Although PBNs still work, they now have a history of being targeted by Google and therefore may not be the safest option. This is why we now focus on creating online businesses that are independent of SEO traffic.
Update May 2013: The linkbuilding style no longer works so I’ve updated it with the current style I use. I’ve kept the old style crossed out for posterity’s sake.
So you’ve found a nice standard or premium domain. Congrats! Now it’s time to turn it into an efficient yet sustainable linking machine
After buying the domain, you first step is to set it up on a new C-Class IP. I recommend switching up a bunch of shared hosts for this. The best value I’ve found so far for IPs, is IXWebhosting (aff link). They have 15 Ips for $8/mo., but there is a trick as to how you get unique IPs. They rotate through tons of IPs each week, and they give you IPs as you configure each site. So if you want unique C-class Ips you will need to stagger the setup of your sites – I do mine every couple weeks or so, but likely you could do it more quickly than that. It’s by far the best deal that I have found.
I also use Bluehost (aff. link) and Justhost (aff. link) because of their 1 click WP install. I use a few SEO Hosts, but am hesitant to recommend them here as it would be pretty simple for Google to just devalue links from their IPs. That’s why I think using popular shared hosts is a good idea.
Update: Here’s a little tip to help you setup you expired domains faster.
Now some people may wonder about whether it’s really important to have a unique IP. It is. Each additional link from a single IP pointing to the same root domain has increasingly diminished returns. However, depending on the size of your network, and how much you want to silo it, you could setup multiple sites on the same IP, as long as 1 IP only links to 1 site. So decide on your strategy.
If you have 50 sites do you want them on 50 Ips, so that each of your micro niche sites is receiving 50 links from 50 unique domains and 50 unique Ips?
Or do you want 2 groups of 25 sites on 25 Ips? Then your sites are firewalled a bit more, if you worried about Google slapping you, or your competitors spying on you.
Or go for 5 groups on 10 Ips if you are really quite paranoid. It’s up to you. Just remember, the less Ips, the less it costs to host, but the less potential you have for ranking for true money keywords.
Theme your site
Once your site is up and WP is installed,it’s time to transform the site. I like to turn sites into user generated News sites whenever possible. If the site used to be a blog about cats, I’d turn it into a news site written by evil cats. Ok that’s a bit extreme, but it would be fun to write… Anyway this is really just adding an about widget to the page, and doing up a custom banner and tag-line. This is the fun part.
Sometimes the domain just can’t be turned into a news site. Maybe the domain name is about cheap violins or something. In this case I’d keep the site related to it’s former niche, and maybe add a spin to it so that it is also related to a niche I have sites in. So if I have a lot of sites on classes or schools, I’d turn it into a violin academy. If you’re creative enough you can almost always go the news route though, maybe make it a blog written by a down and out violinist university student.
I don’t re-use content from archive.org, and don’t pretend to be the former entity. At least not for my PBN…. you are likely to eventually get a cease and desist for copyright issues, and if you’re selling links or otherwise relying on the links you just can’t take that risk. If it’s just for link brokers though….
How I linkbuit back in 2011-2012
Update: I’m keeping this for posterity’s sake. This does not work, but it’s good to keep it up to show that it does not work anymore.
I always link build in groups of 15-25 related sites. By that I mean buy up a batch of 15-25 domains that are more or less related, or are relatable by a common element. If you played “which of the following sites doesn’t belong in this group”, you’d be hard-pressed to pick one. The article will be a news-style article that is related in topic to the 15-25 sites. The first step here is creating an anchor sheet for these sites.
What’s an anchor sheet you ask? This is an example anchor sheet which shows 10 sites that would be in the same niche (it would have 25 rows were it 25 sites). This example also assumes that each site will be linkbuilt from 20 different domains. EMD is exact match keyword, PM is phrase match, Brand is it’s not an EMD, but rather bluewidgetshq.com, then the anchor would be Blue Widgets HQ. If it is an EMD then this would just use the URL. It shows your staffer how to link to each site. No matter how many sites I am linking to or from, I try to keep exact match anchors under 15% of the total anchors, and URL/brand anchors around 30-35%, with the rest being taken up by atleast 10 phrase match anchors and some generic anchors (click here, names,etc).
Once a link has been inserted into an article, it gets highlighted on this list and never re-used. So each article would have 1 link from each row in the spreadsheet.
Note that I’m just finishing up an update that has my CMS auto-creating this sheet for my linkbuilders. It auto-creates based on the PM matches of the domain name that occur within my rather substantial scrape of GAKT.
How do you cram up to 25 links into 1 article?
I am fine with putting 25 links into an article as long as they are sprinkled in, and not dumped in one place. I sprinkle them in author bios, within content (when relevant), within images (anchors are alt text in this case, usually URL based like “Image courtesy of URL”), and within falsified yet well thought out comments on the page from guests (anchor is name of guest). Here’s an example.
How I linkbuild in 2013
2013 is all about quality and relevance. I make sure I post only posts that are relevant to the site, and within the posts the links must be relevant to the target url. Because anchor text holds less power, the topic (mainly title tag) of the post is what gives the most weight for a page. Therefore if I want to help a site rank for “data centers” I cannot have a post about something completely unrelated and just have the anchor text there. The post has to be about data centers. If my site is a New Zealand based news site, maybe I’ll make up some editorial piece in the technology section about some Kiwi data center startup. It doesn’t matter that it’s fictitious (which also makes it a hell of a lot more fun to write), it can’t really be proven wrong.
Do you post links on Homepages?
I don’t publish links on homepages, and I show excerpts of the posts on the homepage. This ensures that a single expired domain can linkbuild an unlimited number of sites, and also maximizes TBPR. After about 30 posts, I switch over to categories, and make sure they are included in the top level navigation of the blog to maximize link juice. You could also make a percentage of all links no-follow, to make the profile more natural-looking.