Backlinks Demystified – A Quick Guide To PBN Backlinks Testing & Tracking
If you want your website to rank, you need backlinks and there’s no other way around it. In today’s age, your website’s visibility requires a multi-discipline approach that includes keyword research, great content and good backlinks. Having backlinks from niche-relevant websites helps build authority and is an absolute must for any website trying to rank high on search engines.
So How Is A Good Backlink Defined?
A good backlink is a link that points to your site from another site that has a higher authority than the first. The reason for this is it that Google wants to show people the best search results and it has found, after many studies, that backlinks are one of the best ways to do this. This is why it is so important that you have quality backlinks to increase the visibility of your website. This is one of the most important jobs for any search engine optimization specialist.
Ways To Get Good Backlinks
There are lots of ways to get high quality links pointing at your website. Depending on what your goals are and what your competition looks like, your strategy will vary however, here are just a few ideas to help you get high quality backlinks:
- Write unique and compelling content. This will establish you as a leader in your industry and will also increase the chances that other people will link to your content organically. This not only includes written material but also visual content such as videos and graphics.
- Reach out to other bloggers and write guest posts on their websites. Bloggers constantly look for new and engaging content. That’s why writing guest posts and linking back to your website can be an effective tool for gaining quality backlinks.
- You can also buy guest posts from vendors or manually reach out to bloggers and ask them if you can post an article on their site in exchange for a link to your site.
- Use backlinks tools such as Moz, Ahrefs or SEMrush to discover link building opportunities.
- Press releases – writing a press release and submitting them to a variety of news sites will help build authority to your website and also drive traffic.
- Buying auctioned and expired domains – an excellent strategy many SEOs have used for years and still use is purchasing domains that have been let go by their former owners and re-purposed those domains as standalone websites in order to link out to their own websites. This is an effective strategy because it allows you full control of a website and you can pass along the authority that the website previously had. It can also be very cost-effective as expired domains only cost as much as their registration price.
Don’t Get Dinged By Google For Breaking Their Rules
Google is not a company to trifle with. By building backlinks you are technically breaking Google’s rules as any sort of link building is against them. So how can you avoid crossing the line? Before, when people found out that backlinks are used as a metric to measure authority, companies would create a gigantic network of sites and link them back to their clients’ sites. Almost overnight this caused the client site to go from zero to the front page of the rankings by building thousands of backlinks at a time.
Google since then has caught on to these tricks. With recent updates, Google can automatically catch people who are using backlink spamming to increase their rankings. Here are some tips to avoid getting penalized by Google for unnatural link building:
- Don’t buy links from marketplaces such as Fiverr – most sellers will promise hundreds or thousands of backlinks however, most of them are junk.
- Be cautious of anyone that promises you a #1 spot in the SERPs. A good SEO doesn’t promise anything he can’t deliver, and there are too many variables involved to make this promise possible unless it’s a very low competition keyword.
- Build backlinks slowly over time. There is no formula set in stone, but a good idea is to look at your competitor’s link building velocity and use that as a rule of thumb.
- Not every link will give you positive results in search engines! Even if you are doing things completely whitehat and doing manual outreach to bloggers, it’s important to make sure the backlinks you get to your site are adding good link juice to it.
PBN Backlinks Done Right
Anyone who has ever used a PBN knows this feeling – you get a great domain for a great price with great metrics, and you can’t wait to link it out to your money site. You pay for a premium theme, and content, wait for the site to get indexed, and then launch that perfectly optimized niche relevant article that links back to your money site. And then…
Nothing. You wait a few more weeks, checking your rankings every day and then the sense of horror sets in. You just bought a poisonous domain. All that time and effort was for nothing. It was actually worse than nothing because you just wasted a bunch of time and money on something that is actually making your site lose rankings.
We have all been there. Nothing can be more frustrating. It’s probably a big reason why people quit SEO. You think you are doing everything right and you get negative results! This is what’s called a negative reinforcement. You do a positive action, and you get negatively rewarded for it. It’s like doing the dishes before your wife gets home, and then she yells at you for not putting them away correctly. Jordan Peterson calls this the worst thing you can do in a relationship.
And it happens over and over again in an SEO’s relationship with Google. That’s why so many break up with them. That’s why smart SEOs test their PBN links before they send them to their website. I like to use a tried and true method Matt Diggity uses – we will call it the “Diggity Method”.
How To Test PBN Backlinks
Testing PBN backlinks is an easy but time-consuming process. But in the end, it is worth it as it will save you a lot of heartache down the road. Before you get started there are a couple of tools that will help you make the process as easy as possible:
- A backlinks tool such as SEMrush, Majestic or Ahrefs (recommended).
- A PBN ranking tracker software, in this case, I recommend PBNTester.Pro
Next, you want to look at a test site in your niche that you can send your PBN link to. An ideal candidate would be a site that is in your niche or related to your niche, is ranking on pages 2 – 4 and has a keyword’s exact anchor text that has never been sent to the site before. It also helps that the site is ranking on pages 2 – 4 for other keywords as well.
The reason for this is that we want a site that is healthy, but doesn’t have enough power to get to page 1. So once we have identified a site we would like to test, plug in the URL into my recommended tool Ahrefs. From there we can see what keywords the URL ranks for and if we click on the “Anchors” tab on the left-hand side we can see the anchor text pointing site. Here we want to confirm that the keyword we want to test hasn’t been used before.
That way if that keyword (and hopefully all the other keywords) start to rise after sending a PBN link, we will know that it is a good PBN. Once we have selected a good test site, it is time to get an article made and have it posted on the PBN.
Time To Track Your Rankings
After the PBN link is posted I will use PBN Tester Pro to keep track of the test site but also of the PBN article. The reason I like PBN Tester Pro is because it is the only software (that I know of) that is made specifically for PBN backlink testing. So when you are in PBN Tester Pro, you will type in the URL of the test site, the URL of the PBN post, the keyword you are testing for and also the country you want to test for.
The reason you want to put in the URL of the PBN post and not just the URL of the test site is because Google may not index your PBN article right away. In fact, it could take days or longer before Google indexes the article. PBN Tester Pro keeps track of this, so you can see how the test site fluctuates before the article is indexed. And you will have a good idea if the PBN adds or subjects from the test site’s rankings.
Another cool feature of PBN Tester Pro is that it keeps track of your historical tracking statistics, so you can see the effects of the PBN link from the time you start tracking it. Most rank tracking software frustratingly only keeps 30 days worth of history.
Another Cool Trick To Test Backlinks
PBN Tester Pro doesn’t just test PBN links, it tests any links you throw into it. So another thing I like to do is test guest posts. If there is a site you are interested in, look at the latest guest post and plug it into PBN Tester Pro and you can see if the guest post site is worth you writing an article for!
After The Test Is Complete
Most backlink tests should last at least 30 days, but I recommend testing for 45 days as some sites take longer to pass link juice than other sites. If your test site shows an increase in rankings, then congratulations you have a powerful tool in your toolbox! If it doesn’t pass, add more articles to your PBN and re-test on another site. If you get another negative result then it might be time to give up on that particular PBN site!
The backlinks are around 70% of your SEO work and the remaining 30% is for content & on-site optimization. For an internet marketer, getting the right tools for building and testing your links is probably the most important thing you should do if you want to succeed in this highly competitive world.
My personal recommendation would be to get Ahrefs (7-days trial for 7$) for backlinks analysis, PBNTester.Pro (7-days free trial) for backlinks testing & SEMrush (14-days free trial) for keywords research. With those 3 tools, you will definitely succeed!