Are Private Blog Networks Always Bad For SEO?

What Is A Private Blog Network?

A Private Blog Network, usually abbreviated to PBN , is a network of sites or blogs that a person has created for a variety of purposes, but most commonly because the owner wishes to rank highly in search engine results (or be able to influence them).

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Reasons To Use A Private Blog Network 

There are many reasons why someone doing off page SEO would want to use a PBN, including some that are completely valid.

The following is an (incomplete) list of the most common reasons people set up private blog networks:

  • Traffic Generation – One of the main uses for PBNs is to build traffic to the site. The owner of the network will often share their own websites with their blogs or sell advertising on them, allowing them more control over what sort of sites they link out to and how much money they make from it.  
  • Link Velocity – Some people set up PBNs because they want their websites to rank quickly and gain authority at a faster rate than could normally be achieved organically. To achieve this, they need to have a good number of quality backlinks pointing to their site. Blog networks are very easy to set up and make for good link sources.
  • Spam Check – If you’re worried about the risk of getting penalised, one option is to buy a PBN site that already has links pointing towards it in order to ‘check’ whether or not Google will approve your links in future. You can then assess how risky setting up links on your own domain is before launching anything live.
  • Domain Research – Another reason some people choose to purchase PBNs is purely so they can do research on what domains are best before deciding which ones they want to acquire with their own money.
  • Links For New Websites – Some people simply wish to rank their website straight away without waiting months/years for it to gain authority organically. If they have the money to do so, buying a sufficient number of good quality backlinks can be a fast way of achieving this aim.

Can Private Blog Networks Be Used Safely?

In some cases, yes, a PBN can definitely be used safely.

However, in most situations, a PBN will always have a negative effect on a site’s rankings – at least for a short while.

Ultimately, the only time it is ever safe to use a PBN is when you are the only person who knows that that particular network exists and that you’ve created all of its backlinks yourself.

Generally speaking though , our SEO Toronto and New York SEO team thinks anything other than this means that your site is at risk from being penalised by Google .

That said though , Google do not seem to apply large updates specifically on private blog networks on any kind of regular basis (as they would with spammy links) and so there may still be some room for PBN’s to be used safely .

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