How white hat SEOs can use PBNs without the risk of penalties

You are a white hat SEO

White Hat Private Blog Networks

You know your competitors are ranking ahead of you using their own PBNs

You wait and wait for Google to penalize them – but nothing seems to happen

It’s been a whole year and the penalties never came – and your rankings have gone down the drain

Sucks eh?

What if you could use the same Private Blog Network strategies in a complete White Hat way so that you can compete with the black hats without the risk of any Google penalties?

This tactic is not brand new. It is a variation of the good old broken link building tactic that has served White hat SEOs well for a decade. It is however a lot more efficient and effective in getting you amazing back links from exactly the sites you need them from to help you shoot up the Serps.

In fact, I cannot take credit for this entirely. Nathan Gotch had written about this a while back. However, I hope this article will be a much more exhaustive guide for you.

How does it work

PBN builders harness the equity of an expired domain by redirecting its link juice to their money sites. This tactic removes the expired domain from the equation. It looks at bypassing the domain and getting the links to the expired domain to be redirected to your own website.

What do I need to know and what tools do I need

1. Majestic Topical Categories: You need to firstly understand about Majestic Topical Categories and how Majestic Topical Trust Flow works. Here is a good article  from Majestic to get you started.  You can checkout a complete list of topical categories. Make a note of the category that best defines your niche.

2. You also need to know a little something about expired domains. When a domain expires, there is a 30 day waiting period during which the original owner can renew the domain. After this waiting period, there is a 5 day period called “Pending Delete” where the domain cannot be renewed and will drop into the pool. For this tactic we do not care about catching the domain. All we care about knowing is that during the 5 day pending delete, the website will be down and the original owner of the domain will have no chance of reclaiming the domain. This is the best time to try and grab all the back links to the domain.

3. For the tool, you only need access to the DomCop Newbie Plan. You do not need to purchase the plan, as you can simply use the Free trial that gives you complete access to the Newbie Plan. (If you truly find it useful, do purchase the Newbie Plan – I won’t stop you :))

Let’s get started

1. Sign into DomCop. Go to the “Expiring” section and click on “Advanced Search”.

2. In the “Majestic SEO” widget, set the following.

(i) TF/CF Ratio > 0.8 (Keeping this ratio above 0.8 ensures that any domain with spammy backlinks are removed from the filter)

(ii) Choose your niche from the Category drop downs. For this article let’s assume it is “Computers > Software”

(iii) Set “TTF” to 20. (minimum Topical trust flow of 20)

The Majestic widget should now look like this – Majestic Topical Category Settings

3. In the “Listing Types” widget, only enable the “Pending Delete”. We only want expiring domains for this tactic and none of the ones that are on auctions.

Listing types widget - Pending deletes only

4. Click the “Search” button and the domain data table will show you all the domains that have expired (are in the pending delete state). Click the “Maj TF” column header so as to sort the list by the Trust Flow metric. Now we have the domains with the best quality links at the top.

If you do not see enough domains in your list, try and change the metrics – try for a TTF of 15 or TTF of 10. You can also reduce your TF/CF ratio to 0.5. Eventually, you should be able to figure out what works well for your specific niche.

Note the numbers inside the red colored boxes under the domain name. These are the topical trust flow category numbers for the domain. (Each top level category has its own color. Computers are “red”)

Domains with back link from Computer niche

5. Let’s pick up a random domain from this list – fax400.com. If you go to the website you will see that it no longer exists.  Check the website in the wayback archive to see whether this website is in any way related to your niche. This looks like a website based on the IBM iSystems iSeries and AS / 400. If your website is related to this topic (even if not directly) continue with this domain. If not, move onto the next one.

Fax400.com Wayback Archive Screenshot

6. Click the Majestic Trust Flow number for this domain (i.e. 26) and the link takes you directly to the page on Majestic that shows you all the incoming back links to this domain.

Fax400.com Majestic Metrics

Links to Fax400.com as shown by Majestic

7. Follow the source links to check whether this is a website that we would like to get the link for. The link from tbt400.com is a homepage link and the website has a Trust Flow of 33. Nice!

8. Here is where the real work comes in. If you already have an amazing resource for the IBM iSystems iSeries Fax 400, then you can simply create the outreach email. If not, then you need to create an amazing resource for the same on your website. If your resource is just “meh”, you won’t be able to bag that link.

9. Reach out to the owner of the website and explain that his link is broken, because the website had expired. Let him know that you have a resource which has all the information and that it would benefit his readers. Check out some real world email outreach examples for inspiration.

Outreach Email

I am no expert on outreach emails, so I am sure the above sample email shown can be done better.

Now for the bad news

This takes time. Even though its easy to find niche relevant expired domains, it takes time to go through them and create specific high quality resources and to then send out outreach emails. At the end of the day, it’s a number game. The more emails you sent, the more links you are likely to get.

But the good news

The good news is that the process is very simple. With a few good outreach templates, you can get a virtual assistant to do all the work for you. Just make sure your content is awesome.

Have you used something similar to building backlinks to your site? Let me know in the comments if you have.

And remember, if you want to try this out, go get yourself a free trial to the DomCop Newbie Plan!

  • Awesome article Sophia. To be honest, I have found myself being attracted to the dark side of SEO. In my niche, I see many competitors using PBNs and getting away with it. It is hard not to give in and start doing the same.

    I’m going to try this method out and will let you know if I have any success.

    Would you mind if I share this at inbound.org. I’m sure the community would benefit from a discussion that this article would bring about.

  • Thanks for the comment, Zara. All the best in your link building efforts.

    I don’t know if the article would be appreciated by Inbound – but what the heck – “Go for it!”

  • SEO

    Thanks for the Link building technique. Very Useful