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An easy way to build backlinks is through directory submissions. Anything hard though is worth more, so keep in mind directory submissions don’t carry the weight that in content links will. With that said there is still diluted value in link directories, just don’t focus on them.
Here are some link directories and they are organized by SEO power.
The button below opens a new window with about 100 sites. We also have the following directory sites maintained by Ultimate SEO and these are always free to list with. This site also has a directory on it built in…you can access it by the top menu bar.
In PBNs 2019 Part 1 we discussed some logistics of organization on a high level concerning Cloudflare, Spreadsheets and above all randomness. In this the second part of our private blog network series we’ll focus on expired domains and the assessing of their value.
Domain Authority Is One Part
First, we will look at Domain Authority but before we do lets note Domain Authority in and of itself is worthless. It IS NOT used by Google. It is made by a company called Moz and it is their best guest how Google interrupts the content on a site based on a lot of factors but not all the factors and not in the same ratio. Why do we use it then? Google doesn’t have to tell us their formula for ranking a site in their results…in fact to do so would likely be a disservice to everyone involved. So based on observation and conjecture Moz provides us with an imperfect rating called Domain Authority. It is though in the end a made up number that is flawed. It was so flawed that DA 2.0 came out in March 2019 where many sites saw their rating plummet. Search results didn’t change … why would they when they are not connected to DA. Now thats out of the way…
We should start with https://expireddomains.net its a good site that has aggregated the domains being deleted from multiple registrars and it provides some base metrics that we can use to qualify domains for a closer look. There are millions of deleted domain names and we need someway to filter them down to something you can work with.
Why do we care about expired domains? Your PBN is attempting to mlmic organically earned backlinks. In the real world backlinks would likely come from sites that have their own backlink profiles and no two organic sites would likely have the same backlink profile. Buying a new domain name will come with 0 backlinks. Buying a used one will likely include some backlinks therefore giving your PBN its power. Think of these like telephone numbers…and you want someone to call you…you wont want to use the old number of someone who didn’t have any friends, but if you get a popular person’s old number then your phone is more likely to ring. Sure they are after the former owner ( or site in our case ) but if you can answer their questions and keep them happy they may keep calling. Same with expired domains.
Another site that focuses on expired domains is domcop.com. They are expensive and I’ve never used them because I can do all the work it does pretty swiftly and save the 100 dollars a month. Sure they have a cheaper plan but you cant do anything with it. Access to the expired section and archived section isn’t included …. making it relatively worthless. Back to expireddomains.net its free. Once we log in we can choose filters to sort down to the domains we want. Some of the filters I always put into play are:
The Main Tab
Domain Name CONTAINS – If I want a domain about a hospital I’ll type ” hospital ” then may remove some domains that would have worked but its helpful. If you get too few results you can remove the filter.
Length – I set this to no more than 15 characters. Longer ones are likely created for some weird purpose.
Hyphens – I set this to no more than 1
Backlinks – I set this to 10 or more. Keep in mind that the metrics reported may not be accurate all the time but this at least fishes out all the domains that have 0 links.
Only New Last 7 Days – 7 days is ages in this kind of hunt but for our purposes I leave a few extra days because those that set it to 12 or 24 hours may have missed a gem. After a week though the pile is looted beyond use.
Only Available Domains – who cares about it if its already registered for someone else.
Domains per page – change this to the max … 200.
The Additional Tab
I check NO CCTLDS and NO SECOND LEVEL DOMAINS – the quality of the domains aren’t worth your time in these country codes unless you are specifically targeting that country…but even then a .org or a .info is better usually than a .bi
The Adwords & SEO Tab
Domain Pop – How many domains point to the expired domain? A site with 100 backlinks from 1 domain is less valuable than a site with 10 backlinks from 10 domains. So we want to make sure we have the most domains pointing to our site. I generally set this to 50 or 100.
Wikipedia – If I have a ton of results after all these filters then I may put a minimal of 1 here…but thats a secondary search if iI need to filter more.
The Majestic Tab
Trust Flow – I’ll set this to 7. Its rare to find a high trust expired domain as they’ve been picked up usually in an auction but you don’t want a trust flow of below 5 so I put that number in here to ensure the site has some trust.
I may use the drop down filer Majestic Topical Trust Flow for specific niches but be careful here because the sites often lose context of the domain name… for instance a domain named “ThisIsHealthInsurance.com” can very easily be miscategorized as transit.
Search and gain these results….
Now most of these values are worthless to me. They are cached results usually and not exactly accurate. SO I use the clip board icon to export the top 200 sites that made it through our filters. I sort these results though first by Domain Pop or DP in the graph. Use the clip board to export just the domain names to your clip board.
Domain Detailer – Accurate SEO Metrics
With these export names in order of domain pop I paste the results into a speed-sheet for safe keeping. And then I use a program called Domain Detailer. You can download it … its an application on PC. You can buy credits and each domain name looked up takes a credit. But you get a ton for your money. Ive probably spent 80 bucks on these credits and looked up over a hundred thousand domains in this tool. The metrics reported are more accurate than expireddomains.net metrics.
From Domain Detailer I paste the domain names I have selected and click “Add From Text Box” with credits the program will build you a spreadsheet with metrics that should be semi self explanatory. The metrics I focus on are Moz DA, Majestic Domains, Majestic TF and the categories. Backlinks are often off and its good that we have two sources … Moz and Majestics counts … if either has some I believe the higher one.
When I find a domain that has a mix of these metrics that seems above the group I move to the final phase.
I open SEMRush.com and search that domain name and verify that the domain pop is as good as I expected. I then check the anchor text and if the anchor text is consistent with the keywords I’d like to be pulling in I then say … its time to buy.
Remember to use a registrar that offers free private registration and shop around they are not all the same price.
We’ll talk soon about PBNs and the onsite things that you’ll need to consider when building the site up. You also may decide that you just want to help a specific site out and skip building a PBN site and 301 redirect all backlinks to the main domain…we’ll cover that as well in Part 3.
First and foremost the most important aspect of your Private Blog Network is randomness. Consider what pattern or foot print your PBN might have and avoid that commonality.
Good PBNs Are Random, Start With Different Name Registrars
First off you need private domain registration, if not private then you’ll need people and addresses from all over. If you always use Godaddy you’re going to have to try out others to avoid a pattern. Incidentally if you always use Godaddy you’re getting ripped off as they will charge you for privacy and many others don’t. Some popular Name Registrars are 1and1.comnamesilo.comnamecheap.comcosmotown.com each of these can save you a considerable amount over Godaddy considering they offer free private registration and using more than one breaks a pattern.
Each time you add a new site to your PBN you need to approach it from the beginning as if you’re playing a character in a story who has never made a website before, when I say that I mean if you know you have a site on Host A and you like that host you’re making decisions based on previous sites and are more likely to create a pattern. Forget Host A how would you find a host for the first time? Google popular web hosts and pick a cheap new partner.
One thing that’s really beneficial about building PBNs that is more helpful to you in the long run is the forced exploration. After you’ve built ten sites on ten hosts using ten registrars and ten WordPress themes you’ll be able to write three top ten lists and rank the best of the 720 combinations that were available to you. It’s a lot of practice and as you’re avoiding patterns and repetition you’ll find yourself stepping out of your norm.
Vary Your Web Hosts
Speed of a web host is important normally but not necessarily when your building a PBN. While you want your primary or money site to load in under 3 seconds its perfectly fine if your PBN site loads in 7 seconds and that opens the door to all manner of generic no name web hosts. Your primary goal with multiple web hosts is to utilize a different IP address.
The only two big issues with this model …
Organization OF PBN Resources
What site is down? Oh….well which domain registrar did I use? Am I using their nameservers, someone else’s? Where did I point that to be hosted? Sure these aren’t that annoying to answer with a 10 site network, but try answering it when you’ve built and scaled up to 200 sites using 7 registrars, 20 name servers, 150 different IPs … it becomes unmanageable as you find yourself searching for your site more than you are building new sites, and why are you having to search? Maintaining a site is essential, as updates roll out to WordPress, plugins get updated and hackers exploit new vulnerabilities. If you log into every site you own and spend 5 minutes on each site your 200 domain name network will take 16 hours … or two days a week and consider that you only spend 5 minutes on a site, you likely didn’t fix any issues and took no breaks! It’s time to consider an apprentice or spreadsheets that fully document every aspect of your network, or both.
Somewhere around 100 domains I figured out I needed to approach this like an enterprise would and have actual uptime monitoring allowing me to see the state of the network easily. UptimeRobot allows you to set up 50 monitors on a free account.
In the real world 94% Uptime is horrible. Consider that in the last 30 days I had a recorded 104765 minutes sites were down in this sample of sites. I had issues with a server getting attacked by someone using 1700 servers causing a DOS attack. Why? Anyone’s guess … usually its a game to them and they aren’t paying for those 1700 servers but they’re other people’s hacked resources being used to grow their network.
You may be interested in MainWP or InfiniteWP … Godaddy provides Godaddy Pro. You need to be mindful that these only work when they work and will they give away a signature pattern? Likely they can create an easier management solution but easier is dangerous.
Costs Ballon And Randomness Prevents Savings
As you scale up from 10 to 20 to 50 sites your going to wake up one day and realize youre spending hundreds of dollars a month on infrastructure and all of your time will now be consumed with maintaining your network. Adding someone to help you is going to increase costs and take your time to train them in being effective at maintaining the network. Be careful who you bring in to help you, friends are obvious choices but when they get upset about something unrelated to the network they could leave you high and dry. Worse yet, they are the most likely to teach you a lesson by bailing on you for a couple weeks. Trust the people who are in it for the money … pay them more than they can get at a retail job to build loyalty to your mission. They need not be technical people but they need to understand that if a site is down, Google can’t index it and that backlink is missing now. They need to be able to follow a logical progression and understand the parts that are in play to help you maintain the site.
The obvious answer to addressing costs is to bundle services and make sure you’re utilizing resources in the most effective manner but that is accomplished by making patterns. You can’t find cost savings by giving away your sites.
Cloudflare Allows Consolidation And The Pattern Is Indistinguishable
12,000,000 sites utilize Cloudflare’s free services which include masking your host servers IP, CDN services and security.
Cloudflare offers the ability to hide among the masses. Who is Cloudflare? They stand in front of your server and take the brunt of the internets crap. Upwork.com, Medium.com, Themeforest.net, Chaturbate.com are among the names using Cloudflare.com services. Some estimates suggest that Cloudflare is about 8% of the entire internet. Thats huge! At one point they found themselves protecting the Israeli government’s network as well as the PLOs.
Using Cloudflare is hiding in plain sight and free. I recommend it but in a mixture capacity still have some sites out side of their network just to avoid any one bottleneck, it would seem odd if 100& of the sites linking to a domain are using Cloudflare….remember they are 8% and while the largest chunk of the internet they aren’t the internet.
This article has focused mainly on external and infrastructure concerns of building a PBN. This is really a third of topic and in the coming weeks I’ll include two more posts that address on site content issues of building a PBN and site design considerations for a network of sites.