Does Google Look at Meta Data - Micro Test #1

A question I have seen everyone debating, for years now, is does Google consider meta data when determining a sites rankings, and how much is considered. Well, I test this in about 30 to 60 minutes and you can too. The fact is, basic micro-testing is simple and everyone should be doing these frequently.

This test should only take you about an hour to run yourself. I would like everyone to participate in the micro-testing as much as possible and share your results with us. The bigger sample size we have from these micro test, the more data we can draw from the data. I explain more in the video...

Watch the video now to see how I ran the test and the results I got.

Understand this is a VERY small sample so nothing should be taken definitively. Run your own tests and see for yourself.

Phone Verified (PVA) Google Accounts - A Scalable Verification Process That Always Works

Have you been pulling your hair out trying to figure out a cheap and reliable way to verify your Google, Youtube and other social accounts? If so, then you are in for a real treat. In this video, I will walk you through the process SERP Focus uses to acquire numbers for PVA verification that is easy and cost effective.

FACEBOOK POST FOR POMO:
If you are trying to figure out a systemized way to create PVA Google accounts then your in luck. Ryan put together this easy walkthrough so that you can learn the exact process we use at SERP Focus for creating our verified Google properties.
https://serpfocus.com/pva-phone-verified-google-accounts/

Evergreen PBN Tips You Must Know Today

About a year ago I had posted a series of posts in LCT that I felt were very valuable and in fact, still hold true to this day so I wanted to revive them here to share with the SERP Focus crowd. If you are not currently in LCT I suggest you jump in. It's a great place to network and join some of the biggest earners in the industry. Here are the series of posts packed with some of my most powerful insider tactics:

PRO PBN TIP: Using Your Inner Pages

Posted February 3, 2016

Many people may already be aware, and some may not, that when you buy a PBN domain, there are often inner pages with backlinks. It started to become a common practice to redirect these inner pages to the home page but I can tell you that this is not the best way to utilize these inner pages. You may already be rebuilding these old pages and URL structure, which is a best practice, but let me tell you a way to utilize these pages to the fullest to supercharge you money site link.

Let’s use example.com as the example.

You buy example.com as a PBN domain and when checking in Majestic you see that these old pages on the website have backlinks and even good metrics:

example.com/old-page-1
example.com/old-page-2
example.com/old-page-3
example.com/old-page-4
example.com/old-page-5

First, you would want to create a blog post on one of the old URLs with your money site links and optimization. So, for example, you create a blog post on the URL example.com/old-page-1 which links to your money site.

If one of the URL extensions is somewhat of a generic URL string then I suggest you take this next step. Install the plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/remove-category-url/

What this does is removes the “category” from the permalinks when viewing the category feeds so instead of example.com/category/blog-cataogy-1 it would just be example.com/blog-cataogy-1

Now, what you want to do is create a blog category with the permalink set the URL structure of one of the old pages with backlinks. You can name the category something keyword relevant to what you are trying to rank for but in the category permalink section, for example, you would put “old-page-2”

Then make sure your blog post on example.com/old-page-1 is in the category you created with the permalink “old-page-2”. Now your blog post with your links should be displaying on the following URLs:

example.com
example.com/old-page-1
example.com/old-page-2

Each URL string has its own backlinks and authority soloing thought the website, supercharging you link on every page, as opposed to just having the link on the homepage with backlinks and one inner page with no backlinks or authority.

Now let’s take it one step further and make our links even more powerful.

Create blog posts on the remaining 2 or 3 pages that have inbound links. Put relevant content on these pages and inner link them back to your money page links on example.com/old-page-1 using relevant longtail partial match anchor text. Make sure to place these posts in the same category under the same category as your post with your money site links, so for the example, these posts would now show on the category feed for “old-page-2”

Hopefully, this is all making sense in your head but this is the end result.

Your money site links are now on the homepage and 2 inner pages, all receiving authority from inbound links. Then you have additional inner pages with relevant content receiving authority from inbound links, siloing back to your main post. Also, all these posts with their linking will display on the category page which is also receiving authority from inbound links, creating this whirlwind of authority and relevance.

Of course, not all PBN domains will have this many expired pages or will always be a good fit depending on the URL structure but the common principals can be applied many other ways. Now it's time for you to go look at your PBN and start thinking about how your links can be optimized to the fullest

Original Post: https://www.facebook.com/groups/localclienttakeover/permalink/578537322302788/

MY PBNS GOT DEINDEXED!?!

Posted February 9, 2016

Hey LCT crew. I was just doing an audit on my PBNs and noticed some of my old ones got de-indexed. Really it wasn't much of a surprise. These were older PBNs that in all honesty, were set up very poorly. I used to be a lot more careless with my PBNs then I am now but on the bright side, it has given me a lot of insight into how Google views PBNs and how they get de-indexed.

Normally when people talk about PBN safety, they talk about what NOT to do to get your website de-indexed like hosting on the same IP, being on the same server, not changing whois info and so on. Understanding the basic footprints a PBN can leave isn’t too difficult. The bottom line is if you can see it, they can see it and that’s it, so diversity is key.

The funny thing I did notice is I have quite a few PBNs that are indexed and going strong that have a lot of "issues" such as the sites look like crap, there are TONS of links on them, like 20-30 OBL on the homepage + inner feed pages, among other things I wouldn’t normally suggest doing. So, I decided to go through these sites and see what they had in common that could possibly be protecting them from de-indexing.

Here is the 5 things I found in common with many of my long term PBNs:

Content - The websites had a lot of content, some original, some syndicated. More importantly, there was 2 to 3 times+ the amount of content without contextual OBL. Google doesn’t seem to trust having a 10-15 page stagnant website up for 8 months and 10-12 pages link out, lol. I would suggest posting new content at least one a month and maybe a few syndicated posts as well. This seemed to be a big factor in protecting your site.

Inner Pages - A lot of people say that your site needs a privacy policy or terms of use to make your PBNs look real. I'm not saying that isn’t true or good but from looking at my PBNs I've noticed that they have at least 4 or 5+ inner pages, many without a privacy policy or terms of use. I think the value in these inner pages is just like posting a lot of content as mentioned above.

Inner Linking - All my PBNs had inner linking, more specifically in most cases contextual inner linking. This has always been a big part of my strategy anyway. It's a great way to build semantic relevance on your PBNs by siloing relevant content through contextual links.

Social Media - These sites had some type of social media setup. Not necessarily IFTTT or syndication but just having the authority properties made for the website that linked to each other and they website. Many of them I had made on Fiver actually. The websites that regularly syndicated content seemed to have much more power but just having these trusted links seems to provide some level or protection. I would assume the same can be said for citations especially if building local relevance.

Backlinks/Social Signals - Many of the domains had additional backlinks & social signals built to them after setting up the PBN. This kind of fits into the same thing as building the social media or citations but I am also talking about tier PBN links, FCS linking and in some cases blog comments or other types of links. My assumption when doing this is that a real website that is gaining authority would also gain backlinks. Google seems to agree 🙂

Now I'm not saying that if you don't do all of this you are at risk but by doing all this will most defiantly protect your investment much more. I do have plenty of 5 to 10-page PBNs that are still indexed with only a few posts and a couple inner pages. They have VERY low OBL though, 2 or 3 tops which is why I think they are holding strong.

It’s also important to point out that the methods mentioned above don't just protect your PBN but also build relevance and authority. Sometimes you just want to throw up a bunch of sites and go crazy but if you are serious about your PBN or doing this for clients you may want to consider incorporating the above into some of your strategies if not all of it.

Original Post: https://www.facebook.com/groups/localclienttakeover/permalink/580762098746977/

Let me tell you something about PBN metrics. THEY MEAN NOTHING!

Posted February 11, 2016

Metrics can be a sign of authority and are normally used when purchasing from a domain vendor, but if you are analyzing your own list, people say metrics are a great way to pre-qualifying a domain. The truth is that if you disqualify a domain because of its metrics you could be really missing out. As you may already know I am ranking for all types of “Chicago SEO” keywords all over the first page of Google. I achieved first page rankings for this with only 18 PBN. I have added a few more since then so I have about 20 total now. Most people tend to think I must have a “really powerful” PBN to rank for these keywords. The problem with “really powerful” is people definition of it. I have taken majestic and Moz snapshots of all 200 PBNs so you can see what I am working with. These are all taken on the best possible version of the domain (www. or non www. depending) As you can see more than half of my network has a TF less than 10, most of the historic index TF is worse in most cases which I attached 1 picture as well showing one of the domains 90 vs the 5 year. 5 of them have less than 10 backlinks in the fresh index. I have 5 domains with a DA less than 10 as well, and more than half have less than 9 backlinks according to MOZ. Many people are saying MOZ doesn’t matter anyways because of the new TF fad. Many of these would be disqualified by some people for the backlink to ref domain ratio alone. People also tend to look for domains that have as close to a 1:1 ratio for TF:CF which also disqualifies almost all of these domains. After digging through the metrics of each domain using the “standard” of disqualifying PBN domains, I have only 5 “good” PBNs. That’s not including disqualifying based on the TF & CF 1:1 ratio. If we consider even a 1:10 ratio, that leaves me with only 2 “good” PBN domains. So why am I ranking then? Do you think it’s because of only 2 good domains?

So maybe you are a person that follows these general metric rules. If you are, and assuming you are trying to rank for “city seo” keywords, the question I have for you is, “would you want links on these 20 PBNs for your website?” What if I asked you if you wanted a link from michaelmilas.com which has a TF of 11 and 34,559 backlinks in th5-yearar index (I was spammed), would you take it? I think you would be crazy not to, lol.

Now I’m not saying to go buy a bunch of spam domains or metrics aren’t a “sign” of quality but the point is while you were disqualifying PBNs based on metrics, I was using those same PBNs to rank for highly competitive search terms.

So now you may be asking yourself, what makes a good PBN then? If we can’t filter by metrics how do we break down and pick domains from a list of thousands or hundreds of thousands? The answer is you don’t. You can still use metrics and filters to sort your domains but don’t disqualify them because of other metrics is the point. The more you experiment with sorting and qualifying you will get a better idea of how to find what you are looking for in a specific niche. Strategic scraping helps a lot to but that’s for another post, lol.

There are two things that make a PBN powerful and this goes for pretty much any type of link you ever build. That is relevance and/or authority. These are the two things you are looking for when picking a domain. Now would be a good time to point out that you need to be analyzing the 5 year index and not the 90 day index to get a real understanding of a domain. That’s why a majority of my domains have very few referring domains in the 90 day index as they did when I bought them.

Now you may be wondering how do you know a domain is authoritative or relevant if you can’t use metrics or look at something like Majestic TF. Assuming you have spam checked the domain and check at least a few of the backlinks to make sure they are still live, there is only one thing you have to look at to determine if a domain is authoritative or relevant and that is the referring domains/backlinks.

Like I said before, metrics are not a good way to qualify domains but they can be an indication of power. So what we are looking for is the metrics and relevance of the referring domains/links. Relevance can usually be determined just by reading the referring domain itself. Visiting these domains and just looking at them can help with this step as well. Consider the type of content on the page and what is actually being talked about.

Relevance can also be determined by looking in archive.org which is a good indicator but the referring domains will still confirm if it has relevant backlinks or not. A site may have been in a certain niche but its backlinks could be all over. If the backlinks are powerful then get it for the authority and theme it how you like but if the referring domains niche relevance is all over and they do not have any authority then I would pass it up.

You are going to have to be open-minded about this and really think about what you are choosing and why. SEO is not a black and white practice. There is no exact way to do SEO “correctly”, so why do we treat our PBNs like they are either good or bad, black and white? A lot of it has to do with mindset I believe but I could write an entirely new post all about that too so I won’t get into that right now. What I will say is that if you start to consider strategy more than metrics, you will achieve much better results. If I’m trying to rank for “buy sunglasses” and I find the domain “thesunglassguy.com” with a TF of 5 and 8 ref domains from sunglass websites, hell yea I’m going to buy it. This is why when filtering through domains, the first thing I consider is the domain name itself. I am shocked at how many people I have talked to that don’t even consider the domain URL and instead ignore it and go straight to filtering by metrics.

Another thing to point out is that the authority and relevance of a domain has a lot to do with what is on the domain itself, your PBNs content. I could write an entire post on that as well, which I talked a little on in my last post about deindexed PBNs, but let’s just say you need to consider both sides on the story you are telling Google.

So after saying all of that I want to be clear on one thing. I am not saying to pass up on a website that has killer metrics and good backlinks but I can guarantee many people out there are passing up domains that can be used to rank their sites.

I’m going to say this again because it’s the biggest point of all of this and if anything should be your main take away from what I’m talking about. “if you start to consider strategy more than metrics, you will achieve much better results.”

If you have questions let me know and I can go into a little more detail. Happy PBN hunting

Images from Post:

Original Post: https://www.facebook.com/groups/localclienttakeover/permalink/581599988663188/

Footprint Free PBNs!

Posted: February 18, 2016

A lot of people ask about footprints. More specifically I get questions in regards to hosting and registrar footprints more than anything. There can be a lot of technical details to consider when avoiding footprints so I figured it may help some people if I explain how I manage my PBN and avoid footprints.

First of all let go over one basic fact about footprints, if you can see it, Google can see it. It’s really that simple. In order to avoid footprints, all you need to do is consider all the areas that could possibly leave a footprint and make sure these don’t overlap. To do this I use a spreadsheet. I know it’s not fancy but it works. In the spreadsheet I keep all my PBN info including alias info, account details and more. I will upload a blank spreadsheet so you can see but here are the things I have listed on my spreadsheet:

• Website niche
• CMS login details (WordPress, etc.)
• IP Address
• Name Servers
• Registration Date
• Registrar and login details
• Hosting and login details
• Alias details and e-mail address login
• cPanel login details
• CDN login details (Cloudflare, Incapsula, etc.)(not always used)

I don’t include the SOA record since I just use the alias e-mail normally but it is one thing that could leave a footprint so its good to point out. I know it seems like a lot of info but it's well worth the work to ensure your PBNs stays indexed and powerful. You can check all of these details with any DNS checking tool like http://www.nabber.org/projects/dnscheck/
The main point is to lay out all these in your spreadsheet so you can easily see if there are any footprints being created. The main things you want to watch out for and make sure are different on every website are IP, Nameservers, Registration Date and Alias info. You can reuse registrar accounts to an extent but I normally don’t like to put more than 5 to 10 domains on one registrar. I suggest at least starting with 5 different registrars and alternating but remember the more variation the better. You can also use the same hosting account in some cases as well, as long as you are using a CDN and covering footprints. If you are not familiar with using a CDN, it is a little technical which is why it is most common to use separate hosts to ensure footprints aren’t created.

If you have any question I’m glad to help. Footprints are the #1 reason PBNs get hit with penalties and de-indexing so make sure you have all your bases covered and start tracking everything.

Shared Spreadsheet on Post: Download Here

Original Post: https://www.facebook.com/groups/localclienttakeover/584330945056759/

Private Blog Network (PBN): To Build or Not To Build? That is the Question

PBN's are dead. Atleast that's what the big G wants you to think. Truth be told, PBN's will never go away and will always be a staple of most successful SEO campaigns.

Everyone in SEO is at a different stage of the game and has different needs and goals. You may be an absolute beginner when it comes to ranking websites or you might be a seasoned professional. You might focus strictly on client seo, local lead generation, affiliate marketing or dabble in all three. You might work as a "one man gang", work for someone else or even own a marketing agency with several employees. Whatever your situation is, when it comes to SEO and ranking websites, if you are reading this blog then you've probably already made the correlation between solid backlinks and a positive expected outcome.

How Well Do PBNs Work?

PBNs, when built correctly, can be extremely effective in helping SEOs achieve the results they desire for clients or personal projects. Let's take a look at some results a SERP Focus customer achieved this past month for their client.

The customer above was working on ranking a client for a national search term that was generating 1600 searches per month for the main keyword. The website already had a solid foundation of branded links and their on-page optimization was on point. Looking to push their rankings to the next level, they purchased a bulk link package consisting of 10 PBN links that were handpicked by the Serp Focus Team. With strategically chosen anchor text and a link velocity of about 1 link every 4-5 days our powerful and niche relevant PBNs were able to push this site onto the first page for their main keyword. With several links still to be placed, we will be watching closely as this site rises towards the coveted #1 spot.

PBN Link Acquisition Options

When it comes to acquiring PBN links, you have a few options.

Let's take a look of advantages and disadvantages of each.

Option #1: Building Your Own PBN Network

If you are considering building your own network of private blogs with the intention of placing links and increasing SERP rankings, then there are many different things you need to consider.

Domain Acquisition
You typically have two options when it comes to domain acquisition: expired domains and auction domains.

Expired domains are domains that were registered at one point but have been dropped after the original owner decided not to renew. These domains are typically acquired via domain scraping tools or from vendors. In most cases, you will find that expired domains have unremarkable metrics at best in terms of trust flow, domain authority but more importantly the quantity and quality of referring domains. In other words, they are unlikely to pack a punch when it comes to delivering the results you desire.

When purchasing expired domains from a vendor, you will typically pay a small premium (on top of registration costs) for finding and providing you with a domain. Although this is not time intensive, vendors may not have the inventory to supply you with the domains that meet your criteria especially if you are looking for something niche specific.

When you are using a domain scraping tool to find expired domains, you may only pay registration fees when you find a winner but there are other costs to consider. For starters, most scraping tools aren't cheap and you can expect to pay around $200/month regardless of how much or how little you use it.

Another thing to consider is that these tools aren't perfect. They do a great job of letting you filter by metrics but you will still be required to do your due diligence when it come's to spam checking using Ahref's, Majestic, Wayback archive etc. This is extremely time intensive and not the best use of anyone's time and if you do implement this technique you need to systemize the process and outsource it ASAP.

Auction domains, as the name suggests, are domains that are purchased at auction. You can find very powerful, niche specific domains in auctions. But they aren't cheap.

Our PBN Link Service runs exclusively on high-quality auctions domains that cost on average $300-$1,000. The domains we acquire are niche specific and have many powerful and relevant referring domains that can give deliver the SERP increases our clients need.

Auction domains do have their disadvantages, however. Acquiring domains at scale is time-consuming and expensive. At SERP Focus, we have our own internal domain auction team that is out there in the trenches everyday analyzing domains and monitoring auctions. It's a full time job.

Hosting & Maintenance
Once you have you a domain, you are going to need to host it. There are many options to consider here and picking the right one for you will depend on the amount of sites in your network. Premium hosting and PBN hosting sites like EasyBlogNetworks are popular solutions and can run you around $100+/year for a single site on premium hosting and $300+/year for 10 sites on EasyBlogNetworks. If you host your sites on premium hosting they will require some maintenance throughout the year (plugin updates, backups, etc). If you decide to go with EasyBlogNetworks, most of the maintenance is done for you automatically.

PBN Setup
Regardless of the hosting solution you choose, the will need setup your PBN properly in order to hide backlinks from competitors, eliminate footprints, and improve your chances of passing a manual review. The investment for setting up a PBN can range from a few hours of your time to $30-$100 if you decide to outsource it to a dedicated PBN building service. More about proper PBN setup can be found here.

When it's comes to cost, you need to consider your goals. Investing hours of time and upwards of $300-$1,000 acquiring a domain and setting up the PBN properly is the not the best way to allocate your resources especially if you only have 1 or 2 links to place on each domain. Depending on the quantity of links you need in order to rank and the velocity in which they are placed, the time and financial investment required to achieve your goals might mean this is not a viable option.

Option #2: Purchase Links From A Reputable Vendor

Buying PBN links is a great way to piggyback on the time, energy, and assets an experienced SEO has invested in setting up a PBN. You eliminate the need to invest time and money into domain acquisition, hosting, setup and maintenance and can get powerful homepage links for a fraction of the cost and time it would take to build it yourself.

Where To Buy Links
While you may be able find many vendors selling links on fiverr, konker, and pretty much any blackhat forum, we don't recommend doing so. Without getting into issues relating to the quality of these PBNs in terms of setup and actual ranking power, an important factor you need to consider is whether the domain you are placing your link on is really a private blog network at all. If you are buying links from a vendor that happily discloses the URL to the page your link is placed on, then guess what? It's not really a private blog. It's a public blog network and most SEOs know they are too be avoided like the plague. Why, do you ask? The answer is quite simple. If you have the domain URL to the PBN then so does everyone who purchased a link before you. What happens when an inexperienced SEO goes and purchases a Xrummer package from fiverr and spams the hell out of the domain? Everyone is negatively affected and while it may be something you want to test on your own sites it should never be an option when it comes to your client's sites.

Here at SERP Focus, we adhere to a very strict policy regarding PBN domain disclosure. We do not make exceptions for anyone regardless of how many links you are ordering or how well we know you. Some people disagree with it and make a small fuss and that's understandable. But we never budge because the most important thing is maintaining the quality of our PBN network in order to protect our assets but more importantly our client's assets.

Scaling Up and 80/20 Rule

Once you've achieved success ranking websites, chances are you want to scale things up in order to produce more profits. This can mean ranking more affiliate sites, building more lead gen websites, or taking on more SEO clients. When you are ready to scale up, it's important to step back, look at the big picture, and if you haven't already, familiarize yourself with "The Pareto Principle" aka the 80/20 rule. You should try to identify which activities generate the most income for your business. If you are doing client SEO, for example, it's important to realize that doing grunt work like building IFTTT networks and setting up PBNs aren't income producing activities. These tasks should be systemized and delegated/outsourced ASAP in order to free up more time to focus on income producing activities like finding more clients.

Social Signals and White Hat SEO Group Question | SERP Focus Segment #3


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