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SEO Advice

The Death Of Private Blog Networks

grim reaper clip art
February 21st, 2014

They say that the best time to get a new job is when you already have a job, and I think this same principle can be applied to the current state of SEO as it pertains to private blog networks. It’s no secret that private blog networks are now all the rage, and to be honest they are fantastic at ranking websites. However the amount of marketers that are using this technique are on the rise at a feverish pace, and to be honest it’s making me a bit uneasy. That is why I believe now is the time to begin looking for the next money train. While newbs are figuring out how to set-up their first networks, I will be already looking for the next big thing. Always one step ahead of the game, it is always a good idea to leave before your overstay your welcome. Thus I am bidding private blog networks adieu!
Over-Saturation Of The Market
Take a look at any internet marketing forum and there are countless threads asking “please help me with my private blog network”. I can only liken this feeling to going to that cool new place to party in town only to find out that the rest of the world has found about it, and now the crowd is full of wannabe people that make you go “meh”. The cat is out of the bag, and though private blog networks still work and will likely work for quite a while, it’s only a matter of time before Google busts a Zebra, Donkey, Moose, Platypus etc. update that targets private blog networks. Just like how Penguin decimated sites built on automated spam, I’m sure Matt Cutts and his cronies are putting together some algorithm update (albeit likely a crappy one) that will target networks in the near future.
Don’t Underestimate Google’s Incompetency And Indifference
I have read some threads where people talk about setting up “real” sites for the private blog network as they believe this will protect them over those that build networks out of expired/deleted domains. Though this probably significantly increases your chances of surviving a “PBN Update”, don’t kid yourself into thinking that it will make you immune. You should have learned from previous updates that Google doesn’t give a f*** about webmasters, and if some “legit” sites get taken down as collateral damage from an update, well they don’t really care.
I always chuckle a bit when I see webmasters complaining about how they did this and that to ensure they survived an update and then BAM, Google tanks their site. It’s funny because they are trying to make sense out of something that is imperfect. Sometimes it’s not anchor text percentages or linking schemes that tank your site, but rather the fact that sometimes Google just f***s things up! Sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one, so don’t rack your brain too hard over it.
So What’s The Plan?
Private blog networks still work, and they will likely work for a while. It’s fairly easy for Google to manually take down public networks, however to do it via an algorithm update I still think is a while away. So in the meantime I still intend to use them to bank, but you would probably be wise to begin formulating an exit strategy.
Even though SEO still remains my bread and butter, even I can concede that it has become really volatile over the past couple of years. It would be fine if everyone who “played by the rules” survived each update, however this is not always the case. It seems the Google Webspam Team is more focused on the war against black hatters rather than preserving the quality of their search results, and how much damage they do to themselves to in their quest to eradicate spam is anyone’s guess.
The obvious solution is to look to harness other forms of web traffic. Things like social media, video marketing, email marketing, and PPC are probably areas that you will need to gain expertise in if you wish to continue to make a living as an internet marketer. I think it would also be wise to change your view on search engine traffic as a “main source” to just “one source” of traffic in your marketing endeavors.
If you’re like me you’re probably thinking “DAMNIT FML”, however just like how Penguin eliminated push-button SEO and forced us to do more work, the inevitable death of private blog networks will force us to an even higher level of work. So start moving onward and upwards already, as it’s only a matter of time before Google lays the smack down.

I am an SEO specialist and web developer based in Los Angeles, CA.

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