If you do SEO of any kind you will know that backlinks are still one of the main signals Google looks at when assessing how much trust and authority a site should be given. And, the more trust and authority a site has, the higher it, and its internal pages, are likely to rank in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).
Backlinks Still Vital
Furthermore, if you are up to date with current Search Engine Optimization “protocol” you will also know that using your own high trust/authority sites is a good way of getting yours or your client’s websites ranked. Sites used for this purpose have come to be coloquially known as PBNs (Personal Blog Networks). Why “whoever” chose the term PBN is beyond me, but that seems to be what we got stuck with.
Now, it is also fair to say that Google’s terms and conditions say that “manipulation” of the SERPS is against terms of service. So, some time back they had a bit of a purge on sites that were put online simply to provide high powered backlinks and for no other reason.
Early on in our client SEO life Lee and I found some pretty high powered sites. For example, one of our early PBN sites is a TF 26 CF 32, that is pretty powerful.
It Was Easy Back Then
But the truth of the matter is that, when we first started providing SEO services, one link back from such a site could get a client targeting a local keyword straight to number one. I think it’s fair to say…it’s much more difficult these days. You still need PBNs to rank, but you also need a whole plethora of other tools and techniques as well. The world of SEO has become much more complex for sure.
But, I digress.
Nowadays, a PBN MUST look like any other “normal” site on the Internet. It should have unique content (lots of it), newsfeeds, images, videos and of course terms and conditions pages as well as a valid contact page. Even going as far as to have an address and ‘phone number. Setting up a PBN has become an art form!
It is VITAL that you set your PBNs up properly. We now outsource this to experts. See the box below, we ONLY use these Guys, they are the best – end of!
There are other factors that are important too, but this article is not about how to build a PBN – it’s about how to rescue one.
Back to the plot and those early days as an SEO….Oh life was so simple!
PBNs in 2016
Indeed, some of our early PBNs were pretty crappy in terms of their set up. There was not a contact page or a T’s and C’s in sight. No “About Us” page, no “person” behind the site, no internal linking. It was a site with five articles backlinking to our client sites.
So, when Google got wise to how PBNs were being used, some of our early sites got hit. Google clearly designated them as PBNs and they were de-indexed.
Now this hurt! We had three sites with a Trsut Flow of 22+ de-indexed! When Google struck, most people cried that it wasn’t fair and just rolled over and died. But that, my friends, is NOT in my nature.
So…I set about trying to get them re-indexed.
Trial and Error
The first thing I did was research how I could get these sites re-indexed.
I tried link Indexers but they really had no effect.
I then found a technique from an SEO expert in New York. He’d has sucecss with this. So, I followed suit and copied his example. I added a “personality” to the sites, contact us pages, more content etc etc. In short, I made them look like proper sites.
The technique was, once I’d made the PBn into a “proper” site, to add a video post that was relevant to the site subject matter. Then add the Video XML Sitemaps plugin, build a video XML Sitemap and Ping Google (you do all this from within the plugin).
It failed as well.
I tried one other technique which was to buy a Gig from a Guy on Source Market who knew how to get sites re-indexed. Indeed he specialised in getting PBNs indexed. For $5 he sure put a huge amount of effort in, and I am extremely grateful to him (thanks Daniel Lesser), but all to no avail.
Time To Cut and Run?
It was abundantluy clear that the sites themselves had been penalised by Google and nothing I was going to do was going to change it. Or was it?
Lee and I sat down and talked it through.
They were very early PBNs in our network and we set up really badly. The domains themselves were still very powerful, so if we could, we wanted to rescue them because they could help us rank clients and our own affiliate sites.
Process of Elimination
We analysed and realised, that, while the site was in its current confirguration of hosting and ownership, Google were extremely unlikely to re-index the site, so we hatched a plan!
The Re-Indexing Plan!
The plan was actually quite simple. Through our analysis we figured it must have been the initial set up that flagged the site to Google as being a PBN. However, we also figured that what was keeping it de-indexed was the the hosting / ownership footprint. I have to say, we were no way sure this was the situation, but for a high TF site, we figured it was worth a test. So, this is what we did.
First up we changed the whois information. I transferred the site from my company ownership to my wife. Simples.
Next we advised the current hosting compnay we didn;t need their hosting any more as we’d sold the site and the new owner had their own hosting.
Thirdly, we changed the DNS to (in this instance) the GoDaddy holding Domain Name Servers – we kept them pointing like this for about 48 hours.
Next we set up the site on new hosting. In actual fact we used Easy Blog Networks to host the re-vamped version of the site.
Easy Blog Networks
Just as an aside, if you are offering Client SEO Services, EBN is an absolute Godsend once you get to a certain point in your business. We had got to over 50 PBN sites and I can tell you managing 40 odd sets of hosting accounts was becoming a complete and utter admin nightmare.
She nearly left and went back to a job!
However, when we invested in Easy Blog Networks, she was happy again! Why?
Well, you simply buy the domain, click a couple of buttons in EBN and the site is set up for you. Every site is on a different, high-quality host and you manage everything from one easy to use point and click dashboard.
But…be warned, you have to have a special invite to get in EBN these days. They are oversubscribed and without our secific link, you will NOT be admitted!
Back To The Story
So, we re-set up the site on the new hosting, and before I could even do a proper PBN set up – bang – INDEXED!
Powerful stuff, but were we just lucky. We got the site set up properly by our Guys at Source Market mand then we let it settle for a couple of weeks and gradually started adding content back to the site. Now, we didn’t put the same content back up, but we had three PBNs we were experimenting with so we mixed and matched the content.
Which sort of gives you a clue as to what happens next. Yep, two weeks later we tried PBN No.2 – bang indexed within 24 hours of completing the process.
More Than Coincidence?
This had to be more than coincidence, so we went for it a third time – same result. So, now we have “rescued” three high powered PBNs we were about to let go.
That has saved us, probably, somewhere close to $500 as these were all TF22 plus sites. And, if you are trying to buy PBNs these days, you’ll kow that such sites don’t come around too often. And, when they do, they’re epxensive.
So, here are the resources we have used in our PBN Rescue plan!
So, there you have it, a rescue plan if you manage to get one (or more) of your PBN sites de-indexed.
So far we have managed to get four de-indexed site re-indexed. We have three to go, but four out of four ain’t half bad. I will add more notes as we progress on this one, but this would appear to be a powerful techn ique for getting domains (not just PBNs) re-indexed.
As always, I hope you found this useful.