Last week, Perrin and I shared the most recent income report for the niche site project 2 site; aPennyShaved.com. Overall, the growth of the site has been impressive, and the site earned over $1,300 in the month February, and is well on its way to earning more during March.
One of the tactics that Perrin discussed for helping his site recover from a slight loss in rankings was RankHero. Essentially, after seeing a decrease in traffic and rankings for about a week, Perrin decided to try a few Rank Hero links to see if the the site would recover. Sure enough, it did!
As you know, Rank Hero is a private blog network owned by Hayden (and his company) and I. We've put a lot of effort into finding high value domains and have refined our processes for finding spam free domains.
Today, I'd like to discuss the importance of looking at more than just the PA or DA (PageAuthority of Domain Authority) of a domain. Just because you find a domain that has great metrics, doesn't mean that its a good domain to include in your own PBN (Private blog network).
In fact, if you are including domains that have link spam pointing to them, its very possible that you will be hurting yourself (getting a penalty) by using the domain.
The Complete Guide to Spam Checking Domains
I've looked at my share of domains, and have just a few general principle to pass on. However, Hayden of NoHatSEO.com recently shared a video (below) that will give you an in-depth guide to spam checking expired domains.
This truly is a crucial step to finding domains that carry any value. Hayden is the expert when it comes to spam checking, so check out the video below for the complete guide to spam checking domains.
Reasons to Reject a Domain
That video gives some great in-depth advice for finding link spam. Here are a few of the reasons to reject a domain mentioned, even if it has great PageRank or PageAuthority:
- Lots of spammy anchor text – like pills, gambling, foreign, or adult phrases.
- Heavy anchor text for any one keyword phrase is a red flag: particulary if its a product/seo type keyword. A few common market with spammy anchor text to avoid are: payday loans, ugg boots, louis vuitton, or other obvious phrases.
- Spammy sounding domain name. You can usually save yourself a lot of headache by simply skipping over (and not checking the backlink profile) of domains that sound spammy. For example, domains that are over 4 or 5 words, or have lots of dashes, or sound like an affiliate marketer owned it. Generally speaking domains that have lots of keywords in them (EMDs) should be avoided when looking for quality expired domains. Domains that have been owned by an SEO or affiliate marketer that they are allowing to expire are likely domains that they spammed with links trying to rank higher in Google. That's not the type of link profile you want.
These are clearly just some general rules that won't answer every situation.
Example of Spammy Sounding Domains
I wanted to just show a quick screenshot of a list of domains on ExpiredDomains.net. In this screenshot, I have NOT taken a look at any of the link profiles. However, by just looking at the domain name itself, I can tell which ones I would look at first, and which ones I wouldn't even look at all…purely based on the domain name.
I spent about 10 seconds going through these domains and just crossed out the ones that I wouldn't even look at their link profiles:
So out of this list of 25 domains, I was able to cross out 20 as MOST LIKELY spammy purely based on the domain name itself.
Now, I want to be very clear: I am NOT saying that the remaining 5 domains are good. I am just saying that their domains didn't sound spammy enough for me to cross them off right away. The next step would be for me to actually look at their link profiles to determine if they can pass that test (as shown in the video from Hayden).
Its very possible that none of the domains from this screenshot are free of spam. (I didn't look at the link profiles, this was simply an exercise to show how to spam a spammy domain, simply based on the domain name).
Unfortunately, finding a spam free domain with a clean link profile is not easy. In fact, its so time consuming that I've actually used services that will find domains for you.
Sometimes SEO Services Get it Wrong
I recently asked an “SEO” service to find 5 domains for me all with PA 35+; because they were advertising this service on their site. They did indeed find me 5 domains that met all of the metrics, but they were far from being spam free…which is what was advertised.
In fact, at least 3 of the 5 domains I could tell would be spammy by simply looking at the domain name themselves! (Just like my example above). Upon looking at all the link profiles, all 5 of the domains were not usable because of the spammy anchor text or other reasons.
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I had to kindly ask for a refund, and am grateful that I received a full refund from this service.
(To clarify, the service I had a poor experience with is NOT Jon Haver's service on AuthorityWebsiteIncome.com).
In addition, a little while ago I tried out a link building service that is quite well known. I was well aware that they would be using their own PBN to build links to my site, so I was excited for some great results. However, after the first month, I got a report back and my heart sank!
The domains themselves were okay, but the way in which they built the links was spammy! I essentially got a link from a page with little to no content AND the link was placed with 20 to 30 other websites, all just a link with some anchor text. Wow. That's all I can say.
I obviously cancelled that service right away and have not been back since. I will say that its been several months since I used that service, so perhaps they have learned how to effectively link build since then, but I don't know.
2 Lessons Learned for PBNs
Bottom line is that there is much more to building a successful PBN than just finding a domain that has all the right metrics.
- You need a domain that is spam free.
- Then when you have that spam free domain, you need to write quality, original, content and treat that domain like a real site!
Overall, if you are going to be building out your own PBN, you need to make sure the domains you use are spam free. In addition, if you are going to use a service, these principles will help you know if you are getting your money's worth or not.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject! If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to join the discussion below.