Learn some of the crucial Private Blog Network Footprints and tips to circumvent them. The checklist is not exhaustive, but we’ve taken into consideration the most common footprints.
We’ve also shared some advice at the end of each footprint.
- Registering a Domain Via One Registrar
Registering your domains for all your PBNs under one registrar can hurt your entire network.
Tip: Ensure to use a variety of registrars for your entire network. For instance, you could use Namecheap on one blog and GoDaddy on another one and so on.
- Keeping All Your Domains Private
This is also another footprint that you must avoid. To maintain your genuineness, use real address and name.
Tip: If you have to use Whois privacy, ensure to keep it below 20%.
- Using One Whois Email Provider
Avoid depending solely on the well-known email providers such as Gmail and Yahoo on your entire network.
Tip: Create brand emails such as [email protected], [email protected] and more.
- Registering and Renewing All Your Domains on the Same Data
Registering all your domains at one time is a huge footprint. This means that your entire domain network will expire the same date/time which is not prudent.
Tip: Ensure to register your domains at intervals, particular after weeks or months. And if you have some suitable domains, you can extend the registration to more than 2 years.
- Overuse of Custom NameServers
Do not overuse custom nameservers.
Tip: Use name servers offered by your hosting provider such as ns201.godaddy.com and more.
- Similar TLDs
Avoid too much use of same TLDs such as .com domains as this can hurt your entire network.
Tip: Use a variety such as .net, .tv, .info and region-specific TLDs such as .fr for France or .co.uk for United Kingdom and etc.
- Optimizing Your Hosting for SEO
Too much SEO hosting might make your IPs look spammy and also lead to unexpected downtimes and slow loading speed.
Tip: Streamline Blog Networks by use of premium cPanel hosting. Read a complete PBN guide on this site.
- Same IPs
If you create several sites under a single cluster, that’s a blog network.
Tip: Diversify your IPs or buy more servers.
- Same Server Location
You can spread your servers globally. Using servers on a single datacentre and country for your entire network can be bad.
Tip: Host your domains on global servers such as Canada, Asia, and the US. In fact, the best states are EU and US.
- Hosting Under the Same Provider
Never rely on one provider for all your domain hosting. Even though you love Namecheap, try as much as possible to diversify your hosting.
Tip: Use a mixture of premium hosting companies like PBN Pilot.
- Low-cost Hosting Providers
Cheap hosts help to cut costs but they are costly in the long run since you will have to deal with slow loading time and unwanted downtimes.
Tip: Try to avoid cheap hosts as much as you can.
- SOA Records
An SOA record is the information you provide while signing up with the company and using similar SOA records on several sites is a huge footprint.
Tip: Ensure to edit the SOA records in your cPanel
- Hiding IPs Using CloudFlare
CloudFlare was used to hide IPs for multiple sites hosted under one dedicated server but this is not the case today, although CloudFlare can still be helpful for other uses.
Tip: Never rely on CloudFlare to hide your IP
Configurations and Backend Footprints
- 404 Redirects
To keep link juice, blog owners used to redirect all 404 to the home page. This is no longer helpful today and in fact, it can affect your PBN index.
Tip: Create unique URLs and limit your 404 redirects to home.
- Obstructing Bots and Crawlers
Search engines know it when you impede crawlers. And only a few websites can block bots and crawlers.
Tip: Allow crawlers to crawl freely on your site unless it’s necessary to block them. Also, if you have to, then limit your blocking.
- Same Plugins
Well, it is not usual to find multiple sites on a network using the same plugins; however, this should not keep you from using Yoast SEO plugin or W3 total cache since these are common. But you should diversify.
Tip: Use a variety of plugins in your entire network.
- Varieties of Themes
There are themes and frameworks that are popular but you should diversify when using them on a large network. However, with a well clustered private blog network, you can use the same themes on multiple sites.
Tip: Use 3rd party themes since they are the most popularly used today.
- Same Author Name on Multiple Sites
It’s obvious that using same author names and images on different sites can be bad.
Tip: Every site should have a unique author name and image
- Same Tracking /Affiliate IDs
All your tracking IDs on your blog networks should be unique. If you have to use Google Analytics account and affiliate links, ensure they vary.
Tip: Use a different account for every tracking ID. The best tracking IDs are Clicky and Jetpack.
- Missing Contact Details and Legal Pages
A website with no contact details especially the contact form or legal pages suggests that it’s a low-quality site. In fact, poor quality sites with no contact details and legal pages can be easily deindexed by search engines.
Tip: Always include nicely formatted contact forms as well as legal pages in your sites.
- Poor Design
When it comes to PBNs, poor design is a huge problem. A good design will make it through manual review and users will benefit from visiting your site. This is what every website owner should aim at.
Tip: Aim at creating good quality PBNs
Good quality design and layout makes your blog look amazing to your readers. Having multiple blogs with similar color scheme and layout can put off your readers.
Tip: Ensure to create your blogs to appear unique in appearance
- Thin Websites
Having fewer categories and pages in your site suggests lack of authority. It is a sign of a poor-quality website.
Tip: Include as many categories and subcategories as possible together with pages such as About, Contact, Testimonials, Request a Quote, Terms, Privacy and more.
- Multiple Outbound Links on Every Homepage of Your Entire Blog Networks
Too much outbound links on the homepage are not only bad for your readers but also for Google. You could include some few, but when the number goes beyond 20 on your entire network, your domain name risks being penalized by Google.
Tip: Practise interlinking and keep outbound links at a minimum.
- Crowding the Home Page with Full Posts
Including full posts on the homepage of a blog or a website was the best exercise some years back, but today, doing that makes your site look ugly and that’s why a bigger percentage of bloggers tend to use a unique layout. Ensure to leave your home page clean and easy to navigate.
Tip: Choose from a variety of layout including Business, Masonry, Magazine and more.
- Fewer Pages or Similar Pages on Many Sites
Take advantage of a variety of page diversification such as About Me, About Us, About, and more. This will make your site look natural.
Tip: Create diversified many pages on your sites.
- Multiple and Irrelevant Sites
Although creating sites that are related to a particular niche does not determine Google rankings but having niche sites helps to pass a manual review.
Tip: Try to limit yourself from creating many general blog types. Create a mixture of niche and general blogs.
- Lack of Social Proof
It looks mundane to have a site that has no social proof. Well, although it is acceptable to have a site with no social profiles especially for some business layout pages, it adds value to your blog when you include social proofs regardless of the niche.
- Lack of Actual Authors
Truth be told, you must have seen a blog without a real name of the author but just “Admin”. This pisses me off and I hope you too.
Quick Fix: Ensure to use a proper name, a professional photo and social proof.
Content and Linking
- Poor-Quality and Duplicate Content
Spinning and duplicating content is not only bad for search engines but also turns away readers. Google has technologies in place that detects spun and duplicate content and can make your site get penalized.
Tip: Create unique and original content. If you cannot do it, you can outsource your content creation to freelancers at an affordable price.
- Linking All Your Posts To Your Sales Site
Creating posts for the sake of linking to your sales site without filler content may get your site penalized by Google.
Tip: Include at least 3 filler articles on every post that links to your sales sites.
- Using Wikipedia as the Only Authority Site
There are many authority sites online apart from Wikipedia. To find out authority sites, you can perform reverse engineering on Wikipedia pages.
Tip: Find out blogs that do not compete with you in your niche that are high-quality and link your content to them.
- Lack of Interlinking
Interlinking is an important practice that keeps your visitors moving around your site. This is a good practice that helps to show Google that your visitors love your content and can increase your rankings. Lack of interlinks may lead to a high bounce rate which will affect your SEO effort.
Quick Fix: Practice internal linking of content especially relevant posts and pages.
- Same Word Count on Every Post
Gone are the days when the word count for every blog post was supposed to be 500 words. Today, people are looking for in-depth content and even if it means writing 3000 words, just to ensure you provide enough details of the topics you write about, just do exactly that.
Solution: Ensure to have a varied word count on all your blog posts
- Publishing Content at One Time Across Multiple Sites
Posting content across multiple sites on the same date and time can harm your entire blog network.
Tip: Schedule posts using WordPress editor so that they go live at an interval of between hours or even a day.
- Creating Internal Links on PBN Websites
This is the worst footprint. Avoid this at all costs.
- Similar Link Type
Most PBN links are do-follow. Ensure to mix it with some no-follow links to diversify your link type.
- Lack of Rich Media Content
People love rich media content and same is Google bots. Posting content without images or videos makes your site look blank.
Tip: Include images and videos throughout your blog posts to make your content interesting to read.
Common footprints are not generally footprints but it’s good we describe them
- Less/No Visitors
Traffic an important factor that determines website rankings. As mentioned above that these are not related to footprints, but a website with more traffic shows that it has good content.
Solution: Integrate both long tail and short tail keywords and practice on-page optimization to increase your website traffic.
- Lack of Social Share and Engagement
Traffic brings social share. However, it’s better to stay without social shares than to have a bunch that won’t attract traffic to your site.
Tip: Obtain traffic and then create social shares
- CSS and Code Not Effective.
It is possible to experience ineffectiveness with CSS and Code especially after doing a plugin or WordPress update. However, you can fix this issue and ensure to monitor it regularly.
- Unwanted Downtime
Downtime and Hosting are almost associated. Downtime affects your websites’ Google index and when it happens on your entire network for a long period of time, you might not be able to work it out easily.
Tip: Host your sites with Premium hosts
- Lack of Value
Your PBNs must provide value to readers and that’s what Google wants. The primary reason for having the sites is to provide information, attract leads and make sales and if that’s not what’s happening then you need to figure out where you are going wrong.
We’ve shared this list with a thought that it will help many bloggers to fix issues related to networks.
Taking your time to work on your sites appropriately will increase the chances of attracting leads, make more sales and increase your sites’ Google ranking.