is clear and that is to gain quality backlinks but how are you going to do that? Should you buy fresh domains and start manually putting traffic on each of these domains?

You’ll surely get burned out before you even get a small improvement on your site ranking.

That’s why in PBN building, you are buying old domains. But why, you would ask. What value can we get from these old domains?

These old domains being resold in the market are either expired domains that old owners didn’t wish to renew anymore or either, got penalized so they’re good for nothing.

The reason why we made an emphasis on keyword research earlier is that, in buying old domains, you must make sure that you’re buying an old one that is relevant to your niche.

There are tons of old expired domains, some of them could even date back as early as when the world wide web technology has been born.

While there are lots of old domains in the market, not all of them are valuable so you have to be careful on buying one.

The right choice of old domains is enough to define if your PBN building campaign will make or break your site.

Things you have to consider in purchasing old domains are:

  • Realistic Domain Authority

    One defining factor in analyzing a website ranking is the authority of the domain. Moz SEO has developed a handy metric for this that every webmaster could make use of.

    Domain Authority is a quantitative measure in a logarithmic scale of 0 to 100 on how likely a website would rank on SERP.

    Although Moz is right in saying that this does not affect Google SERP, most webmasters would agree only in the aspect of direct impact because indirectly, this metric could really define where a domain would rank ins SERP.

    The DA score is based on factors including the quality of the content. Yes, old domains retain their authority score even if they’re no longer live online.

    So in buying old domains, it is important to check the DA score of the domain. A good DA score would be around 50-70. Why not go for a 100 score? Well, that would be too phenomenal and would put your PBN at risk.

    Having a 100 point score for DA is simply too good to be true like it’s as if you don’t have any competitors on a certain keyword or niche. Remember, your private blog network must behave still as humanly as possible.

  • Good Backlink Quality

    Using online tools that are available online, you can easily do a backlink Analysis on the domain that is seemingly fit for your PBN.

    While it may seem that an expired domain with a high backlink score is a great find but you must be wary about where did this old domain get its high backlink value.

    As we’ve mentioned above, some old domains could’ve been penalized domain due to black hat SEO techniques that were implemented to them.

    By doing backlink analysis, you can find out how did these old domains you target to purchase got their backlink value.

    If there are no hints of spammy sources, then that domain has a good backlink quality which is a good choice to buy.

Hosting Server

Once you’ve bought your domains, it’s time for you to develop these blog sites which require a place to store the website data. This will be your hosting server.

One important thing to avoid when building a PBN is that search engine crawlers find that several websites that have multiple links pointing to your main money site are owned by you.

That will automatically spell failure to your PBN building campaign and worse, would get your main money site penalized as well and get banned for appearing on the SERP.

You don’t want that to happen especially if you’re selling products through your website. One way to avoid that is by not putting all eggs in one basket. What does it mean? Diversify.

Diversify your investments in domains by placing them on different hosting servers. This means that each of the blog sites in your network is located in different locations so they won’t appear owned by a single proprietor.

Website Design

You’ll pay for a hosting server after all, so why not maximize the memory space allowance for you? But of course, this item on our checklist is more than that.

Search engine employees still have human intervention over the algorithm and if they felt like working hard one day, they might check sites manually. So what then, right?

Well, even without human intervention, search engine crawlers have enough programming on them that allows them to find the following information on your website:

  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Themes
  • Plugins
  • Content

Now, if crawlers find that several websites are somewhat looking familiar, it could follow where these sites point and eventually flag the money site to be using PBN. You want to avoid that.

In building PBN, make sure you’re using different kinds of CMS. While WordPress is the handiest, you might want to also opt for a different one, for example, CPanel. There’s a lot available out there that you can check.

Also, keep your designs great. The rule of the thumb is to make your PBN sites look and feel like money sites.

Quality Content

You’ve now built each blog site in your private network so now, what’s next? Another item on our checklist is the Content.

The saying in the SEO world that Content is King will always and forever be true. It's what causes organic traffic after all.

Basically, people visit websites because of what they contain and so this also applies to what content you are adding to each of your PBN sites.

See to it that the blogs aren't overstuffed with keywords and aren't having over-optimized anchor texts.

Never ever put spammy and/or plagiarized blogs on your PBN sites.

The general rule of the thumb is to invest in articles and blogs on your PBN sites to be as natural, factual, and of the same quality as what your money site has.

Tiered Link Building

While the common practice on building a PBN is to keep all sites within the network to be hidden from search engine crawlers, this could pose a risk to your whole PBN campaign.

One reason to be is that if the link sources of your money site are nowhere to be found, then your backlinks can be considered unnatural which you are to avoid when building PBN because that’s illegal.

That’s why as we discuss this, we sound that the sites could be found by search engine crawlers

One powerful way to mitigate this risk and to take note of when building a PBN is to keep your link building within your network tiered.

This means that in a cluster of domains, some will be like third-level referrals that point to the second-level and the second-level domains will the point to your money site.

Then you would also let some, not all, but few some of the third-level domains are visible to crawlers, and also applies to the second-level domains.

A handy rule to cloak your private blog network is to perfectly blend in with the sea of domains that are of the same niche as you are.


Many PBN builders overlook this very important aspect of website development. One of the primary indicators of a website’s legitimacy is its security.

When building a private blog network, see to it that even the PBN sites are secured having SSL certificates attached to them.

When a website doesn’t have SSL, it is usually blocked by the browser’s security check and does, would impede organic traffic.

Even though you’re not expecting organic traffic on your PBN sites, the crawlers would have a lower regard for your website as it has some security concerns.

Aside from that, your website is also exposed to the risk of getting hacked due to a lack of security. So make sure to secure your website.

Plugins and Metas

As mentioned earlier, crawlers can take notice of the plugins you are using on your website to make it look beautiful or to make the posting of content easier.

Also part of the security risk is these third-party plugins which are very common for those who are using WordPress for their CMS.

Make sure that you’re only using plugins that are trusted and has no issue on data leak or other security flaws.

You also would like to diversify on using different third-party plugins on different PBN sites of yours.

Another aspect of your PBN building that is a bit technical would be the use of Metadata.

These data are added to your website header code that has an impact on website design as well as other robot behavior.

Also, make sure to add no_follow code on your robots on some important directory on your PBN sites.

PBN Footprints

Last on our checklist is that you check for any PBN footprint that you might leave that will ultimately end in you getting busted owning multiple domains all pointing to your main money site.

This will ensure that your private blog network will be fully adherent to the algorithm, only utilizing the loopholes in its rules, and avoids crossing the line of malpractice.

We have an amazing checklist on serious PBN footprints that you would want to see as well so you know if ever something would need fixing.

Build You own PBN Today

You might find it quite complex to build a private blog network because it really is.

Since PBN is only utilizing the gray areas of the Webmaster Guide release by the most prominent search engine, one must pay attention to details on building one.

Although the risk is a bit high and is ever-present as search engine algorithm could update anytime without prior notice, the reward is also great if building a PBN is done right.

Your private blog network could make or break your website. It’s just a matter of how you’re doing the process of building.

We hope that this checklist helped or will help you on building a strong PBN for your website to rank highest on the search engine results page and may it bring better income to you and your website.

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