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3 min read

Brighton SEO 2018 : Craig Campbell – Risks and Rewards of PBNs

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

Craig is an SEO consultant who’s been in the game for 16 years, he’s sets out his talk as a list of the benefits and risks of PBNs along with the initial setup.

Why use PBNs

Craig mentions that link building is an important piece of SEO and PBNs are a good way to achieve this. PBNs are used to manipulate search engines so they have an inherent risk, these are likely to get you penalised by Google. Craig says a poor PBN is one with:

  • Low domain metrics
  • PBNs on the same server
  • Copied, spun or low-quality content
  • PBNs that publically sell links
  • PBN site with no traffic

There are lots of PBN sellers which offer things such as 50 links for 20$, these are NOT ok to buy. They will harm your backlink profile.

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”

Craig says that lots of big businesses are backed up by PBN’s, this is a tried and tested method. He goes on to show an example of a website that uses a PBN within SEMRush that grew a huge amount of traffic in a short time, this shows that PBNs work!

If PBNs are done properly you will get a nice uplift in traffic which Craig calls a ‘Traffic Boner’

What is a real PBN

  • Quality websites with unique content and real traffic and rankings
  • Social activity
  • Citations and PR links
  • All on different IP addresses
  • Footprint free

Buying Expired domain names is an important part of building PBN’s, getting these URLs is a huge part of the process and can be done through dropped domains. It’s a difficult process trying to get this on your own as other experts have been doing this or a long time. Don’t chase domain metrics when trying to select your dropped domains, these aren’t first party metrics so don’t have to much impact.

Initial Setup

  • Simple website
  • Unique content
  • Good, footprint free and varied hosting
  • A PBN should take months to build, they aren’t a huge time investment
  • Have your citations done properly, these need to be unique and local. Make sure these citations are indexed as well. Use citation builder to get these done at a good rate

Massplanner automates all of the social media for your PBN, this takes a lot of the hard work out of the initial setup. It can follow people, unfollow people and say hello to people, tweet and retweet. It adds a reality to your website giving it an authentic feeling

Craig goes on to show a fake persona he has created using the above methods called ‘Adam Howard’ which has a real following.

It’s important to leave no footprint when creating a PBN, using Ghost Browser you can log into all of your fake accounts meaning it makes it much easier to manage your multiple personas for Google reviews and social media. is a website that allows you to host your PBNs, the benefit of this is they do much of the hard work. It installs the WordPress for you, deploys your website and gives you a unique IP address. Use this if you’re looking to start creating PBNs. helps you manage and monitor your PBN which offers an uptime monitor, domain finding, rank tracking and domain metrics along with 45 other functions.

The job as a PBN is to feed Google what it wants, this can drive power to your money site.

Benefits of a PBN

  • Link building power
  • Treat your PBNS well and they will look after you

Risks of a PBN

  • Google might take actions
  • Can be costly
  • Will Google trust you 100% again even if you fix the domain

Craig comes back full circle and gives the target of what PBNs can bring if used correctly

1. Ranks

2. Traffic

3. Leads