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A Few PBN Questions

Hi everyone

Been testing, watching, learning all about PBNs for the past 3-4 months. Yes, I'm late to the party but I don't care, SER on its own was fine for what I needed, now I need some more firepower and wanted to dabble with PBNs. It's working, but I'm sure I can optimise it better even with only 40 domains at present. Yes I should be buying more ever week but I don't invest in anything without making sure I'm doing it right, even £10-20 I don't spend it until I'm certain.


I have been tracking 250 or so keywords for one finance site, it's very difficult industry but I'm doing OK. I want to do better than OK, though. I have found two longish kws that bring 90% conversion rate but the traffic is low and I'm sat at #4-6 for them. The affiliate company I pass leads to is at #2 and #3. I'd like to push them back a bit and be at #2. This 'should' bring double the traffic I'm seeing now for them. Since the start of the month, these keywords have brought 9 people to the site and I've had 7 sales and one is pending. This is very good as I get quite a lot of money for each sale.

So, anchors, should I change all of my anchors on my PBNs to the keyword I'm looking at, as a test and to generate money, or is it a red flag to change anchors do you think? They are related, here's a similar example of what would change (this is a made up example, btw):

superbike finance (original anchor)
Greenhat bad credit motorbike finance (company name + bad credit + motorbike finance) is what has high conversion rate

as it's related and the content doesn't need to change apart from the anchor, should I change the anchors to that? It's only a small PBN (40) so it won't be a huge change in anchor ratio as I have 1000s of backlinks that aren't this one type of anchor.

Sticky Posts

Should I make the PBNs have sticky posts and ramp up the content behind them - at the moment there are just 10 or less posts on each site. I do use the PBNs for other sites, not just this finance site, as I have other finance sites that I am pushing on the same domains - the domains are generally bloggy looking ones, Waybacked sites and newspaper looking sites, all non-WP and very well hidden.

Other Target Sites

Should I mix up the other target sites on the news/newspaper type domains to be totally unrelated to finance ie. clothing, travel etc All are well-structured to allow this but in terms of only having 100 or so posts on those PBN domains, it's not like a real newspaper that would have 1000s of pages.

I think I have mixed up my domains a bit too much and need to separate them out and buy more domains to focus on each target money site a little more as I think I've diluted the power a little too much and/or they weren't that powerful from the start but I had to buy to learn.

Lots more to learn, but I think I have the structure/setup just right, just need to tidy some loose ends and invest heavily once I'm sure.

Best Answers

  • "Yes I should be buying more ever week but I don't invest in anything without making sure I'm doing it right, even £10-20 I don't spend it until I'm certain."
    Change that approach if you can... :) I spend many multiples over that in experimenting every month, 90% doesn't work but the 10% that does more than pays for it. Most large companies spend big on R&D, which I suppose is similar.

    I don't do much PBN stuff myself as I outsource it so can't comment on the rest, just thought I'd chime in with that.
  • donchinodonchino Accepted Answer
    Welcome to the PBN party. The time I hold my breath and fingers crossed is when Scrapebox is running a periodic check of sites being google indexed. I don't do it often but found it necessary at some point. Even for links I don't own but rent.

    You seem to be on the right path. Always use your best anchors you wanna rank for PBN links. I don't see anything bad in changing the anchor just wouldn't do it all at the same time if I was you, but divide it onto days.

    I use sticky posts but I don't see it as a must. As long as there's enough relative content on the page and around your anchors. Sites can also be static and not blogs. 10 posts seems enough but at some point when google was deindexing PBNs I added all sorts of about and contact pages to such sites with only blog posts, so they don't get deindexed for thin content. Also, PBN sites often don't get traffic so if there's no fresh content coming on as well the risk of getting deindexed is higher.

    Niche targeted PBNs definitely hold more value than a general news type site.
  • @JudderMan I would buy 50-100 auction domains that actually has a power and it isn't expired domain. 

    This domain is easily worth $1000-2000
  • Tim89Tim89 Accepted Answer
    I've found a few expired domains with Wikipedia and BBC backlinks, it's all about finding them, buying from auctions is for lazy, it's like anything, you want an easier life, you need to pay more, if you're willing to properly look into expired domains then there are a lot of bargains to be had.

    People who say that expired domains are terrible etc don't have a clue, as I said, it takes a lot of time and effort to check each expired domain but you'll save a lot in the process, you can outsource it too.
  • @JudderMan You should not pay for domain $1000-2000 if you are not planning in focusing in high competition industries. @Tim89 Try ranking in casino niche with just expired domains and few authority backlinks lol People buy this domains for a reason, if you are not planning on banking mid 5 figures and 6 figures from your site, you don't need this domains ever, but if you do you must have em, you can't outrank someone with this power and who knows how many hidden 301 redirects and paid links and even hacked websites.. As said good luck doing that in such industries with SER and expired domains with such stats.
  • Tim89Tim89 Accepted Answer
    I work within the financial/insurance niche and have done for many years now, I'm ranking just fine with expired domains :D
  • Tim89Tim89
    edited August 2016 Accepted Answer
    @Anonymous sure, if you want to buy your PBN domains for $$$$ that's your business, I'm not mocking anyone that decides to do that, I'm simply saying that there isn't a need to make purchases that cost as much in order to rank and I stand by that, I would be able to rank as high as you even with your network of $$$$ domains just by working smarter and most likely with a better ROI, heck I'm outranking big brand sites in my niche who have been established for years mate, many years, who have SEO budgets of millions of pounds.

    Sure be my guest, I always welcome competitors lol.

    The way I work is similar to the phrase "work smarter not harder"

    If I analyse a niche and obtain keywords for a new project, I don't go purchasing domains for a PBN for the project that cost $$$$$$, when expired domains with decent metrics can do the same job and increase the ROI, throwing money at any project is simply stupid even if you have the budget, it's still a waste in my opinion.

    Besides, if a PBN domain ends up getting deindexed then I couldn't care less and just drop it and move on.

    If you're looking at two domains and you're using majestic and moz for checking their stats, domain 1 has something like 30 TF / 30 CF and is an expired domain which you can pick up for face value, domain 2 has 45+ TF / 45+ CF but is going to cost around a couple hundred dollars in an auction, you're looking at something like this $5 vs $200, you could buy 40 expired domains with similar metrics for the price of 1 auction domain, separate IPs, separate hosts etc.

    You can also strengthen a link and also build authority to your moneysite which helps the entire site rank for its keywords, as I mentioned in a previous post, Google is heading towards giving more authority and power to relevant links rather than giving links power from its direct authority and this is happening already, so as I said, you purchasing your $$$$ PBN domains means very little to the way I work and how I do my SEO, each to their own, everyone has their own strategies and does what works for them.

    I'm happy for you being able to rank with your network, props to you, but I'm also ranking with mine with probably a fraction of the cost because that's how I manage my business and that's how you manage yours.

    By the way, those examples you shared aren't that amazing, TF 30-50? Majority of my network are all TF 25-30+ coming from expired domains.. And also, I personally don't go for domains with 100,000 backlinks, I tend to go for domains with much less backlinks but have high TF/CF and if you're wanting to buy relevance, you'd want to look at its topical trust flow too.
  • Tim89Tim89 Accepted Answer
    @Anonymous indeed, each to their own :)
  • @JudderMan ;One really easy and effective method to monitor the health of your PBNs is to put each domain into your fave rank tracker, and to monitor its ranking for its own 'brand name' ... if it drops from 1 to 20 etc. you have a pretty good idea that something's gone wrong. into a rank tracker.
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer

    Cheers, spent the whole day reading up on PBN stuff. Think I have worked out where I went wrong the twice I have tried it before so i'm going to give it another try and see how it goes. Going to start moving my servers over to PBN based stuff this coming week :).
  • 1linklist1linklist FREE TRIAL Linklists - VPM of 150+ - Accepted Answer
    The trick to finding expired domains is to scrape a big ol' list of sites you want. Say from Forbes or BBC or whatever.

    Sort them, stick 'em in a database, and run a check each day to see whats available.

    Most people scraping for dropped domains only scan the once - Scan daily. New ones - good ones - expire all the time.
  • 1linklist1linklist FREE TRIAL Linklists - VPM of 150+ -
    edited August 2016 Accepted Answer
    If you want to get really crafty, dump them in a mysql database and pull the metrics etc.. for them from Moz; then you can rule out about 90% of what your watching.

    After that run a "If-alive" detection script on them - if the domains resolving its not dropped.

    Then only hit the remainder with a Whois. (Whois being the real bottle-neck on mass monitoring).

    This is how we did it when we ran a service selling dropped domains.

    We used...
    Proxies + Standard registrars / simple curl scripts

    and for moz, we just made lots of free accounts + proxies.

    You dont even need to scrape a list of sites either, a lot of places (Dmoz and Wikipedia for example) make entire dumps available.
  • 2Take22Take2 UK
    edited August 2016 Accepted Answer
    "What do you think an average of 200RDs is like, worth paying an average of $47 per domain with privacy"

    Sounds good mate, those will work just fine if you use them right. I personally wouldn't get too hung up on the number of referring domains, just look at the quality of the links that are pointing at it, and judge by that. Domains with links from low obl edu and .ac pages tend work best.

    Tier the pages on your PBN with the anchors that you want to rank for with more pbn links - relevant content / relevant anchor linking to relevant content / relevant anchor linking to page you want to rank on moneysite = WIN. Especially if the domains already have links from trusted sites. i.e edu and .ac.

    SAPE can work, but it only passes PR, and you'll get much better results if you throw relevance and trust into the mix.

    Also, it's probably a bad idea to use lots of the same anchor on all your PBNs (as you mentioned trying earlier), by all means test it, but you don't need to hammer a page with EM anchors to get it to rank. You'll most likely hinder it's ranking if anything. Assuming you got the onpage right, it's better to just keep hitting it with a varied mix of relevant longtail anchors instead. That's not to say that you don't want some instances of your main anchor(s), just don't go too mad.

  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    JudderMan You buying them off Darko from Domainally?
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    JudderMan Have you used him recently? I noticed I was having trouble indexing the domains from there in my last batch.

    Doubt I will ever go back though as the stuff I can get myself is cheaper and has better metrics and RD.
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    @JudderMan yea I started using it a week or so ago. It crashes a fair bit but I love how I can have 10 or more instance running all on the same server. The scrapes from the past 24 hours have found 12,000 domains to process. Probably be 5 or so in that worth taking if the past few days are anything to go by.
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    you just put huffington post or BBC in as its target site then it will scrape it.
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    @JudderMan it crashes loads like, I will set of 10-15 instances before bed and by morning theres 3-5 still going....

    Also, I worked out it seems more efficient/stable if you just paste your URLs into the scrapebox harvister and then load them from there rather than pasting them in. If it does crash you can then randomise the URLs and rerun it.

    I really hope they fix the crashing problems or GSA release something soon that can do something similar as its a solid bit of kit other than its crashes.
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    Just noticed my reply to this never posted. I left it at its defaults as I haven't had time to test optimisation on it yet. It seems theres two types of crashes, on where it just stops and closes and one where you actually get an error message.

    A few hours ago I checked the server running it and one instance had over 6000 domains, it crashed and its backup feature never worked :(.

    Still though I have found three total gems already and a fair few that are usable.
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    Nice, i'm seeing nothing but good stuff from my PBN test. I have stopped using brokers now. After looking at their domains and the stuff I can scrape myself I realised the reason they sell these domains rather than use them their self, they are a sack of shit.
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    @judderman I wouldn't even consider them ok. I have tested that darko guy off BHW who owns domain ally in the past as he came very highly recommended. I was focusing on SER back then so didnt look into the PBN stuff much and aimed them at a site and very little happened.

    I started scraping my own stuff a few weeks ago and my new test site is already on page one for two of its keywords both over 4000 searched and its on page two for most of its other keywords.

    Now I have researched the method and compare what I was sold from the broker I was totally ripped off. I just put it down to a learning process though, pretty laid back with stuff like that :P.

    I love the new scrapebox add on :) Everything that used to run SER now runs that and I just registered a new personal best domain found from it :).
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    How come you take clients on? I have never understood why people who are able to rank do it. I understand why the indians pretend they can then scam people on BHW but I have always though it was more profitable to just rank your own sites?
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    Fair one, I know a lass up in Newcastle who is a web designer and charges crazy money. You can get a theme off themeforrest and put it on wordpress for less than $100 and it looks close to what she build but she can get four figures from some of her clueless clients....
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    Nah mate, they might work in the same office though I know theres like 8 of them in there.
  • @JudderMan When I was dealing with a clients in the past, I used 301 redirects and pointed all backlinks to it, and when client was about to cut me off, I cut him off instead and few weeks after that he come and complain what happened that he wants to use my service again and I accept of course but with 3 times higher price. :D
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    This just renforces my goal of never having clients and always working on my own sites for SEO/SMB.

    How have you worked out the domains have been slapped? I am hosting 25 or 30 blogs split into two tests on easyblognetworks and everything seems to be going fine so far, seeing steady increases in rank and traffic on one and a sudden increase in rank on the other but its a much harder niche.
  • donchinodonchino Accepted Answer
    If the sites are not connected you could host them on one hosting account but if they are (link to same site, link to each other), then I'd set them up on separate accounts. I usually haven't tried to get a deindexed or slapped site back, but it's good to hear if you have and that it's possible.

    OT but afaik paypal changed the policy for digital goods last year, and in my experience they do refund digital services. Worst is if someone makes a dispute and escalates it to a claim at once and you won't be even able to add comments.
  • shaunshaun Accepted Answer
    Tbh mate I finished reading Black Box Thinking a few hours ago and it's convinced me to start over from the ground up so that's my plan right now.

    I have three tests in mind for what you are asking though, the first one is to just leave it, the second is to redirect and the third is to put content on those pages with a link to the homepage with anchor text I need. I just haven't got round to trying any yet.
  • Tim89Tim89 Accepted Answer
    Redirecting all 404 pages back to the homepage would be the way to go.
  • 2Take22Take2 UK
    edited September 2016 Accepted Answer
    @judderman - no need to over think the thought process mate :)   When tiering pbn posts just use the same techniques that you'd use with SER, but maybe tone down the lower tier linkwheeling / interlinking a bit (if that's something you do?). So yes, interlinking them a bit is fine, as long as you don't go too mad.

    Also, remember that you can randomly link to multiple tier 1 posts from the same tier2 post (I normally link to maybe 3 or 4), to make your resources stretch a lot further. If you're going to do that, add in a random link to a relevant authority site though (on both the t1 and t2), just to break up the link building footprint a bit.

    With regards to anchors, if the tier 1 link to your MS is 'payday loans', then you'd probably want to link to it from your tier 2s with the term 'payday loans', along with all the other related main terms that the page (on the moneysite that it links to) is targeting. What this will do is make the tier 1 page relevant to all those terms as well, so that not only will it help you rank for the term in the anchortext (payday loans), but also all the others too.

    So, to summerise, I'd have all your tier2s linking randomly to your chosen tier1s and also interlink them a bit as well for good measure.



  • LOL @spunko2010 - thanks dude, I know I should jump headfirst into things but need to do stuff on a small scale to test to make sure, as you say 90% of the time it won't work.

  • You are tripping dude, just use your main anchor text that you want to rank for, after all PBNs are for this main keywords cream of the crop and everything else is for diversifying, on PBNs use just your main keywords, and as you mentioned that you are in finance for bigger keywords with volume and buyer intent you will need premium domains with real power, because expired one won't work there. It's competitive and tough industry indeed that requires capital etc, but rewards are worth it, my friend is making 100k$ a month in finance.
  • Haha thanks dude, I've tried that with the main anchor but the longtails are far higher CR and easier, so I might as well capitalise on that rather than trying to smash a huge industry with too few PBNs. If I get one sale a day, that's £100k a year which will keep that domain under the radar as I use some Russian links etc. Once I get to silly money I will invest and aim for higher but my goal isn't to be a £squillionaire just to be very comfortable and not have staff, run a 'company', just want to have handsoff earnings with minimal work per month, which is what I'm almost at just need some more reliable cash coming in.

    I've changed all the anchors now, might as well test it.
  • Thanks @donchino about the anchors, I'm never gonna rank for the top keywords so I thought to change them all to the lower volume but still high commisison that I might as well just try and nail those keywords. I only want one sale a day from it.

    I'm gonna expand the PBNs out and add more than 10 pages I think, it just doesn't make sense not to at the moment as I have a good way of adding content easily and quickly to the sites.

    I think I simply need more domains and better quality and not dilute them too much.
  • If you had £5k to invest in PBN domains, would you go lots of TF15 (and 5-20 quality backlinks each) or fewer domains that were DA/TF very high?

    Let's say 5x £1k domains compared to 100x £50 domains?
  • Thanks man, I just never like the idea of auctions as I get carried away :)

    What's your beef with expired domains? Even with quality backlinks you don't like em?
  • edited August 2016
    @JudderMan Expired domains mostly have average backlinks. You will never find expired domain with stats like above because domains like that are watched and they will never expire. I remember when I started wih zero 2010 I was noob and I had no idea what am doing, took me 3 years to absorb everything about SEO and stuff and and mid 2013 I started amazon affiliate website, managed to make it to $1500 a month and I sold it on feinternational for $27000, with that capital I hired coder to make me custom crawler and I was digging for domains like mad when they were not that saturated like now and you could find gems. But now you can dream about it, but still they are worth for something, after all it's only $10-12 per domain, but then again ask yourself is it really worth it the hassle to setup that domain as PBN and buy hosting and content, if domain has like 20-30 referring domains from weak backlinks? So, buy few domains that will be worth it to setup instead of spending cash and buying 200 shitty PBNs with 20 referring domains from unknown sources. 

    Also one more tip on Majestic don't watch TF and shit watch referring domains, see this?

    This is referring domains from the sites that are linking to your potentional PBN domain, now ask your self if this domains have like 7 -12 referring domains and they point to potentional PBN, what kind of power can that PBN have when you buy it when links that point to it is weak and almost worth nothing? what kind of increase can you expect from it? it's obvious that it has nothing.

    But when you see domains like this that are linked to your "potentional" PBN you know they have power and are from authoritative websites mostly, unless it's spam, which is very rare. Sorry for writing like this, am on phone lagging as fuck
  • Thanks man, thing is I have a good source for domains that have decent referring domains (ie. edus, huffpo, examiner etc) but are $47 (registered, privacy) per domain and I've seen good things from them already with only a few of them (30 from this guy and 10 from another), and considering a huffpo link is $600+ direct to your money site I don't mind there being another site in the way for $47. I am hesitant to dump £1k on one domain (eggs in one basket) as I like to have insurances - I can pull a few domains that aren't working/deinexed etc and they're only $47 so not much.

    I have a good set up for PBNs - it literally takes about 5 minutes per domain to bang out 10 articles set and forget, and it costs very little for hosting, so I don't mind that.

    I'm not new to SEO but am fairly new to PBNs which is why I'm bugging everyone :-)

  • Thanks @Tim89 that's what sort of domains I've been grabbing. Just wondered whether to scale up with what I'm doing or go fewer domains but more expensive, higher amount of powerful RDs.
  • I can always keep on adding big links to my PBN domains, to keep them powerful, no harm in that. That's my way of thinking anyway, rather than buying one domain for £2k that might get tanked.
  • Finance is pretty high competition.

    As mentioned, I can pull £8-10k a month, which is all I want from this site. I don't want it to smash all of my keywords as I'd need staff and huge investment to do so. However, I do take on board what you're saying and I'm not discounting your advice one little bit as it's something I need to look into more and understand before parting with any cash. I really do appreciate your input.

    I've made some changes to my link-building and should see results next week, if I'm lucky. All monies earned from this site will be reinvested back into PBNs/other stuff until I see 6 months consistent earning before selling clients to my competitors (as I want to buy a house outright next year).

  • @Tim89 With how many expired domains? And what stats because domains like this

    and above that I showed already you will never find now, because they will be grabbed and monitored always, in today SEO world valuable domain is worth a lot and anything that is valuable won't expire, people bid on auctions for spammed shit and even domains that has no power at all hundreds or even thousands of $$$$ and you can imagine when someone see domains like above what will happen, I could find something close to domains like above 3 years ago, but today that's impossible, If I were to enter your niche with domains like above do you really think that you would stay in top SERPs?  :D

  • edited August 2016
    @Tim89 I guess you are right. Each to their own. 80 % of my network are expired domains, but from the time when they were worth for something. Today they are auction type, and I don't pay $$$$ for every domain but mostly $100-200
  • How does everyone keep tabs on their domains health, ie penalties etc? I've had two domains get whacked for spam, I had to check them in GWMT which I didn't want to have to do, but got whacked for Pure Spam...just crappy content which I didn't edit properly, which is fair enough. I've deleted it all and added a few unique posts and new T&Cs, contact, about us pages and asked for a review. I should probably just bin the domains but they have some great backlinks and don't want to lose them just yet. I'll just add content and no links for a week or two.

    Also, I've just bought Scrapebox Expired Domain Plugin and there's so many spam domains out there. Is there a good way of scraping? I was thinking of somehow scraping sites that are expired with links from x,y and z rather than just from keywords - ie. sites with links from huffpo, .edus etc is that possible? Just playing around with it now.
  • Ah nice one never thought of that, thanks @Anonymous
  • shaunshaun
    @anonymous do you go for a minimum number of existing backlinks that have TF/CF metrics of >10 for example?

    Also where do you host them? Shared hosting stuff with special offers on or do you use sites like easy blog networks?
  • @shaun I already mentioned some stuff here: Never use SEO hosting especially hosting like easy blog networks, because you will be placed with other people PBNs, that's almost like you buried alive in a graveyard.
  • shaunshaun
    @1linklist thats a nice little tip, never though of just keeping a master list.
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