Google Hits PBNs: Google Slapped Private Blog Networks (PBNs)
Google has reportedly went after many Private Blog Networks (PBNs) that are being used to manipulate their organic search engine rankings.
Google has sent out hundreds, if not thousands, of manual action notifications to those participating in these Private Blog Networks (PBNs).
On September 18th-19th , the Google hammer slammed down on some websites.
Several of niche Private Blog Networks (PBNs) have now dropped by as much as 40 to 70% in traffic over the weekend.
After doing some investigations around, and hearing lots of from other people, the reason is quite clear: Google has started penalizing sites that had links from private blog networks (PBNs).
How Did Google Find All the Sites?
So how did Google find all the sites that had PBN links? No one knows except for Google, but I suspect it was an update to their algorithm that detected link patterns that are clearly used in PBNs. Once a PBN was a detected, a manual reviewer likely looked at related sites and started handing out those manual actions.
Sites That Were NOT Hit
So, what makes me so sure this is a PBN penalty? I have a pretty decent pool of sites in my portfolio; some that used PBN links and others that did not. For example, in my webmaster tools account, I have 9 sites. Five of those sites received the “thin content” manual action. All five of those sites used private blog networks.
The remaining 4 sites in my webmaster tools account did NOT receive any penalty and continue to perform well in the search engines. None of these 4 sites used PBN links.
And of course I have other sites outside of webmaster tools as well. All of my sites outside of webmaster tools that used PBNs got hit, and none of my sites outside webmaster tools that did not use PBNs got hit.
What are private blog networks ?
In the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), rules and tactics change on a daily basis. Achieving a high ranking and influx of traffic is not nearly as simple as it once was. Private blog networks, also known as PBNs, provide some of the most effective means of backlinking and building traffic in the world today – if done properly.
What Exactly is a PBN?
The definition of a private blog network is a network of many smaller websites, each focused around one specific subject (i.e. niche websites), all ultimately linking back to a single large primary website. It is a means of driving traffic from a targeted audience. These networks often consist of anywhere from 50 to hundreds of websites, and each website on a PBN can be altered at any time to fit the needs of a different primary website. They are typically purchased or re-sold in bulk packages.
Websites on a private blog network are usually assigned domains which have already climbed to the top in rankings. The purpose of a PBN is to drive traffic; as such, these domains expedite the process. It is of course possible to start from the ground up, but this takes more time than most are willing to spend. Buying a large amount of domains, boosting their page ranking, then selling them to another party is common and quite profitable with some skill and luck.
How they Work
Each website on the network will typically have some type of informational or opinionated text-based content. Backlinks – any link that directs traffic from one website to another – are placed throughout this content, using what is called contextual linking. Contextual links are simply hyperlinked words that fit naturally into a sentence. Any type of link can be used, but most other types of linking show inferior results.
Creating and utilizing PBNs is often labeled as a black-hat SEO technique, or an illegitimate means of gaining traffic. In order for these websites to not be penalized in search rankings by Google, the content must appear to be legitimate and sincere. Google does not want to provide its users with thousands of results for websites that serve no actual purpose other than to drive traffic to another website. However, there is no issue with owning a network of websites on similar subjects which reference each other. The simplest way to protect sites on a network from this is to actually make them legitimate websites on the niche topic they represent.
Those who do not have the time, resources, or desire to create genuine websites for legitimate backlinking purposes can circumvent Google’s detection algorithms with some diligence and creativity. Essentially, each website must appear to be different in as many ways as possible. This includes the site’s host, blogging platform, IP Address, content, backlinks, and many other facets.
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