Before we start, I am in no way advising you to build private blog networks with thin content and little value to the web. Link networks like that have been dead for years and Google actively hunts them down. It’s risky and offers no tangible, long-term benefits. The domains are hardly worth their renewal costs.
What I do recommend is for you to build genuine assets that feature high quality content. Each blog in your network should be an authority brand of its own.
You can use these blogs to drive revenue through a number of different ways:
- Monetize each blog with affiliate products/services that earn you a commission
- Direct visitors to your primary sites where you sell products/services
- Monetize with Adsense, Adbrite, Bidvertiser or other ad networks
- Monetize with Taboola or other content-based ad networks
- Use a white label program to offer your own product/service
- Sell an in-house product/service directly on the website
- Contact businesses and sell media buys/advertisements
This allows your blog network to become something far more than just a source of backlinks. You’re treating it as an essential component to your business strategy. Each website is valuable and serves an audience of active readers.
With my networks, the the term private blog network doesn’t really apply – but it’s the most common way to refer to a network of blogs that you can use for link building purposes.
How to Build a Free Private Blog Network:
Private blog networks typically come with expenses. Between the domains and web hosting costs, there are a number of things that make these sites more expensive than you’re average website.
It’s pretty simple to build and there’s no web hosting or Class C IP addresses needed. In fact, all the typical hassles that come with hosting a PBN for SEO purposes are not needed. My strategy uses expired web 2.0 properties that were once functional blogs but have since been retired and still carry Page Authority. These are properties that are no longer being utilized and are ripe for the taking. If that doesn’t sound like a worthy pursuit, this isn’t the post for you.
Step 1: Finding Expired Web 2.0 Blogs
This strategy is simple but it does take some time and a little prior knowledge to piece together correctly. If you don’t have that or a willingness to learn, you can buy expired properties from sellers on Fiverr.
The first step is to scrape/find the expired web 2.0 blogs that you’re going to use to host the private blog network.
Scraping is a fairly advanced task and you’ll want Scrapebox and Private Proxies to do it successfully.
However, I did promise a free private blog network and I want to stay true to my word. You can try this URL scraper. While it may make this more difficult, it’s 100% free.
Once Scrapebox is installed, use this footprint to scrape web 2.0 blogs from Tumblr:
This tells Scrapebox to only search for blogs hosted at Tumblr.com.
For this reason, you”ll have to run a separate scrape for each web 2.0 site that you wish to utilize.
Some of the others include:
Keep in mind, not every web 2.0 site provides a subdomain for their users. This strategy requires that they do, so you’ll have to skip sites that don’t provide subdomains.
In the keywords box of Scrapebox, you can enter relevant keywords to scrape niche related expired properties. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll find very many. Instead, use a large keyword list of several thousand keywords to scrape as many web 2.0 properties as possible.
Here’s what a scrape for niche related blogs will look like:
Once the software is done harvesting, you should have a good amount of URLs to work with.
“Trim to Root’ and then “Remove Duplicates.”
Now we need to check the URLs to see which ones are expired.
There’s two ways to do this in Scrapebox, the first is to use the “Vanity Name Checker” add-on which is an add-on built specifically for this strategy. However, it only works with the web 2.0 sites that are built into the add-on.
As an alternative, you can use the “Alive Check” add-on to accomplish the same task for any website. You may have to change the setup settings of the add-on to only check the page for “404” messages. Since an expired subdomain won’t exist anymore, it should display a 404 error message, indicating that the page is no longer there.
To do this using a free method you can this URL checker.
Once you’re done checking domains, export the list and you should only be left with mostly expired properties.
Step 2: Check for Page Authority
In order to get the most out of this strategy you need to check the expired properties for what is called Page Authority. This is a Moz metric which tells you the authority of the page. Authority represents the quantity and quality of its backlink profile. Expired web 2.0 blogs with high Page Authority are going to be more valuable for SEO purposes.
If you’re thinking why don’t we check PageRank instead, PageRank was discontinued some time ago and is no longer updated.
I recommend you load up the “Page Authority” addon in Scrapebox to make this an easy process. You’ll need a free Moz account to login and get your API details.
If you’re having trouble with Scrapebox, I’ve heard great things about URL Profilier or I provide a free Page Authority checker that can check up to 20 links at a time. It will be a lot slower and more of a hassle but it gets the job done.
Step 3: Claiming your Subdomains
After checking your list for Page Authority, you can export and sort by the subdomains with the highest scores.
This gives you a clear look at which subdomains are going to be the most valuable to your SEO efforts.
When you sign up, use a username that matches the subdomain you wish to register, this will assign it to your account.
Keep in mind, if you’re registering multiple blogs on the same web 2.0 site you will need a unique email account for each. Similarly, it’s good practice to register each account under a separate IP address so that the web 2.0 site can’t see that it’s all one person registering multiple blogs. If they detected this, it could prompt them to delete your accounts.
To hide your IP, I recommend you use a VPN. Virtual private networks allow you to change your IP address at the click of a button using their secure servers. VPNs also encrypt your connection making it impossible to trace who you are or what you’re doing. CyberGhost has a free VPN service that will work just fine but if you insist on upgrading, I recommend one of these:
- Private Internet Access
- Pure VPN
If you already purchased private proxies for Scrapebox, you can connect using those and avoid having to download a VPN. However, you’ll need a browser extension such as Proxy Switchy to connect to your proxies and easily switch between them.
Some sites in your list won’t work when you go to register them. That’s the nature of expired web 2.0 properties. Expired domain checking isn’t an exact science.
Step 4: Providing Value on your Blogs
I know how tempting it is to throw up a quick 200-300 word article with a link back to your site on each blog and call it a day.
Don’t do this. While these expired properties do have Page Authority and will benefit your SEO, using them for pure ranking manipulation is a good way to get your accounts deleted. These sites are actively monitored and they already have regulations in place. They aren’t clueless to the SEO advantages of expired properties and they check their daily registrations to make sure nobody is abusing their service.
This is a practice that is pretty obviously against Google’s guidelines as well. If you venture into that territory, you run the risk of getting your website penalized due to link spam.
Instead, take the time to produce an editorial calendar for each blog. Map out what type of blog posts you want each property to feature, the topics/keywords you intend to cover and when you’re going to post your first link. This allows the blogs to get indexed on search engines with a steady flow of content before being used for link building purposes. It also spreads out the links over multiple days, weeks or months which appears more natural.
Genuinely strive to provide value to your audience with each blog.
Ideas to enhance the content on your expired blog network:
- Do keyword research and think about the types of posts your audience will search for online.
- Target long-tail keywords that you can easily rank for with these properties.
- Use your expired blog network as a traffic funnel or to grow your email newsletter. These properties can be just as useful for getting traffic and leads as blog posts on your main site.
- Create unique media such as infographics or videos to further engage your audience.
- Add images to your posts to improve their appearance and rankings.
- Add base pages such as: contact us, about us, terms, privacy, disclaimer.
- Write lists, reviews, e-books or other compelling content.
- Use the properties for reputation management and set them up as if a customer or reviewer produced the content.
- Write quality blog posts. It shouldn’t be filler content. Treat your expired network as if it was a part of an overarching content marketing strategy.
- Diversify the types of properties you build. Some should be primarily video content while others are text or images.
- Syndicate your PBN content to directories and content distribution sites.
Step 5: Building Further Authority
When you take the time to build a quality private blog network like this, the last thing you should do is stop there.
It’s important to build further authority into your network.
There’s no telling when the backlinks and subsequently the Page Authority of these blogs will disappear.
Using expired web 2.0 properties is a simple SEO trick for building a free private blog network but it’s not a godsend. You will still have to maintain these properties and build their authority through quality link building.
There’s a variety of methods you could use to do this and it’s a service we provide here so I won’t get into too much detail but high DA diversified properties, press releases, video creation, infographics and other PBNs are some of the more effective strategies.
Why are Expired Web 2.0 Properties Good for SEO?
The properties wouldn’t have Page Authority if they didn’t have backlinks.
That means you won’t have to work as hard to build authority into your expired blog network because that authority was already there when you built it.
This strategy teaches you how to find high PA expired properties, which is the main reason it works so well.
If you added a link back to your site the day you registered the property, that authority would immediately be passed to your main site – rather than the months it would otherwise take to build up the authority of your private blog network with new backlinks of its own.
Building your own private blog network is normally expensive, highly technical and time consuming. This guide offers you a free PBN to use for SEO, lead generation, reputation management or a variety of other purposes without any of the hassles.