The Private Blog Network Comeback in 2024





Blog Date

June 3, 2024


UK, Manchester

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The Private Blog Network Comeback in 2024

The Private Blog Network Party is Back in Session

Remember the good old days when private blog networks (PBNs) were all the rage in the SEO world? I sure do – in fact, I was borderline obsessed with them back in the day. I would spend hours upon hours scouring the web for expired domains, setting up sites, and intricately weaving a web of backlinks to my “money site”.

But then, it all came crashing down. Google came in with the hammer and started handing out manual actions left and right to anyone they suspected of using PBNs. It was a bloodbath – I saw traffic drops of 90% for some of my clients practically overnight. The PBN party was over, and I was left with a pit in my stomach every time a new Google update rolled out.

Gotch SEO tells a similar story – they used to love PBNs, but then got “nailed by Google” and realized they had put all their eggs in one shaky basket. As Gotch puts it, “Sometimes, you need a rough moment to change your ways.”

Well folks, the times they are a-changin’ once again. Private blog networks are making a comeback in 2024, and savvy SEOs better be ready to capitalize on the opportunity. But before we dive in, let’s take a step back and understand what exactly PBNs are and why they fell out of favor in the first place.

What is a Private Blog Network (PBN)?

At its core, a private blog network is a collection of websites that you own and control, all for the purpose of generating backlinks to your “money site” – the primary domain you’re trying to rank in the search engines.

The idea is simple – you purchase expired domains, set up new sites on them, and then strategically link back to your main site. This allows you to build high-authority backlinks without having to go through the time-consuming process of traditional link building.

It’s a bit like having your own personal link wheel, where you’re the puppeteer controlling all the strings. In theory, it should give you a major ranking boost, since you’re leveraging the existing authority of your PBN sites.

The Rise and Fall of Private Blog Networks

PBNs were once the go-to tactic for many “grey hat” SEOs looking to get an edge in the SERPs. And for a while, it worked incredibly well. I remember the days when I could rank for all kinds of competitive keywords just by building out a network of 10-20 sites.

But then Google caught wind of what was happening. In 2014, they unleashed a massive crackdown on PBNs, handing out manual penalties left and right to anyone they suspected of using them. Gotch SEO was one of the casualties, along with several of their clients. explains that the specific violation cited by Google was typically “thin content” – the PBN sites were often little more than glorified link farms, with minimal effort put into creating genuinely valuable content.

Suddenly, all the time and money I had invested into building my private blog network was worth nothing. My rankings tanked, and I was left scrambling to recover. It was a humbling experience, to say the least.

The PBN Comeback in 2024

But as they say, “what goes around comes around.” And in the world of SEO, that couldn’t be more true. Because in 2024, private blog networks are making a major comeback.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Didn’t Google just destroy PBNs a few years ago? Why would they suddenly become viable again?”

Well, the simple answer is that Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving, and what was once a no-no in the SEO world can quickly become acceptable (or even preferable) once again. Just like network security has gone through multiple eras of evolution, the same is true for link building tactics.

And let’s be honest – Google has never been able to completely eradicate the use of PBNs. There have always been savvy SEOs out there who have found ways to fly under the radar and maintain their networks. Now, with a new generation of webmasters coming up, the PBN party is back in full swing.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of PBNs

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can just jump right back into building PBNs without a care in the world. Google is still vigilant, and they’re always on the lookout for telltale signs of manipulative link schemes.

The key to making PBNs work in 2024 is to approach them with a much more strategic and sustainable mindset. As Gotch SEO advises, you can’t put all your eggs in the PBN basket. They should only make up a small percentage (5-20%) of your overall link profile.

The rest of your links should come from more “white hat” sources – things like guest posts, editorial placements, and branded properties. This diversification is key, because it shields you from the risk of a sudden Google penalty.

Another important lesson from the past is the importance of quality over quantity. points out that the old PBN model of quickly throwing up a bunch of low-quality sites is no longer viable. Instead, you need to focus on building genuinely valuable, high-authority nodes in your network.

This means investing time and resources into creating great content, designing visually appealing sites, and making sure each of your PBN properties has a clear purpose and audience. Gone are the days of the one-page affiliate site masquerading as a blog.

The Expired Domain Opportunity

One of the smartest ways to build a PBN in 2024 is to leverage expired domains. These are websites that have lapsed their domain registration and are now available for purchase.

The beauty of expired domains is that they often come with a built-in backlink profile – all those links pointing to the previous site are now yours to leverage. calls this a “developmental shortcut” – you don’t have to wait months for your new site to build up authority, because it’s already there.

Of course, you’ll want to be selective about which expired domains you purchase. You’ll need to do your due diligence to ensure the domain has a relevant, high-quality backlink profile that aligns with your niche. Tools like Majestic and Ahrefs can be invaluable for this.

But if you can find the right expired domains and incorporate them into your PBN strategy, you’ll be well on your way to dominating the SERPs in your industry. It’s like having a head start in the race to the top of Google.

The Diversification Imperative

At the end of the day, the key to making PBNs work in 2024 is to treat them as just one piece of a larger, diversified link building strategy. As the SEO experts at MCR SEO would advise, you can’t put all your eggs in the PBN basket.

Yes, PBNs can be a powerful tool for boosting your rankings. But they also come with significant risk – the ever-present threat of a Google penalty hanging over your head. And as we’ve seen in the past, that risk can translate into a devastating loss of traffic and revenue.

So be smart about it. Integrate PBNs into your overall link portfolio, but make sure they only make up a small percentage of the whole. Focus on building high-quality, sustainable links through things like guest posting, broken link building, and good old-fashioned outreach.

That way, if (or when) Google decides to go after PBNs again, you’ll have a solid foundation of other links to fall back on. Your rankings and traffic won’t be completely dependent on the fleeting whims of the Google algorithm.

It’s all about striking the right balance – leveraging the power of PBNs, while mitigating the risks. Do that, and you’ll be well on your way to dominating the SERPs in 2024 and beyond.

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