As SEO strategies go, few have become as hyped as building a private blog network. It’s true, PBNs can offer a quick, easy blast of power. When done right they can be a near unstoppable, almost undetectable ranking strategy.
But considering the work involved in building your own network it’s not always clear that a PBN is the right tool for the job. It's hard work protecting your sites from competitors and Google. Could you get simpler, cheaper results through content marketing? Or even just outreaching to bloggers and exchanging a link for products, bribes or cold hard cash?
Given the hype, it’s definitely worth remembering there is more than one way to skin a cat. Any effective SEO should be considering both the risk to their money sites and the upfront and recurring costs of building a network.
When you shouldn’t use a private blog network
When operating in a non-commercial or easy-to-share niche
Run a site on cuddly animals like kittens? A hobby people obsess about? A cause such as the environment or sick children? You could get these links for free by writing something people care about
When operating in a popular niche with a large blogosphere. (For example, fashion, cooking, DIY and travel. )
You are likely to succeed with quality content. Mature blogging communities are much more receptive to the idea of trading a post for a link. Outreach for paid links can be quick and to the point in these niches. With a near endless long tail of bloggers there are few limits to the potential you could score a link from.
When you couldn’t bear the risk of losing your site.
All SEO activities imply some level of risk. Google hates the idea that you could be successful online without paying them their tax.
But there is a big distinction between lower risk activities and 'black-hat' activities. These include building blog networks, bulk directory submissions and all out spam.
Only you know the level of risk you are willing to take on your own websites. You should discuss with clients the approach they want to take too.
When you should use a blog network
When you operate in embarrassing or unpopular niches
Work in payday loans, gambling or sexual health testing? There are some niches where it is nigh impossible to get natural links to your website
When relevant websites have absurd notions of the value of a link
Ever reached out to...