At its most basic core, PBNs operate in a similar way for link building as pyramid schemes act towards money. Private blog networks are networks of interlinking blogs which are usually owned and operated by a single person in order to direct links between the owner’s sites. A practice designed to boost the search engine visibility of websites by taking advantage of the power of links in Google’s algorithm, with mass created blog links.
Previously, the PBN tactic worked relatively well for SEO. Yet while some black hat SEOs will claim it still does, the real problem with PBNs is that they have long been on Google’s hit list. Since 2014, Google has been manually penalising websites found to be using them. Given this, and more recent updates to Google’s algorithm, PBNs should be avoided. While some PBNs might still ‘work’ in the short-term, they are certainly not future proof.
However, from a backlink building perspective, sometimes PBNs can be hard to identify. These private blogs have been well built, and to an untrained eye can look like a good website to get a link from. This brings us onto the next section: how to spot a PBN.