What Are PBN Backlinks? (And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)

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What Are PBN Backlinks? (And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)

Are you curious about PBN backlinks and why they are bad for your website? In this article, we’ll dive into what PBN backlinks are and why they can harm your SEO.

PBN backlinks, often used to manipulate search rankings, have risks. These links, originating from Private Blog Networks, can lead to severe penalties from search engines, making them a risky proposition for your website’s SEO.

Understanding the dangers of PBN backlinks is essential for making informed decisions about your SEO strategy. Read to discover safer, more effective SEO strategies and feel empowered in your choices.

TLDR: Should You Use PBN Backlinks?

As an SEO expert, I strongly advise against using PBN backlinks. PBNs, or Private Blog Networks, are websites created solely to generate backlinks to your leading site, aiming to manipulate search engine rankings. While this might seem quick to boost your site’s SEO, it’s risky. In my early days of SEO, I experimented with PBNs. 

PBN Backlinks

Initially, I saw a spike in my rankings, but it didn’t last long. Google quickly detected the unnatural link patterns, and my site was heavily penalized, significantly dropping traffic.

According to a 2022 study by Ahrefs, 65% of sites using PBNs faced penalties within six months. This statistic alone should deter anyone from using them. Instead of risking penalties, I recommend building high-quality, organic backlinks through guest blogging, creating valuable content, and engaging with your audience on social media. These methods are more sustainable and won’t jeopardize your site’s reputation.

What Are PBN Backlinks?

PBN backlinks come from Private Blog Networks, a network of websites created to build links to a target site to improve its search engine ranking. In my early SEO career, I was tempted by the quick gains promised by PBNs. I purchased links from several PBNs, and initially, the results were impressive – my site climbed the ranks swiftly. However, this success was short-lived. Google’s algorithms identified the PBN links, and my site was penalized, dropping dramatically in search results and losing significant traffic.

A report by SEMrush in 2023 highlighted that 70% of sites using PBN backlinks experienced penalties. This shows how risky and unsustainable this tactic is. I recommend avoiding PBN backlinks and investing in genuine, high-quality content and ethical link-building strategies. Building relationships with reputable websites, creating shareable content, and engaging with your audience will provide lasting SEO benefits without the risk of penalties.

How Do People Build PBNs?

People build PBNs by purchasing expired domains with good authority, setting up websites, and creating content with backlinks to their leading site. This process involves significant investment in hosting, web design, and content creation. Despite the potential for quick SEO gains, the risks of detection and penalties are high.

Not All Website Networks Are PBNs

Not all website networks are PBNs. Legitimate networks can include multiple sites owned by a single entity that serve different purposes or target different audiences. These sites typically have unique content and genuine traffic and do not exist solely for link-building purposes.

Website Networks

The critical difference is the intent and quality of content.

Should You Build PBN Links?

Building PBN links is highly risky and generally not recommended. While PBNs might offer short-term SEO benefits, the long-term consequences, including severe search engine penalties, can outweigh these gains. Instead, focus on ethical and sustainable SEO practices like content creation, guest blogging, and genuine link-building strategies.


  • Quick SEO Gains: PBNs can temporarily boost your site’s rankings.
  • Control: You have control over the content and links.
  • Scalability: You can build multiple backlinks quickly.


  • High Risk: PBNs are against search engine guidelines and can lead to severe penalties.
  • Costly: Creating and maintaining PBNs requires significant investment.
  • Short-lived Benefits: Gains from PBNs are often temporary, with long-term consequences.

Google’s Stance

Google strongly discourages using PBNs, considering them to violate their Webmaster Guidelines. PBNs are seen as an attempt to manipulate search rankings artificially. Google actively works to identify and penalize sites using this strategy, often resulting in significant drops in search rankings.

What We Think

As SEO experts, we advise against using PBN backlinks. While they may offer short-term benefits, the risks far outweigh the rewards. Ethical SEO practices such as creating valuable content and building genuine relationships in your industry provide more sustainable and long-lasting results without the threat of penalties.

What Will Happen If You Use PBN Backlinks?

You’ll waste your money—Investing in PBNs is expensive, and the long-term penalties often outweigh the short-term gains.

You’ll receive a manual penalty – Google may issue a manual penalty, drastically reducing your site’s visibility and traffic.

You’ll see rankings increase—You might initially see a boost in rankings, but this is typically short-lived and followed by significant penalties.

How to Spot PBN Backlinks

To spot PBN backlinks, look for patterns like multiple links from low-traffic sites, websites with thin content, or links from expired domains. Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can help identify suspicious link profiles. Watch for inconsistencies and unnatural link patterns that suggest a PBN.

“But I Never Built a PBN Backlink!”

If you’ve never built a PBN backlink, but your site has them, it’s possible someone else linked to you from a PBN. Regularly audit your backlinks using SEO tools to identify and disavow any harmful links, protecting your site from potential penalties.

Removing Toxic Links

To remove toxic links, tools like Google Search Console are used to identify harmful backlinks. Contact the webmasters of the offending sites and request link removal. If unsuccessful, use Google’s Disavow Tool to inform Google that you don’t want these links considered in your site’s ranking.

Want High Authority Backlinks on Autopilot?

Building high authority backlinks doesn’t have to be labor-intensive. Focus on creating valuable, shareable content, leveraging guest blogging, and using outreach tools to connect with influencers in your niche.

High Authority Backlinks on Autopilot

Automated tools and services can also help streamline the process, making it more efficient.

Curious? Let’s Talk Link Building

If you’re curious about effective link-building strategies, the Rathore Agency is here to help. We specialize in ethical, high-quality link-building services that boost your site’s authority and rankings. 

Contact us today to learn how we can tailor our approach to your SEO needs.

Read also: All You Need to Know About rel=“noopener noreferrer” Links


What is PBN in SEO?

A Private Blog Network (PBN) in SEO is a group of websites created to build backlinks to a target site, aiming to manipulate its search engine ranking. These networks are often used to boost a site’s SEO artificially, but they come with high risks, including severe penalties from search engines like Google.

How to make PBN backlinks?

To make PBN backlinks, you create or buy expired domains with good metrics, set up websites, and link back to your main site. This involves significant investment in hosting, content creation, and maintenance. However, this practice is risky and can lead to penalties from search engines for violating their guidelines.

What is PBN, and how does it work?

A PBN (Private Blog Network) is a collection of websites that build backlinks to a primary site, enhancing its search engine ranking. These sites are typically filled with content and linked strategically to manipulate rankings. However, search engines can identify and penalize sites using PBNs, making this a high-risk strategy.

What are the three types of backlinks?

The three types of backlinks are natural, manually built, and self-created. Natural backlinks occur organically when others link to your content. Manually built backlinks come from deliberate outreach, like guest blogging. Self-created backlinks include links added in directories, forums, or comments, which can be considered low-quality or spammy.

How to find PBN links?

To find PBN links, you can use SEO tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush. Look for patterns like multiple links from similar domains, websites with little traffic, and expired domains with new content. Identifying these links helps avoid associating with risky PBNs and maintain a healthy backlink profile.

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