What are PBNs and Why are They Bad for SEO

In the world of SEO, link building plays a huge role. It is one of the top 3 factors that Google uses to rank websites. 

Link building is a tedious task, but most people don’t want to do that and want a quick way to rank their websites at the top of Google. And that’s where PBNs come in.

So what are PBNs, and why are they bad for your site’s SEO? The marketing experts at Trusted Search Marketing have a few things to say, so let’s dig in. 

What are PBNs?

PBN stands for ‘Private Blog Network.’ As the name suggests, a PBN is a group of websites that links to other websites to manipulate their search rankings. 

They are a black hat SEO tactic.

For those who don’t know, Black Hat SEO refers to going against search engine guidelines to manipulate rankings, and White Hat SEO refers to SEO done without ethically breaking search engine guidelines. 

PBNs are mostly created with older sites having some domain authority. Let’s take an example for a better understanding.

A person named ‘John’ has an old site xyz.com which he built some years ago and that site now has a good domain authority. John launches a new site, abc.com, and he wants his site to rank quickly in Google. What he does is that he adds some links to his new site, abc.com, from his old website, xyz.com.

Because the old website had some authority, John’s new website will start ranking in search quickly as it has backlinks from an authoritative website.

And that is basically how PBNs function. 

Why are PBNs Used?

PBNs are used for two main reasons:

  1. Ranking manipulation
  2. Earning profits

I have already explained about rankings manipulation above. PBNs are also used to earn hefty profits. 

If your PBN is authoritative enough, then you sell link placements on your site. Someone else pays you to put an authoritative link from your PBN to their website. Links sell for a variety of prices.

This method is widely used by link-building agencies that promise to get you authority links. All they do is take money from you and then place a few links on the PBNs they own. 

Are Private Blog Networks Good To Use?

The answer is that it depends. Whether a PBN is classified as bad depends upon the number of links and the quality of links. 

If you place a hefty amount of links from a single website to a website, then sooner or later, Google will catch you and place a penalty on you. 

The second factor is the quality of links. If you place one or two links only, but the links are completely unrelated, then again, Google will catch you.

For example, if you have two websites, one on Finance and the other on Fashion, and you place a link from your Fashion website to the Finance website, it will look very suspicious. Why would a Fashion website link to a Finance Website? 

Google’s algorithm will look at the links, and it shall identify that the links are fake. And you’ll have to face a Google penalty.

On the other hand, if you don’t link too much and only link to related content and pages, then a PBN is not harmful. But this is not the case with most PBNs. 

So, Should You Use PBNs?

Our final answer would be ‘No.’ PBNs might sound like a great idea, but they are against search engine guidelines, and sooner or later, you’ll get caught. This is not a sustainable long-term link-building tactic. 

Instead, focus on building relations and earning well-deserved links. Though getting quality links this way can take a lot more time, they will be worth it in the long run.

Interesting Related Article: “What is search engine optimization (SEO)? SEO explained