How to not build a PBN
If you want to have your website rank high on google, just doing technical SEO will not cut it. You will need links, or backlinks in the lingo, and a lot of them.
But, not all backlinks are created equal, which I why we need backlinks with some authority. If you can get a steady stream from reputable sources link to your website, that’s awesome. But, if you cannot, what are your options ?
You cannot just buy up new domains and link from them to your website, reason being that new domains have 0 authority and as such the links are more or less worthless.
Lucky for us there are domains daily with some authority that expire(hence have some authority because they have been active sites for a while) for a number of reasons. It could be the previous owner lost interest, ran in to financial trouble, etc. Whatever the reason, you can buy up these domains.
So essentially, a PBN is a network of previously expired domains on which you throw some relevant information and link from that domain to your own site which you want to boost on google(bing?)
How to build a PBN(or not)
The key to building a PBN is
a) Do it cheap
c) They must be good enough
The alternative to PBN is to ask someone dude to link to your site from his site, so if you can just ask someone else to link to you for less than your own site cost what’s the point?
If you are just doing the PBN for yourself it might be enough to make a few sites per month, but what if you need to build 50 new sites, maintain hundreds and create content to all of them. You got the systems in place for this?
It doesn’t matter how your PBN looks, up to a point. Google isn’t too fond of PBNs, which is why you need to make sure that you don’t get caught :)
The exakt steps you need to take to avoid detection I can discuss another time, but for now lets just say the page needs to look as if it was made with genuine intent.
What we couldn’t make work
If you get it scalable, cheapens would most likely follow. My first instinct was trying to automate the whole process as much as possible. To this end my vision was using some mix of terraform for provisioning instances and managing the infrastructure.
Terraform is a really cool if you want to manage infrastructure over multiple service providers, it works with e.g. aws, google cloud and azure. You can essentially spin up resources from your local command line at any of the big infrastructure providers out there at the moment from pre configured templates. This in combination with integrating with e.g. DNSimple seemed attractive.
TBH, the infrastructure itself though is not the most time consuming in all of this, nor would it be to spin up wordpress instances, it is the content bit which takes a lot of time. So, once we realized that we are optimizing on the wrong thing, we changed course.
How to build a PBN
In the end, after realizing that optimizing on a fancy solution with infrastructure as code is a waste of time, we went with just having freelancers create everything from scratch and outsourcing the whole process.
The only thing we hand over to our freelancers is the content and the domain on which it is to be created. It took a while to get a mutual understanding of how each domain should look, but now that we mashed out any misunderstandings we have the capability of creating around 100 domains per month and managing all our old domains.
For some things the most elegant solution doesn’t make any sense, sometimes you just need a small army of people doing what is not far from data entry.
If you are in need of links to your site, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org