How To Build Next Level PBNs with Michael Milas

For episode 22, I’ve brought on Michael Milas to chat PBNs, clients, and lead generation. Mike is a lead gen SEO, with some interesting thoughts and strategies for building high quality private blog networks.

In this episode, we cover:

36:44 – Where to buy high quality domains for your PBN, what to look for, and how much to pay

33:34 – A content and onpage SEO trick to increase the effectiveness of your PBN links

21:19 – How Mike chooses niches to enter for lead gen

46:47 – How to create systems for easily managing your PBN and SEO

Watch it here:

Or Subscribe to the show on iTunes.

Links Mentioned:


Daryl Rosser: Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of Lion Zeal Show. This episode I brought on Mike Milas to talk about PBNs, ranking, SEO, just an all-round fun discussion on SEO. Mike’s currently doing clients, got some clients. He’s doing PPL sites (pay per lead), he’s doing affiliate stuff, and he’s dealing with eCommerce stuff.

He’s generally doing a whole lot of stuff, all on SEO. It’s the basis of it, he’s ranking sites and monetize it through these various different methods. In this interview you get through his story of how he got all into this stuff, how he got his best clients, how much he charged. We start talking about systems, SMPs, because that just really interested.

Then we also get into some really interesting PBN tricks, little tricks to make your PBN even more effective, even higher quality, so you get more power out of them and so they’re not a big risk of getting de-indexed. If you set up the sites the way that Mike does, it’s very unlikely they’re going to get de-indexed, even if they get manually reviewed, they could probably pass a review, dependent on the way you do it. So let’s get into the interview. You guys, enjoy.

Hey, Mike, what’s up man. Thanks for coming on the show. Cool to have you.

Mike Milas: Hey, Daryl, thanks for having me, man. It’s an honour. I know we haven’t talked too much, but yeah, I was interested when you reached out to me, so thanks for asking me.

Daryl Rosser: No worries, man. Do you want to start off, and I’m pretty interested in this as well, what is it you’re working on these days?

Mike Milas: I mean, it’s really all over. I originally got into the whole internet marketing thing just because I wanted to sit at home and work on my computer and make money. I was originally doing consulting for other businesses where I’d go in and kind of help them systemize and build out their infrastructure and SOPs and whatnot.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: Form doing that, I just kind of went into marketing, it kinds of plays into that role. I decided just to kind of break away from that and get into internet marketing. The end result is that as I got into it, I started doing some PPL and affiliate and then some clients contacted me, and I was just like, “Sure, yeah, I’ll do work for you,” and then started other sites, and more people contacted …

It was just kind of this downward spiral of stuff happening, and before I knew it I had some clients and PPL sites and affiliate sites. Affiliate probably isn’t the biggest thing, but right now I’m getting more into affiliate because I like that structure of just kind of working on the strategy and the ranking and the sales funnels, more data-driven marketing than just client SEO kind of stuff and-

Daryl Rosser: Yeah.

Mike Milas: Client acquisition and sales, you know. I’ve been getting a lot more into eCommerce as well, I just signed a pretty big deal with Mossy Oak Pursuit Energy. They’re an energy drink company that I really like. They’re based in Chicago, that’s how I met them.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: I’m from Chicago, I just moved to Vegas this last June. I’ve been working on a lot with the eCommerce, more specifically in grocery, but I’m trying to get into other areas, because it’s another model that’s kind of interesting to me as well.

Daryl Rosser: Awesome, man. You’re doing a whole bunch of stuff.

Mike Milas: Yeah, yeah. It’s always just random stuff, it seems.

Daryl Rosser: So with the consultant thing, were you working a job or something before you suddenly decided, “I’m going to quit and I’m going to brand myself as this business consultant and start selling it”? How did you go from what you were doing before that to suddenly consulting businesses on SOPs and systems and things like that?

Mike Milas: I was actually hired at a position for sales on this telemarketing in a local business, and after about three months I was managing the sales department, and then after about six months, I was managing the entire office, and I was working with the owner on developing that stuff within the company, because-

Daryl Rosser: Nice.

Mike Milas: I’m going to be honest, it definitely wasn’t that well-run. It was pretty choppy in there to say the best. But after working with him for years, honestly, it didn’t really work out that well. But realizing the potential and the value in doing that within the company, I kind of went out and started helping other people on the side do it.

Eventually one company that I had worked with a few times over the years contacted me and pretty much said, “You’ve got to come in full time and sort this thing out,” because he literally had just three stacks of paper he was running his business out of, just flip through three stacks of paper.

One was a stack of estimates, one was a stack of work he had to do, and one was a stack of people he had to collect money from. He was running 22 jobs a day, 20 crews, and it was madness. I went in there, and we got his business over a million dollars within the 12 months that I was there. When I first worked with him, he was at about $40,000 a year.

Daryl Rosser: Oh, that’s a huge increase.

Mike Milas: Over the course of four years. Yeah, yeah, it was pretty big, just between the marketing, and … that’s why I said I really saw the value in the systems and the foundation behind any business structure. After that I decided I’d just kind of do it for myself, and saw everyone else doing it, and just kind of got into it and the rest is pretty much history, I guess.

Daryl Rosser: That’s awesome. With the … you started in a sales position, you said, then you started doing systems and stuff like that. Is that stuff that naturally came quite easily to you, like the sales side of things, or did you learn that somewhere?

Mike Milas: Sales always just came natural, just because I’ve always been pretty good with people as far as reading them and just kind of understanding their thinking process and being able to understand how to reverse-engineer that.

Daryl Rosser: Sure.

Mike Milas: Kind of lead them down the path you want them to go, you know. So just kind of talking to people and getting to know people I was always just pretty good with sales. I never really read too many books or … over the past couple of years, I’ve read some stuff and whatnot, but to be completely honest, I’m not a fan of sales. I really hate doing sales. It’s the one thing-

Daryl Rosser: But you have clients.

Mike Milas: I dislike doing the most. Yes, I have clients, and I’m really good at sales, too. Most of the people that I deal with, at least 50%, even with the cold leads that have come in, but obviously referrals just kind of convert into clients just by saying hello.

Daryl Rosser: Yeah.

Mike Milas: But yeah, sales, I’ve always been pretty good at, it’s just never been my … I don’t enjoy it, you know. It’s definitely not a passion. I’ve liked the thinking process of understanding how people think, and that’s why I said I like more of the affiliate side of doing SEO and ranking a website and understanding that method, and the sales process and sales funnels and things like that.

It’s a lot more interesting to me, but actually talking to people and actually getting them to buy something and whatnot, it’s just … I don’t know. I feel better when people just come to me and decide to buy through what I’ve developed. You know?

Daryl Rosser: Gotcha. Yeah, I get it. I think a lot of SEOs like that.

Mike Milas: Yeah. Exactly.

Daryl Rosser: Cool. So, you went from selling the systems and stuff, and … what was the decision to get into internet marketing? Was it an opportunity you saw or something?

Mike Milas: Well, I’d been doing PPC and a lot of web design and stuff for the companies I worked with and I was doing a lot of stuff online. But I’d been interested in the internet when it pretty much first … I built my first build a Pokemon fan page website when I was 14.

Daryl Rosser: Nice.

Mike Milas: Around the age of 20, 21 is when I just kind of started playing with sales funnels and email lists and all different types of stuff. I did some … I remember I put, I think when I was 20, I put my first service on Fiver for setting up a website, a WordPress website. That was an exciting time for me. But yeah, I just kind of always liked the internet and how it kind of connects the world and how you can really reach people anywhere very easily by putting something online and then of course it kind of builds into business, when you’re developing systems and trying to grow companies, so-

Daryl Rosser: Yeah, definitely.

Mike Milas: So that worked out.

Daryl Rosser: You started with … you went into internet marketing. I guess you went straight into just SEO, I guess you were selling all sorts of stuff like PPC and the like as well.

Mike Milas: By the time I got into doing my own thing, I was just doing SEO because that’s what I enjoyed the most. I was ranking my own … the first sites I ranked were title-owned websites. I was generating leads, we were generating 200 to 500 leads a day depending on the season and what day of the week. I was doing pretty good with that.

That’s how it kind of led into client SEO, and we got our first client, and I was doing just quite a bit of stuff in my company. At the time I owned a business with a partner, and eventually separated from him. That just didn’t work out to be honest, I’ll probably leave it at that. Have you ever worked with a partner before?

Daryl Rosser: It didn’t end well.

Mike Milas: Yeah. I mean, I work with a lot of people now, but you can’t own it together. It feels like you have to have two fully devoted people come in as full businesses to work on a project, but-

Daryl Rosser: I find the same thing, if you have your own separate thing, and then do one project or something together, it seems to work better than owning everything together.

Mike Milas: Yeah. Exactly. There’s obviously a lot more risk there as well, which I learned the hard way. I pretty much lost everything overnight, had to rebuild everything. In three months I had rebuilt everything. That’s when I learned it’s easier to do something again than it is the first time.

Daryl Rosser: Definitely.

Mike Milas: But yeah. It was a good lesson, though. Definitely. Good lesson.

Daryl Rosser: So you were doing SEO at the time with that business partner when that fell apart. We’ll keep it at that. When you started out again, you started from scratch again, that was with SEO stuff again?

Mike Milas: Yeah. I got a couple of clients right out the gate right after I left. Honestly, I think the first client I did, I decided to just go cruise craigslist one day and look for people that were looking for SEO. I pulled up some ads and emailed some people with kind of a resume, but more of a sales pitch, I guess you could say, and scheduled some meetings, and I got my first couple of clients just from looking at Craigslist.

Daryl Rosser: That’s awesome.

Mike Milas: Yeah. I built some affiliate sites. Well, PPL, so it’s not affiliate sites. It wasn’t until a few months ago I started getting more into affiliate. Probably about a year now. Yeah. It’s just kind of one thing after another. Get going on one thing, throw something else in there. But it all kind of leads back to SEO for me. Even the eCommerce thing, there’s a lot of SEO.

The only other thing I’m really getting a bit more into is social media. Promoting. Not even with paid ads, just getting the engagement whatnot on a page or for clients. I’ve been working on that a lot more, which I guess kind of ties back in to the SEO as well, doing that for them and their websites. Yeah. I guess it always comes back to SEO then.

Daryl Rosser: Fair enough. I think pretty much listening to this is pretty much a massive SEO nerd, I believe, so it’s all good.

Mike Milas: Oh, okay. That’s good to know then.

Daryl Rosser: So what sort of size clients were you starting out with, when you just emailed people on Craigslist and stuff?

Mike Milas: A thousand dollars a month was the first one. Then I did one for 750 and one for 2,000, so it was a pretty …

Daryl Rosser: Nice. That’s not too bad. But I guess that wasn’t your absolutely beginning because you’d already done it before.

Mike Milas: Yeah, yeah. And like I said, I am good at sales, so you know, you kind of walk in there like you own the place, you’ve been doing this for 20 years even though you’re 25, you talk like you’ve been doing it since the internet was invented just because you know your stuff and you’re educated and you love doing it, so you study it all the time. It’s really not hard to … once you get someone’s trust, the price is really just about if they can make money with it.

Daryl Rosser: Sure, yeah.

Mike Milas: Not too hard to sell at that point.

Daryl Rosser: From there, did you continue … like, “I’m going to scale the client stuff, and get more clients”? Or was it like, “Okay, this sucks, let me do some PPL stuff instead”?

Mike Milas: It was, “Well, okay, I’ll build out a PBN,” because I had to build another PBN and get some other resources, got all of my tools. Then I started doing the PPL, because yeah, I didn’t want to go out and sell more clients.

Eventually I got a sales guy, which I have someone in Chicago now, I have ‘’ arranged for some Chicago SEO keywords that I ranked like two years ago, and I really haven’t touched it since then because I’m not huge on sales or clients, but I got a guy in Chicago who answers the phone, he sells them and just takes a cut, so if anything comes in there I just take them. But most of the time I’m just getting referrals now.

But yeah, I kind of said screw the client stuff, I’m tired of sales. You know? I don’t like sales. I mean, I like talking to people, but I don’t want to have to sell you. I’ll get to know you and I’ll know exactly how to sell you, and I could probably tell you a website to go to that I built that can sell you on something, but I don’t want to just get on the phone …

I mean, it is tedious, and it is draining. I’m sure you’ve done a lot of client sales, it’s not for everyone. Definitely not for everyone.

Daryl Rosser: Yeah, I get it. Is it just the client sales part that you dislike, it’s not the managing the clients once you’ve got them?

Mike Milas: No, not really. I mean, I get on sometimes monthly sales calls … not sales, monthly just management checkup or even biweekly for some of the bigger clients, you know, $3,000, $4,000 clients-

Daryl Rosser: Sure.

Mike Milas: Get on the phone every two weeks and just go over stuff. I mean, that’s fun, just kind of chatting, getting to show them the progress. I mean, you have one of those few meetings where stuff’s kind of slow and those kind of suck because you’re trying to explain, “Okay, we’ve just got to wait, and do this,” and whatnot, but yeah. I don’t really mind the getting to know people and talking about SEO. I love that. I just don’t really like selling people.

Daryl Rosser: Fair enough. A lot of people have this fear of getting emails every day, especially with smaller clients, I noticed, they just get hammered with messages and stuff asking them what’s going on, how long is it going to take, stuff like that. But I’m presuming, because you don’t have that, you set expectations correctly and you kind of tell them exactly what to expect.

Mike Milas: Yeah. That’s definitely the most important thing. That’s why when you walk into the room like you’ve been doing this for the past 20 years, it’s really easy to set the right expectations because this is where the profit’s at, it takes three to six months, which could be three to four months, but it’s very laid out.

So even when it is slow, and even, you know, this pass with Penguin 4 and when the new updates come and everything goes crazy, at that point the client knows that that happens. Google’s in the business of doing updates, they’re not going to stop updating anything or they’d be gone overnight. Not even the software, but technology period now, all the stuff they’re doing. So yeah, you really set the right expectations, and it doesn’t really … it’s not really too difficult, you know?

And if they do come running, you know, you just remind them about those expectations that you set, you know? If you say, “Hey, remember when I said this, when we first started,” and it’s … because sometimes they do come, and they cry, and they get upset, and they’re thinking, “Oh, the world’s going to end, and it’s never going to work out,” and then you explain it, and you know …

Honestly, I’ve had one or two clients, to be completely honest, that their sites, I don’t know if it was because of the previous SEO or whatever didn’t really work out, and you refund money, or do free work, or whatever it is, and those relationships have always went pretty well too. But for the most part, if you really love SEO like I do, you’re just kind of digging into it all day lon anyway, so you tend to figure things out when you obsess about it all the time.

Daryl Rosser: Yeah, definitely. I think most clients should be easily ranked, especially if they’re paying you enough.

Mike Milas: Yeah.

Daryl Rosser: But I’ve had exceptions too, very few cases, but the odd site just doesn’t seem to rank.

Mike Milas: Like two, I think. Two, maybe three. Actually, I think the third one was just one set of keywords were having some real problems to be honest. But for the most part, it’s not a tough process, which is why I like it too. It was very easy to get the process, especially early on, because I was just so intrigued by the whole thing. If you just throw enough stuff at Google enough times, you’ll eventually figure out what’s going on. It’s kind of that simple, you know.

Daryl Rosser: So with the PPL stuff, you got into PPL after your first two or three clients like you said. Was that home run, like immediately your first site you built started ranking really well, generating leads, and you solved the leads easily? How did that work out?

Mike Milas: It actually started with my attorney. I was talking with my attorney about generating leads. We worked, actually, it wasn’t a PPL it was a pay per sale, where I was sending him leads, I was building a few sites for him, which I still have a few up now. These I haven’t been working on as much recently because I’ve been doing the eCommerce and trying to get more into affiliate sales funnels.

Daryl Rosser: Sure.

Mike Milas: But I talked to my attorney and started sending him calls, and he was paying me for marketing fees, and then I was kind of just getting more into the separate from, “I don’t want to sell clients, but if I” … I’m a big fan of owning assets, that’s really what it came down to, is I didn’t want to rank a client site.

I didn’t want to sell a client, I just wanted to own my own asset, which is also why I like building my own PBN. You can monetize an asset, you can’t just monetize … I mean, you could monetize a relationship, but without an asset, you really don’t have any foundation to build on.

Daryl Rosser: Yeah, any time they can cancel, it’s gone.

Mike Milas: Yeah, exactly. And you don’t really have anywhere else to go. Yeah, that’s how I kind of got into the PPL and pay per sale kind of models. I found out, though, that you still have to sell people on leads, you know what I mean? So there’s still sales in the PPL model. So then I was like, “Okay, I don’t really want to do that,” so I started using distributors for leads, like Call Central, Ring Partner, sorry, I think Call Central’s another one.

Offer Vault, whatever, just different types of offers that you could send calls to. Those suck, so I don’t recommend doing that. If you want to make really good money, you’ve got to do some sales, but those are fun too just because I like ranking the sites and playing around with stuff.

Daryl Rosser: Yeah, that’s basically affiliate marketing.

Mike Milas: Yeah. Exactly. Same concept. Throw up a link or phone number and send people through it, make money.

Daryl Rosser: Exactly. Cool. So you did the attorney niche. How do you choose niches if you’re going into PPL stuff?

How Mike chooses niches to enter for lead gen

Mike Milas: You know, as far as niches and keyword research, I kind of just, I look for population size and the amount of searches, so if I see something with a pretty high population but a little bit lower amount of searches in the keyword planner, then I’ll go for things like that. They usually rank pretty easy, especially if you do …

I was doing a lot of plumber sites and things like that, there’s a ton of long-tail keywords and things you could rank really easy and just start getting leads from throwing up sites. But for the most part, I definitely like high competition.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: I like to go for Chicago, New York, Houston, L.A., Las Vegas, capitals, Salt Lake City. I like the big searches, I like the big volume, just because it’s more fun, you feel more accomplished when you do it, and obviously there’s a higher return for those keywords generally.

Daryl Rosser: More competitive cities and stuff like that, which makes sense, higher search volumes obviously. Is there any requirement on a niche industry you’re going to go into? You said plumbing, which I guess they can make some pretty good money on certain deals. Do you have any sort of requirements, like you’re not going to pursue any really low end, or, especially if it’s per lead.

Mike Milas: No, I mean, I don’t mind. Like I said, it really comes down to just the SEO aspect, and it doesn’t really matter. Especially if I can find a good payout for a lead partner or something, and offer vault of course. I’ll play around with that. But it really comes down to just ranking the site and the availability, to be honest.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: I don’t want to pick something really low, a really low payout, if there’s no search volume obviously. Or if it’s extremely competition, like three bucks a lead.

Daryl Rosser: It doesn’t really matter that much as long as the search volume matches the payout, so if it’s very high volume but lower payout, that’s okay, and if it’s lower search volume but higher payout, again, that’s okay.

Mike Milas: Yeah, and I should really say too, it kind of comes down to my PBN, what I have the most availability in what niches.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: Because I’m not going to want to just build a whole nother PBN, because, you know, a niche. If I have links available I can just throw up a site and really start hitting it with links, then I’d rather go with something in that vertical than something different.

Daryl Rosser: Gotcha. So what sort of payouts can you get per lead? I know it varies.

Mike Milas: Yeah, I mean, they go as low as three, five dollars for some of those distributors, but usually I’m looking anywhere from 20 to 50, preferably. Then there are some that are higher, especially in personal injury, which I’ve done some in, and those’ll be 45, 50, 100, 180.

Some other law keywords. Pretty much, the law ones are the biggest payout, which is beneficial because I started with my attorney doing his site, so I kind of started doing the personal injury. There’s a lot of different … I guess they all kind of fit into personal injury, but malpractice, things like that, have really good payouts when it comes to the distributor networks.

Daryl Rosser: Awesome. Let’s talk some SEO then, because we haven’t got into that and that’s one topic everyone’s interested in. Do you want to give an overview of the processes you go through to rank sites?

Mike Milas: Yeah, sure. I mean, it’s honestly not too complicated. It’s mostly building a site on page is very important. I do a lot of testing with just kind of throwing links at stuff with very poor on-page, but when I’m actually trying to rank a site, having keywords in your title, in your content, not just keywords, LSI, long tail, interlinking on the site, the semantic relevance, the relevance across the entire website, how it’s referring to specific pages, what it’s referring to offsite, outbound links. More importantly, just kind of doing it from a logical perspective, not …

You know, it’s not like, “Link to Wikipedia, because you’re going to rank better,” it’s more along the lines of “Link to something that would make something that would make sense to link to, that provides value to your content in a scenario like that.” Then it’s social media, web 2.0, Google properties, anything, Google blogger, YouTube, Google my business obviously if I’m getting one of those or especially if it’s a client.

Daryl Rosser: Yeah.

Mike Milas: Then I mean PBN links, really. PBN links and tiered linking are probably the biggest foundation after that. Then maybe some web 2.0 file sharing networks, PDF, videos, Vimeo, stuff like that just here and there. It’s the kind of thing too, I have some bigger clients that do a lot more promotion and do a lot, like they have videos and commercials and things like that so we do more with YouTube and whatnot. But yeah, it’s really not too complicated.

Just your regular SEO, social media promotion, quality on-site content. And I do some churn and burn kind of stuff, shaker-style sites, just duplicating sites over and over again and just smashing them with links. I honestly haven’t done too much with that since Penguin 4, so I’m excited to see how some of these sites turn out. But yeah. Most of it’s pretty straightforward, you know. The social media. Some IFTTT. I don’t build out like crazy tier 17 networks or anything.

Daryl Rosser: I’ve seen people dong that, it’s crazy.

Mike Milas: Yeah. I mean, I understand the strategy. Makes sense. But it seems a lot more difficult than PBNs and-

Daryl Rosser: Yeah.

Mike Milas: I mean, I’ve built some IFTTT properties for my PBNs, you know, build five or six properties, IFTTT hookup, and that’s that. I don’t have to build tier 2 networks and GSA, and if I do something like that I’m usually just paying a service or something, if I’m going to go that far out. But PBNs are just easier and cheaper and more fun as far as I’m concerned.

Daryl Rosser: Yeah. Your ranking process is pretty similar sort of idea to mine, just get it on the page, use some social media stuff, build up a level of trust and stuff like that. And PBNs are pretty much all the power behind the rankings.

Mike Milas: Yeah, exactly, and obviously citations and-

Daryl Rosser: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mike Milas: Local citations. But yeah, brand trust, and authority links from PBNs. That’s pretty much it.

Daryl Rosser: Awesome. Do you have any sneaky little tricks or anything that you’re doing with setting up your PBNs, or is it the basics?

Mike Milas: No, there’s a lot of little things I could get into. I mean, a big one is first of all just checking … you want build, rebuild inner pages and content on the PBN. Any old URL structures. But more importantly, you can either restructure that content to be niche relevant, or in some way structure that so that you can kind of utilize that and funnel it through to your main link.

For example, I’ll recreate an old URL with content, maybe add some more relevant content, and publish it on the blog post with my links. Then I’ll recreate two or three more pages that have links, and then inter-link those to my main posts and maybe publish them as inner pages or some as blog posts, so they’re kind of all getting …

It’s not just all getting links to the home page and then it’s on an inner page and there’s no links going to it, it’s on the homepage which has links, it’s on the inner page that has links, and then there’s three or four other pages on the site that are on the home page or on inner pages that are also interlinking to that same page.

Daryl Rosser: Awesome.

Mike Milas: Which is … yeah.

Daryl Rosser: A lot more work, most people would do.

Mike Milas: Yeah. Well, I mean, really, as blog networks, and they have a blog network that just restores URLs from majestic-

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: And you just copy the content from, and publish them as blog posts. I mean, I just have a VA that sets them up and recreates the URL structure and any other pages, pages or posts.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: Yeah. I mean, it’s not too difficult. I pay the people who do my PBN stuff very well too, just because it’s high quality, and I like everything perfect, you know, all the time. Very detailed. But yeah, I mean, that’s just one way I’ve funneled a lot of juice out of my PBN sites.

Daryl Rosser: You mentioned making a content more relevant on that. Is that, does that mean that you’re changing the topic of the PBN site from what it used to be? Or does it mean it’s more focused within that niche and you just want to change it slightly to make it a bit more relevant to a different topic?

Mike Milas: Exactly. So, say, I’ll buy a website for a health domain and it’ll be about genetics or something in medicine.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: Or a pharmaceutical website or something, and I’m going to link to a dentist. Maybe there’s content on there about genetically modified something, or some experiments or something, and I’ll kind of take that content and I’ll add content to it and talk about something within the dental industry. You just go to Google and search “genetically modified dentists reviews.”

Daryl Rosser: Yeah.

Mike Milas: And you’ll find something right away, and you can have it rewritten on iWriter, and just kind of throw it on there and yeah. So you just kind of blend the relevance. But you don’t want to take a website that used to be a bank and then link to a home improvement website and try and really blend those together. I usually try and keep the sites as relevant to what they used to be. Definitely.

Daryl Rosser: So you changed that content, or added a little more to that content to make it relevant, and then you built up some more pages or posts also that are also kind of relevant to both, and then link them to the post that goes to the client site or the money site. Is that right?

Mike Milas: Yes.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: Yes, exactly. And then, I also use WP Social Explosion, which isn’t available anymore, but that sends social signals to all the pages. Back links indexer, if you’re publishing posts, they have a plugin which sends additional links and Tumblr and WordPress and stuff like that to the inner pages.

Then, like I said, I usually hook up four or five random IFTTT social platforms or content platforms so then those indicate to there as well, so then there’s all these social signals and linking coming to these pages that already have links that are kind of already going back to the main posts.

Daryl Rosser: That makes a lot of sense. Awesome, that’s a nice little trick to share with people. Were you going to say another one? I feel like I cut you off, you were about to say another one.

Mike Milas: Yeah, there’s a lot of good ones. I’m just trying to think now. No, I can’t give them all away right now.

Daryl Rosser: No, you can, we don’t mind.

A content and onpage SEO trick to increase the effectiveness of your PBN links

Mike Milas: I bet. I bet. No, I mean, honestly, that was probably one of the biggest ones. The only other thing is just the tiered linking, which I recommend doing a lot, which isn’t so much a trick, but building links to your PBNs, especially when you get a really high quality PBN, you can optimize your on-page content well enough, and you’ll rank within the top 100 very easily, and you can get some links if you go to Facebook and buy a couple links for 20 bucks, 30 bucks, 50 bucks.

Even some of those ones that roll off the homepage, I’ve had some … you could rank with some of those just because the sites have the authority, if you give it the right anchor text and brand boost, you can even rank your PBNs for keywords.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: You can monetize them, which is something I’ve been playing around with a lot more frequently, just with PPL or doing like a quick bank offer, which is kind of fun. It’s why some … I’m also getting into more affiliate … I love monetizing assets, so if I can throw something up on my PBN and rank my PBN, I’m assuming that’s really good for the health of the site as well.

Daryl Rosser: Sure. Yeah, I was going to ask that-

Mike Milas: Not so much a trick, but …

Daryl Rosser: Whether you’re monetizing the PBN posts themselves that are ranking, or is it just for sending traffic to the money side, which I guess is monetizing anyway, if they read the post then click through to the money side, then you get traffic to the money site, which is going to make money anyway.

Mike Milas: Yeah. Exactly. You can even got to a CM rusher Ahrefs and see sometimes what the site used to be ranking for, and what used to be ranking, and you could recreate those pages as well, and that’ll definitely give you a boost when you’re pushing those sites. I mean, people have been rebuilding sites on expired domains for a while, but a lot of those sites were ranking for a lot of old keywords. If you just look at Ahrefs has always had the best data as far as I’ve found for that.

Daryl Rosser: Awesome. That’s neat. So the sort of expired domains that you built in those sort of sites off of, I guess it’s not like these small ones with ten referring domains and the low metrics, I guess that’s like stronger sites. Do you want to give a rough idea what sort of metrics you look for of those sorts of sites?

Mike Milas: They’re not actually expired domains, that’s correct, they’re auctioned domains.

Daryl Rosser: Gotcha, okay.

Mike Milas: I had a few expired, and I do use expired domains when I’m just building, I’ll throw up a website for some local relevance, or if there’s a keyword in the domain I’ll restore the old archive website and then send some links from there. Generally I’ll just link like once or twice from those sites, and they’ll just kind of sit out there, usually branded links.

But when I’m building a real quality site, the most important thing that I look at it is referring domains. A lot of people say, “Look for high quality referring domains,” and that still doesn’t really define too much what’s high quality. You know, what’s a high quality domain, then?

Where to buy high quality domains for your PBN, what to look for, and how much to pay

I’m supposed to look for a high quality domain to determine if this domain is high quality, so really what I’m looking for is the trust of the sites, metrics of the sites is kind of the best signal for me to go off of. Not even necessarily the pages, but when I look at the referring domains, especially in Ahrefs and Majestic, topical trust helps a lot.

Looking at if the site it’s coming from, obviously anything WordPress, if anything’s coming from a Google property, blogger, those are always good. But if you have niche-relevant sites, it’s usually really easy to tell if they’re relevant to your niche, but that’s really what I’m looking for. A lot of referring domain and relevant links, obviously I don’t want just a bunch of blog comments or-

Daryl Rosser: Directories.

Mike Milas: Yeah, directories and stuff like that. I want something that’s niche-relevant, and I want it to really define what the site used to be more than anything. It doesn’t really matter if it’s kind of anchor-text heavy, as long as it’s healthy, as long as it’s not an exact cached domain with thousand back links with its brand. But yeah, metrics aren’t too important.

Daryl Rosser: Yeah, I agree.

Mike Milas: But I found good metrics are a good site, but a good site doesn’t necessarily have good metrics. Or, sorry, if you have a good site, usually it has good metrics, it has a lot of referring domains. But just because something has good metrics doesn’t necessarily make it a good site.

Daryl Rosser: I agree, I think it’s a good indicator but it’s not always correct. But if a site has a lot of referring domains and the trust flow  runs kind of high, if you’re looking at those metrics, then it’s generally a good sign, but not always.

Mike Milas: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. The point is if you have 300 referring domains and you have a trust flow of two, generally it’s not a good domain.

Daryl Rosser: Yeah. Exactly. I think the more links you have, the more reliable it is, as well.

Mike Milas: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Because I mean, you can spam a site and raise the trust flow too, so it’s not really a question of trust flow too or any of that.

Daryl Rosser: Exactly. Yeah. Cool. So, you build up these fancy sites, call it fancy. You build links to them to get your own page rank. For these ones, say you’re ranking it for the same sort of key words as the money side, but I guess you don’t have to. Do you see that you get … so you’re doing tiered PBNs to this, you said. Do you see that you get more out of doing it that way than you do out of direct linking from the Wikipedia insights?

Mike Milas: Honestly, you get the most out of linking directly. You’ll see the most direct result when you just send a link directly to your site.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: But when you are going after a higher count keyword, like, for instance, I’ve had some sights that I’ve had 70 or 80 PBN links, and when I do tiered linking, it’ll take like 30 or 40, half the amount of links in the same scenario.

But you see a lot more effects directly to the site. But the tiered linking too is also about the PBN as an asset, because you’re maintaining the health, the authority, and you’re also building on the authority that I sell PBN links to to help cover the cost of the PBNs, which-

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: Is fairly easy with all the Facebook groups, so it just kind of benefits me, benefits my clients, and then if you rank in the PBN for something, monetizing that, then you can make money there, and then I sell a few spots on my PBNs to kind of offset the cost, and yeah. That’s pretty much …

Daryl Rosser: Gotcha. It’s a much longer-term, a better asset, if you go through the tier process because that fancy site you set up looks like a real site, it is a real site in its ranking and stuff and generating traffic and everything like that.

Mike Milas: Yeah, yeah exactly. Don’t get me wrong, I do sometimes throw up some lower-quality scraped domains and stuff, but those two probably after a year or two, a lot of them they just expire and go away, either I’m not using them or they’re kind of like a churn and burn domain that I threw up on a cheap hosting for a year, two years, and then it ends up going away later. But yeah, the high quality, it’s just nice owning a high-quality asset. There’s a lot that you can do with that.

Daryl Rosser: Fair enough. So this question sucks, I get it all the time, and I’m going to pass it on to you because it’ll be interesting to hear your answer. People always ask how many PBN links it takes to rank. Now, I know that’s extremely … it varies a lot, but say for a PPL site you’re ranking in a big city, like L.A. or something. What’s the range of number of PBN sites would you use to rank a site like that, do you think?

Mike Milas: Yeah, I do get that question a lot, and usually I tell people that the way I figure that out is by building PBN links until I rank. If they want to go ahead and try that, then we can get some answers, but other than that, good luck figuring that out.

There really is no … it really comes down to strategy. I’ve used expired domains, and I built up the tiered linking pretty heavily to increase their authority pretty dramatically, and that only took me about 20, 30 PBNs to rank in a high competitive space. Then I’ve had other sites where I’ve built 75 PBNs to rank in a high competitive space. So it really comes down to the quality of the links.

If you’re investing $200 to $500 in PBN high-quality sites, you should be able to get some pretty good rankings with the 10 to 20 site network, and some pretty high company areas. Your site should be pretty powerful. I’d say anywhere from 10 to 20 sites, you should be getting a pretty good return.

Daryl Rosser: Yeah.

Mike Milas: Other than that, if you’re using scraped domains or throwing in other aspects, you can never really tell. Best way to do it is to build PBN links and figure it out, you know?

Daryl Rosser: I recommend the same thing. Yeah. It’s such a horrible question.

Mike Milas: It is, yeah. I wish I knew the answer, I really do. I’d pay a lot of money to know the answer.

Daryl Rosser: It’d be a lot easier. Cool.

Mike Milas: That’d be great.

Daryl Rosser: How much are you spending roughly per PBN site you set up?

Mike Milas: Let’s see. It’s usually anywhere between $200 to $700 a domain. Some of these $700 domains, they’re 500, 600, 400 referring domains, but they’re also extremely niche-relevant.

Daryl Rosser: Gotcha.

Mike Milas: When you go for something niche-relevant, it’s not as … it’s slim pickings. You kind of get what you can get when you can get it kind of thing. Every now and then you can get one at a great price, but other than that, they’re more expensive. So you’re paying anywhere from $200 to $700, not as often on the $700. On average, probably about 300, 400, about $400.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: Then setting them up usually costs about 30 bucks.

Daryl Rosser: Yeah.

Mike Milas: That includes the IFTTT with the five different sites and a page of content and rebuilding the old URL structure and old content and all that, so that’s about 30 bucks. Hosting’s anywhere from $2 to $3 a month at the end of the day, depending on how I’m hosting it. There’s obviously so many ways to host a PBN. I’ll use either premium hosting, or I use Easy Blogs Network a lot to be honest, because it’s really, I’ve never had a problem with it.

Daryl Rosser: Fair enough.

Mike Milas: Yeah. That’s pretty much I think most of the cost, other than the content, you know, and actually posting the links, which is pretty costly too. I paid about 10 bucks to post four articles, one money article with links, and then three buffer articles or pages, that cost about 10 bucks, and then you’re paying about 10, 20 bucks for the content. So it’s probably about $30 to post a link on the PBN.

Daryl Rosser: That makes sense. But you’re building them quality, it’s not just … yeah.

Mike Milas: Inner linking and yeah, keyword optimization, and all that good stuff.

Daryl Rosser: Nice. Where are you, what auctions are you using to buy domains?

Mike Milas: Mostly Snapnames and Jetname. Jetname or … NameJet.

Daryl Rosser: NameJet, yeah.

Mike Milas: NameJet and Snapnames. I used to use GoDaddy a lot, but those have begun … they’re a lot more competitive now, and there’s still some good domains on there, so I get some on there sometimes, but I usually get the best price and the best domains on those two.

Daryl Rosser: Awesome. Okay. Getting a little bit late, let me ask a few final questions. One thing I’m kind of interested in, because one of the first things you did was running your own business where you advise people on SOPs and things like that, I’m guessing, and it’d be kind of ironic if you didn’t, that you have some kind of awesome SOPs and systems and stuff in your business.

How to create systems for easily managing your PBN and SEO

Mike Milas: Yeah. I mean, everything, I’m very anal is a way to put it. I like everything perfectly laid out, perfectly defined, and I look for a lot of feedback from the people I work with, because that’s really where you get that data. If they don’t understand something, if something isn’t clear, refining those systems as time goes on is really where the quality is.

But yeah, I mean, it’s very simple. I use word checklist, which I have a lot of them in Trello because I was using Trello a lot to manage campaigns, and then training videos that kind of go through the SOPs and checklists, but it’s kind of basic stuff. But it’s very well laid-out as far as-

Daryl Rosser: Yeah.

Mike Milas: Managing PBNs. For example, I use one spreadsheet to manage all the PBN links that I build on my entire PBN, so there’s just hundreds of thousands of links all in one sheet, and then everything’s sortable, and everything is set up in a way where if I try to put a link on the same PBN on the same mobile site, it’ll kind of warn me that I can’t use that PBN again for that website.

Daryl Rosser: Gotcha.

Mike Milas: I kind of have everything in one place, easy to manage it, checklist that set it up step by step, and yeah. I love things running smooth, so that’s the best way to do it.

Daryl Rosser: Awesome. That’s cool, it makes sense. I don’t think it’s that complicated to systemize all that stuff, but it definitely needs to be done, otherwise it gets messy. Especially with hundreds of thousands of sites.

Mike Milas: Yeah. The best advice I would have as far as systems, and it’s the same thing I ran into with all the business owners I worked before starting my company, and even now, actually, is you’ve got to be simple. Everything has to be simple, don’t over-complicate it.

You’ve got to know where you’re at and where the end result is you need, and the quickest way to get there and the simplest way to get there were … I’ve seen some people, they’ve got an SOP writeup, and a checklist, and then a managing spreadsheet, and then five other spreadsheets, and they’ve got the PBN sign-in information in this spreadsheet, and their social media in that sheet, and there’s links in there, and just everything’s all over. It hurts me to think about it, so keep it simple, know what you’re trying to accomplish, and just go from A to B and figure that out as simple as possible.

Daryl Rosser: Fair enough. Cool. Some final questions and we can wrap it up, because we’re like 48 minutes in.

Mike Milas: Yeah.

Daryl Rosser: Are you building new sites regularly? Do you build up new sites every month, or do you just build a few whenever you feel like it, it’s just kind of random?

Mike Milas: I would say it’s kind of random. More recently, I’ve been building a lot more sites. I’ve been building about two or four a month just because I’m testing alot of new stuff, and playing around and seeing what’s working with all the new updates. It’s been a while since I’ve kind of launched a bunch of sites.

Plus I’m trying to put together a bunch of case studies and of course I like putting content up. I own  SERPfocus, I like kind of sharing with the community stuff we do, similar to your group but more I just kind of started it because I like sharing and I wanted a place that I had my own, where I could just kind of post stuff and not worry about it.

Daryl Rosser: Nice.

Mike Milas: I like testing stuff and reporting back on that, and other than that, though, it kind of just as the opportunity comes. You know? eCommerce, I’m working with some eCommerce SEO, or if a PPL opportunity that comes up seems good comes up, I’ll kind of get into that. But for the most part, it’s kind of playing around.

It’s every three, let’s say within at least every three to six month period, I’m definitely getting back and launching new sites and testing things because every three to six months things can change pretty drastically, so it’s good to kind of stay on top of that.

Daryl Rosser: Definitely. With the test sites, are they purely just test sites, or are they like PPL sites, affiliate sites, you might as well monetize them while you’re building them up?

Mike Milas: Oh, yeah. I monetize everything.

Daryl Rosser: Okay.

Mike Milas: I say it’s a test site because I’m not relying on it to generate an income. A lot of them do end up generating an income, but like I said, it’s more of an interest in SEO that drives my SEO.

Daryl Rosser: Gotcha.

Mike Milas: The reason I like to look at that too is it doesn’t limit me too from doing things that running a GSA campaign directly on a site, or throwing 20 PBN links at a site overnight, or doing 10 exact match anchor text links all at once.

Daryl Rosser: So you don’t mind if it doesn’t rank, it allows you to test things.

Mike Milas: Exactly. If I can kind of go in with that mind set, it kind of unblocks you from the opportunities and you learn a lot of cool stuff that way, so that’s always fun.

Daryl Rosser: Awesome. What would you recommend someone that is new to SEO, just some basic advice, it doesn’t need to be relevant to ranking or doesn’t need to be relevant to clients, it could be any advice, just someone that’s just starting out in SEO.

Mike Milas: If you’re just starting out with SEO, you need websites. You need to have multiple websites that you can work on. The one common question I see a lot of people knew is they’re saying like, “Oh, I got this site, I’ve been working on this website for three months and it’s not moving, or something’s, whatever it is,” you should have so much stuff going on at the point that you’re diving into this that you’re not going to have time to ask questions, you’re just going to have to take action on all these sites. And you’re going to be trying so many different things.

Every single question you think of, you should have a site that you can play around with it on. You know, your focus isn’t just … don’t focus on just one website. Don’t just build one website, rank it, make money, and it just takes off from there. I wish it went that smooth.

Daryl Rosser: If only.

Mike Milas: Yeah. Definitely. But I mean, it does really go that smooth if you just kind of dive right in. If you build one website and try and rank it, and try and just take off, it won’t work. But if you build 10 or 20 websites and you just go completely wild crazy with everything you learned every day, trying things, testing things, asking questions to yourself and trying it on that site and tracking results, it will just take off. You won’t even really see it happen, it just kind of happens.

That would be the biggest advice. A lot of people say just take action. More importantly, if you’re getting into SEO, you should have a lot of projects. You should have so much stuff going on that you’re not even going to have time to stop in the Facebook group and ask if something works or not, you’re just going to be trying it on one of your sites.

Daryl Rosser: Definitely. That’s really good advice. Ultimately, just do some SEO.

Mike Milas: Yeah. Do SEO. If you’re getting into SEO, do SEO. That’s definitely good advice there. That’s the gold nugget for the evening.

Daryl Rosser: Fair enough. Where can we all find you? You said is your site?

Mike Milas: Yeah. Serp-Focus, or if you just go on Facebook, search for Serp-focus. The group is really … I have videos on the website, if I come out with anything new, I’ll share it in the group, but moreso if anyone gets in the group and has questions or wants to know something, like I said, I’m testing a lot of stuff, I love talking about SEO, it’s kind of what I do in my downtime when I’m not working on a site or doing whatever it is I’m doing.

Daryl Rosser: In your uptime you’re working, in your downtime you’re pretty much working SEO stuff still.

Mike Milas: Yeah, yeah. My uptime is working on SEO, my downtime is talking about SEO.

Daryl Rosser: Fair enough. That’s awesome. I think a lot of us in this community are pretty much the same in that

Mike Milas: Yeah. No, it’s a very common thing. My wife hates it. She wants me to get professional help, I’m pretty sure of that. But it’s definitely common in the community to just be obsessed. I mean, it’s exciting. At least it is for me. But I’m an SEO nerd, so what do I know.

Daryl Rosser: Awesome, man. I guess we can wrap that up there. It’s a good end point.

Mike Milas: Sounds good.

Daryl Rosser: All right. Thanks for coming on the show, it’s been cool.

Mike Milas: Oh yeah, man, thanks for having me. It’s been awesome. Like I said, I love just chit-chatting and talking about SEO, so-

Daryl Rosser: Yeah.

Mike Milas: I was glad you reached out.

Daryl Rosser: Exactly. Thanks, guys, for tuning in, and I’ll see you guys in next week’s episode.


About Daryl Rosser

Daryl runs a six figure SEO business primarily focusing on local clients. He's extremely analytical, and his favourite ranking strategy is using PBN's.

5 Responses to “How To Build Next Level PBNs with Michael Milas”

  • Jose  October 6, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Not bad interview. I got a lot out of it, but somewhere in the 32 minute mark Michael mentioned WP Social Explosion, as one of his tips but WP Social Explosion is not available anymore. Is there an equivalent available on the market today?

  • Bren Murphy  October 6, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Nice work Daryl, I like how despite not being into sales, Michael still gets lucrative deals and has found a way to monetize without needing to do the talk. Just shows how broad the opportunities are.

    • Daryl Rosser  October 12, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the interview Bren. Yeah, it shows that you can make money from pretty much any part of it. You don’t need to be on the phones all day making sales happen.

  • Josh Bruce  October 9, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Awesome stuff guys. I just have one question. When you’re using IFTTT to send out social signals from pbns do you get any followers to those social media pages? If so how do you do this?


    • Daryl Rosser  October 12, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Can’t comment for Mike, but personally I don’t bother. Just setup the profiles and that’s it.