Here are my rantings on internet marketing. I've given some good advice in some articles, and others, well. Take a look for yourself.
Blog » Why you know nothing about building blog networks
I'm not going to lie, I lurk and post in a well-known SEO forum, and even have a Jnr VIP membership. I'm not someone that just decided to throw this article together for the sake of content, I'm someone that is frustrated with clutter in the marketplace and feel the need to educate newbies.
I like to know about both worlds of SEO – including the deep dark site of ranking – and I've become quite savvy in the way of blog networks. I see SEO and Internet Marketing similar to music, if you follow the rules you're only going to get nursery rhymes, if you break some rules, you get punk rock. You must be fluid or prepare to fade away.
Currently there is a massive boom in all expired domains marketplaces which leads to PBNs (Personal Blog Networks) being setup and links sold on black hat forums. There are even some “brokers” selling domain names with only a small percentage doing it correctly. Another service has come up where people build a network for you, which are really over prices for the product you're presented. I find it quite shameful that 80% of people in the most popular IM (Internet Marketing) forum have no idea what the hell their talking about.
If you go to Internet Marketing Forums marketplaces, you'll find a tonne of really expensive and extremely bad blog networks being used to sell links. Most of these networks won't hurt your SEO, but they won't really do much at all and are just a waste of money.
There is one network that offers “guest posts” on spammed domains and uses PR (Page Rank) as the main selling point. Another seller puts up the DA (Domain Authority) and PA (Page Authority) as his selling point, which is completely misleading. I've even seen great domains burn, all because of simple little footprints that links the sites together.
I've been adding people on skype recently and asking questions, pretending to be a buyer in order to shine some light on questions I've come up with. I'm very surprised on how bad the quality of the networks are on offer. No wonder Google crack down of these guys. I've put this down to younger/fresher SEOs that packed in the link building software to play with the big boys. Since the big players keep everything secret, the younger ones need to guess or try to figure out how it's done, all with no previous knowledge.
I personally don't care for keeping things a secret, but then again I'm not a big player. I have always maintained the mentality that anyone can do anything, but whether they have the time is a different story. So I'm not threatened.
Below I'm going to outline everything I've come across – I'm sure there is more out there – where I've found people making simple and common mistakes. I'm sure this will change over time, but right now where the market is completely open for anyone and everyone, this is the perfect link bait. 🙂
Let's get started…
I've come across many people claiming their blogs are hosted on unique C Class IPs. Hahahaha, yeah, ok. Using SEO hosting is a complete rip off and a waste of an IP address. Sure they have their own namesevers and IP address, but it does leave a footprint all over your network. Another mistake is using one server and just adding on domain names to folders, therefore they have 1 – 3 IP addresses.
The best solution is to use a different company for each domain. Sure, this can be expensive, but SEO is expensive and these are assets. So work out your ROI (Return on Investment) and find hosting companies within your budget.
Many sellers claim they have no footprints, but are happy to have in the sidebar of every blog they own a “sponsored links” widget with a link to their website that has the same anchor text across all of them. That is a footprint! Other footprints are unique marks/images left to identify your network, using the same theme for every site, using spun articles across all domains and copyright signatures.
The best advice I can offer here is don't build blogs just to sell links. Treat every single website/domain as a separate website and actually build a firkin blog with top quality content. Don't link them! There is a fine line between owning a blog network for links or being the administrator for a bunch of great quality websites, all with content people will actually want to read. Cross that line already and stop making bad sites nobody will ever visit.
A lot of domains in blog networks are general niches sites. WTF is that? Even news sources and magazines are about something in particular. This is just pure laziness with the seller just adding a category as the article/buyer comes in. You're left with articles from gambling to high end fashion on the same site.
Blogs should be niche relevant with each category being a silo. Stop making blogs about everything and anything, they don't exist in the real world. Use Latent Semantic Analysis to theme the content of your blog, that will ensure the topic is clear to search engine bots. Also keep in mind topic related trust flow.
This should not be ignored! It's as simple as that. Trust Flow can also be manipulated but it's is a great metric to filter down your list. People don't seem to take advantage of Majestic Topic feature and building “weight loss” websites on domain that have trust from Arts and Crafts domains. That is bad practice and lazy as all hell.
Look at the links that have trust flow, if they're real websites and good links then you're onto a good thing. Don't buy domains that were once a PBN already, most likely they weren't doing it properly and ruined the domain.
A lot of people just build their sites on the naked domain name, or just the www subdomain. The thing is not every link points to only one!
Check the metrics for both, especially Trust Flow. You'll be surprised on how different the metrics are and how people link to you. Quite often people will place the www at the start of a domain name, either when going directly to it or linking to it. Check the links and where they point to.
Domains that have PR and no backlinks are completely useless. PR is not a metric you should rely on at all to be honest, it's only updated internally now. I'm looking at you Flippa Sellers! Flippa is a marketplace for websites and there are often new sites that popup on PR 1,2,3 domain names with no backlinks, they're a complete rip-off. Forget chasing domains in marketplaces that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars because they have a page rank above 4, it doesn't mean anything anymore.
Page rank 0 or N/A are still good domains. Don't completely ignore Page Rank, but don't use it as the only metric you should look at, especially with domain names newer than 3 years old. If you really are deadest on PR, then look at the PR of the links to make sure it's a real metric, it's very easily manipulated using headers from other sites.
This is a metric you need to look at, but keep in mind that it's not the only metric you should look at, just like PR. Moz metrics are very easy to manipulate with simple SEO Tools you should know about already. People seem to use Moz as gospel when it comes to SEO and they're wrong, completely wrong. I can blast a domain name with 1000 referring domain and 5000 total links and it would have a very high PA and DA, but it's still a spammed domain with little value and will probably burn to the ground within a few months.
Make sure you're checking Domain and Page Trust, this is fast way to filter down your list for manual check. If a domain has PA but no Page Trust, then you should question that. You might want to also ask yourself why Page Authority is higher than Domain Authority: unless it was news source or magazine, there shouldn't be any other reason for this.
People are claiming they have 1000 backlinks to their domain. My reaction to that is “How about the referring domains?” People are not comparing referring domains to referring IPs and total backlinks, I call this the link ratio. If all 1000 links are from only a handful of domain names and are forum profiles, blog comments and directories, then that is called a spammed domain so don't buy it. Be mindful that 20 amazing links outweigh 1000 bad links any day.
Use both Ahrefs and Majestic SEO for checking backlinks as they usually have different results. By combining the reports, you're covering as much as possible. A good SEO will know what domain are good domains to have links from and each niche is different.
You'd be surprised how many people build networks with their name in the registration – who is – information. Let me put it this way. You have a money site registered to Joe Citizen and 50 other domain names registered to Joe Citizen pointing links to Joe Citizen's money site, do you think that would raise any flags? The answer would be SHIT YEAH.
Privatize your domain names who is information. Don't use false information, that's just fraud and you're most likely going to get a call from the registrar asking to verify your identity. Do it properly and all will be fine.
This is the biggest mistake people make. Using spun content is out! The Hummingbird plugin has been around long enough now to have accumulated enough synonyms to combine information with the Panda update. Unreadable/Spun content is now detected – sure, not all but a good chunk – and a red flag is raised. All good SEOs know this already and some felt a burn on May 14 2014 update. Google have even updated their quality guidelines, which was a pretty big clue this happened.
Write everything! If you don't have time to write then hire someone to write for you, there are plenty of platforms such as oDesk, Elance, Freelancer and even Fiverr. All your content should be unique, readable and informative. I'm all for Google burning bad content on the web, it forces people to hire the forgotten trade of words. Also get a shutterstock account and start buying up images you want to use. Become familiar with copyright licenses and check out Creative Commons.
See more: Ok, Now Content is Really King
For some reason everyone is deadest on using wordpress for everything. Why?
There are hundreds of amazing developers building custom CMS (Content Management Systems) and blogging platform. There are even more developers in the world that can develop a kickass HTML/CSS framework for you to use. I would start taking advantage of the common static frameworks and try to build something unique from others.
Yep, you will gain short term results from doing this but you should be thinking long term here. I know link echoes (link ghosts) exists, but the spammed links might bite you on the bum come next update, then your domain is completely useless.
Don't start spamming your blogs, there is no reason you should be doing this if your domain already has good links pointing to it. Keep that for the web 2.0 platforms if you really want keep practicing this method. Of course if you really want to take advantage of Link Echoes and burn the domain once it's done, then go ahead.
The best advice I can give to newbies building PBNs is completely stop building low quality blogs on wordpress platforms, move into building actual websites worthy of the internet, add some social network accounts to them and try to gain traffic. Check out other Content Management Systems or learn how to code yourself.
This will require a bigger budget on your end, but you will be much better off in the long run and you can even sell the websites in Flippa when you're done with them. Remember that this is your investment.
See more: How to make money flipping websites
If you found it useful then I'd greatly appreciate it if you share it around. The more people that read this the better.
I’m a digital marketing and SEO consultant based in Sydney, Australia. I drink a lot of coffee and spend most of my time working on clients websites and improving their search visibility.