If you’ve spent any time studying SEO, you know that private blog networks are all the rage. If you’re not familiar with private blog networks, basically it’s a network of websites that you create to link to your website(s) to improve their search engine rankings.
Private blog networks (PBNs) have been around now for a few years, however despite that fact they still remain an effective SEO strategy in 2021. It seems that Google really hasn’t found a great way to combat them, and if done properly they are definitely a very powerful tool in your SEO toolbox.
However with their increase in popularity, it means also that the price of building your own PBN has gone up significantly as well. Most domains that go into a PBN are bought through auctions, and obviously with more and more people using them, the cost of domains have been going up.
So if you’ve never built a private blog network before and are interested in building one, here is a sample of what a “beginner’s PBN” of 50 domains would cost.
Note a PBN of this size would probably be enough to rank low competition keywords. Obviously if you want to rank more mid-high competition keywords you would probably need a larger and stronger (and thus more expensive) PBN. But for the purposes of this article, we will be examining what it costs to build this basic 50 domain PBN.
Obviously the foundation of a private blog network are the domains that you buy at auction. Remember we are basically buying up domains that already have good SEO backlink profiles and either creating new websites on them or re-creating the website that was there before.
For me personally I usually buy my domains through GoDaddy Auctions:
If you bought the very cheapest domains at auction, you’re looking at roughly $25/ea (domain price + renewal fee). However obviously those are usually the weakest domains, and the domains with stronger backlink profiles will of course fetch a premium price. Often these domains can run in the hundreds of dollars each, so as you can see the price can add up quite a bit.
However lets say for our beginner’s PBN we didn’t choose the worst domains, but we also were pretty budget conscious and kept it at $50/domain.
50 domains x $50 each = $2500
SEO Web Hosting
Obviously to minimize footprints we are going to be using SEO web hosting so that we can have different IP addresses for each of the domains on our private blog network.
The quality of SEO web hosting can vary quite a bit. You have some really great companies and then you have some really trash companies where your domains will be offline half the time. A good seo web hosting company I recommend is Aseohosting, but again there are no shortage of providers to choose from out there, and you should definitely build your network out across several web hosting companies to avoid footprints.
In my experience you’re going to have to pay at least $2/mo an IP to get decent SEO web hosting. For my own network personally I pay between $2-4/mo per IP as I spread my PBN domains across different companies again to minimize footprints.
So lets stick with the lower end of this which is $2/mo per IP.
50 domains x $2/mo = $100/mo for web hosting
Content For The Network
Obviously the domains on our private blog network will need some content. Now of course you could write all the content yourself, however lets assume we are outsourcing here.
At the very least I recommend that you have a unique 500 word article on each domain, and typically if you outsource that you’re looking at $5/article. You don’t need to have great content for these domains, just something that is grammatically correct and makes sense.
50 domains x $5 per article = $250
Backlink Analysis Tool
When we comb through domains at auction we will need some sort of backlink analysis tool to evaluate them, and these tools are usually sold as subscriptions.
For me personally I use Majestic, and that costs me $99/mo for the option that I use. Other popular tools like Ahrefs also starts at $99/mo ($179 for the standard tool), and most backlink analysis tools fall in this range as well. Below is an example of Majestic data we can pull up about our PBN domains.
So lets assume we use one of the recommendations above so that’s another $99/mo.
Summary Of PBN Costs
So when we total the above here is what we get:
Web Hosting: $100/mo
Backlink Analysis Tool: $99/mo
Now that’s going to be the bare minimum as obviously we do have re-occurring charges like the web hosting and backlink analysis tool.
Also note this is a “beginner’s PBN” meaning it’s pretty much going to be really only useful for ranking low competition keywords. If you want to start ranking tougher keywords you’re either going to have to pay more for stronger domains and/or buy more of them.
Something to also consider is that from time to time Google will de-index some of your domains. One day you’ll wake up and notice that a handful of domains are no longer in the index, thus rendering them basically useless.
This de-indexing unfortunately is part of the game, and every PBN owner experiences this regularly. So when that happens obviously it means you will have to buy new domains to replace them, which of course adds to the cost.
You will also have to buy new domains to juice things up again if your rankings start to slip, so again this is another added cost to consider.
And finally the longer you do this, eventually domain renewal fees will start to become a thing. As you know domains need to be renewed every year, and that cost can add up if you have a really large PBN.
For example when I was heavily using PBNs, I would sometimes have hundreds of domains expiring every month, and when you renew them at $10/ea that can add up to another significant cost.
So again just understand when running a PBN there will be quite a bit of ongoing maintenance costs.
So hopefully this article gave you some insight into what it costs to run a successful private blog network. Again PBNs are a powerful SEO strategy, but the costs can add up pretty quickly.
If you don’t really have the budget for it, you can accumulate backlinks the good old fashioned way for free by just creating great content and earning them. In the long run to be honest that’s probably the better strategy.
However if you’re impatient or have the funds for it, perhaps building your own private blog network may be a great strategy for you. Just understand that it isn’t cheap, and sometimes the results may be short lived, but when done right it can be definitely profitable.