People are regularly finding their PBN sites de-indexed these days. When it isn’t down to silly footprints, it’s usually due to terrible content. One look at most peoples sites and it’s immediately clear “something is up”.
I follow a completely different content strategy to what most people do.
It’s a technique I call PBN Padding. This works by filling out your PBN sites with content, in a way that doesn’t require hours spent researching, or writing quality content.
The idea is to get the appearance of an authority site backing up your links.
With that said, it is only the appearance. The sites and content won’t be great, but they should be enough to pass a manual review.
Here is an example of how most people are adding content to their PBN sites:
- 300-500 word article with authority link (some times even spun, YIKES!)
- About page
- Default or barely customised sidebar
After this, they will immediately start building links to their money sites in 300-500 word articles.
While this works perfectly for ranking now, it is not a sustainable method for ranking long term.
That is nothing to do with link juice, the links will always be as powerful, just like how footer links still work, but your sites will be much more susceptible to being de-indexed after a manual review.
How does PBN Padding work?
Every website is given an author of some type. This may be an individual, company, or some sort of team working on it together.
This gives you consistency in the writing style on a single blog, but mixes them up a bit across all the blogs.
One blog may be written by a backpacker sharing their experiences and travels, another by an association sharing industry news and best practices.
I personally come up with these ideas myself for each blog, while filling in the PBN Creation Template for my VA’s.
You’ll want to introduce these authors on some type of about page, share their photograph, and tell their story of why they started this blog. Basically what anyone would actually do if this was a legit site.
Be careful with YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) niches. These include:
- Pages soliciting personal information, such as personal identification numbers, bank account numbers, driver’s license numbers, etc., which could be used for identify theft.
- Pages used for monetary transactions, on which users might give their credit account or bank account information; for example any page that allows you to buy something.
- Pages offering medical or health information that could impact your physical well being.
- Pages offering advice on major life decisions, such as pages on parenting, purchasing a home, a vehicle, etc.
- Pages offering advice on major life issues that could impact your future happiness and finances, such as pages giving legal or financial advice.
If you have a blog about parenting, or finances for example, make sure you do NOT pretend to be an expert. Otherwise they will start judging your websites credibility, if it has a real address and contact information, if it’s a real author, how reputable the site is, etc.
Instead, you want to create these authors/personas as personal experience bloggers, for example:
Kim Jones is a ‘stay at home’ mom of two, Alex & Jessica, living in North Carolina. She loves kids, and created this blog to share her personal experiences with taking care of kids, to hopefully help some newer mom’s that may be struggling.
With this example, Kim isn’t pretending to be highly qualified, an expert at teaching kids, or any of that. She is just a mom sharing what she learnt from bringing up her kids.
This will hopefully save you getting a full manual review, and explain why your website looks poor.
Content Types for Posts
Plain articles of 300-500 words are a thing of the past. Some quick post diversity makes the blogs look a lot better, and actually saves time.
Here are a few ideas of content types you can use:
- Sharing and concluding an infographic
- Sharing and expanding on a video
- Sharing an image gallery
- Standard article (500 words with image or video)
- Introduction to the blog
Mixing these up works great because they posts that normal blogs would write, they jazz it up a bit (not tons of plain text), separate everything a bit to make links stand out less, and they are really quick to add.
Say you add an infographic, all you need to do is write say 250-350 words about what the infographic is about, why it is interesting, etc. Then embed it in the article.
For the parenting blog, you could do an infographic on the topic. Or you could do a post like “10 Photos That Share Exactly What it Feels Like To Be a Parent”. Or you can share some useful videos on YouTube about parenting, then write a little bit about why you like them.
There are so many possibilities with this. It really amazes me that anyone would not do it this way.
I personally suggest 2-3 posts on your blog before you start linking out to money sites.
Content Types for Pages
You need extra pages on your website. Don’t just add an about page with 2 lines of text and think you are done.
Here are some examples for you:
- About – Write about the website, team, author, or all
- Contact us – Explain why people should contact them and include contact form
- Events / Workshops – For dates put “in 2 weeks” or “this sunday”, explain what the event is about
- Advertising – Have information about advertising on the site and a contact form
- Why we created XYZ – Explain the backstory of why the blog was created
- FAQ – Answer frequently asked questions about the topic / website
- Tips – Have a contact form with information about how to send an article tip in
- Resources – Useful advice, links to useful authority sites/videos, book recommendations
These are the basics for any real website, but not used on PBN’s.
Do not use the exact same page name on every website either. There are many ways of saying the exact same thing. Examples:
- About, About us, About this website, About [sitename], What is this, Who are we
- Contact, Contact us, Get in touch, Talk to us, Contact me
You can also create relevant pages to whatever the niche is, though I only do this if there is content for it found in the Way Back Machine, which we will cover later in this article.
These serve really well as padding out the navigation bar. There is nothing worse than a navigation bar with only 1 or 2 links. You can also add categories to pad this out.
I personally suggest adding 2-3 pages of content – on top of the posts.
I am going to be doing a separate article shortly on structure your PBN sites, which will go through this in more detail, but here are some ideas to make your sidebars look better:
- Introduce the author – a picture will make this look even better
- Introduce the website
- Create banner ads – a legit reason for creating a site
- Relevant YouTube video
A small intro of 80-120 words in the sidebar can make a huge difference as to how good your website looks. A lot of legit authority blogs have these.
Creating the Content
This is how I have most of my content created. I’m paying on average around $2.50 per 500 words, but I also have site creation and setup fully outsourced.
The reason I pay so little is because I use full time virtual assistants. You can easily hire them through onlinejobs.ph for $350-$400 per month.
Another option is iWriter. It seems to be highly rated by a number of SEO bloggers, but from what I have heard from close friends, it’s not a very good service. I cannot personally comment on this as I haven’t tried it.
If you don’t have enough work for a full time assistant, I recommend hiring a freelancer through sites like oDesk. You should be able to find someone at $5 per 500 words easy enough.
It will take a while to find a good freelancer, but once you have one, you can use them over and over again for your projects.
The Wayback Machine is a website/tool that saves regular copies of websites, allowing you to “jump back in time” to see what a website used to look like. It is a great way of finding additional content if you are keeping the same niche as the domain used to be in.
You can use this in collaboration with the outsourced content, for easy extra padding on your sites. Or you can use it exclusively, though not all content will be ideal for your blog.
All you have to do for this method, is open the Wayback Machine and enter the domain you’re using for your PBN site:
Click the ‘Browse History’ button and you’ll be given a calendar showing different days they had a copy of this website.
Along the top is the history of the website. If you bought an expired domain, it won’t be that recent, if you bought an expiring domain, it could be.
This basically shows when the wayback machine were last able to index/download the site.
For this example, I’m going to just click January 1st 2014. This is a big website that is still around today, which is why you see so many blue circles:
Once you have clicked a date, you will be taken to a working snapshot of what the website looked like, at that date.
Presuming this is a PBN domain, not an actual website that is still around, all the content you find here will be unused by any website.
So if you were to use it on your website, it wouldn’t be duplicate. It’s also highly relevant to your site.
I don’t want to get into the legalities of this stuff. If you want to do it, it’s your choice, I’m just showing you how you could do it.
Often times you can get great content for additional pages using this tool. You can also get sidebar content / welcome messages, and if they have a blog, entire blog posts.
If you need infographics, just search ‘keyword infographics’ into Google. Not rocket science. Grab one and put it on your site. You don’t need to include any links, most people put their brand name/website address in the image anyway.
For videos, a search for the topic/keyword in YouTube will find several, then embed it in your content.
Staying on top of updates and changes as an SEO is what separates an expert with a beginner. If you predicted that penguin would target over optimised anchor texts, you could have avoided it completely, while everyone was getting hit for 10% plus exact anchors.
I personally see PBN padding as a future-proofing strategy. You do not need to do it to rank, but I predict it’ll become increasingly important over time, and I want my strategies to be ready for then.
Compared to some people that endorse spinning content across your PBN, or sourcing it from tools like ArticleBuilder, this may sound crazy. But part of the attraction to building a private blog network, is that it is safe and a long term strategy. I’m sure the white hats will be revolting at that statement, but it’s true.
If you spend big money building a network, then put it on crappy hosting, or use awful content, you are playing a short term game. If you’re launch jacking or ranking other short term sites, I recommend it, otherwise it makes absolutely no sense. You’ll save money in the short term, but have to replace domains repeatedly in the long term.
What do you guys think? Have you already started padding your PBN’s, or do you prefer faster, short term content strategies?