Conducting a Comprehensive Audit of Your PBN Links8 min read

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Conducting a Comprehensive Audit of Your PBN Links

Ever feel like your website’s SEO could use a little spring cleaning?

Just like a garden, your Private Blog Network (PBN) links need regular care and attention to stay in top shape.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie in the SEO world, conducting a comprehensive audit of your PBN links can be the secret sauce to keeping your site healthy and thriving.

Let’s get started and ensure your SEO garden is blooming with quality links!


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Identifying PBN Backlinks

Manual Review of Backlink Profile: Step-by-Step Guide

Ahrefs dashboard provides complete overview of website include authority score, internal and external links data, outbound links and dedicated web page data as well
Ahrefs dashboard provides complete overview of website include authority score, internal and external links data, outbound links and dedicated web page data as well
  1. Export Backlinks:
    • Use a tool like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz to gather all your backlinks.
    • Export this data into a Google Sheets file for easy access and organization.
  2. Analyze Each Link:
    • Utilize a link crawler to examine each backlink individually.
    • Check the linking domain’s authority and relevance to your website’s content.
  3. Identify PBN Indicators:
  4. Check for Red Flags:
    • Identify broken links that may negatively impact your SEO.
    • Look for signs of black hat SEO tactics, such as spammy links or link farms.
    • Monitor for sudden drops in search engine rankings, which could signal a problem with your backlinks.
  5. Assess Link Quality:
  6. Maintain a Clean Profile:
  7. Use Google’s Disavow Tool:
    • For any toxic or suspicious links that you cannot manually remove, create a disavow file.
    • Submit the disavow file through Google Search Console to prevent these links from harming your SEO.

By following these steps, you can effectively manage and maintain a healthy backlink profile, ensuring your SEO efforts are supported by high-quality, relevant links.

Analyzing Anchor Text Distribution

When analyzing anchor text distribution, check the percentage of brand, keyword-rich, and generic anchor text. Tools like Google Sheets or a link crawler can help spot patterns suggesting manipulative link-building tactics.

natural anchor text distribution - ahrefs
Natural anchor text distribution; Ahrefs

This analysis helps find issues that might trigger a Google penalty or a drop in search rankings.

Assessing the Quality of PBN Links

Evaluating Relevance of PBNs to Your Niche

  • Identify Niche Topics:
    • List main topics and keywords relevant to your niche using tools like Google Trends.
  • Analyze PBN Content:
    • Review the content on PBN sites to ensure alignment with your niche topics.
WebArchive Wayback Machine
  • Check Domain History:
    • Use Wayback Machine to verify the domains have consistently covered your niche.
  • Evaluate Engagement:
    • Check for high engagement metrics (comments, shares) on the PBN sites within your niche.
  • Assess Backlink Profiles:
    • Use Ahrefs or SEMrush to ensure the PBN sites have backlinks from relevant, authoritative sources.
  • Examine Outbound Links:
    • Ensure PBN sites link to other reputable sites in your niche, avoiding unrelated or low-quality links.

Examining Traffic and Engagement Metrics

Analyze traffic and engagement metrics related to PBN links using tools like Google Sheets and link crawlers.

Google Ranking Factors
Google Ranking Factors; Source:

Focus on metrics such as backlink profile, anchor text diversity, and content quality to understand the impact on organic traffic and search engine rankings.

Verifying IP Diversity of PBN Sources

First, gather IP address data for your backlinks using tools like Ahrefs, Majestic, or SEMrush.

Compile these IP addresses in a Google Sheets document for easy review.

Majestic dashboard
Majestic dashboard

Next, analyze the IP addresses to ensure a variety of sources, avoiding multiple links from the same IP.

Use IP checker tools like IPinfo or WhatIsMyIP to identify the geographical location and ownership of each IP address.

Look for patterns that might indicate a single hosting provider, and ensure links come from diverse and geographically spread IPs to maintain a natural appearance.

Finally, regularly monitor the IP diversity to keep your backlink profile varied and healthy.

Identifying Risks and Penalties

Spotting Signs of Toxic Links

Use a link crawler tool to identify suspicious patterns in backlink profiles.

what are bad links
What are bad links? Source: Digital School of Marketing

Analyzing the link-building strategies used is essential. Organize the data in Google Sheets to see any black hat SEO tactics like spammy PBN backlinks or unnatural links from external publishers.

Understanding Google’s Stance on PBNs

Google does not support PBN backlinks, considering them a black hat SEO technique.

tweet by John Mueller on google's algorithms to detect PBN links
Tweet by John Mueller on google’s algorithms to detect PBN links

Understanding Google’s perspective on PBNs is crucial to avoid penalties. Conducting a backlink audit using tools like Google Sheets can uncover any PBN backlinks that may negatively impact your website’s SEO.

Removing Toxic Links

Manual Removal Process

The manual removal process involves several steps:

Using Disavow Tool for Toxic Links

Use the Disavow Tool by Google for toxic links in your backlink profile.

google disavow tool comes as a part of google search console to disavow links or event a list of links in a disavow file
Google disavow tool comes as a part of google search console

This helps avoid penalties and drops in ranking. Factors like anchor text, expired domains, and black hat SEO should be considered. Conducting a thorough backlink audit and following Google guidelines can help disavow unnatural links effectively.

Optimizing PBN Link Building

Strategies to Generate PBNs Safely

white hat black hat

  1. Conduct a thorough backlink audit using tools like Google Sheets and a link crawler.
  2. Focus on creating high-quality content and using ethical alternatives like content marketing and guest posting.
  3. Avoid black hat SEO techniques.
  4. Monitor the backlink profile regularly and disavow any unnatural links through the Google Disavow File.
  5. Invest in sustainable strategies like building links from external publishers.

Ensuring White Hat Practices in PBN Creation

Use white hat practices in PBN creation to maintain website authority and avoid penalties. A backlink audit is necessary to check for spammy or artificial links. Tools like link crawlers and Google Sheets can help. Use natural anchor text and publish high-quality content on PBN sites.

BacklinkManager: The Ultimate Tool for PBN Link Audits

BacklinkManager excels in effortlessly managing and monitoring your backlinks, ensuring they effectively support your SEO strategy. dashboard preview dashboard preview

This tool simplifies the complex task of backlink management, providing you with accurate and timely insights to maintain a healthy and effective link profile.

Backlinkmanager pricing
Backlinkmanager pricing


  • Easy Monitoring: Simplifies the process of monitoring your links, guaranteeing their effectiveness.
  • Reliable Checking: Provides reliable link examination with accurate insights into link placement and performance.
  • Thorough Verification: Checks your links twice to ensure they’re in good shape.
  • Instant Alerts: Notifies you immediately if anything happens to your links.
  • Organized Link Management: Neatly organize your links by setting goals for specific pages and grouping them by projects or clients.


Conducting regular audits of your PBN links ensures they remain effective and compliant with search engine guidelines.

Tools like Google Sheets, link crawlers, and BacklinkManager are essential for identifying and managing backlinks, helping maintain a strong online presence and improve search engine rankings.


What is a PBN link audit and why is it important?

A PBN link audit is a review of backlinks from private blog networks to ensure they are high-quality and not spammy. It’s important to maintain a clean link profile to avoid penalties from search engines like Google. Regular audits help identify and remove toxic links.

What are the steps involved in conducting a comprehensive audit of PBN links?

  1. Gather all PBN backlink data using tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush.
  2. Analyze backlink profiles for quality and relevance.
  3. Check for suspicious footprints like similar IPs or hosting providers.
  4. Disavow toxic or low-quality PBN links through Google Search Console.
  5. Monitor and regularly audit backlinks for any new additions.

What are the common red flags to look for during a PBN link audit?

Common red flags during a PBN link audit include:

  • Excessive keyword-rich anchor text
  • Poor quality content
  • Suspicious site metrics such as a high number of outbound links
  • Overlapping IP addresses and hosting
  • Inconsistent website themes or topics

How can I identify and remove toxic or spammy links from my PBN?

One way to identify toxic or spammy links in your PBN is by using tools like Ahrefs or Moz to analyze backlink profiles. Look for low-quality sites, irrelevant anchor text, and unnatural patterns. Remove these links by contacting site owners or using the disavow tool in Google Search Console.

What tools or software are recommended for conducting a thorough audit of PBN links?

Some tools recommended for conducting a thorough audit of PBN links include Ahrefs, Moz, SEMrush, and Majestic. These tools can help analyze the quality and relevance of PBN links, identify potential risks, and improve overall site health.