Most popular PBN footprints

Most popular PBN footprints

There are lot of people posting online that their PBN links doesn’t work. They build couple of WordPress websites on the same hosting with the same theme and drop link right away. Later on, you can read their stories, that PBN link doesn’t work. This is not true. Links from private blog network works like a charm and when build right way are the cheapest option to get backlink. It is even better to optimize costs by building big network and using it for many money sites.

We collected the most popular mistakes when creating PBN. There always more what you can do to hide your network or give it more power. Many SEOs have their own techniques, tricks and ways of creating PBN – we want to show you the most popular ones.



1 Domain Footprints

1.1 Using the same registrar


There are plenty of registrars out there. Do not use the same one for all of your domains.

Diversify them and try to keep 2-3 domains at each registrar. Here is list of pretty cheap domains for 1st year:

  • (check coupons for lower price; free whois private)
  • ( free lifetime privacy + coupons)

It is always better to pay less at the beginning and when/if project will be successful, pay the regular price for renew.


1.2 Register all domains the same day


It is not normal that like 20 domains are registered same day and they all link to your money site.Register 1-2 domains each day and always diversify registrars.


1.3 The same email across all domain

It is obvious but keep changing as much as you can. There are plenty of free e-mails providers. Use the global ones also and do not stick to one TLD like .ru , .pl or .de e-mails providers. Even when you are doing country oriented SEO.


1.4 WhoIs data footprint

I know that many of you are afraid of loosing domain because of fake data but from experience, we see that domain providers don’t care that much who register domain. Keep it legit, smart and use different WhoIs on every domain. You can use free generators like:


1.5 Hidden whois everywhere

It is still the same data. It is not natural that all 100 domains linking to your money site have the same hidden data. Diversify it with real/fake/other people names at WhoIs data.



1.6 Same domain TLD

Do not register all domains with the same TLD. No not stick only to .com domains – you can buy .net / .org or even country top level domains like for English language website.

Even when you are from country like France you can have links from domains like .com or even .de. Build it without any pattern and diversify here and there.


2 Hosting Footprints

2.1 SEO hostings & 1 dollar hostings

Stay away from SEO hostings and cheap 1 dollar hostings. We all know that they are spammed to death and Google can easily detect the bad neighborhood of your website. You want to have as natural, diverse neighbors on your IP as possible.


2.2 Try not to use custom nameservers all the time

Many hostings allows you to personalize your nameservers, choose your own nameservers or set up custom ones. Custom but same nameservers are the same as nameservers from same hosting. I would say even worst, because your don’t have other domains on this nameserver but yours.


2.3 The same nameservers

It is pretty the same issue like the previous one, but still there are people who use different IPs but with the same nameservers. It is really obvious footprint for Google.


2.4 C-class IPs

Many hostings or SEO hostings advertise that they offer like 100s of IPs. Most of them are on the same C-class because it is easier to buy the whole block of IPs. It is easy footprint – stay away from this.


2.5 Same e-mail in SOA

When we are using shared hostings you can have the same e-mail address in SOA.

You can check SOA here:


2.6 Too much Cloud CDN (cloudflare)

We know that it is easy to have different nameservers, IP from CDN services like, It is not that much footprint if you diversify or have small PBN network build with 3-7 domains. If you would like build your PBN only with CDN services – that would be huge footprint. Especially when you do not diversify PBN links with “natural” links.


3 Site setup footprints

3.1 Redirect all 404 via 301 to homepage

Do not use mass redirection of all 404 via 301 to homepage. There are folks who were doing this to pass link juice to homepage. Google says that if they will see this as soft 404.

Here is the video from John Mueller at 6:30


Cool: Case study from Glenn Gabe about this 404s.


3.2 Same plugins on all sites

Do not make group of plugins which you will install on all your PBN sites. It is a big sign for Google that they might be from the same owner. WordPress gives a lot of free plugins to install. You can pick from plugins like:

  • FAQs,
  • Privacy & Terms of Condition generators,
  • Weather plugins,
  • Clocks widgets,
  • Social feeds or rss feeds,
  • Asteroid widget! [here]
  • Games ( like Puzzle here )


3.3 Same theme on all websites

Since WordPress offers you plenty of free themes here do not use the same one. Even if you love it and it is easy to configure. Please note that adding fancy header and lot of text in footer doesn’t make your theme unique. It is still the same code, layout and structure like in 30 more websites which links to your money site.


3.4 Using Same Analytics / GSC

The biggest mistake you can make is to connect all your PBNs with the same code from Google service. Google might connect them all and find a pattern which might lead to even manual penalty.

Do not put the same code from services like, or other traffic stats. Better choose different script for every website or do not track it at all.


3.5 Similar robots.txt and blocking robots

Do not copy paste the robots.txt file to all of your website. If you have to add it then personalize it. Even empty robots.txt will be better than same file.

Some people block robots like Majestic, aHrefs or Moz just to hide from the competitors who want to steal their links/niche or just report them. Do not use the same plugin to block robots and do not always block the same robots on all websites.

It is better to use .htaccess because Google is not able to read it. Do not block Google robots – obviously J


3.6 Same author name aka admin

Scripts always set author as admin by the default. It might be better to choose admin to some random name, website name or whatever you want. Remember about this as this might be another footprint which can lead to unmask your PBN.


3.7 The same script

It is really easy to copy and paste the same version of website in HTML. It load fast, you don’t need to update it but you can’t have all website like plain HTML.

One-page websites – yeah it is easy to create that “landing page” websites. It is good to have them but focus on building bigger websites with more value. Even when they are PBNs.

The same comes to WordPress. Even when they say that they “power 28% of internet” try to diversify your scripts and from time to time install other type of website.

There are people who have 1000’s of WordPress PBNs and they are OK because they also build other type of links.



3.8 Default layout

Many WordPress themes comes with default version of layout. Work on it a bit and make it custom. Change this and that. Change logo, ads, widgets positions, add images and YouTube videos.

Customize it!




4 Content Footprints

4.1 All posts link to money site

People wants to get most of the link juice from PBNs. That’s why some of them link from every post the can. This doesn’t look natural and looks like a pattern. Do not do that.

linking to money site only


4.2 No outbound links to authority sites

A long time ago Moz published White Board Friday where they said that external linking is good for rankings.

This study in 2016 confirmed that it might be a ranking factor.

Beside – people link to sources, high authority websites all the time. It is better to link to niche related topics websites/pages rather than just another link to Wikipedia or

Make it looks natural and link to websites when it is necessary and available.


4.3 No internal page linking

You always want to make it natural and link to other posts / pages of your website. Build posts and quote content from other posts with inner link.

You can also interlink with other links which you build like youtube videos, infographics which you build, audio podcasts etc. It will pass some link juice and will look natural. Do not cross the line with this!


4.4 All posts have similar number of words (500) issue

People often order posts from copywriters and they all have the same length.

“Please write me 50 posts, 500 words each about fitness niche” – you know that?


Create different kind of content:

  • Interviews
  • Answer questions
  • Case studies
  • TOP 10 facts
  • Best practices
  • 15 best photos from gym

Make it real, valuable and spend more than 30sec. writing guidelines for copywriters.


4.5 Content is badly spun or duplicate

We all know duplicated content penalty. You don’t see it but you feel it or you don’t rank.

Spun / translated content isn’t good. There are plenty of outsourcers who will write you content at 1$/100 words but do not expect it to be high quality.

Invest in informative content with research and if you provide good quality of content you can even earn a free backlink.

It is all about budget.


4.6 No pages – only posts

SEOs build WordPress, install theme and import 10 posts. That’s all.

This is not natural.

Create some pages like:

  • Privacy / ToS pages
  • Contact Us
  • Changelog
  • About us
  • Our history
  • Calendar
  • FAQ
  • Maps / offices / locations

Make it look natural not like another auto generated blog.


4.7 Exact number of posts on all sites

It is all similar to ‘same content length’ problem. People tend to order 50x 500 articles and post them across 10 websites. That gives us 10 PBNs with 10 posts each.

Diversify this with Youtube videos, interviews, Photos with description or PDFs.

Make it natural and make chaos!


4.8 Same images and media on all sites

It may looks like obvious thing but there are people who download 10 free images or “copy” them from Google and post them all the time in their posts. It is the same with videos – do not stick to one video. Try then use and later on post cool custom image.

It is always better to make a screenshot and recreate image/picture a bit. Crop image, add some icons, a few arrows here and there and you have 100% unique image.

Cool: You can use to do the job. It is free and easy to set up.


4.9 Sites missing contact us, privacy policy, ToC pages

If you are real website you always want to have contact page for people who want to make a business with you. Privacy polity and ToC rules make you look legit.

You can also add some CTA buttons and forms to contact with you – all the real websites have this elements!


4.10 Posts made on same day

Do not post all your content same day. Google should crawl your page and find new, fresh content with every visit.

WordPress has option to schedule posts and you should use it. Set it and forget it.


Do you know that Google loves fresh content more than outdated?

Cool: Google loves posts which are updated after some time. Once you add a post, revisit it after 3-6-12 months and add some more information. Google will be notified that you care about your content and it has been updated.


4.11 Text only posts

The easiest way to create a post is to paste the text from Word. That’s all. It can be done by many scripts and tools these days and Google also know it. What more – people do not like plain text posts, especially when 10 out of 10 are just text posts without any entertainment elements like images / videos / gifs ( yeah they are hot now! ).


5 Site Linking Footprints

5.1 Always inserting a link in first post on all sites

When you are adding 10 posts and you keep only 5 on front page you always want to have top posts with link to money site. That might be a footprint if you do it always in first post on the whole 50 PBNs network.

Make it look natural. Link from 1st paragraph, from the bottom of posts, from post which is already deeper in the website structure. Do not stick to one rule only.


5.2 Using same number of links to money site

In many cases the best way is to link only once to your main money page. There are people who also link from 2 or more pages from time to time.You can also link to inner pages to make it more natural.


5.3 Linking out to same money sites

This problem occurs when we want to optimize costs. Out of 10 outgoing links we link to the same group of 5 websites. It creates a pattern to Google that all of these websites are created only for backlinks. Big mistake.


5.4 Linking between PBN sites

I will pass some link juice from PBN1 to PBN2 with just 1 small link, ok? “ – When this silly idea comes to your mind… – just don’t.

It is one of the worst signals. Google will check all the outgoing links and manually check your PBN and in most cases – ban all your sites.



5.5 Using too much of exact match keyword link

It really depends on the backlink profile of your money site but do not create too much the same exact match backlinks. You can use synonyms, Partial Match Anchor Texts and sometimes use naked URLs just to make it look natural.

As I said before it really depends on the link profile. Dose the amount of juice slowly and track SERPs for this page.


5.6 Linking from same place on all PBNs

You have website for your own. You do not need to link only from posts. You can and you should link from widgets, footer, images and even banner ads on your website.


5.7 Links only to homepage of money site

Many SEOs forget that there are also inner pages of the money site. Make a silo structure of website and drop a few links to the inner pages. They will affect not only inner page but also pass some juice to the homepage and what’s the most important – it will look natural.

It’s been a long reading with more than 2500 words and as a reward I have special gift for you!

Check list which you can print and pin to your desk.

DOWNLOAD PBN Footprints Checklist


About Ariel

Co-founder of Love to analyse data. Geopolitics fun and owner of Ragdoll cat. Ping me on skype -> Ariel |

Comments (3)

  1. Marta

    Hi. Very good article, thank you for it! I have one question. How does Google know the admin email address of a WordPress site? Question to point 1.3

    1. Hey Marta!

      Glad you like it. This point is for domain registrars. The email which you use might be exposed at whois data.
      Nevertheless, you should also use different emails always. There are things which cool can crawl or might be shown in template by mistake. Don’t risk it and use aliases 🙂

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