What are the risks associated with PBN?

PBN, when used properly, can allow you to gain valuable positions in search engine results. However, while this technique can radically boost your SEO strategy, it also includes significant risks. In this article, we will see together what is involved in setting up such a network of sites, but above all what are the dangers to be aware of before taking this risk.
PBN risks

January 27, 2021


What is a PBN?

We presented PBN in a previous article that you will find here. For those who have not read it yet, let’s quickly remind you what a PBN is. It is a network of websites built with the unique aim of sending external links to the same website, the “money site”.

This technique is intended to fool the search engine robots that scramble your pages in order to analyze the content. However, the more external links there are to your pages, the more search engines consider them as popular, and therefore relevant. And since this is one of the main classification criteria of the algorithms, it allows your site to move up in the results.

Why is PBN risky?

The main danger of an SEO strategy based on a PBN, among other things, is the risk of being punished by search engines. Indeed, this method exploits a flaw in the algorithm: if the algorithm considers that an external link is supposed to support the notoriety of your content, this can only works if the site that links to yours is independent. Except if you’ve created it : then it distorts the results. And if everyone does it, the whole system is biased.

It all goes back to our dear whites hats and black hats. On the internet, some libertarians try to break the rules to make their lives easier, go faster, earn more, etc. Thus, PBN has long been considered as a technique related to black hats, since it goes beyond the famous “guidelines” imposed, by taking advantage of a flaw in the algorithms that our search engines are so proud of.

However, among the giants like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex and so on, there are few people who enjoy having fun bending the rules of the game. It’s their own field and they dictate their own rules. So when one of search engines robots notices that someone has allowed himself to cheat, that’s when important sanctions can be imposed. Sanctions whose consequences can sometimes even be irreversible…

What are the penalties for using PBN?

Don’t worry, there is no question of a court of law or penal sanctions. For the moment, no civil code in the world has decided to include a law prohibiting this method. However, the penalties involved can still seriously penalize your website.

First of all, you risk that a search engine decides to “downgrade” your pages in its results. And when you know how much work it takes to sometimes win only one place, but especially the variations in click rates from one place to another, this is a risk that should not be taken lightly under any circumstances.

But the worst that can happen to you is a total de-indexation of your site. This would mean, for example, that your site would disappear completely from Google’s search results. And for a sometimes indefinite period of time, if not even an infinite one… In a word, you will have understood, nothing could be worse for your traffic.