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How to Boost your PBNs with Topical Relevance

 

What if I told you there was a way to make your PBNs stronger than they already are?

That there is a way to make them more relevant to your niche and thus, when you link them to your money site, your site becomes more relevant and ranks easier.

To add, what if I said there’s also a way to get them to provide more link juice than they already do?

And that you can do all of this, without needing to create a single link to your PBNs.

In fact, you can do this all for less than $5.

I’m going to show you how to do all of the above and in typical fashion, you’re going to see real test results showing it in action.

The Theory on How it Works

The concept behind this technique is extremely simple in terms of its fundamentals.  However, it does require a little outside-the-box thinking in order to put it all together.

Let’s break things down by going over a couple of different SEO concepts.

Concept #1 – Under-utilized Inner Page Link Juice

The common practice for PBNs creation is to repurpose old domains that are acquired either from auction, backorder, or registering expired domains.

The reason we utilize aged domains is because these domains have accumulated natural white hat links over time.  Links that we normally don’t want to spend time gathering ourselves.

We then repurpose these domains and direct that link juice to our own money sites.

A typical expired domain has most of its links going to the homepage, but definitely not all.

monk memeExample:

Let’s use a fictional domain as an example called BobsBaitShop.com.

In 2010, Bob opened a bait shop in Long Beach, CA.  It was the most popular fishing shop in the area and it attracted links from local newspapers and fishing bloggers that came to Long Beach and loved the shop.

In 2013, Bob wrote a blog post on the “Best Time of the Day to Catch Yellowtail Tuna”.  The post instantly became popular and attracted a bunch of great links.

In 2014, Bob wrote another post that went nearly viral about “The Top 5 Baits to Use for Pacific Ocean Fishermen”.  It collected even more links than the previous successful post.

Sadly, this year Bob fell on hard times and had to sell his shop.  He let his site expire as well, and you managed to scoop it up in an auction.

Most likely you decided to setup the page as a WordPress blog and retheme it in your niche, which is quite similarly, a fishing pole Amazon review site.

You write a few blog posts and link to your money site.

Since the blog roll is on the PBN’s homepage, the link to your money site enjoys the link juice coming from Bob’s external links that are going to the homepage.

But what about those two blog posts that had a bunch of links themselves?  All that link juice is going to waste.

Many people salvage this link juice by creating 301 (permanent) redirects from all their 404 pages and funnel that link juice to their homepage.  One of the most popular plugins that accomplishes this is known as Link Juice Keeper.

However, it has been determined on multiple occasions that this is a major cause for deindex.

If we think about it, mass 301s to the homepage is exclusively an “SEO move” and creates a pretty unnatural footprint.

Back to the drawing board.

Concept #2 – Topical Relevance for PBNs

Remember the article I wrote on topical relevance?  If not, go check it out.  Its foundational for what I’m about to explain.

topical relevance concept

In a nutshell, if you’re trying to rank a page on a given topic, you get a major boost from creating supporting pages on the same topic that contextually link to the page you’re trying to rank.

Essentially you’re creating pages on the same topic that defer the reader to a bigger and better article where they can have superior information on that topic.

This technique really gets pages moving in the SERPs.

Putting it all together: Topically Relevant Inner Page Links with Juice

I’m going to show you how to take both of the above concepts and put them together to really boost up the link juice and relevance of your PBN.

  1. First, find out which inner pages on your PBN have the most links.
  2. Recreate pages on those exact URLs.
  3. Write (or outsource) posts that are relevant to the theme of your PBN and the money site you’re trying to rank.
  4. Contextually link these inner pages to your homepage (or the blog post inner page with your money site link).

The result: Your PBNs will yield much more power and relevance than they had before.

Here’s what the process looks like:

Let’s say you have a money site that you want to rank in the “buy tickets online” niche.  You find a fantastic PBN with plenty of relevance in the Arts/Movies topical trust flow category.

What you’re going to do next is toss this domain into Majestic and bring up the “Pages” view.

majestic pages view

Here you can see a list of pages which have the most links.

The homepage has 957 referring domains, and you also have two more inner pages with 161 and 40 referring domains, respectively.

Don’t worry about the www sub-domain as it already redirects naturally to the homepage.

These two inner pages are perfect candidates for what you’re trying to accomplish.

On the first inner page with 161 referring domains, you recreate a page called “www.domain.com/tickets” and create an article on “The Top 5 Fastest Selling Concert Tickets of 2016”.

On the second inner page with 40 referring domains, recreate a page called “www.domain.com/press/announcements” which discusses various websites where you can find “News and Announcements Regarding Canceled Shows and Ticket Refunds.”

topically relevant inner page architecture

In each of these articles, contextually link back to the homepage using relevant anchor text.

As a result, your homepage just got 201 links stronger, and vastly more relevant to the topic of “show tickets” than before.

Pro Tip: This technique is also a key component in getting PBNs ranked as per my article on Next Generation PBNs: PBNs with Traffic.

Squeezing Out a Bit More Juice

Contextually linking relevant posts to your homepage is the main ingredient for what gets this technique to work.  But here’s a couple of additional recommendations that my test results have shown to give an increased kick to this process:

  1. Make sure to put your target keywords in the <title> and <h1> of your inner-page articles to jack up the relevance.
  2. Insert “dofollow” authority outbound links in your inner-pages.  The “dofollow” is important.

Case Study Results

In regular fashion, I’m not going to tell you something works without backing it up with results.

The Testcase

For this case study, I used a real, money-generating affiliate website in the beauty niche.

Two months ago, this site was generating roughly $1600/month, but got relatively stuck in the SERPs for some time.

The Test

I completely stopped linking to the money site for two months.

Instead, during this time, I went back to the existing 25 PBNs that were linking to this site and I gave them all topical relevance overhauls by recreating juicy articles on these sites and contextually linking them to the homepage.

The Result

At the end of the two-month test period, rankings increased across the board on almost all of the main keywords.

pro rank tracker

And because of the ranking increases, here’s what happened to traffic:

clicky

Traffic increased by 71.3% and you know what that means…

The site is now generating $3350/month ($1750 more than before) without needing to build any additional PBNs.  I simply utilized the existing PBNs I had and made them stronger with topical relevance.

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77 Comments

  • Matt this is a such a great way to get more out of an investment asset (PBN). This is like finding the most popular rooms in a house for sale and making sure they look good so the rest of the house looks good too. Time to go clean up my houses 😉 Sorry cheesy analogy, but thanks for the great tip.

  • We’ve waited for a long time and here it is – Another awesome article.

    When I started creating my very first PBNs I already made sure to rebuild the pages and make them topical relevant. But that’s not hard when you link to one site only anyway.
    Like you always preach: Do what a real person would do – using 301 plugins is what SEO’s would do.

    One of my favorite gold nugget of this article:
    “Make sure to put your target keywords in the and of your inner-page articles to jack up the relevance.”

  • You talked about this in the interview with Dino. Good stuff. I’ve been doing this for a bit and notice a difference. I also add citations and comment links to the PBN to give it a bit of freshness.

  • I’ve stayed away from PBN’s for quite a while, as a matter of fact, I typically just buy the links from people like yourself whom I trust because managing them is a pain. Do you have an article on how to manage big PBN’s to keep them fresh? or can you write one? Would love to hear your thoughts

    • Oh man. If I ever get out of this business, perhaps I’ll do a recount of all the trials and tribulations that went with it.

  • I`m using similar techniques on my PBN`s . Haven`t taken the time to test though, it just made sense to me.
    But my PBN`s are ” All Niche” PBN`s because I only have 25 PBN`s. Could this technique be used there ( I add words in title, h1 and so on similar to the previous site`s purpose to add some relevance) or is it only working in specifique niches ?

    I hope you understand what I`m getting at

  • Great article as usual, I have been placing contextual homepage link on my 404 page. Haven’t tested it but do you think it is a good idea?

  • Awesome as always especially when you’re backing it up with case studies like that I want to implement them immediately. Also have a question.

    Would you write the inner page article relevant to the money site if the PBN’s theme wasn’t really relevant to with money site’s? What do you think about the relevance between PBN’s old theme and money site’s theme?

    Thank you!

    • Yup. You can do this. For my money sites, most of the time I just use powerful domains that may or may not be relevant to the money site. This technique still works.

  • Thanks Matt – in the midst of a lot of noise about ‘the latest tricks and techniques’ – it’s refreshing to know that some good old solid & fairly common-sense simple stuff can make the difference we’d expect it to! That’s what I like about your blog Matt – just solid test-based actionable stuff, no fluff. 🙂

  • Great post, thank Matt
    I have 1 Q : “Make sure to put your target keywords in the and of your inner-page articles to jack up the relevance.” : in your example, I did not see “buy tickets online” in title and H1 of your inner page articles ?

  • Its possible that the boost you saw was more a result of all the new content that you made. You did mention that you didn’t touch the sites earlier.

    • Sure, that’s a possibility. Anything is possible with an algorithm this complicated. My money is on the funneling of link juice and creation of topical relevance being the cause though.

  • Good artcile but I just have to disagree. Only because I have testing to prove otherwise. I own a DA60 domain that has 5k+ linking root domains and 400k+ links pointing to it. I have never done any of the above. I have created hundreds of brand new subdomains on it and have always ranked them way easier than new domains. It’s similar to a web2.0 but not really because each new sub on my domain behaves like it’s on the main domain. This may apply to smaller domains but not mine.

  • Awesome article 🙂 How would you manage that strategy with different languages? Lets say the PBN is Politics and the MS is casino. PBN was English and MS is German. Also the (other) articles on the PBN are written in German. So build out the old sites with combined politics / casino articles in German, also?

    Thanks
    Nils

  • Hey Matt,

    Another helpful post, thanks!

    I have 1 question:

    What would you do, if expired site used urls like these:
    article.aspx?ID=1111111

    WP doesn’t allow me to re-create them and neither it works with a custom url plugin. With plugin I get this:
    article.aspx%3FID%3D111111

    • Hey Niko, you could try using a redirection plugin to redirect the article.aspx?ID=1111111 URL to a new inner page URL, and then link from that new inner page URL to the home page of the PBN.

  • Hi Matt, great article!

    Can I insert a backlink to my money site on the inner page too? Or it is better link only to my PBN home page and insert the lnk to my money site into the article on home page?

  • Thx, nice article and perfectly makes sense. One question: Would you include the inner pages in a menu or just leave them like they are without being linked to from the site?

  • It’s like a minefield now, every post that comes out about the latest methods makes me just want to get in too bed with 2-3 vendors!

    You build Matt, I am happy to just buy! Good read tho!

  • what if you have a client site that was updated a few months back? does the same idea work? keep the page and clean it up and then link it back to the home page?

      • oh! for example, client had website.com/old and refreshed his website and discontinued that page. is it worth keeping an old page website.com/old and have inner links point to website.com/new? or am i just being crazy and i should just do a redirect to the homepage.

        • Ok, so you’re talking about client/money sites, but this article is about PBNs. The same applies though. If you have pages with plenty of juice, that all goes to waste unless that juice is directed somewhere else. In terms of money sites, I believe 301s will still pass juice, but don’t quote me on that.

  • Hi Matt…great post. Any recommendation on how to get past old pages that end in .htm or .html I can’t make the URL permalink structure work on single pages. I found a plug in but it forces .htm on EVERY page. Thanks. Ken

  • Great info as always. However, I am not sure about one thing. You are saying:

    “Make sure to put your target keywords in the and of your inner-page articles to jack up the relevance.”

    I think the same applies to money sites, when we want to build more relevancy. And as the title and h1 tag are the most crucial on page elements, saying what the specific page is about, wont that cause any duplicate issues? Will Google know which page you really want to rank? As you will have 2 pages with the main keyword on 2 pages (homepage and inner-page).

    • There’s an example of how to pull it off in the article.

      Main Topic: buy tickets online
      Supporting 1: The Top 5 Fastest Selling Concert Tickets of 2016
      Supporting 2: News and Announcements Regarding Canceled Shows and Ticket Refunds’

      Doesn’t have to be perfect. But get some keywords (e.g. ‘ticket’) in there and it does a better job.

  • Hey Matt,

    Have you tested whether building links to a “money page” from other child pages on the same topic makes a big difference to rankings? In your example in the blog, you talk about this in relation to powering up the pages that link to a money website. I’m wondering whether doing this on a money website, by building additional pages with relevant content, then linking to the “money page” will have a positive affect on search ranks?

  • Hey Matt. This post contains great value. Will be implementing it shortly. I had a question, though. I did a bit of research on my existing PBN (which I built using wordpress) and found that one of its inner pages is http://www.pbndomain.com/program.html which has a good amount of links and trust.

    Had it been just http://www.pbndomain.com/program, it would have been easy for me to re-create an additional page and change it to /program. However, it is not accepting “program.html”. How would you go ahead and do that? Thanks.

  • What would you do about PBN’s with unused domains?

    1. After 1-2-3 years edit existed posts to also link to the homepage?
    2. Create new posts that link to the homepage?
    3. Other?

    Let’s say all the links I build for the PBN are mostly for the homepage, so no link juice for inner pages for now.

    What would you do?

    Thanks

  • I have 2 questions…

    1. I am a little confused, you said that you turned of all 25 links to the site for 2 months. did the site plummet? As well how quickly did you add back these 25 links, (1 a week or all 25 at once)?

    “I completely stopped linking to the money site for two months.

    Instead, during this time, I went back to the existing 25 PBNs that were linking to this site and I gave them all topical relevance overhauls by recreating juicy articles on these sites and contextually linking them to the homepage.”

    2. What is most outbound links you should have from a PBN?

    Thank you, Great Stuff keep up the Good work!

    • 1) I didn’t pull the existing 25 links. I simply “stopped linking to the money site”, meaning no additional links were created.

      2) Future blog post is coming up on that topic.

  • Thanks for a great article Matt! Your previous article about establishing topical relevance for our money sites didn’t included the added bonus (squeezing out more link juice). Would we send an outbound link to a high authority site for our money site articles as well or only for the pbn ones? Thanks!

  • Matt, as far as I remember, you consider an “Authority Link” to any link going to a DA 90+ site, right??

    But how about for Foreign SEO?? Most of the “Authority SItes” I’ve found there on each niche have around DA 50 to 60 only. Is that enough?? Or what are your requirements for Authority Sites in other languages?

    • I usually just use DA 80+ as a rule of thumb. There’s definitely no hard and fast rule to it. Google doesn’t use DA so its ok to break this simple rule of thumb.

      • I was curious about the same thing Jorge.

        Matt, what if in the non-english countries where we are trying to rank the websites, the most authority websites have DA 50-60. Do you prefer linking to english websites with DA 80+, or to authority websites of the same country, same language, where the DA is much lower?

  • Is there ever a case where you would link directly to the actual blog post which links to the money like a little silo instead of the homepage (which has the post on it) from the supporting articles?