Private Blog Networks for SEO: avoid these at all costs

Many SEO agencies will never tell you that the link building they are doing for you is nothing more than placing links on their private blog network. It’s rampant in the SEO space and so many businesses do not know what is happening behind the scenes. It’s a really terrible SEO method and if your SEO company is building links through their private blog network or PBN all I can say is get the hell out of there. It’s a time bomb waiting to explode and take your website along for the terrible ride. You about to get a Google penalty and it ain’t pretty.

Like most people you have never heard of a private blog network as your concern is just the rankings. So let me explain to you what a PBN is.

What is a Private Blog Network or PBN?

Basically it’s the lazy way of doing SEO. What happens is that a SEO company will buy and group of expired domains that still carry some authority. They may be a 2, 3 or even 10 year old domain that is now expired and on the market for sale. These domain have some Google authority and this is how they integrate it into their PBN. What happens is once they own the domain name they start to build pages and content on the domain and with it they will ad some content relevant to your business and place a link back to your site. This is a back link and they might replicate this dozens of times on the sites they have created.

These SEO companies and there are many out there doing this; will outsource the content writing to India or to a third party for say $5 or so dollars a page and do this multiple times. The profit for them goes like this:

Buy an expired domain = $100 – $200

Place 10 pages of content on the site = $50

Do this 10 times over 10 websites and the total cost is $2000

What they then charge clients is a monthly SEO fee of $500 + per month and all they are outlaying is the $5 to write 1 page and add a link back to your site. They might create 2 or 3 links per month on their PBN and as you can see their profit margin is huge.

The only issue with a PBN is Google. What I mean by this is that PBN’s leave a heavy spammy footprint that Google can easily detect. Once it’s detected the website on the PBN is penalised and so are the sites on that PBN.

Lets say I run my own PBN and I have 20 clients that I do SEO work for. The issue with the PBN is that the same 20 clients will all have links pointing to their sites from the same 20 sites. It’s so easy to detect and any trained eye can pick it up in a minute. Just imagine what Google can detect with their superior algorithms.

Why are PBN’s used?

Because these SEO companies can control the links that goes on these sites very quickly and if you have just signed up with them then they can pop dozens if not more links to your site, giving it an artificial boost. Your going to be happy as you will start to see an immediate increase in rankings and the SEO company is happy because they can show you the good work they’ve done. It’s all a facade built on smoke and mirrors.

The problem is that Google is aware of these types of activities and is clamping down heavily on agencies that still use PBN as their preferred link building method. You will find that this link building will give a small bump in the rankings but you will never get higher than those agencies that practice credible link building techniques like outreaching.

I must admit that I have over the years been tempted to use a PBN but it’s just not worth the consequences. Trust me when I tell you that if your SEO providor is part of a PBN then your going to cop a Google penalty. This is a certainty. They are only using their PBN because they are lazy and are unable to implement a proper SEO campaign PLUS they want to maximise their profit margins at your expense. It’s a horrible cycle. These guys know how to lead you down the path of thinking that they are doing some SEO when in fact they are only hurting your website and any chance of really good rankings.

So how do you spot a PBN?

As your SEO agency to show you a few of the back links they have built for you.

1) If they say they can’t as it’s part of their intellectual property and they don’t want to give this away then you know it’s complete BS and they are doing something shifty; a PBN

Or

2) they show you some links they have built on their ‘supposed websites” and on the page there are links (generally in the right hand column) to other unrelated companies. You have to ask yourself this question: why are there links to totally unrelated businesses on a page that’s meant to be all about your business? This means that you are part of their bigger PBN.

Folks, if your reading this and your rankings are going no where you could be part of a PBN. Give me a call and I will tell you very quickly if you are. I know the Sydney SEO agencies that are using PBN’s so I will be able to let you know fairly quickly if you have fallen into their evil trap.

8 Golden SEO tips that you must know about

seo sydney seo tips

SEO isn’t rocket science but if you follow these 8 golden tips that’s all you really need to know to get a ranking on Google. Generally, you can do these yourself but if you are unclear it’s a good idea to hire an SEO agency to help you with this as well as your digital marketing on a regular basis.

If you’re a entrepreneur or have your own business and want to kick start your way to better Google rankings then simply follow these easy to understand points and watch what happens. So, before you even think about uploading any new content to your website please implement these 8 SEO tips.

1. Make sure you know what keyword your audience is searching for.

If your in the plumbing business and you want to publish a page about ‘hot water system repairs’ then you need to be adding content about ‘hot water system repairs’. To be sure that this is the right area that you want to focus on, you need to see if people are actually searching for that keyword. Take a look at Google Keyword Planner to see how many searches this term is generating.

2. What is your competition doing?

Now that you know they keyword you wish to focus on, you need to spy on your competition and see what they are doing. Make sure you use ‘Incognito’ in your browser. See the top 10 results (ignoring the ads) and note what they are doing and see if you can write and better copy for that keyword search. Also see if you can design a web page that’s better than the ones displaying. A better designed page with more engaging copy should help you rank far better.

3. Make sure you write killer copy.

You might need to get a copy writer to do this for you but what ever happens you need to write really good copy. Basically it’s time to blow your competitors out of the water with the best every copy. It doesn’t matter what your writing; a blog post or article,. But what ever it is it must be kick ass content. Without it no one is going to read it and Google will be far less likely to rank it. I have written articles about this before: Website copy: Always write unique content

4. Make sure you have the right keywords in your page title.

Remember we were writing a page about ‘ hot water repairs’ then you should have a title that reads something like: Hot Water Repairs Sydney – Open 7 Days

Keep it simple, to the point and punchy. This is the first thing people are going to see on the search results so it’s got to be enticing enough to click.

5. Make sure the keyword is in the name and alt-tag of your page image.

If you are using images in the blog or post you can further tell Google more information about the page by adding in:

  1. a) the image name
  2. b) the image alt tag

If you are using a WordPress CMS you can easily add this in through the photo gallery section. So instead of an image being called 56830.jpg you can call it: ‘hot water repairs.jpg’.

6. Add the keyword in the URL

A really good way for Google to tell the nature of the article is to add the keywords : hot water repairs’ in the URL. Again, WordPress is brilliant for this and will automatically add this if you put it in the name of the article. Take a look at the following 2 URL structures and you tell me which one you think Google will like better.

1.abcplumberssydney.com.au/54659

or

2. abcplumberssydney.com.au/hot-water-repairs

If you guessed the second one your absolutely correct.

7. Internal links

Make sure there are internal page links in the article from the page you have just published to other pages within your site. By pointing to other pages within your site your giving your readers more information. If your site is the best in Sydney then your other pages should also have good copy well worth pointing to.

So for example you make want to reference ‘ hot water safety tips’ within the content of the ‘hot water repairs page’ and have a link to it.

8. Lastly and this is a really important tip. You have to build back links pointing to your new page. This means your either going to have to contact other website owners to link to your site or get an SEO company to do this for you. Google relies a lot on these types of citations and it’s really the foundation of SEO. Yes you can have great copy and get natural links by people referring to it, but without any external links pointing to the site it will not rank as high as it could.

The above 8 points are just a start to better SEO and do not include everything. This would require a much larger article but for the sake of this piece follow these tips or contact us and I will be more than happy to address any ranking concerns you may have.

10 SEO buzz words that you should know

If your new to the SEO field and have spoken to a few companies to try to get a better understanding of what they hype is all about you may be left feeling somewhat confused and frustrated by all the new words. In fact these SEO guys have a language all to themselves. In order for you to get a clearer idea of what there talking about following are 10 buzz words with easy to understand descriptions.

SEO : stands for search engine optimisation and it’s the main buzz word that everyone says on a daily basis. It’s basically the process of improving your websites trust and authority so that Google and other search engines start to rank it. SEO is divided into 2 parts; ‘on page’ and ‘off page’ and both are critical in helping your website gain more trust and SEO rankings. The logic behind SEO is that the better the rankings and online visibility of your website, the more traffic you will receive and this will drive sales and revenue. Google make it extremely difficult for companies to achieve best SEO rankings as they manipulate their ranking criteria daily. No one knows what they do or when they are going to do it. So, SEO is a kind of guessing game. Having said that, there are rules and guidelines that most SEO companies should follow and this is termed white hat SEO.

White Hat SEO : stands for best practice SEO. This means that any form of link building or ‘on page’ SEO is going to abide by Google’s best practices. The opposite of white hat is black hat SEO.

Black Hat SEO : this used to be a common method employed by SEO agencies in the past to try and rig or manipulate SEO rankings through the use of over optimising websites with dodgy back links or keyword stuffing on the website.

Over Optimisation : A termed used to describe the purchase of hundreds if not thousands of backlinks over a short period of time to over inflate the importance of your website. It’s part of black hat strategies used by many SEO agencies in the 90’s and early 2000’s until Google rolled out algorithms to detect this type of activity.

SEM or Search Engine Marketing : is a type of pay per click also known as Adwords where you pay to be on the top 4 search results of Google. SEM is based on a bidding system where the more your prepared to pay for a certain keyword the higher your ad will appear. There is a technique behind the bidding strategy and there are a few factors that combine to produce better results.

Google Analytics : is a code that is placed into your website which will give you a whole range of tools to measure your sites performance, number of visitors as well as a whole army of data to work out who is coming to your site.

User Experience: this refers the way your customer engages with your website. Do they land on site and leave (known as bunce rates) or do they drill further into the site to see other pages? Do they click on designated buttons such as: newsletter sign ups, inquiry forms or contact us fields. The better the user experience (UX) the easier it will be for a potential customer to navigate your site in a seamless experience. This will in turn make it easier for them to buy from you.

Bounce Rates: Google has a term in their Analytics called bounce rates. A bounce rate means when someone lands on an entry page on your site and immediately leaves the site. High bounce rates are not good and shows that the user is leaving your site quickly. This proves that they are not enjoying the user experience and will look elsewhere or your site does not have the product or service the user was searching for.

B2B Business to Business : refers to businesses selling to each other and not consumers.

B2C Business to Consumer : refers to businesses selling to consumers and this is probably the biggest market that needs SEO.

SERP’s Search Engine Results Pages: These are the pages that appear on Google when you conduct a keyword search. These results are ranked 1 through to 10 and are positioned according to the most relevant results. This is where SEO comes in handy. The better quality SEO the better your SERP’s. If you can get your head around that last point then your well on you way to a better understanding of SEO.

Still confused? It’s best to speak to us in person at SEO Sydney Experts. If you ever want a terms explained or want to know how well your website is performing on Google, we can help. The digital marketing landscape is really confusing and if you don’t understand the basic fundamentals then you need to talk to a SEO professional.