PBN Backlinks: Should You Use These Links?

PBN Links

Ranking high on search results takes time and consistent effort. You need to build authority, be seen, and be upvoted by other sites – best if they are authoritative sites too.

But that’s too much “waiting.” Isn’t it?

You need results now. You want to rank your money sites on the first page.

Why not try PBN (Private Blog Network) backlinks?

You heard PBN links are a thing and are being advertised all over marketplaces. Then, they must work. Right?

PBN links must be GOOD and SAFE for SEO. But are they?

Let’s find out!

This article shall provide all the answers to your inquiries. Here is a summary of what to expect:

Like the name, PBN backlinks are links generated from PBNs – a hive of blogs and sites that are privately owned.

The primary goal of PBNs is to pass authority votes to a website through PBN backlinks. In turn, the website gets a boost to rank high on search results.

So, does this link-building strategy work?

Yes (limited), but not sustainable!

How Do PBNs Work?

*In the realm of link building strategy, the underlying principle is that the more websites link to your site, the greater your authority becomes. This concept is also adhered to by search engine algorithms.

In reality, Google scrutinizes your link profile in order to determine the ranking of your site. When numerous links lend their support to your site, Google interprets this as a sign of authority.

This same logic is applied when dealing with PBNs (Private Blog Networks) and the backlinks associated with them.

However, by building links on private blog networks, you’re deviating from conventional and organic practices. Consequently, search engine bots may penalize your site as a result.

It’s worth noting that in the past, being penalized for utilizing PBN backlinks was not commonplace. Recently, search algorithms have evolved to identify those who employ PBN links to artificially bolster their site’s search engine rankings.

These penalties can be particularly severe if you generate links from external sources that are deemed unnatural or toxic in nature.

Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize the cultivation of authority links instead of resorting to such types of backlinks.

You can generate PBN backlinks for your site in two ways:

  • Do it yourself
  • Get the links from sellers

*To create DIY PBN backlinks, you need to establish a network of websites and blogs that can serve as subtle references to your own website.

However, this approach can be quite expensive and the ongoing maintenance can become burdensome over time.

Nonetheless, DIY PBN backlinks provide a certain level of safety, albeit limited. Since these networks are owned by you, they may evade Google’s scrutiny for an extended period if managed effectively.

Ultimately, though, even DIY PBN backlinks are susceptible to discovery by Google.

On the other hand, an alternative option is to procure PBN backlinks from providers who already possess established networks. This can significantly reduce both your expenditure and the time required to accumulate sufficient ranking authority for your website.

Regrettably, the drawback is that you may not have insight into how these external PBN backlinks were constructed. Additionally, it’s possible that other businesses are utilizing the same pool of PBNs.

In essence, these PBNs may already be on Google’s radar, increasing the likelihood of your website being flagged and penalized.

Considering this, it may be advisable to avoid utilizing PBN backlinks. We will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of this strategy later in this article.

First, let’s assess whether PBN backlinks contribute positively to SEO, taking into account their impact on unnatural links, link building, toxic links, social shares, content links, powerful links, normal websites, and your target audience.

*Not All Website Networks Are PBNs

*Numerous individuals manage multiple websites and establish connections between them. In addition, we create links from the LinkBuilder website to our PPC advertising service, PPC Genius.

This form of interlinking distinguishes itself from a Private Blog Network (PBN). Connecting your own websites is acceptable, provided it’s done in moderation, and the links maintain relevance.

A cluster of websites transforms into a PBN when it’s deliberately designed to link to other websites.

Many website operators engage in link building among their owned sites.

When crafting these connections, it’s crucial to avoid suspicious links and instead focus on quality backlinks. Furthermore, this should be done over a reasonable period of time to ensure a clean link profile, steering clear of spammy links.

For starters, you must understand that all linked websites are not PBNs. If you own a couple of sites, there is nothing wrong with linking them at the top bar.

Think of the strategy as adding product/service pages to a site.

Linking to sites at the top bar is 100% okay. Adobe does something similar for its products.

Another example of a website network is the Gizmodo Media Group. They (the company) linked to several (11) websites at the top bar of their homepage. Different sites but the same owner!

In such cases, a website network is not a PBN. And fortunately, such a strategy is GOOD for SEO and is sustainable.

At this point, the chances are that you are confused between PBNs and other website networks. How can you tell the difference?

To avoid confusion, let’s discuss how PBNs are built.

How Are PBNs Built?

PBNs, unlike other website networks, are built primarily for link-building purposes.

And unlike other strategies that involve working one’s site up search results with links from authority websites organically, PBNs are shady.

PBNs use the same technique synonymous with link farms: building sites on aged, expired domains. Why?

Aged domains have some authority votes – thanks to the previous owner’s activities.

Fun twist: PBN owners trick search engine algorithms by hosting their private sites on different hosts. Yet, the sites are found out. That’s why they are always buying aged domains to build new networks.

All that is left is to manage the authority with relevant and informational content. Unfortunately, most PBN owners resort to cheap, spun articles to save costs.

*The terms “PBNs” (Private Blog Networks) and “link farms” are somewhat intertwined. In fact, a link farm can essentially be considered a type of PBN. How does this work?

Both link farms and PBNs involve a network of websites that are connected through links, resembling the link between sites in a PBN.

However, can we equate a PBN to a link farm? Not quite, and here’s why:

Link farms primarily aim to boost their rankings collectively through interlinking, whereas PBNs funnel their ranking influence towards a distinct external site, rather than within the network itself.

Another noteworthy distinction between link farms and PBNs is the underlying intent behind their creation. Link farms are often constructed for dubious purposes in the realm of link building efforts.

On the flip side, PBNs, especially those tailored for personal websites, tend to adopt a more white hat SEO link strategy, seeking to acquire natural backlinks rather than resorting to bad content authority links.

To sum it up: Both PBNs and link farms may temporarily enhance your site’s ranking, but neither offers a sustainable or permanent solution.

By the way, don’t just take our word for it; let’s see what Google has to say on the matter below:

[Include relevant information or link to Google’s guidelines or statements on the topic]

And remember, you can always reach out to us for further information or contact details.

What are PBNs in the eyes of search engines (Google)?

Unfortunately, Google didn’t come out to say no to PBNs. However, when you check their guidelines about link spam, you’ll find that the following are frowned upon:

  • Exchanging money for links or blog posts that contain links
  • Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site
  • Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles or links with optimized anchor text in articles, guest posts, or press releases distributed on other sites.
  • Low-quality directory or bookmark site links
  • Keyword-rich, hidden, or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites
  • Widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various sites.

If you check all the 7 rules, you’ll find a correlation with the basics of PBNs – how they are built and run.

So, it’s best to avoid PBNs.

Despite the publicized stance of Google about PBNs and shady links, people still buy them. Perhaps you should too.

To be fair: we can’t just deny or discard PBNs. They are everywhere. And to a considerable extent, people get results with them when used sparingly – well, at least till Google discovers them.

But is that what you want? A ranking solution until Google discovers, and you’re back to square 1?

Probably not!

The pros and cons below will guide you to the best decision.

  • PBN link-building strategies are easy and faster than the organic methods
  • You can create the inbound links in a short time frame and in bulk to selected pages
  • They are exceptional seo tools for transient ranking and can be free 100% if your own the networks
  • Many case studies show that these do-follow links can give you a quick SERP boost if obtained from higher trust flow websites with relevant content.
  • If you have your own PBN network with a high-quality content, Google is very less likely to give you manual penalty. 
  • PBNs only offer short-term boost in your search rankings.
  • Too many outbound links from a network of sites that doesn’t have organic traffic may sound unnatural to Google.
  • Even when you own the networks, PBNs are not free. You have to acquire the sites, host them, and get content. Even AI-spun articles are not cheap – considering you’d need several articles published.
  • The links are worthless as soon as they are discovered.
  • Your site might be penalized.
  • Unfortunately, you can’t cash out on what’s left of your PBN. No one wants to build on a flagged site.

Still not sure if you should build or acquire PBN backlinks?

Check this out:

Wasted Effort And Resources

*If you invest several weeks or even months constructing a Private Blog Network (PBN), it may ultimately prove futile. The fleeting uptick in rankings will inevitably diminish within a few weeks.

In a worst-case scenario, despite your diligent efforts, you may not even witness the “temporary” surge in rankings. Google has the capability to detect questionable links right from the outset.

This scenario is less frequent when it comes to personally managed PBNs but is quite prevalent with PBN backlinks originating from external sources. The likelihood is that the latter already resides on Google’s “blacklist.”

Factors such as domain authority, organic traffic, spam score, and the presence of valuable content can greatly influence the outcome of your PBN endeavors.

Dealing With Penalties

Note: using PBN backlinks doesn’t always result in penalties. Google ranking algorithm might ignore your tweaks altogether. Here is why:

If all PBN backlinks result in a penalty or ban, people will soon use that glitch to attack their competition. Competitors will send backlinks from the “worst source” to your site to cripple your rankings.

While PBN backlinks don’t always result in a ban, there are still penalties. If you seek PBNs to game your rankings, a “human” reviewer will check your site.

And when you are eventually found guilty, your rankings will be decreased, or your site could be removed from search results altogether.

Know this: before any penalty is enforced, you will receive warnings on your Google Search Console (GSC).


You are better off without PBN backlinks. They are too much headache for results that won’t even stick.

But wait, what if you take our advice and receive warnings on your GSC about PBN backlinks? What can you do? Can you fix the issue?

Find out below!

Negative SEO tactics exist; your competition might intentionally send shady backlinks to your site. In that case, you might get warnings on your GSC.

Also, if you outsource link building to an agency, they might use PBN backlinks.

Either way: let’s show you how to check your sites for PBN backlinks. And if they were indeed pointing to you, we’ll guide you to remove the unhealthy links.

Thankfully, spotting PBN backlinks is not a technical process. Anyone can do it with Ahrefs or Moz.

The Ahrefs method is straightforward. So, we’ll focus on that below.

  • Visit Ahrefs dashboard.
  • Input your URL in the bar.
  • Look towards the “Backlink profile” at the left side of the page; click “backlinks.”
  • Now, sort the results by “Dofollow.”
  • If the domain setting is not set to “One link per domain,” make it so.

By now, you should see a result page like this:

Check for any sudden spike in the page traffic. Also, look at the anchor text for any suspicions.

You can analyze the referring domains further for the quality of the content. Are the articles well written?

Lastly, check for the “about page.” If you can’t find it, the chances are that the links are shady.

If the Ahrefs site audit only revealed a few PBN backlinks, you might not do anything. In that case, stop working with the agency you’re using. Or focus on healthy link-building strategies.

However, if the shady links are too many, create a “disavow file.”

A disavow file is just a text file that contains all shady links to your site.

Now, send the list to Google. Do that by uploading the file in your GSC> disavow tool.

Note: disavowing a link might take some time.

Now that we’ve agreed that PBN backlinks are not healthy and good for SEO, what method should you use?

How can you build links to your site the RIGHT way?

Instead of PBN backlinks, prioritize blogger outreach and guest posting. Build genuine relationships with owners and authors of authority sources in your niche.

More importantly, write articles worthy of your site and reputation.

That way, you will increase the chances of your content being published – and getting the RIGHT backlinks.

The only issue is: guest posting and outreach take time.

But don’t fret; we can help!