Should You Create a PBN? Three Experts Weigh In

Should You Create a PBN? Three Experts Weigh In

Should You Create a PBN? PBNs, which is short for “Private Blog Network,” are collections of powerful websites that you can use for SEO – building up to links to sites to help spur search rankings. Typically, the sites that comprise a PBN are based on strong domains that had been previously used. Like, if a popular auto mechanic blog shuts down after 5 years, you can buy it and leverage their age and authority to help boost your site through backlinks.

As you might imagine, setting up and using a PBN takes quite a lot of work and some cash investment. The question, of course, is whether it’s worth the effort and expense. Google has been down on PBNs though they are still considered effective if used properly. Here are three articles by experts that offer insights into whether it’s worth trying a PBN:

  • Are Private Blog Networks (PBNs) Worth It In 2016? – Here, author Nathan Gotch of GotchSEO talks about the potentially high costs of acquiring domain names at auctions.
  • PBNs + What’s Working In Google NOW In 2016 – In this article, “That SEO Guy” notes, “SEOs have been using PBNs for years now and I don’t see them going away anytime soon. Google loves nothing better than a link from a powerful site and still rewards this highly.” So as you can see, he’s a fan.
  • Are Private Blog Networks Still SEO Effective? – According to this article on Website Magazine, a PBN does run the risk of getting de-indexed. It can even be penalized. However, the author still believes that the ranking power of a PBN is quite strong.

The main idea is to develop a plan that includes quantifiable objectives so you can work back to understanding what your return on investment (ROI) will be for your PBN. For example, if you plan to sell exercise equipment and you predict you can close a certain amount of business from the effects of the PBN, that number has to be less than the projected cost of the PBN – including the value of your own time! This is very important. It’s not just $100 for a URL. It’s $100 plus however many hours you have to spend setting it up, feeding it with content and so forth. If the numbers don’t work, go back to the drawing board.

Google Rich Answers – What to Know

Google Rich Answers – What to Know


Example of Google Rich Answer for the query “How can I improve my credit score?”

Have you heard about Google’s “Rich Answers”? You’ve probably seen them. They’re those little boxes with succinct, direct answers to your search query that show up in your search results.  They appear in different formats, such as graphics, slides, text answers, maps, calculators and so forth. They might be small snippets of text or rich snippets. They’re drawn from an existing website.

If you’re curious where Google gets the Rich Answer, here’s what they actually say about it:

“Where does the answer summary come from?

The summary is a snippet extracted programmatically from a webpage. What’s different with a featured snippet is that it is enhanced to draw user attention on the results page. When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.

Like all search results, featured snippets reflect the views or opinion of the site from which we extract the snippet, not that of Google. We are always working to improve our ability to detect the most useful snippet, so the results you see may change over time.”

If you are involved in SEO, your first question should be: Good for me or bad?  It’s a little of both, it turns out. According to Eric Enge, the CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, “A rich answer is any attempt by Google to answer the searcher’s query in search results in a way not requiring a click through to a website.” Stone Temple Consulting publishes research on SEO and Rich Answers in particular. They have observed that Rich Answers are increasingly included in search results. So, it’s a good news/bad news sort of situation. Being in a Rich Answer means you get a lot of prominence, but you may not get click-through.

Pam Neely, writing for the Act-On Blog, notes, “Rich answers are not like other search results. They play by different rules, affect other rankings, and offer a major new opportunity for SEOs who know how to use them.” Neely then asks, “Should site owners worry about rich answers?” She says no. Rich answers that sites built using public domain information. In that case, Google may not include a link to your site if they use your site as the basis for a Rich Answer.  So, rich, original content can be your path to being included in Rich Answers.


Two other articles worth reading on this topic:

Charles Floate Updates his Respected OnPage SEO Guide

Charles Floate Updates his Respected OnPage SEO Guide

7k0a0014-2Floate may be young (20) but he really knows his way around a very important topic, OnPage search engine optimization (SEO). He has just updated his guide, OnPage SEO: The Lost Art. I definitely recommend taking a look at it if you’re trying to find every possible way to improve your site’s search rankings.

Floate makes the point that a lot of web master get preoccupied with backlinks.  But, although backlinks are mega-important, there is more to SEO than just backlinks. As he puts it, “backlinks are a key cog in ranking a website, they aren’t the be all and end all of ranking in the SERPs, despite what some people may say.”

A lot of sites neglect OnPage SEO, to their detriment. What’s a shame, too, is that it’s so avoidable (and cheap to fix, if you know what you’re doing.) As he says, “People are skipping by the essential (and sometimes boring) tasks of basic OnPage, and going straight for the links.. Then they wonder why they don’t rank after spending a thousand bucks on links…” But, the reality is that websites won’t rank optimally without the right OnPage SEO.

His guide covers title tags, header tags, bold tags, image optimization, keyword density, site speed, bounce rate, length of content, URL optimization, meta description optimization, interlinking and more. ith the guide, you can start to create an initial framework for OnPage SEO success.