My BrightonSEO presentation on Building Private Blog Networks


I spoke at the BrightonSEO conference last Friday on the slightly controversial topic of building blog networks for your link building campaigns. I have included my slides from the presentation below:

I really wanted to make this session as honest and practical as possible and realistically with a room full of 400 people of mixed abilities and backgrounds that wasn’t going to go down well with everyone. Judging by the feedback and emails though plenty of people found it useful which is good. For anyone who was offended by the subject matter I guess all I can say is if you don’t want to learn about SEO, don’t go to an SEO conference!

Big thanks to Kelvin and the Sitevis gang for putting on a great day.

Any questions on the presentation ask in the comments or get in touch john (at)

16 Comments My BrightonSEO presentation on Building Private Blog Networks

  1. Parallel Project Management Training


    I watched the video and interesting concept; I though you got of lightly in the questions. We have had quite a bit of success building manual blog sites to support our SEO activities, mostly on sites such as, but some sitting on their own server. We also do lots of with guest posts on other relevant sites.

    How to you ensure the relevance of the blogs in the network to the site you are supporting. WE make sure we only build links from sites that have relevance to our site.

    I will send you a linked in invite beacuse we are always looking for good SEO people.

  2. admin

    Hi Paul, thanks for the comment

    In terms of ensuring relevance, if you’re working in a particular niche you can try and theme the domains and content around that topic so our sites tend to be themed around the broad categories we work in – travel, money, retail. The alternative would be to create generally themed personal blogs if you wanted to use them to link to sites on different topics. Ultimately this tactic is never going to give you totally relevant links though – part of the reason it shouldn’t ever replace other tactics based on research like your guest posting.

  3. Pingback: Brighton SEO 2011 – Round up Round up « Silicon Beach Training Blog

  4. Fox 6

    What an interesting presentation. May I challenge you on one of the points you made? Namely, serving ads and traffic trackers. A few slides back you were talking about how to protect your privacy. Obviously, the company supplying the ads and trackers will immediately crack you and then all your privacy protection has been in vain. You’re not going to create 50 separate ad accounts, are you… Please clarify.

    I’ve picked up quite a few interesting ideas, so cheers anyway!

    1. admin


      Yep you’re right this can definitely leave a footprint. I actually don’t show ads on the vast majority of my sites for that reason but I left in that option for anyone who was setting up a smaller network and less concerned about footprints. I also explained a work-around where by you use other peoples adsense code or share codes around between friends – that way you can show ads without leaving the footprint.

      Hope that helps and I’m glad you found it useful – there’s a video floating around online somewhere which might explain stuff better than the slides

  5. Julie

    Hi John, I don’t quite get slide 12, installing WordPress on a private ‘hub’ domain – and what exactly to do with the Q Network plugin script; does this need to be added to each of the blog?
    Also, how long and much time would it take to set this all up, 50 blogs as per your recommendations on the slides. It’s something I’m looking into doing, but alongside my everyday tasks, I’m not sure if I have enough hours in the day to accomplish this, or whether I should bring someone in for this project.
    Thanks, Julie

    1. admin

      Hi Julie, thanks for the comment

      The hub site in this example would be an install of wordpress which you keep private/ local and thats where you would install the q-network plugin if you were to go down that route. Thats just one way to do it mind you, you could use software like article marketing robot, set your wordpress installs up using wordpress multisite or even use the blog manager in Raven tools. The principle is just that you have one central place to manage all the blogs, rather than logging into 50 different WP dashboards to post up articles.

      In terms of time the way I’ve outlined here is quite time intensive. Personally I’d favour outsourcing most of the setup/ writing work if you have the budget. Alternatively you might be better off starting small with just a handful of sites and building it up over time.

      On the flip side the blackhat guys (I’m not one, despite what a few people seem to think!) could probably setup 50 autoblogs in an hour, but if I were you I’d go for quality over quantity. Hope that helps

  6. Pingback: How to get 9000 free links on autopilot

  7. Homez101

    Hi, your slide was very informative. So ideally, for a 50 site private blog network to be effective does 1) each of the 50 have to be focused on a central topic and 2) does each need a minimum PR? Because at over $8,000 to set up, it would be pretty fruitless to have almost do nothing for to boost rankings.

    Also, I was thinking of getting a lot of .info and .us names for my blog network…is that recommended?

  8. Kevin

    So, I am assuming that you are not buying aged domains, since the annual budget for domains in 250… Are you purchasing new domain names?

  9. Melvin I.

    Great resource on building a private network :) am thinking of building one myself after Google’s de-indexing of the paid Article networks like BMR, etc

    Can I ask:
    - if I am marketing only my personal sites, would 10 blogs suffice?
    - what do u think of using web2.0 properties like, and, do u think they are as effective?
    - do you have to constantly post fresh content on them?

  10. Josh

    I imagine you wouldn’t want to buy all 50, 100, or however many domains in the same day too… It would be pretty suspicious in my mind to have that many domains heavily linking to a site when they all got registered on the same day of the same year.

  11. brian zeng

    hi John,

    thanks for the presentation.
    i am about to create a PBN for my client only,i want a real exclusive PBN for one client only and building links for one website,so how many domains do you suggest?


  12. Roberto

    I guess this can now be done with WordPress Multisite, but Google will detect that all sites are installed on the same server IP. Could that be a problem?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>