This blog post will give you the EXACT checks to decide whether you need to dismiss any blogger, who asks you to pay for a link on their site. And doesn’t have the high-quality website they claim to have.
Domain Authority, the rating given by Moz.com to determine the strength of a site, is being manipulated by fake bloggers. And we need to avoid them at all costs.
If you want long-term success in SEO and digital marketing, it’s hugely important to identify Private Blogger Networks (PBNs) or link farms that are manipulating search engines to make money from you.
Because Google, the mother search engine, will soon find where these networks are, and drop them from their results. Then they will drop YOU from the results. And you won’t build a successful business if you can’t show up in Google.
Even worse, the PBN will be taken down by the owners and you will lose your links, which you thought were genuine and paid lots to be featured.
I’m also sure – when you’ve done these checks a few times, that you’ll spot these websites a mile off.
If you don’t trust me, here’s Matt Cutts, google engineer talking about the fall of guest blogging.
Remember though, PBNs are NOT the only way people try manipulating the search egnines. There’s also link-building tools such as keyboost. NEVER use these because this is what your organic traffic will look like if you do.
Why am I writing about Private Blog Networks?
Because, as a keen business and SEO consultant I want to help you understand the rights and wrongs as much as possible.
As you grow your website or business, you will be inundated with emails like this:
Many of the people sending these emails claim to have thousands of blogs they can add your link to. Firstly, how is that possible?
Secondly its BULL S***T
So in this post, I’m giving you clear, practical tips so you can identify the good from the bad and the great from the ugly.
Here’s a short insight on how blogs are manipulating their domain authority.
How Private Blog Networks work & Manipulate Domain Authority
Private Blog Networks operate to manipulate search engine algorithms. And meanwhile make money from genuine business owners like me and you. One way they operate is to set up lots of websites and then link between each other heavily. That passes link juice and quickly manipulates Domain Authority. Then they use the DA to promote or lie to you (the trustworthy person).
Have a read of this if you want to find out more – Avoid Building a Private Blog Network
Pro-active Private Blog Networks
Some networks are very pro-active. They will send out emails actively looking for genuine companies, like yours, to pay for articles or links on their wide array of sites.
They will definitely tell you their sites have high domain authority.
You will then get a spreadsheet of websites with corresponding costs attached.
DON’T PAY for these links!
I’m not saying all the sites are fake. But if any of them are genuine, reach out to them directly. DON’T go through this random person who sent you an email.
Reactive Private blog Networks
With the super-fast rise of blogger outreach, some PBNs are just sitting there waiting to prey on people that are hungry for links.
When you get your response, it might look something like this:
Even though I’m advising not to, I’ve still been tempted to enter business discussions with these people. That’s natural when you want to be opportunistic.
So, if you are tempted to get a few more links in this way, here’s the checks you should make.
Checks to spot a fake SEO Private blogger network
Check 1: Check their email address
Chances are, their email address will be a @gmail.com or @hotmail.com. How can you trust an email address that doesn’t even have a business domain attached to it.
You can’t. So, do not trust people who don’t send you an email from their business email address.
Okay, that doesn’t mean it’s fake, so let’s continue with our investigation.
Now choose one of their proposed websites and let’s do some due diligence:
Check 2: Check their on-page SEO Quality
The first thing to do is check the quality of their on-page SEO efforts.
Do the pages just auto titles or are they unique and implemented with thought?
Here’s how to check:
Visit the domain in Google Chrome, then hover over the tab. When you hover over, you’ll see something that looks like below. This is the SEO title and it should be 68 characters long.
In case you don’t know, the above is poor, very poor. It’s clearly an automated title tag driven by the blog title. No thought whatsoever.
This is what a title tag should look like:
Again, not necessarily fake. The spot checks continue…
Check 3: Check the rankings in Google
This will give you a clear idea of whether their traffic matches their domain authority.
Has their website been dropped from the search engines? Here’s how to check.
I don’t just mean checking the home page. I mean actually checking their blog posts to see whether they rank or not.
So, navigate to their website and select one of their older posts. Copy and paste the title into google.
Do a search for their domain name (use Ctrl+f as a quick search)
Where do they rank?
They should be in the top 10 at least, if not, it’s probably dodgy.
Check 4: Check Alexa Traffic Rank
Get hold of the domain name(s) and head over to Alexa Site Info page
It looks like this:
Enter the website in to the text box and hit FIND
Do you see this?
Now I’m definitely not saying that you should avoid sites that look like this in Alexa, because new bloggers who are genuinely growing their site will also look like this.
But if someone is saying, they have a domain authority of 60+ and don’t even have Alexa traffic to show for it, then the DA has probably been manipulated.
Check 5: What’s in the Footer?
Put simply, a website with no effort or improvement will still contain the theme details in the footer like so…
If this is the case, they’re clearly not bothered about the website or their brand because it’s one of the easiest things to remove when setting up a new WordPress site.
Check 6: Do they all have the same design style?
I’ve been sent emails where every single blog had the same style. That means very little design thought behind it apart from a few colours.
You can even see by the picture below. This blog tries to cover EVERYTHING. Surely that’s with a view to generate more paid posts.
Check 4: Does the age of the first blog post correlate with the DA?
Straight up: You can’t organically increase Domain Authority overnight. It takes time, lot’s of hard work and even more promotion.
If the oldest post on a blog was written less than 12 months ago, chances are, the Domain Authority would not yet have reached higher than 40.
So, there’s a few checks for you to do on a website to see if you should be engaging in link exchanges with them
Here’s a prime example of what I would call a fake DA..
savethebighouse .com / how-to-beautify-a-wolf-themed-bedroom.html
Have you ever received any of these emails? And what have you done with them? Let me know int he comments below.