A New PBN Strategy

Is it time to review your PBN strategy? I think so!

Time to review your PBN strategy? I think so!

If you’re going to game the system and build a PBN, you really need to have your a-game on.

So, it’s  time to revise your strategy, and start building each PBN site like each site actually built by a completely different person.

You don’t have to have multiple-personality disorder, but it’ll certainly help.


Here’s my PBN strategy in a nutshell:

Here’s the mentality I use when building a PBN site…

Think of each and every PBN site as being the only site you own.

Only – it’s not you who owns the site.

You’re a different person now, sometimes with the alternate gender, using a different email address (don’t Googlify!), where your web site is hosted in a different time, place and network.

The site looks different.
It reads differently.
It’s built differently.
It serves a different audience.

It’s natural, and it’s undetectable.

Because you’re a schizophrenic on a PBN rampage and when you wake up in the morning, you’re not sure if you’re looking at yourself in the mirror or that guy from Boston with the blog about bicycle basics.

No wait, no you’re not!

But you have evolved.

And before you even start to build your first PBN site, you’ve got a clean slate and a lot of hard work ahead of you!



My Fifteen PBN Strategy Hot Tips:

Let’s get a little more specific.

Off the top of my head, here’s what you should be doing, and NOT doing when you’re building your PBN:


Don’t Googlify Yourself

  1. Don’t use Google accounts at all to authenticate any service, or to sign up to any service. If you must have a Google account, have a separate account for each PBN site.
  2. Don’t add Google Webmaster Tools to your PBN sites. If you want to check they’ve been indexed, just search for yourself.
  3. Don’t add Analytics tracking from your PBN sites (why bother). And certainly do not use Google Analytics if you must.
  4. Don’t link the site to any Google Plus page.


PBN Domain Choice:

No surprises here.

  1. Ensure the domain has a clean backlink profile.
  2. Don’t fall for domains with ridiculously high metrics or excessive backlinks.
  3. Diversify your domain registrant details (WHOIS).


PBN Hosting

  1. Don’t just use Hostnine to get multiple class-C IPs. Multiple class-C IPs don’t really prove much, and I’ll need to explain why in another post.
  2. Do host each site with a different web host. It’ll get you into a complete different network for a start!
  3. Do take advantage of different geographical networks by choosing hosts in different countries.


PBN Site Content

  1. Create new and unique content, always. Not just unique amongst your sites, unique full stop. Don’t spin content, it’s not worth the risk.
  2. Don’t add any authorship links. It’s not necessary.
  3. Keep the content fresh on your PBN sites! How? Start a 2 hour per week contract on oDesk. Allow your VA 20 minutes each week to add new and relevant content to each PBN sites once per week. This way each time Google index the site, the site is alive and well.
  4. Vary the CMS used across your sites. Don’t be lazy and simply use WordPress. Try using Joomla or Drupal too.


PBN Backlinking

  1. Build just ONE link from each PBN site to your money site. One link in related content is more than enough. Two is fun but relatively pointless.
  2. Do link out to other unrelated authority sites to diversify your outbound link profile. Make it natural!
  3. Don’t “overlink” your sites. When you have a 2nd PBN, make sure you keep your cross linking between money sites and PBNs non-existent or to a minimum.
  4. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If your keyword research shows you’ll need 50 high powered backlinks to rank a site that’ll get you 50,000 unique visitors a month – think again! Find 5 sites that’ll get you 12,000 unique visitors a month (that’s 60,000 in total by the way!) with a 10 site PBN each. Same number of sites in your PBN but you can do a lot more with five money sites than you can with one.


Any questions? What are your thoughts?

Please leave a comment below and let me know what your PBN strategy entails.

Did I miss something? Of course I did, because it’s always evolving.

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask away!

Please follow me now on Twitter @pbnlab, my Facebook page or on Google Plus and then drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you!


  1. Scott, I just came across this strategy as well. Yet I have just stumbled across SEO I see this as begin one of the best ways to find high quality domains without breaking the bank and a way to EXPLODE any SEO business! Thanks for the article and I look forward to seeing pbnlab when it launches!

    • Hey Travis!

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I believe the only way to find the quality domains without it costing a fortune is to find them manually, which typically has been a labor intensive process. Fortunately I’ve now automated the “grunt work”, which means we simply let the domain crawler do its thing, and wait for the results to come through.

      It’s actually quite fun (in a nerdy kind of way)! Like digging for gold.

      Be sure to jump on the short list so you can be notified when it comes online.


  2. Hey Scott )

    What a time to be launching a PBN building tool!

    There has been a lot of talk about the return of investment in PBN not being worth it anymore but I think the numbers can add up even with taking a lot of effort to build high quality PBN sites.

    In my experience even a small network of sites can be enough to support a large income.

    There is no reason why an authority site approach is not compatible with a back linking strategy that involves links from sites that you own, particularly in the early stages.

    Long term it might be safer to remove your PBN links once you have picked up some natural links.

    All the best with PBNLab )

    • Hi Alistair,

      Yep! I guess as they say…any publicity is good publicity! My traffic has gone through the roof, so thanks Google for making PBNs the hot topic of the month.

      The ROI is difficult to calculate (if not impossible). But what can be calculated is the potential upside of ranking the site to number 1 in the SERPs, and then it’s a matter of “risk vs. reward”, as most people have recognised – just like any business decision.

      What is for certain is if you don’t try, you won’t succeed!

      What annoyed me about Spencer Haws’ post, is when he made reference to PBNs costing a small fortune – which hasn’t been the case at all in my experience. And I quote, “You can spend many thousands of dollars BEFORE you even build your actual site that you want to rank in Google!” and later, “how would you like to see $xx,xxx worth of work go down the drain overnight? I’m guessing most people don’t have the kind of money to lose.” Huh?

      Unfortunately he doesn’t qualify those figures, and I know he’s referring to huge networks which is not what 99% of people are out to produce.

      It’s all about risk vs. reward, as he mentions.

      I’ve seen a 5 site PBN built by hand, with domains found manually and content from Textbrokers (which cost about $200 in total) rank a small site to number 1 in Google. The site pulled about 3000 unique visitors per month and returned $100 per month on average using AdWords. That’s a 2 month ROI, from the time it ranked. I’d love to rinse and repeat that 100 times over, wouldn’t you?

      It’s definitely about picking your target, understanding the audience and working out what it’ll take to rank. And weighing it up.

      “Long term it might be safer to remove your PBN links once you have picked up some natural links.”

      Absolutely. Create shareable, linkable content and when links come naturally, I’d definitely start pulling back the PBN links.

      It’s important to monitor the position in the SERPs and your backlinks for this very reason. Three questions: 1. Do I need more links? 2. Do I really need all of these links? If no, minimize your risk and remove some. 3. Has my position dropped after removing a link or two? Yes, reinstate. No, happy days.

      Thanks for the good wishes. Hope to see you get some wins!

      Let me know if I can do anything to help you out.


  3. Hey Scott,

    Found your site from a comment you made on Glen’s article. Thank you for the tips.

    Something I’ve been considering:
    You mention not to add a G+ or G Authorship page.

    If these sites are truly needing to look like legitimate, owned sites (by other people of course) then would it make sense to create Google accounts for each site, setup legitimate G+ and Authorship profiles, etc. Seems if we dedicated 1 employee to do this part-time it would further insulate us from any future detection and perhaps would lend more credibility to the site and overtime increase it’s strength to rank our money sites.


    • Hey Alex,

      You’re right – some of the PBN sites do need to have authorship links to keep it natural.

      I really am erring on the side of caution in suggesting “no authorship” because it’s so easy to cross-link Google accounts.

      I’ve read some interesting comments (without evidence mind you) about concerns that Google could track a single owner of multiple Google accounts using cookies. You login to account A, cookies are set. You logout, login to account B, the cookies are still there and Google then see you actually own account A and account B.

      I know technically it is possible, but it’s a bit of a stretch.

      I do set up authorship on my sites, and I do agree with you.

      My recommended process involves having an install of Mozilla Firefox (read: not Google Chrome) with the browser set to block tracking cookies and location tracking, and to forget everything when the last browser window is closed, which means all cookies are removed and history cleaned at the end of each session.

      So basically: you open Firefox, log in, do whatever under user account A. Then close all Firefox windows, then open again and log in under account B. It’s a clean slate every time.

      Do I need to write a detailed how-to or do a video how-to on that? I am thinking so.

      The worst you do as part of this process is showing Google that the IP address is always the same for those users. BUT, that’s actually so common, it isn’t funny!

      On large corporate networks, there’ll be 1 or 2 WAN links with hundreds of users sitting behind it. Which means this type of IP history occurs naturally anyway in many many environments. Because Google don’t know who or what is on your network, behind the IP of your home/work connection, I think it’s irrelevant and I put this at about a 1% chance of bringing you unstuck…AKA negligible.

      Thanks for getting in touch Alex.


  4. Hi Scott

    I have one several questions regarding pbn

    1. will you rebuild the site with old content through archive.org

    2. will you build a link on a coding site point to a fashion site (if the expire domain was a programming blog), or you just build the expire domain with brand new content?

    • Hi Ted,

      1. Clone the old site? Probably not.

      It’s not crucial to clone the old site. Imagine you owned that site, and you decided to set up a new web site, with a new design. It’s likely that some, if not all content will be refreshed. Plus – if the old site owner were to see it and they’re a business (chances are they’re not longer in business!) then I think you’re really asking for trouble.

      I think it’s important to keep the site content relevant to its original topic, and it’s especially important to maintain some of the old pages or categories if possible. There’s a metric that MajesticSEO are calculating based on topic called Topical Trust Flow. Check it out here.

      So if you acquired a domain where the site was about fashion, I wouldn’t put a site about dog kennels on it.

      2. Would I link from a programming blog to a fashion site?

      Yes, so long as the link is somehow relevant to both sites. If I run programmerblog.com, and I just bought some new shoes, which I found at a great price through FashionSite.com – I’d definitely link out to them. That’s quite natural.

      In this instance, it’s important that the paragraph or two surrounding the link is relevant to the niche you’re linking to.

      This isn’t ideal, but it’s still a link. So if I had a choice, I’d stick to keeping the content of all of my sites relevant to one another, and not cross mojo too much.

      Hope this helps!


      • Thanks Scott, this helps a lot, I just use the old content for drip feed purpose.

        I like the idea:

        “Yes, so long as the link is somehow relevant to both sites. If I run programmerblog.com, and I just bought some new shoes, which I found at a great price through FashionSite.com – I’d definitely link out to them. That’s quite natural.”

        I will use this strategy to build new pbn since it is too hard to find a domain which is really relevant to money site,especially when we own bunch money sites)

        a few more question: do you consider Page Rank when you find expired domain, some people say PR is not important at all but I found that the expired domains have the bigger chance to own a clean backlink profile.

        will you refer to DA/PA, CF TF, I think TF is good metric but DA is not that accurate since OSE database is not large like ahrefs. I have a domain which has backlinks from BBC, WIKIPEDIA, but those backlinks didnt crawled by OSE.

        I tried search article regarding standard of finding expired domain but seems you didn’t write such article 🙂

        • We can’t get a valid PR value from Google any more. They haven’t updated the dataset in over a year. So it’s now completely unreliable.

          Yes, I use Moz’s DA and PA metrics. It’s now the point of reference that everyone uses since PR is out of date.

          Take the DA and PA as a minimum values. If there are more links, these values will only be higher (but probably a negligible amount).

          Always check Ahrefs for quantity of links and referring domains etc. They crawl faster and only care about links really. You can also check Majestic SEO.

          And you should check all 3 sources (OSE, Ahrefs and Majestic SEO) for more certainty regarding backlinks.

          I have only just launched this web site about 2 weeks ago. No time to write articles, too busy coding the domain crawler and web front end!

  5. Really interesting web site, i did’nt know about PBN i found it regarding expired domains.

    I have few questions in mind

    1/ how many PBN sites are really need to provide effective juice to a money site ?

    2/ Regarding risk, if the money site is using Adsense and PBN is detected by Google, does google can also remove the adsense account ?

    3/ If we start a new fresh PBN, when can we start to make a link to the money site (on what criterias) ?

    All the best


    • Hi Tom,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      1. This really comes down to how many links you need to rank for certain keywords, which is determined by the competition you’re up against. What I’d recommend as a starting place is getting the top 10 results from Google, then analyzing the metrics of each page in Moz’s Open Site Explorer. Essentially, you’ll need to have the same or better number of quality links to your page. The best measure of quality as a rule of thumb are the PA (Page Authority) and DA (Domain Authority) metrics of “do-follow” links. In addition to this, take into consideration the relevance of the topic of those pages.
      2. Hard to say – and will definitely be at Google’s discretion. If you were to receive a manual penalty (where a real person has reviewed your site and backlinks…as opposed to an automatic algorithmic penalty)…in this case I’d say they’re likely to deindex your site AND terminate your Adsense account too for breaching their Webmaster Guidelines. But, you never know.

        Only do as much backlinking as necessary and don’t leave any evidence of yourself in your PBN. Don’t use Google Webmaster tools or Analytics on the PBN sites. Don’t leave your WHOIS registration public. Don’t use Chrome. Do disable tracking cookies etc.

        It’s really just about “risk vs reward”, weigh it up and go from there!

      3. On the basis you build the site “right” and make it natural, keeping your internal and external linking structure natural, by including links to other relevant authority sites (like Wikipedia) – I don’t bother waiting any set period of time. It can take days or weeks for Google to crawl the site anyway, so does your timing make any real difference? I’d set up the site, and schedule the posts to go live over a period of a week or two. But it’s really up to you.

      Good to have you on board the Beta short list Tom!


      • Hi Scott,

        Thanks very much for your fast reply.

        As i said i just discovered PBN few days ago and now i ma completely investigating that.

        I truly believe that to succeed in someting we have to be borderline (not out of the line)
        and been bordeline needs to be more clever so a clever PBN can be necessary and not dangerous compare toa stupid or basic one.(i have detected a guy not catch who have 20 money site and a PBN with 480 sites, i was able to have the list of all his PBN with the use of a specific footprint detected, and many of them have same design, i detected him because i found a podcast where he explain he have that kind of website and to detect his network i started with his public blog, so many mistakes from him and you know what the guy knows really the web business so this kind of mistakes are amazing !)

        A clever PBN (no footprint detectable) is a good starter for a new site has we know that with google the more hard is the first 6 month for a website, which is a period where google is deciding to give you trust more or less or not yet.

        Footprint is the future and already exist, the more advanced industry is the online advertising so google knows a lot about. Why ? because footprints are replacing cookies to identify a user ( so a website too) , they are already necessary for the mobile ads (no cookies possible) and nothing is set at the user side like cookies so very convenient and less agressive for official privacy issues.

        So for PBN the key is to try to determinate as you listed the footprint component of a website that google can collect and compare.

        Waiting for your Beta.

        All the best


  6. PBN links dont appear in my WebmasterTools. This means they are not working?

    • Hi Vicente,

      I’ve found there to be a big delay in those links appearing in Google WMT (months) and they don’t necessarily show every link pointing to your site. Just as Ahrefs, Moz and Majestic all show different links, WMT is no different…though mostly their indexes are very similar.

      Some things for you to consider and look into:

      1. Is the PBN site indexed by Google? Try using site:websitedomain.com as your search phrase, and see what Google report back. If there are zero results, it’s likely that the site may have been (probably has been) penalized by Google – unless the site is too new and hasn’t been indexed yet.
      2. If it is indexed – how long since the GoogleBot indexed all of the pages? It can take weeks. You’d need WMT linked to your PBN site to know for sure, but I would NOT recommend you do that.
      3. Do these links appear in Ahrefs, Moz and/or Majestic?

      Hope this helps!


      • Hey, tks for the answer. My PBN site is indexed and the links appears in the Majestic. I’ll make more tests and I come back to comment. Tks, bro!

  7. Nice post. But i have a question. Is it okay to use 10 domain in a Single Hosting??? I read that multiple c class ip is must for PBN.

    • I wouldn’t recommend that, no.

      And as far as the class-C IPs go, I’d be chasing multiple class A or B too. It’s quite easy really, on a basic level you just need to have web hosts in different regions of the world. I.e. America, Asia, Europe.

    • They’re links, just link a link from any other web site, which pass link juice and authority. The only difference is that you own and control the web site where the link comes from.

      That’s all there is to it!

  8. You talked about knowing that you needed X PBN links to rank a site that gets 50,000 visits per month. How do you know how many and what strength PBN’s you need for a given keyword-phrase?

    I think knowing this will tell you if you even want to try to go after a certain keyword.

    Are the TF/DA metrics linearly additive? Or how do they add up?

    I definately want to tackle the easier keywords, but I can’t find out anywhere how to determine HOW MANY PBNs needed for a given keyword.


    • There’s no “easy” answer unfortunately. If you study the backlinks the currently-ranking sites have, you should be able to work out if you can get links the same or better, and by the same quantity. That’s a good place to start.

      No, TF and DA are not linear, it’s a logarithmic scale. DA 30 is double DA20. DA 40 is double DA30. It’s exponentially harder as you go up the scale.

      Yep – go for the least competitive keywords with ample local monthly search volume, and sufficient reason to do so – ad revenue, affiliate product to market or review etc. Get your on page right, and see where the chips fall.

      Good luck!

  9. One thing about hosting. A lot of people are making a mistake and skimping on hosting, going for $1 hosts and ending up on same server as a lot of SPAM sites, and they go down a LOT. Trust me, nothing will deindex them faster then a bad host. Its a pain to work with as well.

    • Yep, you’re dead right there Nemanja.

      People really need to consider their ROI. If you’ll (potentially) make hundreds or thousands this year off the money site…why be so tight? Greed?

  10. What are your thoughts on SEO hosting for PBN sites?

    • If you’re referring to “SEO Hosting”, meaning, the super-cheap, crazy high website to web server ratio kind of plans – I’m not a fan.

      I avoid hosting anything where there’s any good reason to think that you’ll be placed on a server where thousands of other PBN sites, which are probably going to get deindexed by Google, for fear of having any of my sites deindexed as part of a manual review of websites by IP address. Perhaps unlikely, but not impossible, and certainly not ideal.

      All of my sites are hosted with different web hosts, on cheap plans ($2-4 per month). In my mind, you have to spend money to make money, so rather than shoot myself in the foot, in the long run I’d rather spend a little more and make a little less, than make more now and nothing all of a sudden in the near future. Risk vs. reward?

  11. Hi Scott

    I am pretty new in setting up PBN – have read a lot about it though. And have 2 questions left open:
    when registering a domain – can I use a fakenamegenerator ( I use it for hosting already)?
    If I do so (register with fake contact info) – what about my paying choice? I would always use one and the same Paypal account for tenths of domains and hostings – that could be a footprint or?


    • I don’t think there’s any reason not to use a fake name generator, so long as can keep track of everything as you need to. The real clincher though is the email address, because at some point you may actually need to access the emails in case of a domain transfer etc.

      As for your payment method, shouldn’t be a problem at all. I can’t imagine any domain registrar will ever divulge your account payment details to Google, let alone anyone else!

      Hope this helps! =)

  12. Hi Scott,
    Thanks for this amazing post. It’s a good bullet list to follow.

    I am really in a grind thinking about 10 PBN sites with different registrars. I wonder how do SEOs manage hundreds of PBN sites with registrars.

    Any thoughts, please.


    • Hey Raj,

      I personally know of a guy who has almost 5,000 domains. The fact is that you aren’t going to have 5000 different registrars, or even 500.

      If you had a 10 domain/site PBN, you could easily find 10 different registrars. You could do it with just 5 or 6 though, to mix it up a bit.

      In any case, you’ll need to be keeping track of your domains/WHOIS data/registrars/expiry dates etc so you can see everything at a glance. It’s all about record-keeping!

      Hope this helps!


  13. Scott,
    Thanks for the post. I have a question, if I detach google from my site, will it still rank on their premium/front pages? Will I get real organic traffic from google?

    • Do you mean, to not have your site “linked” to Google Webmaster Tools or Google Analytics?

      I’d say that it will make no difference to your rankings at all if you do, or do not have your site linked to any Google service in that way. If that’s a ranking signal of high importance, then Google have made it far too easy for any webmaster to manipulate the rankings, which is exactly what they avoid with every change they make.

      Hope this helps!

  14. Hi Scott, thanks for the post. I am building a small network and using different gmail accounts for each pbn blog for hosting a/c email verification, etc. Now i want to install google analytics and thinking whether it would be fine to use dedicated gmail account for each PBN blog from the same location. Please leave your suggestions.
    Awaiting your reply !!

    • Hi Azhar,

      You’re clearly playing with fire by using Gmail, and running Google Analytics on the PBN sites. Why Gmail, when there are plenty of other free mail services. And why bother with Analytics on your PBN sites, do you really care about the traffic on it?

      If you’re going to do this, I strongly suggest you use Mozilla Firefox as your browser of choice, in private mode when you’re accessing those accounts. Only access one account per session, and open and close the browser between private sessions to ensure the sessions and cookies have been removed from your computer. Or better yet, do some reading on the Tor browser: https://www.torproject.org/

      Hope this helps! Good luck.


  15. great info! Just wondering about your suggestion on “ind 5 sites that’ll get you 12,000 unique visitors a month (that’s 60,000 in total by the way!) with a 10 site PBN each”… Do you mean instead of building 10 PBN sites to rank one money site..we should use the same 10 PBN sites to rank for 5 money sites.. Will that be safe?

    • Hi Sandy,

      No, I was saying instead of targeting keywords that would take 50 high powered links to get it ranking – pick 5 sites that would require 10 high powered links each.

      You can point links from one PBN site to multiple money sites, but you need to avoid linking all of the PBN sites to all of the money sites. You’ll make a very clear correlation between the PBN sites if you do this.

      Hope this helps!


  16. I have a “money-site” that I’m trying to pump-up.
    Using your software I just found and purchased 5 domains.
    I’ve put the new domains on a server.
    My question:
    Can I just “301” the new domains and redirect them to my money-site in order to get the benefit of the links going to my new domains to pass through to my money-site?
    Do I have to actually build a website on the new domains to get the juice to go to my money-site?
    (The newly acquired domains have .gov and .edu links pointing to them .. my objective is to get that juice going to my money-site).

    Your software is GREAT.

    Thanks for all your help.

    • Hi Dom,

      You can certainly do the 301 redirect, and it’ll pass everything to your money site. All of the link juice, the anchor text and branding etc. But I wouldn’t recommend you do this more than once, as it’s not standard practice in the real world – and would be a flag to have your site manually reviewed.

      THe standard practice is to literally build out new web sites for each, and link back to your money site – using caution not to create a footprint. Check out PBNFox.com for a service you can use to achieve this without having to do all that hard work yourself.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  17. Playing Devil’s Advocate here, might it be a good idea to actually go ahead and use Google Analytics? A real site might just use GA – and don’t we want to make it look natural?

    Of course you’d have to set up a separate GA account so it’s not associated with any of your other sites, but it can’t hurt, right?

    Maybe some of your sites should be set up with GA and some not.

    Also, if a site has been deindexed for some reason (maybe it’s been expired for too long), how would you get it reindexed without using Google Webmaster Tools?

    • Hey John,

      Yep, what you say makes total sense. The post you’ve commented on here really does have a tin-foil-hat-perspective, that’s for sure.

      Any site that has been deindexed because it has been offline for an extended period, will naturally be reindexed once it comes back, since Google will still attempt to crawl the site, based on its inbound links. So on the basis they are active inbound links, and those pages don’t return an error (HTTP5xx) then all will be fine. It’d take 2 to 3 weeks at worst, probably.

  18. Can we use analytics or webmasters tools on money site if we are using PBN Links?

    • Yes, of course you can.


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