If you ask 10 SEO Professionals what the hottest trend is in SEO over the last five years 8 of them will likely say PBNs.

For good reason as well, they are one of the easiest ways to create high value links for your websites. However, they don’t come without risk and there are many mistakes that the new-to-PBNs make that end up costing them a lot of time and money (believe me I’ve made them when starting out as well).

Based on my experience in losing domains and what I have seen consistently happen within the industry, I’ve outlined five of the worst things you can do that will lead to your PBN domains being de-indexed.

Why PBNs Get De-Indexed

Before we jump into the major mistakes I wanted to recap on why PBNs get de-indexed in the first place. The short answer is because they violate Google’s webmaster guidelines and do not fit with a pure whitehat SEO strategy.

The longer-winded answers is usually because they are crappy and low quality websites. If you build them that way, they deserve to be de-indexed. Google deindexes websites all the time. Try creating a new website and leaving a default installation of WordPress up with maybe an introduction post. See how long that website stays indexed. If it’s not adding any value to the world it won’t last long in Google’s index.

pbn mistakes de-index

In case you missed it, let me reiterate that: a PBN still needs to create value for the world.

Major PBN Mistakes

There are many mistakes you can do with your PBNs to get them de-indexed, but these are the ones that I see people shortcut on all the time and it always bites them in the butt.

1. Not Properly Vetting Your Domains

You need to properly vet your domain before you buy it. Regardless of whether you picked it up at auction, from a broker, or from scraping yourself, you need to spend the time to do your own due diligence on the domain name before registering.

Far too many people shoot themselves in the foot before ever getting started. This is a surefire way to either get your domain de-indexed or worse still, have it never be indexed in the first place.

I’ll create a post about the due diligence process in another post but some things you need to look at are:

  • Has the domain ever been a PBN before?
  • Does the domain have a spammy backlink profile?
  • Is this a high quality domain with sufficient metrics?
  • Has this domain ever been setup as a 301 or 302 redirect before?
  • When was the last time the domain was online (according to the wayback machine)
  • Was the domain used as a spam website before? (Check the wayback machine)

Getting this process as streamlined as possible will help you grow your private blog network quickly. Once you decide that a domain is okay you can move on to selecting a registrar and getting it setup.

2. Identical Whois Data

I commented about losing 20+ domains to this issue in the past. It was a mistake. I meant to make the domains private registration and I selected the wrong box. Lesson learned the hard way. If all your domains are set with the same whois information and they are all very similar in terms of content and link profile then don’t expect them to last very long.

I speak about the different options on the public vs private registration over on the PBN domain registration post here.

3. Hosted On The Same Physical Machine

One of the easiest things to shortcut in building private networks is choosing the right PBN hosting. It’s very easy to just go with a popular SEO web hosting company and hope for the best, but that is not a long-term solutions and one day or another it will come back to haunt you.

It’s much easier to setup your PBN the right way from scratch than it is to transfer hosting accounts later – trust me, I’ve been there.

We are building a pbn hosting solution that will solve all of the hosting footprints. Leave a comment below to get in on the beta of that.

4. Thin Content & Low Quality Website

If you’re website is super low quality then it won’t stay in the index. This should be common sense, but unfortunately many people ignore this advice. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why. It’s very attractive to order 1-cent-per-word content and put up 150-200 words posts on your PBNs with 3 links in each.

That’s not going to last because that’s not what a real website looks like. You need to make your PBN websites look as though they are real websites, or they won’t deserve to belong in the index. Make sure to include rich media – embedded youtube videos and on-site hosted images are a must in some of your posts.

Also, give your website a personality. A name behind the website is a great way to do this. Explain why the site exists and what it does to serve its visitors. Get creative. Use your imagination. Just invest a bit of time to set it up right.

5. Consistent Linking Patterns

Similar to my thought on thin content, having the exact same types of links is a guaranteed way to get your website deindexed. Worst still, you could be flagged by Google’s recent outbound link penalty. This is worse because you still think your PBN has value when it really doesn’t, even though it’s still indexed.

Pay attention to where you are sending your links. Don’t simply put 3 links in every post. That’s not what a real website looks like. Link to authority websites like news sites or Wikipedia, publish content with no links.

Heed This Warning

If you’re reading the above info and thinking hmm I do some of these and my sites are still indexed then let me just stop you right here.

Consider this your moment where you get to decide the future of your private network.

I get it. It’s cheaper and easier to take shortcuts. But isn’t that what gave SEO a bad name in the first place?

If you’ve survived this long while making the above mistakes then I applaud you. To be completely honest I lasted without getting de-indexed as well, but decided to take my own advice and add more value to my network. Want to know what happened? My rankings increased. That’s because the value of your links go up when your PBN is setup properly.

If you don’t have a network setup at all yet, do it the right way from the start. If you already have a network but you’re taking shortcuts on content or hosting, get that fixed up now. Even though you have made it this far, I guarantee you one day you will wake up and your PBN will be gone.

Let us help. Leave a comment below with any questions or if you’re interested in getting involved with our PBN hosting beta test group.