Complete Guide: How To Set Up A PBN Domain
NOTE: This information is intended to be BOTH beginner and veteran friendly.
I will include basic explanations so beginners can understand but it is structured so you can scan through and see everything that I do, if you are more experienced.
EXAMPLE PBN TO VIEW: isotopemarketing.com
This is a random domain I had that I setup an “example PBN” on to look at. This is basically what a PBN looks like minus, of course, the red text I put in the first post on the homepage to denote “AUTHORITY LINK”, “MONEY SITE LINK”, etc.
1. Install WordPress
Install WordPress on your site.
This is easy to do but here is a video about it.
All you do is go in your cPanel and look for a button under Software/Services area that says either “WordPress” or “Softaculous” or “Fantastico” or “Quickinstall” usually(there could even be other names but just look for the “script installer” software down there- those are just the most common ones).
2. Find A Free Theme And Install It
WordPress has thousands of free themes you can use on your site.
In general, you want to have a different theme on every site.
You can just go to Appearance>Themes>Add New>Feature Filter and search for themes.
I like to set the Feature Filter to:
These are the options I check when searching:
This means you are searching for themes that may have one sidebar or no sidebar, I keep PBNs simple by just using one of these two layouts(either or doesn’t matter) because we don’t need to have tons of sidebars and columns on these simple little sites we are making. This helps weed out huge robust themes with tons of content containers and widgets that we don’t want to be spending time filling out.
-Front Page Posting
You want to be sure you check “Custom Menu” so you get themes that allow you to customize the Navigation(this is just an extremely basic concept- some sites don’t allow you to do this).
And “Front Page Posting” is very important for PBNs because you need a theme that will allow you to display the full WP posts’ content on the homepage.
EDIT: here is a good list of such themes to use on PBNs.
In some themes, only excerpts are posted on the homepage and this means your links will not show up unless they are in the first paragraph or so of the post.
In order for your links to have a lot of link power and pass this to your money sites, these links need to appear on the homepage.
So always get themes that display full posts, not just excerpts, on the homepage.
4. Install Plugins
Install and activate these plugins:
Contact Form 7 – Allows you to put a basic contact form on one page of your site. This makes your site look “real”.
Disable Comments – Just a basic technical plugin to disable comments since you won’t be moderating them on your network of tons of sites. This way spammers cannot fill up your DB with useless space wasteage.
Backlinks Saver – This redirects all random inner page “404” errors to the homepage. This is useful because a lot of times PBN domains have links going to inner pages, and you want to coagulate all of this link juice at the homepage where you will be placing links to your money sites.
These plugins are pretty simple to figure out how to use- you just go in and usually input an email address where they will email you a DB file of your site on a weekly or monthly basis. This is useful in case you randomly have a site go down or a host shut down for an unforeseen reason.
Spyder Spanker – ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL – allows you to block certain bots from crawling and indexing your content/links. You can block Ahrefs, Majestic, Moz, etc. so that competitors do not end up seeing your link network.
Yoast SEO – Allows you to set your own custom meta titles and descriptions.
5. Configure Plugins
Simply click the “Configuration Options” link that will appear at top of page after installation, then check “Everywhere” and click “Save Changes”.
You will want to go into your Spyder Spanker settings and add the following IPs and User Agents to their respective boxes and then click “update”.
Spyder Spanker Alternative – .htaccess and robots.txt files in your root directory
If your host is not compatible with Spyder Spanker or you absolutely need a free alternative, you can use this method to still block unwanted bots from indexing your links.
I only use this on the rare few sites that are on hosts that are not compatible with SS, because it takes more time to set up.
What you do is go into your cPanel and add a robots.txt file with this proper code and also a piece of code to your .htaccess file.
Get these files here:
Contact Form 7
Use Contact Form 7 simply to get the shortcode of the default installed form, and then make a new “Contact” page on your site and paste it in.
This is simple to make your site look “real” and give it the air of being a random real site out on the web.
NOTE: if using on many sites, be sure to vary the “From”, “To”, “Message”, labels in the form and type your own in, so all of your forms are not the “same” across your entire network.
This is easy to configure, you just add your email(where you want DB backups sent to) and then check “weekly” to have them mailed to you weekly(what I do anyways).
6. A Bunch Of Random Little Stuff:
Delete the footer link out of the code at Appearance>Editor>Footer.php. This is usually a “powered by wordpress” link or a theme credit link. These sap link juice off of your site because they count as one more out-bound-link. Get rid of them.
Set your permalinks to your preferred type in Settings>Permalinks. I vary it up between using “Post Name”, “Month And Name”, and “Day And Name”. I like these because they end up including keywords in the inner-url of the page/post you create- the other options only have numbers.
Fill out your site title and description in Settings>General by making up something related to the niche you are going after. Just make up something related to your niche that a “real” site in that space would have. For example “Everything You Need To Know About Dog Toys” or “The BBQ Grill Authority”.
Delete the “hello world” and “sample page” from under “Posts” and “Pages” respectively(these are default empty pages that come installed in WP and have no purpose and just look retarded/take up space).
Configure your WP install to be on http://domain.com(root) or http://www.domain.com(subdomain/www) – lookup your domain in the Wayback Machine which will show you a history of the site. You can also use Majestic or another link tool to see which version of the site was receiving the most links- the “www” version or the “non-www(root)” version. Whichever version is receiving more links is the one that you want your install on. You can change this by going to WordPress Settings>General.
7. Create Inner Pages(Optional) And Configure Your Menu
I like to create, in addition to the “contact” page, a few random article pages that are just inner pages.
A lot of the time I do skip this, admittedly, but maybe half of my network is set up this way.
I think it helps your site look better on an algorithmic level/more trustworthy but this is not proven.
Skipping this will not make or break your site.
Of course, you will want these pages to be linked from the menu if you do create them, along with a link to your “Home” page and your “Contact” page(just like any real site would have).
8. Deal With Sidebar
If you want you can leave the sidebar completely empty, what I do most of the time though is go to Appearance>Widgets and add a “Recent Posts” widget to the sidebar to display links to your recent posts.
If you are really getting into the site you can add images, text, make it look real, a welcome message, etc. but usually I just skip that.
9. Create Your First Posts
BEFORE you actually link out from your PBN to your money sites, I like to make a few posts(at least 2) that have NO LINKS IN THEM WHATSOEVER.
Also I like to mix the name of the “old blog”/brand name of site into the new theme of the site in the “post titles” in these posts, to create a blending effect of the two themes.
For example, if the site was about “museums” and I want to make it about “dog toys”, I will write, “the best museums that feature dog toys”, etc. (it doesn’t have to make total coherent sense but it is made to blend the two themes and not trigger anything obviously pbn-ish in the mind of bots).
So for the first posts, just include a lot of text, some images and maybe youtube videos.
Then in a subsequent post I might drop in one authority link, and then start making posts that include money site links and authority links together, and then once in a while still drop in a post that contains no links. Of course, you can view the example PBN site here isotopemarketing.com.
10. Other Bonus Tips
Mixing Up General Site Structure Of Page/Posts On Homepage – Another random thing I like to do sometimes is configure the home page to be a “page” instead of consist of multiple “posts”. This is purely to avoid footprints and not have all my sites look the same- though I don’t consider it essential. A lot of times it is easier to manage just having all of them as posts. But I do have quite a few sites set up like this currently, though the majority are posts.