Office Hours #3: PBN Building Checklist

by | Oct 25, 2019 | Uncategorized

Welcome to another edition of SirLinksalot’s SEO Round Table Office Hours.

In this series, we reply to questions from members of our Facebook Group, SEO Round Table, with video responses in an effort to help them become stronger, more capable SEOs.

The following is an edited transcript from our video response on October 18, 2019. Feel free to read along for a more concise version, or if you’d prefer to watch the video –  go ahead and click below.


Watch the Video:

PBN Building Checklist Video Transcript:

Hey, guys. Nick here with another episode of Office Hours at the SirLinksalot Studios, and today I wanted to talk to y’all about building a PBN out after you’ve already procured the actual domain. PBN building was one of the first things that I got into when I started SEO, and I just really loved the fact that you were kind of acting like an archaeologist going through old data and finding a way to repurpose it in a way that would be beneficial to a money site or something similar, some kind of target, right?

So what I wanted to give especially beginners today was just a sort of template on how to go about building your first PBN, so one domain, and what to look for, what to do, and kind of give you a blueprint on how to start building a PBN if that’s something that might interest you.

So diving right into it, I’ve got this outline here that I’ve developed for you guys. And so upfront depending on how well-versed you are at using WordPress, and WordPress is where we’re going to focus on here. I know there’s other ways to build PBN’s but we’re not going to talk about that right now, this is a beginner intro. So if you’re a little bit more advanced, may be looking for archived rebuilds or something like that, maybe not the best video – but still always a refresher or maybe there’s something that you find interesting that maybe you don’t implement on your current builds. 

When you first start out you might be taking a little bit of extra time when it comes to your builds, but overall once you get in the swing of things and you understand where everything is at and the basic moving parts of a PBN you’ll be able to come in here, execute this task list in let’s say under an hour. And I think actually under 30 minutes when you’re really in the swing of things.

So here’s where we go. All right, so step one I’ve outlined as after you’ve purchased you’re going to host the site and then set up WordPress, because, again, that’s what we’re focusing on here. Because WordPress is very easy to use, a beginner can use it, and it’s easy to execute quick tasks and kind of amass a lot of differentiation across a lot of different sites very easily.

So I’m not going to talk about purchasing the site here, that’d be a different lesson, but after you’ve already purchased the site that you’re ready to repurpose, you know how to host it. And if you don’t, just type it into Google, there’s plenty of videos that are going to teach you how to do that and install WordPress on there.

So let’s get started on things you might need. One thing before you get started, and it’s not a must, let’s say you’re just building one of these randomly, not a big deal. But, if you’re building a lot of them where you’ve got intentions of automating this process through a virtual assistant at some point in time, then probably a good idea to get something like Trello. Quip, Airtable which are just management systems essentially.

One example here we’ve got Trello, right? So it’s very simple, start maybe you can add the list, progress, complete – something like that. And if it’s one domain you’ve got the tasks that go down here, and if it’s multiple domains that you’re building out – PBN1 and you can add whatever other information that needs to be done there, the niche, whatever. PBN2, PBN3, so on and so forth. But this is going to give you a management template that’s very easy to use. It doesn’t take a whole lot of work, and it just get saved especially if you’re not doing everything in one day, or if you’re working on big projects, again, automated through virtual assistance.

So after you’ve got that set up and you’re ready to move forward, you get your site hosted. And the one thing that I will talk about is in your registrar you’re going to want to make sure that either your registrant info is set to private, or if you don’t want to use privacy which I would recommend if you’ve got a big PBN, not just putting privacy on your entire PBN is that could be a footprint as well, but diversifying using different personas. So different ways to do that would be ask your neighbor, friends, etcetera, I guess.

But let’s say you’ve got no friends, well, a quick Google search something like fake name generator maybe I think might you’ll use something that would be a useful tool, I think it’s against ICANN, but people I’ve heard use this. So you’d set it to random, whatever the TLD is, is typically how you’d go about using … how you’d classify the name and then the country that they are in.

But one thing to note that I’ve heard about was that these addresses are fairly faulting, so it’s always good to just make sure that this is an actual address. And so this one happens to be, but if it’s not I’ve heard that people would come in here, find a building with no information, and then go ahead and pull the information from right here. But again, that’s against ICANN policy; use it at your own risk I guess.

So once you’ve got things set to private or somebody else’s name, you never want to have the same name across any PBN’s, especially if like they’re going to the same money sites. The idea is to create a footprint-free scenario that’s not going to be traceable by Google or any other search engine’s crawlers, right? So step one is make sure that you registrant info is going to be diversified in essence.

Now step two – research, rebuild and go ahead and add things to this WordPress toasted site. So first things first remove sample pages and posts, very simple to do. Right now I’m just going to use which literally has nothing on it, as an example. There’s no back links, it’s not going to be used as a PBN so purely for example purposes. But you’ll get the idea of how to navigate through WordPress to execute these tasks that I’m going to list in this task sheet.

So to remove posts and pages, you just go to either the post section or pages section. You’re going to click on this hello world stuff, and you’re going to go ahead and trash them, okay? We’re doing that for pages and posts so that there’s nothing there.

And I’m not going to go over the specifics of this really, but we do have a tutorial on how to use Ahrefs to analyze a site, and that would be very beneficial if you’re not familiar with doing so before you move forward with this particular practice.

Now if you are familiar, of course, you know you’ve already bought the domain, what niche it is, and you’re going to do that by combing through the back links, combing through the anchors, and maybe even pulling up this site –, and looking up a historical version of the site itself so that you can gauge what niche this particular site is going to be in.

Then in Ahrefs you’re going to look at the top pages, right? Typically you look at this buy best buy links, because you’ve let’s say got an expired domain and you’re trying to repurpose the juice that used to go to a specific page on this site. You don’t want that to just 404 and disappear. You’re trying to keep as much of that flowing to this new PBN as possible.

So you’re going to do that by looking up which articles had the most links going to them, rebuilding those pages within your own site, and then do this as a post. That way the posts, because we’re going to set it up to show on home page, just go through the natural progression of being posted first on the home page and then rolling off as time and posts continue to go through the blog or the PBN.

So you can do this by going to a place like iWriter which I’m sure the vast majority of you guys are familiar with. You can use the cheap content, just make sure that it’s going to pass copyscape, and that even though if it’s a little bit rough it’s going to not be plagiarized content, as that will definitely affect the ability for your PBN to pass juice to whatever asset you’re trying to juice up.

Now plug-ins are something I talked about later on in this, but since it’s pertinent here I’m going to talk about them real briefly.

404 plug-ins for people that may be purchased a domain that has like 700 inner-pages with tons of links going to every inner-page. Well, let’s say you don’t have the resources to build every single one of those pages, what we’re going to do? 404 plug-ins can be used. I use them still regularly. But you want to use them sparingly. If you’ve got a network of 10 sites, don’t go putting them on 50 plus percent of the network, 404 to the homepage type redirects. You’re going to want to diversify.

And ultimately I’ve found that still the best medicine or best recourse of action is to find PBN’s that are going to have the majority of the links going to the homepage or just a few pages, inner-pages, that you can rebuild the exact same permalink structure to, get similar content, and have them rebuilt that way.

But, yes, 404 plug-ins can be used for it. They’re not this absolute no-no that everybody says that you should completely stay away from. Building a PBN is about staying natural, so it’s natural for certain sites to use a plug-in like that, that our actual sites. Go ahead and use it sparingly if you’re going to use it at all.

Now upload those articles to respective pages. Make sure that you’re going to use the exact same permalink structure. so let’s say that the website was, I’d looked up the back links and had 10 million links going to it. Rebuild that page exactly as it is.

There are different ways to reuse that juice; however, this is a basic guide. Rebuild that page exactly as it stands, add content pertinent to exactly what that page was about, and that page is going to pass juice to you and affect the overall power of the PBN itself.

Then add extra pages, right? So these would be things like privacy policy and contact pages. For privacy policy I’ve dropped a couple of links here, but if you type in privacy policies or privacy policies free into Google you’re going to get a plethora of different options of auto-generated privacy policies.

Now you don’t want to do this on all your PBN’s, you don’t want to use the same privacy policy on all your PBN’s. And you might even want to use something like a spinner to spin the content. I don’t personally like to do that, but it is an option that people use, so leaving it there. Again, kind of gauge how hard you’re spinning this content and how legible or illegible it might be. Things like that will affect the power of your PBN. 

Don’t over think it, the point is to just push power and so don’t get caught up on those kinds of things. If you’ve got 10 PBN’s or you’re starting off with like building 5 this way – fine, put a privacy policy on two or three of them, just make sure you generate them from different places and that they’re substantially different every time.

Then the contact pages, this is simple. You use a plug-in, type in contact into the plug-ins area, and we’ll go ahead and show you that right now. And you’re going to note that for all the plug-ins that I tell you to get, and you can also clean up the plug-ins, you just add new, and then search for a contact page, right?

So you’re going to have a bunch of different options. Find a free one, and then you can just use it as a contact page.

Almost every website out there has a contact page. If you over saturate this in a PBN, it’s not an issue. However, if you use the exact same one over and over and over again, at some point it could become a footprint for you, so be mindful of the fact that you want to diversify especially as you grow out PBN’s. Five to ten very easy to diversify. When you’re talking about 500 to a thousand or more, things start to get a little bit trickier.

Then you can go ahead and add things like the news, blog page, write for us, work with us, for us, advertise or anything else you might see on a real site. These are going to make good additions to menus that make the site look natural, they add content, they add relevance about the site, and overall just build up the authority of the PBN. So this is where you can either get creative with it or just kind of set up a template that allows a VA to pick and choose from four or five of these different options.

All right, so step three of building your PBN – design and details. Now I know some people that don’t bother with design at all on a PBN, they just have bare-bones everything, they barely add images, stuff like that. I kind of stay away from that now, because manual reviews do happen, and the more realistic your site’s going to look which doesn’t really take that much more effort the better chances you’re going to have of not getting de-index should you get a manual review on your PBN.

So first off choose a theme that’s going to fit the niche of your site. That’s pretty easy to do, however, not all themes are created equal, some are a little bit buggier than others, some are more trickier. So it’s also good to get a set of maybe like 10 to 20 templates you like as you advance through PBN building. But for now, again, keeping it simple, so we’ll just go to themes under appearance. I have a restaurant tour one that I’m not even good at cooking, so we’ll just go with 2016, something generic. So I’m going to activate it and there we’re good to go.

So then you’re going to want to choose the tagline, the name of the site, everything that a normal site would have. For a lot of these you’ll be able to find how to customize this site under the customize section here. And site identity has that, so Nicholas Altimore for, if you ain’t trapping, you’re dying. All right, so you get that idea.

Next thing we want to do is go over to permalinks. So you’re going to find that under settings, permalinks. And you’re going to see that you’ve got quite a few different options. The one you want to choose when you’re first getting into PBN building is just this – post a name, right? So it shows the entire permalink structure or I guess it’s going to give a percentage of it, but it’ll resonate in the SERPs that way.

For the beginning stages this is the way you want to keep it, and that’s going to just make your life a whole lot easier and it’s going to help with relevance within the permalink structure then transcending to whatever you’re trying to send power to, whatever money site you’re trying to send power to.

After that you’re going to want to create a logo or a favicon. Now is my favorite one, because it’s super simple, there’s nobody that can’t make it work for them. And it’s simple, type in whatever you want, pizza, search and they’re going to give you different ideas here. Great. Text Nick Altimore. All right, see, and then you just save it, you get the idea, you can use this as a favicon and as a site logo or you can make two different ones. Point is it’s super easy to use, it’s free and it’s a good option.

Then you can use, so you create a quality header. I’m not going to sign up for it right now, but Canva is going to give you a lot of really nice options as far as professional-looking designs for headers of all styles, email templates, etcetera. And it’s also free. A great option especially when it comes to PBN building.

So you’re going to want to disable your emails and turn off commenting as well. And the way you do that is just come in here, you’ve got discussion, allow people to post, don’t need pingbacks, don’t need any notifications, etcetera. So you’d go through this, make sure that you’re just removing anything that allows somebody to come in and spam your PBN with a bunch of junk comments.

Now after you’ve done that, go ahead and adjust your widgets as well. You’re going to find this under appearance, widgets. And here’s where you can adjust what shows up on the sidebar. Leaving these the same all the time can create a footprint, so you’re going to want to adjust these things so that they’re unique to each PBN, right? It’s very soon to do. Take whatever, add it, modify it, etcetera. And you can adjust that everywhere here.

Next thing you’re going to want to do is, and this is if you want to you can add banners to make things look a bit more real, you can go to and get all kinds of free banners.

All right, and so once you’re done with that, that’s over all the design and details. Again, just like a real site you can always modify it a bit more. Point of a PBN though is to build it up quick so you can generate power for another site. So typically people keep things to a minimal when it comes to design and those kinds of things.

So then a next step is step four – diversifying. This is a very, very important one. The reason is because one of the biggest footprints that happen when building PBN’s especially for newer people is that they use the same plug-ins or too many similar plug-ins, and, boom, Google’s algorithm doesn’t need a manual review to note that all these PBN’s pointed to one money site all have the same plug-ins or a vast majority of plug-ins. It’s a red flag, and it’s going to get you popped.

So use plug-ins to diversify as well as get things situated properly within the site. So these are ideas in this list, but it’s never-ending when it comes to finding new plug-ins to use and how well you can diversify a PBN.

So big one is SEO plug-ins, we’re all familiar with Yoast, Rank Math, things like that. But if you type in SEO in the plug-ins section when you’re adding new, you’ll see that there is a multitude of options to pick, right? And one of the main things you’re going to be doing with this is adjusting things like permalink structure, etcetera.

Then a site map. Now be sure that the site map, and WordPress will give you a little warning if this does happen, but be sure that the site map plug-in does not interact negatively with the SEO plug-in that often has a site map. So Yoast, for example, has its own site map. You’re just going to want to make sure that you don’t have two or that they’re not causing issues with one another.

Then you’re going to want something like a caching plug-in, so if you type in cache, so C-A-C-H-E, a bunch are going to pop up as well. And you can use any of these to diversify that as well. And you’re going to want to use a caching plug-in on all your PBN’s. There’s plenty to choose from so diversifying shouldn’t be an issue there.

A spam plug-in is always useful especially because PBN’s don’t get monitored all that well, unless you’ve got perfect management. Especially for a beginner and you might like ignore certain things that go on, and before you know it the site’s been hacked and somebody else has been using it and abusing its power to their own benefit versus yourself. So spam is always a good one.

Others that you might use things like related posts which are on your posts, it’s going to show other posts that are relatable to the one that you just put up.

Redirects, again, be very careful about using redirect plug-ins, as even if you use a hundred different plug-ins that are redirecting everything to the home page across a hundred different sites – that’s still a big footprint. Just use it sparingly and use it on PBN’s that have a lot of inner-page juice that you most certainly want to save and send back to the home page. But, again, sparingly.

Social sharing things, counters, there’s just non-stop plug-ins that can be used that you’ve probably already used on money sites or that are just available if you just keep searching through the add plug-ins section.

Others, this is a big one too, random plug-ins, so when I go in I like to always add a couple of extra plug-ins as well that are just related to that particular PBN. So for mine let’s say I was making a website about cars. Type in car in the plug-ins section. And you’re going to see that certain things like this come up. You don’t actually have to use it, but you’re diversifying what plug-ins are active on this site and that is something that Google can crawl and see.

So by adding a couple of random ones depending on the niche, you’re going to help diversify that plug-in portfolio for your entire PBN. And I highly recommend doing that; it’s very simple to do.

All right, and so then when you’re done with that, essentially you’re on a step five which is get ready to use your PBN. Now, again, you can adjust things to make it look more real, to do any number of things, you can add all the content in the world. But the main thing is that don’t over think the use of this PBN, and don’t send a brand new PBN or if you’re not very familiar with PBN use when you start doing things like this – move slowly with it.

Pay attention to your variables and make sure that you’re doing things in a scientific style manner, so that you understand what you’re doing, and with that you’re going to be able to scale this more and use it to influence other networks more efficiently and effectively.

To do that make sure that you’re just thinking all the time – what is natural for a website to do? And to mix things up, like outbound links from your posts, so not just the same URL every single time from 15, 20 different PBN’s and you’re using a diversification of links, etcetera – that’s not natural.

Inner-links, sprinkled those in the same way any other website would is well into your posts.

Images, videos, the word count should change, etcetera. Like, just be knowledgeable in the fact that naturally within a site a post might go up with no links, a post might go up with a couple links, some authority outbound links, etcetera. So just think about what might look natural. And if you get worried about that, all you have to do is type things in the Google, get on there and see what looks natural on a different site, right? Try and emulate what looks natural as best you can, and that’s going to help your PBN have longevity and continue to pass power to whatever assets you need it to pass power to in the SERPs.

But overall, that’s a very basic outline of how you can use this template to build a PBN. And available for download down here I’ve got a more concise put together PBN building template here from SirLinksalot that you can pass over to VA’s, that you can use yourself, etcetera.

So hope this helps. And per usual, if you guys aren’t already members, join SirLinksalot, and that’s the SEO Round Table on Facebook. If you’ve got additional questions, that’s the best place to ask them, because typically if you’ve got the same question somebody else has got it out there too.

Nicholas Altimore

Nicholas Altimore


Nicholas Altimore is the Founder and Director of Throughout his years in SEO he has focused heavily on PBN and Affiliate sites, but there isn't much (if anything) within the industry he isn't familiar with.  He looks forward to bringing SEO's informative resources on how to rank websites world wide.

Nicholas Altimore

Nicholas Altimore


Nicholas Altimore is the Founder and Director of Throughout his years in SEO he has focused heavily on PBN and Affiliate sites, but there isn't much (if anything) within the industry he isn't familiar with.  He looks forward to bringing SEO's informative resources on how to rank websites world wide.

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