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Building a Private Blog Network – The Right
You will have heard, seen and even participated in some form of Blog Network as part of your
link building strategy. However what’s working RIGHT NOW is Private Blog Networks.
By private I mean we won’t be selling links for $15 a pop on forums. Private means private, for
your use only.
This guide is all you need to know about building your own private blog network to rank your
sites highly in Google.
Buying Domain Names
Ultimately, this is THE most important step in building your private network. You want domain
names that have an existing link profile, with age and a good Google history too.
That means no spammy links, nothing from questionable foreign sites, no adult or gambling sites
Where to Find Quality Domains?
I use a number of resources to find and aquire high quality domain names, all of which allow us
to search for both expired, expiring and auction domains.
I use ExpiredDomains.net because it’s a great source of FREE information and the search/filter
capabilities are very powerful. They have multiple options for finding domains, such as
GoDaddy auctions, free to register expired domains, plus lots of other neat filters such as a
minimum Moz Domain Authority or Majestic Trust Flow.
There are 3 type of filter you can apply.
– Common Filter,
– Additional Filter
– AdWords & SEO Filter
A quick summary of each is below;
The common filter allows you to define PageRank, Domain Length, with or without hyphens and
As you can see my this search excludes any Fake PR’s and Page Rank -1 (it’s still worth
performing additional checks before you commit to buy however, you can use the Fake PR
The additional filter allows you, as I have done, to choose only domains that are available to
register. If this was not selected, auction and closeout domains would be returned also.
AdWords & SEO Filter
This is where the tool gets really powerful.
– We have the ability to search on both Majestic Trust Flow and Moz Domain/Page Authority.
– There is also the option to look for domains that include keywords, where those keyword
receive a minimum number of Exact Match Searches.
– A Min and Max CPC function is the icing on the cake.
We have pretty much all we need right here to find some awesome domains.
RegisterCompass is a premium tool that is pretty much unrivalled in the industry. I have yet to
find another piece of software or service that can deliver the volume of data at the speed
With this tool we can search for Expired Domains, Auction Domains and Domains due to
The search box gives us every option you would need to find those hidden gems;
In this example, I’m looking for domains that contain the word “Dog”, that have over 50 Moz
backlinks. The top TLD’s are selected (.com, .net, .org and .info thrown in for fun).
This search brings back the following;
That’s a total of 159 domains we have to go at, now that may not seem like a lot but there is
always something of interest. Let’s take a look at the 53 Expired domains that we can grab for
the price of the reg fee…
Scrolling down the list a few jump out at me, one of the best I see is “cratetrainingdog.net”.
And here are the Moz domain details…
This is a super related domain to the dog niche, with a DA score of 20 and PA score of 33. There
are 60 linking domains and a total of 67 links.
Looking at the anchor text usage we see there is a fairly good split of anchors being used to link
to this site.
You could do a lot worse than pick this domain up for the $8 reg fee
Another free tool, this time from Moonsey.com and their expiring domains auction tool. At the
time of writing, their site states:
List of recently expiring domain names in next 24 hours at Godaddy auctions
In this time will finish 6585 auctions with great domains for SEO having Google Pagerank
This is live updated list ( several times per each minute ), contains accurate domain auctions
details and seo metrics.
So we have 6,585 GoDaddy auctions that will expire in the next 24 hours. The cool thing about
this tool is the ability to sort your results very quickly; the downside is the lack of filters
available which can make it difficult to find niche specific domains.
However as you will see from the guide below, we don’t have to buy niche specific, as we can
always rebrand the site to make it super relevant to our money site.
Moonsy offers the ability to show both domains at Auction and those available to Buy Now,
along with the ability to sort by many different metrics including;
# of Bids
AdWords Search Volume
You can also check if the domain is indexed in Google and it’s history using the Way Back
Machine from Archive.org.
Choosing the Right Domain Names?
I will start this section by saying FORGET PAGE RANK right now.
It won’t be around in the very near future and it hasn’t been updated in quite some time.
There are so many PR5 sites out there you can pick up for next to nothing, you may think you
have a steal, however quite often they have already lost their backlinks and they are worthless.
What Makes a Good Domain?
Authority & Relevance
A link from an authority domain that is relevant to your niche is gold for your search engine
ranking. Google loves these kind of links, its a big thumbs up for your site from another trusted
Whilst buying domains with authority is definitely doable, buying relevant domains may prove a
challenge. However what we can do is MAKE THEM RELEVANT.
We can do this by taking the following steps;
Make the Name and Branding of the site relevant
Make the Title Tag Relevant
Change all Meta Tags to make them niche specific and super relevant.
Add posts, images and videos all related to the topic
The only way to buy quality sites is to look at the back links. Stay away from spammy looking
links or anchor text in another language. You’ve seen those domains with 5k backlinks and
Chinese anchor text right? Yeah, so stay away from those.
I follow a 4 step process when choosing domains for my private blog networks.
1 – Use Moz.com Open Site Explorer
I look for Page Authority (PA) over 30, Domain Authority (DA) over 20 and as many referring
domains as possible. The more the better as there is less chance of 100 sites all dropping your
link than say just 10 referring sites.
Also check the backlinks and anchor text split to see if the domain may have been over
optimised in the past.
2 – Use MajesticSEO.com
I look for a Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF) over 15 and again as many referring IP’s as
possible. Also check the links in Majestic as it will pull different results than Open Site Explorer.
3 – Use ahrefs.com
4 – Use SEMRush.com
Ahrefs will usually return a more complete backlink profile overview. Look at the quality of the
links pointing to the domain, the more relevant they are the better. Older links are better still.
Also use the Anchor text chart for a great indication of a domain that was previously spammed
or owned by another SEO. A high percentage of keyword rich anchor text is an indication of a
domain to avoid.
5 – Test the history of the domain
Run the domain through the Wayback Machine from Archive.org. Take a look back at the
snapshots to make sure the domain didn’t contain any unwanted content when it was a live site.
How Much to Pay for a Good Domain?
There are various opinions on what you should expect to pay for authority domains. However
most of these are based on PageRank as that is what has driven the market up until very recently.
Those prices and opinions are now out of date.
To be completely honest, prices and valuations are constantly changing. It’s both a buyers and
sellers market and you really need to get a feel for the market buy dipping your toe in. I would
suggest picking up a few expired domains for the reg fee and go from there.
You will quickly get an understanding on how to value a domain and its links.
To give you an example I bought 7x UK domains from a forum member for $480/$68 each.
Now this was when the market was all about PR, so 3 of the sites were PR4’s, 1 is PR3 and the
other’s are PR0, however they have an awesome link profile and I knew I could actually use one
for a niche site and the rest for my blog networks.
The Moz DA of these sites range from 28 to 44, so I have some very good domains for what I
consider a great price.
As a rough guide, domains with a PA of 30+, with a clean link profile (usually PR3) sell for
between $150-$400 depending on the link profile.
Registering and Registrars
This part is important;
You need to use different registrars not just GoDaddy and NameCheap.
By mixing up the registrars you significantly reduce any footprint your site may have and you
make it harder for the powers that be to find your network and de-index it.
Also as an optional layer of protection, I like you use a combination of both Fake registrant
details and privacy protection. This way not all of your domains have private whois, some of
them have real looking people and addresses…even if they are made up!
So mix it up and be different, don’t take the easy road and have all you domains in one account,
all using privacy protection.
Some registrar examples:
NameCheap (free whois privacy)
This step is WAY overcomplicated by many. You need to keep it simple or you can get lost in a
maze of usernames and passwords, and more importantly lose focus on the important
stuff….ranking your website.
First up lets understand the key requirement:
Unique Class-C IP’s
Your website needs backlinks from other websites in order to rank high in Google. These links
act as a vote for your website, and generally speaking the more unique votes you have, the higher
you will appear in the SERP’s.
In order to get these unique links from our private blog network, we need to ensure that each
domain we own appears to be a stand-alone website, not linked to any of our other sites. To do
this we ensure that the hosting provider we use offers unique class-c IP’s.
What is a class-c IP?
An IP address is broken up into 4 blocks, below we call them A, B, C and D
As you can see the “C Block” is the third block along and is where we need to have a range or
variance amongst our PBN sites.
Which Hosting to Use for a Private Blog Network?
I have 1 main rule for hosting a PBN:
Stay away from self proclaimed “SEO Hosting” companies
For some reason many people suggest SEO Hosting as a solution to managing many domains.
Whilst it does make it easier to manage, SEO Hosting is NOT GOOD for a Private Blog
You want to avoid attention and footprints at all costs. Don’t you think Google with all its PHD
employees they have sitting around, could easily identify these ‘LOOK AT ME I’M AN SEO’
hosting providers? I do.
Option 1 – The Easiest Option
The trick is to use reseller hosting, which will allow us to mange our PBN sites from a single
account, whilst providing the unique IP ranges we need. HostNine provide the exact
functionality we need and you are able to get many different class-c IP’s using just a single
Some of the features we can use from HostNine include;
Data centers all over the world – meaning a more diverse looking PBN
Unique Class-C IP ranges
Host up to 100 PBN Domains
Easy to use cPanel – to control all of your domains
The standard reseller package with HostNine starts at $18.95 per month with a 1 year contract. It
has been know for people (including myself) to have over 20 PBN domains on a single reseller
package, which brings the cost of hosting per domain to less than $1. There is nowhere else you
can get hosting for that price, which offers the functionality we need.
You can check out HostNine here.
Option 2 – The Harder Option
We also have the option of using multiple hosting accounts, from many different sources.
However this is much more difficult to track, manage and set-up than HostNine.
If you are super organised and have the time:
Simply go to this forum dedicated to shared hosting offers –
Sign up with one of the $1-$2 hosting companies – ensure they offer cPanel and oneclick WordPress/Blog Platform install
Add a PBN domain to the account