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PBN Builder Review: The BEST and FASTEST way to rank on page 1

In this PBN Builder Review we are going deep inside the world of private blog networks.

Starting from the absolute basics, we’ll be guiding you through how to setup, manage, and use a PBN in 2017.

With over 9,000 words of step-by-step training, even intermediate to advanced SEOs will learn something new.

Let’s begin…

What is a PBN?

A Private Blog Network (PBN) is a network of authoritative websites used to build links to your money website(s) for the purpose of ranking higher in the Google search engine.

A money website is the website you intend on ranking i.e. the one that actually makes money. This can also refer to a clients website.

In its most basic structure, the finished result appears like this:

PBNS stands for ‘PBN Site’, referring to a website that is part of your private blog network.

One very important detail here is that each of the individual PBN sites are not linked to each other in any way. The idea of a private blog network is that the websites appear unrelated to each other, therefore natural links, as opposed to someone linking to their own website from their other websites.

Is it against Google’s guidelines?

Absolutely.

The only time Google are going to tell you exactly how to rank is when they are advising you to use AdWords. But for ranking within the organic results, they are the worst source for information.

And I would do the exact same if I were in their position. Why tell you how to rank for free, when you make over $40 billion per year from ad revenue.

Does it work?

Take a look at the AutoVid Profit Review

If it didn’t work, I’m sure Google wouldn’t be attempting to target them and scare people away from the strategy.

And yes, this was little more than a scare tactic, people are still building networks and ranking as easily as ever.

Why does it work?

Links are the most important ranking factor.

It turns out that backlinks, even though there’s some noise and certainly a lot of spam, for the most part are still a really really big win in terms of quality of search results.

That is a quote from Matt Cutts, when asked about excluding backlink relevancy from the algorithm.

What makes this strategy effective is the websites that form a PBN are regarded by Google as authoritative. You are not receiving links from some brand new website, nor a spammy untrustworthy one, you are receiving links from a popular website Google’s algorithm loves.

To understand how this works, here is a figurative example… http://bit.ly/2v98pcR

An initiative was launched in 2011 to help clean up the streets in Chicago. They had a website setup under cleanchicagostreets.com.

The initiative received a lot of publicity, they were featured on their local governments website and local news websites.

They raised enough publicity and money to follow through their plan. And they did, all within a year.

Now their website is no longer needed, and has become a pointless cost to renew the hosting and domain. So they leave it to expire.

This is a domain that has links from local government websites and local news websites. And because it has links from these highly trustworthy sites, Google also presumes this website is trustworthy.

Fast forward to today, an SEO finds this domain, can look up the metrics to see how trustworthy and authoritative it is regarded, then purchase it from any domain registrar to use for their PBN.

That is in essence, how domains are found.

Between 30,000 – 50,000 domains expire every day, many of which will have good ‘metrics’ for a PBN.

An Introduction to Metrics


There are 4 main metrics to use for measuring domains. You can use all of them at once, but often times 1 or 2 is enough.

These are…

DA – Domain Authority by Moz.com
PA – Page Authority by Moz.com
TF – Trust Flow by Majestic.com
CF – Citation Flow by Majestic.com

I’m not technical enough to know exactly how these all work, but here are the basics…

DA measures how authoritative the whole domain is, based on the links to it.

PA measure how authoritative a single page on the website is, based on the links to it. This is also influenced by the DA of the website.

TF measures the trustworthiness and authority of the websites links.

CF measures how powerful the links to the website are.

Here is a quick reference guide on what to look for:

DA – 18+
TF – 13+
CF – 15+

I have bought domains weaker than this on numerous occasions, but this is the general guideline I try to follow. Don’t worry about following it exactly.

These metrics represent the power of the domain you are looking at, but there are a few more things to check before purchasing it…

Referring Domains – A metric that shows the number of websites that link to the domain you are looking up. Anything above 30 is good enough here.

Backlinks – This is the number of links the website has. If a single website links to the domain 3 times, then it’s 3 backlinks but only 1 referring domain. Make sure you check these before purchasing a domain.

Anchor Text – This is the text people use when linking to the website. Look to see if they contain a brand name (which is normal), and avoid ones that are: heavily keyword targeted, have big brand names that are often associated with selling of fake goods, and other obvious things like viagra or adult themed.

Metrics Checking Tools:

OpenSiteExplorer – Check DA & PA
Bulk DA Checker – Check DA in Bulk
Majestic – Check TF, CF, Referring Domains, Backlinks, and Anchor Texts
Ahrefs – Similar to Majestic, seems to have more websites indexed (so you can see more links)

I highly recommend you have either a Majestic Silver account ($49.99/month paid quarterly) or Ahrefs Professional account ($79/month), but if you are only starting out, a free account on either of these services should be enough.

The only metrics that matter in 2017

Trust Flow is BS? Domain Authority is BS? These have been the trending comments in our community for a while now, but who do you believe?

The answer is:

The only thing that matters is what Google thinks. Not Majestic, Moz, Ahrefs, or anyone else.

From the moment Google announced they “have no plans to do further updates” to PageRank, there’s been no way of knowing exactly how Google measures a domains quality.

That is where the above metrics come into play. They’re not perfect, but they’re third party algorithms for measuring domain quality, based on their theories of what Google finds important.

Sometimes they’re inaccurate. Other times they’re a great analysis.

The most important thing is that you manually check the backlinks. If the backlinks are from an automated link building tool, chinese anchor texts, thousands of blog comments, mostly directory listings, etc. Then it’s a bad domain.

To take this further, here’s a breakdown of metric checking in 2016:

  1. Do the metrics pass your requirements?
    1. (If no) Are any of the links from super authority domains?
      Some times these can be worth purchasing anyway i.e. BBC.co.uk links
  2. (If yes) Are the backlinks spam or low quality?
    1. (If no) Does the Wayback Machine show it was used for spam?
    2. (If no) Does Screenshots.com show it was used for spam?

The Wayback Machine and Screenshots.com allow us to see exactly how the website used to look in the past, so we can verify if it was ever used for spam in the past.

Where To Find Domains

Knowing what to look for in domains is only part of the game, next you need to know where to find the domains.

Before we cover that, you need to understand the types of domains to find.

Expired VS Expiring Domains

Expired Domain – A domain that fully dropped and is available to register from anyregistrar at standard domain registration costs.

Expiring Domain – A domain that reached its expiration date but was held onto by the registrar for auctioning / selling. These domains retain their age i.e. if they previous owner registered it 5 years ago, it remains a domain registered for 5 years.

There is no conclusive data as to which type of domain is better. Some people believe expiring domains provide more power, but many of those with this are biased by the fact that they’re selling expiring domains.

All I can tell you for certain is that both types work. You are however much more likely to get an expiring domain with high metrics, than an expired, but you’ll also pay for that privilege too.

As for finding domains, there are a number of strategies for this:

  1. Find a broker – Easy
  2. Scraping – Time Consuming and Intermediate
  3. Auctions – Time Consuming and Easy
  4. Backordering – Time Consuming and Advanced

What is scraping?

Scraping domains is where you use an automated bot or series of tools to crawl links on old webpages that point to domains that are no longer registered (domain type: expired).

For example, you could have a bot crawling the chicagotribune.com website and checking every website it links to. It soon finds an old article from 2011 that links to cleanchicagostreets.com, which is no longer registered as a domain.

This would be logged for your record. You could then purchase the domain from any domain registrar.

You can also purchase scraped domains from brokers. Brokers are the best of the best at scraping, they have fast, efficient automated tools to do it for them.

You can do it manually and it works. But you are looking at 2 hours or more of work per domain you find, not to mention the additional waiting for the tools to finish (you can’t just work 4 hours and find 2 domains).

Your financial situation will probably define which route is best for you, so we will cover how to do both.

Option 1 – Finding a Broker

Here is a list of brokers websites you can buy from 1 at a time or in bulk.

Please note that I have not used all of these brokers, but I have at least heard good things from others about all of them.

  • PureQualityDomains
  • HighPADomains
  • TBSolutions
  • Join the Lion Zeal Marketplace for a 4,000+ person FB group for buying / selling SEO stuff

Option 2 – Scraping Yourself

The way this works is by using a tool which automatically checks the outbound links that a website has, to see if any websites it links to are offline. Then you can check if the domain is available to register and check its metrics.

To increase the chances of finding a website that links to offline websites, we try to find old pages. An article from 2001 is more likely to do this than a page from 2014.

There is a lot of manual work and time required for this, but it will work. Especially if you become a bit more inventive with your Google searches.

Note: This is the OLD way of doing this fully manually. I highly recommend you read on and understand the process, but there are a variety of automated tools to speed this up now that we’ll cover next.

Here’s how to do it:

Credit to my good friend Stinus for showing screenshots of his process

Go to Google. Using ‘Search Tools’ select an old date period, I’d personally recommend testing out different ones at different times, so doing a search of 2000-2001, then 2001-2002, 2003-2003, this will give you a lot of different results.

The screenshots below will give you a quick idea into how this works though…

For the search, you have 2 options:

  1. Something generic like ‘health blogs’
  2. Specific search to find pages that link out to lots of other websites, like ‘fitness resources’, or even more specific ‘fitness directory’

You are looking for old pages that contain a lot of links to other websites. This one caught my attention from the title:

When visiting this page, you can see that it has a bunch of links out to other websites:

This could be a good one to check out. Take a note of the URL, and we can check it later.

To check these domains, we are going to use a tool called Xenu Link Sleuth (download link), it’s completely free to download and use. You need a windows computer or VPS to run it.

Once it is installed, go to Options -> Preferences, and then set these settings shown below:

Maximum depth is the number of links to follow.

Depth 1 will check all the links on the page you input. So if you input example.com and it links to example2.com, then that URL would be checked.

Depth 2 takes this a step further and would extract the links from the example2.com page and check those also. So if you input example.com and it links to example2.com, then that URL would be checked, and if example2.com linked to example3.com, then example3.com would also be checked.

The higher the depth you set, the longer this process will take, but the more domains you are likely to find.

Once you have saved these settings, go to File -> Check URL, and the Xenu starting point window will popup. All you need to do is enter the URL we collected earlier, paste that in the top input box and make sure ‘Check external links’ is ticked. Then you click ‘OK’ and it will start running.

This process can take hours, depending on the number of links.

Once it has finished, go to File > Export to Tab separated file. Now you should be able to open it in Excel.

From here you need to go to the ‘Status Code’ column and filter it by 12007, which means ‘no such host’, basically the website is not pointed at a server – so highly likely to be available for registration. Simply right click on the column name and click Filter, then set it to 12007.

Now copy all the hosts that have the status code as 12007. We need to trim these down to just the domain, so we can run them in a domain availability tool.

To do this, we are going to use this free web based tool: http://www.seoweather.com/trim-urls-to-root-domain-standardise-urls-prefixes/

Paste the URLs into the box. Tick the box for “Trim URL’s to root”. Then hit ‘convert’.

Now we have a list of domains, head over to the NameCheap and use their bulk tool:

They will give you a list of all the domains that are available to register:

Next you can run these through Majestic Bulk Backlink Checker:

And they will give you the list of metrics.

As you can see, all 7 below are pretty bad. This process does take a lot of manual work, the aim is to find 1 or 2 good domains from every run of this process. The better you become at the initial Google search, and picking out the websites to run in Xenu, the more domains you will find.

Automated Tools For Scraping

Scraping used to be extremely manual, as you can see above. But the brokers that had lists with 100,000s of domains were not doing anything like this, they created automated tools to speed this up.

Today these tools are publicly available for very little money. Below are some tools for this:

  • Ox Scraper – $47 one time
  • Domain Reanimator – $195/m
  • BlueChip Backlinks – $99.99/m

(Please note I do not use any of these personally)

These tools massively speed up the process above, but it is still time consuming.

Option 3 – Using Auction Websites

Before scraping was popular, most people would buy domains from auctions. These are expiring domains, they keep their age because the registrar is selling it off after they owner failed to renew it.

You can usually find more powerful domains on auctions than from scraping because the dropped (expired) ones are picked up fast by your competition – if not already bought in the auction stages. The downside to auctions is that you pay extra to get first pick.

Some auction sites you can look at are:

  • NameJet – Potential to find high quality options
  • GoDaddy Auctions – Used to be THE place to buy PBN domains
  • NameCheap Auctions – Thousands available in the marketplace

Option 4 – Backordering

The final strategy for purchasing domains is probably the most advanced, but it is the best domains you can get for the money they cost.

backordering service is a company you pay to catch a domain for you as soon as it drops from registration.

We briefly covered earlier that when a domain expires it doesn’t really expire. It’s often kept onto by the registrar, sometimes auctioned or sold, and usually doesn’t drop for around 2 months.

Scraping tools search for very old websites and attempt to buy domains that were missed by people backordering. But with the advent of scraping and selling domains as a business, and with our industry literally purchasing millions of dollars worth of domains per year, it’s very difficult to scrape very high quality domains today.

With backordering however, you can request domains that have expired but not dropped yet through a backorder service. They’ll repeatedly check if the domain can be registered yet, if it can, they’ll attempt to register it for you. This part is called dropcatching.

The success of this ultimately depends on the competition. If everyone is trying to get this domain, you may be out of luck. Also some services are better than others at it.

To increase your chances, you can backorder with multiple services, depending on how badly you want the domain.

If someone else backordered it with the same service, and that service catches it, it’ll go into auction between you and them – which can get pricey.

Here are some backordering services:

  • DropCatch
  • SnapNames
  • NameJet
  • Pheenix

Many of the above services will provide you with pending delete lists too, this is a list of domains that are about to drop that you can backorder.

Here are some specific links to help you:

  • ExpiredDomains
  • Dynadot
  • NameJet
  • SnapNames

This strategy is listed for the advanced users, it is far from simple. You’ll also need some tools to help check the metrics of all the domains in the lists above to check for quality. If you want to get the best expired domains though, this is the way to do it.

Important Things To Note About When Purchasing Domains

Private is the first word in PBN.

You can’t hide from Google, you need them on your websites to see the links and pass on the power. But you do need to make sure there is no association between these websites. They need to look independently owned.

When buying domains, this means mixing up your domain registrars and registration dates. Do not always buy from the same one. And do not have your name and information in the whois for every domain.

I won’t cover the whois part for legal reasons, but you can discuss it in the Facebook mastermind group. Whois protection services are also a good option sometimes.

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