The most important part about building a Private Blog Network (PBN) is finding domains with strong Search Engine Optimized (SEO) metrics to build them on. Contrary to what all the big SEO gurus will try telling you, you do not need expensive tools to do this. In fact, you can do all the work with free tools, and in this post I will show you how.
Are there nice paid tools you can use to simplify this process? Yes. Some of them will even save you time, but unless you’re planning to build a huge network in the next 30 days, stick with the free tools.
I happen to have some paid tools and also had some tools specifically coded to automate most of this “PBN domain finding” task for me, but again: You can honestly do all the work using free tools.
NOTE: If you’re short on time and rather just have someone do this research for you (or build a PBN for you), just head on over the Source Market, sign up for a free account, and explore a plethora of “done for you” options.
Here is how I find PBN domains using nothing but free tools/services.
#1. Finding PBN Domains
Again, there are numerous free domain finder tools out there you can use to sort through domains that are about to expire. The one I find most useful is DomCop.
Tip: Sign up for a free account and you will have a lot more features available to you.
Once logged in, you will see a bunch of domains appear. You could start navigating through them, but I always click on the dropdown option that says “Select a Pre-Built Search” and select “Domains for Private Blog Networks”. It eliminates any domains that – in my opinion – are not ideal candidates as PBN domains.
I did not create that setting, otherwise I would take out the Google Page Rank (PR) requirements. Even with it on though you should be able to find at least a handful of domains you could potentially use to create your PBN.
If not, try another preselected setting from the same tab called “GoDaddy Closeouts (Trust Flow)”. That will broaden the search somewhat and give you a greater selection of domains to choose from.
If you are über picky and can’t find anything, come back a few days later and you should be able to. I personally am not too picky. As long as a domain is remotely related to what I need a PBN for, I will click the “star” to add it to my watch list.
Once I’ve gone through the whole list (this initial process should not take long), I click on the “Watchlist” tab on top and proceed to step #2.
#2. Confirming Domain Specs
DomCop pretty much gives you all the data you could ever want. It gives you the:
- Domain Age. The older it is, the more interested I get. I would not hesitate buying a domain just because it lacks age though.
- PR. Same as age, the higher the PR, the more interested I get, but I would never buy it because of PR alone.
- Domain Authority (DA). This is a MOZ metric. It’s important to note that MOZ is not owned by Google, but they do have a lot of data that helps give you a fairly clear picture of how Google sees that domain. I always look for domains that have a DA of 20 or higher.
- Page Authority (PA). Same as DA, another MOZ metric. I always aim for a PA of 25 or higher.
- Trust Flow (TF). This is a Majestic metric. I love majestic, but their data is a lot more limited. I will consider any domain that has a TF of 15 or higher.
- Citation Flow (CF). Same as TF, I strongly prefer my domains to have a CF of at least 15.
- Relevancy. It even tells us – based on a domain’s backlink profile – if the domain is relevant to our niche. As long as this broadly matches, I will consider it. For example: If a domain is considered to be relevant in the “internet” niche, I would consider it relevant enough if I tried building a PBN in the SEO niche (or any other internet related niche).
Obviously the ideal domain will meet all those requirements, but they are hard to come by. Which is why I’m fairly happy if I can find one that meets at least five out of the seven points listed.
#3. Domain Background Check
Now that the domain specs check out, I look it up at Archive just to make sure it was not redirected to another domain before. If it gives you a 302 error message, avoid the domain like a plague. Same if it redirects the search to a different URL.
Assuming it was not redirected before, go to Google and type in site: followed by domain name.
This will tell you whether or not the domain is indexed by Google. If it is not, there is a great chance that it was penalized and you will want to avoid it.
Lastly, you will want to have a peak at it backlink profile. To do that, go to Majestic and search for your domain. Then scroll down and you will see a graph showing some of the most common keywords used to link to the domain.
Use some common sense here. If a lot of links used unrelated anchor texts or foreign letters (in other words: If it appears to have been spammed to the moon and back), move on to a different domain. The last thing you want to do is invest money into a domain that may sooner or later get penalized by Google.
Assuming everything checks out fine, go ahead and place a bid or use the “buy now” feature on the domain’s auction/sales page. Unless it has crazy awesome metrics, I would hesitate bidding over $20 for it. There are just too many domains readily available.
I happen to have the majority of my domains with GoDaddy. I know some of my friends boycott them but they have never given me a reason to do that. Until they do, I will continue using them.
This process – especially if you’re bidding on the domain – will take a few days, but what’s the rush? Rome wasn’t built in a day 🙂
Follow these steps and get yourself a few nice domains lined up. Then come back and read my follow up post (either next week or the week after) on where and how to set up the PBN site.
Very interesting concept. I have had my own domain expire once, I am going to make doubly sure that I always renew on time.