Do PBN Links Still Work? (HPD Case Study)

Do PBN Links Still Work

One of the great benefits for those working behind the scenes at Human Proof Designs is we have access to a lot of data due to the many sites we work on and services we offer. Two of those services are our one-time and monthly PBN links.

For as long as the concept of a PBN came to existence, they have always been a polarizing topic. One of the most highly debated issues has been whether they even work or not.

While theorizing is fun, the best way to really get some kind of answer on this is to look at a few sites using them and see whether or not there have been any results.

So, without further ado, here are three sites and their rankings results from using PBN links.

(Note: URLs have been removed to protect the site owners). 

Site #1

The first site we’re looking at was built by us here at HPD. It’s everything you would expect a starter affiliate site to be. 

When the owner decided to give HPD Links a try the site had little very minimal off-page work done. Here is what it looked like as far as ranking keywords are concerned.

As you can see, the on-page alone did get some keywords popping without any off-page help. But, it wasn’t getting any real organic traffic at this point.

The owner opted to subscribe to a monthly HPD Links program of five links per month. They did almost no other link building aside from that.

Six months later and we see a very different picture.

While on-page improvements and adding more content of course can help, the links really kicked this into a site that was a hobby to a site that can actually make some real earnings.

Site 2

This next site is also an HPD built site. It was nicely designed and had some really nice content within a niche that is not the easiest.

From the start, it showed a little promise with a handful of keywords popping up in the top 100, though none of them were high enough to pull in much traffic.

As far as link building, before joining the HPD monthly links program, it only had a few nofollow blog comment links. That’s when the owner decided to give the PBN links a try (five links a month).

As they progressed month over month, they saw slow but steady gains. The owner also focused their efforts only on new content and on-site changes while leaving the link building to us.

Six months later, and here’s what they have to show for it.

Their total number of keywords in the top 100 jumped tenfold, and their traffic went from almost nothing to over 1000 unique organic hits a month and growing.

This site has so much potential it’s not even funny.

Site 3

This final site is a little different than the first two. It usually takes a solid four or five months for traffic to really start to ramp up from the five links per month service. But, as anyone that’s worked in SEO for a while knows, no one site is the same.

Here’s another affiliate site. It had very minor off-page work done before joining the monthly service. You can see it really wasn’t gaining much traction.

There were hardly any keywords showing in the top 100 and there was absolutely no organic traffic coming in. But, that ​quickly changed.

This site reacted very well to the PBN links and after only three short months, the rankings and traffic were very different.

What’s great about this is that the site owner started to see a very fast ROI on their link building efforts, which in SEO usually takes a lot longer.

Then, their traffic more than doubled from month three to month four.

That’s some seriously nice return on investment right there.

In Summary

All three of the sites above have two main things in common – they all were receiving the same amount of links per month (5), and they all stayed with the program for several months. That sustained approach to link building really paid off.

They also didn’t have much link building done before joining and they did little to no link building while using the HPD monthly links program. That helped keep the data fairly clean.

So, do PBN links still work? What do you think?

Lastly, the main idea behind this case study was to use some of the massive amounts of data we have available to us at Human Proof Designs and see if there’s anything we can learn to help both our business and our much-appreciated customers. We only grow by helping you grow.

19 thoughts on “Do PBN Links Still Work? (HPD Case Study)”

  1. It is normal for a site to pick up traffic after
    the 6-month mark, provided content is
    published regularly.

    Also, traffic for all these sites are not really
    that high to justify PBN compared to a site
    which is using no links and only publishing
    high-quality content regularly.

    To prove that the PBN link worked, no
    content should be added for 3-5 months
    where the links are added.

    Also, a site which used PBN and a site
    which only published good quality content
    regularly without using PBN should be
    compared at the 18-24 month mark, which is
    where the real growth and stable revenue.

    That way it can be proved for real whether
    PBN’s have a long-term effect on rankings
    and revenue.

    Otherwise, using PBN’s is like using drugs
    for quick dopamine hit in the short term
    to get a peak in traffic+revenue and
    which has no value in the long term,
    other than for PBN sellers.

    1. I agree with you actually that there are tons of different things to consider, but you’ve misunderstood our case study. These were not sites that were brand new. They were all varying ages and had not had any success before we added the links, then within 5-6 months of us adding links they responded very positively, so your argument is based on the wrong assumption.

    2. Otherwise, using PBN’s is like using drugs for quick dopamine hit in the short term to get a peak in traffic+revenue and which has no value in the long term, other than for PBN sellers.

      I don’t agree with this at all. You’re stating it results in a momentary peak in rankings & traffic which simply isn’t the case. They most certainly do hold up long-term and do improve a site’s overall ranking and therefore traffic progressively over time, not in “spurts.”

      That’s not how it works. Perhaps you’re confusing something else.

      All things being done properly, and doing proper content & SEO work to maintain your position against the competition, it is a valid method should one choose to use it.

  2. As a HPD PBN customer I’d say yes, they definitely work. I probably sound like a shill but I’ve been super impressed so far.

  3. Things change quickly but I think your case study shows a working strategy I am using at this time.
    1) Solid site design by HPD or do yourself
    2) Drip in PBN links
    3) Wean yourself off the links as content and backlinks grow.
    4) Flip site
    5) Rinse & repeat

    Nice job!

  4. Thanks for the share Timothy!

    I have yet to see a case study where PBN links didn’t move the needle. I have tested them on hundreds (closing in on 1k+) sites I’ve done in the past 10+ years and I firmly velieve they still work and will continue to work 😉

  5. Thanks for this post. The SEO landscape is very subjective but what I’ve come to learn over the years is to “test” whatever is said.

    My link building strategy for my niche sites is simple: PBNs + Web2.0s

    And they work!

  6. Great post! I have done strategy for a year now with, and it is working! PBN’s, when done well are probably the most effective link building tactic to rank highly and quickly.

  7. i have tried almost all type of pbns and have come to the final conclusion that they are not a winning strategy for anyone who is trying to do link building, i would rather gain one good guest post than getting hundreds of these junk pbns

    1. Eh, saying “junk PBNs” is a bit inaccurate.

      The quality of PBN networks, links, and etc. definitely varies. I know other guys who use lesser networks and they’ve had issues. HPD’s seem pretty good.

      Besides, you’re shouldn’t be using only PBNs but alongside white hat links as well as Bryon and others recommend.

  8. I’ve been thinking about purchasing a PBN package from you, but have some reservations with all of the negativity towards them in recent years. Suppose I purchased a few PBN links for my website, but once I started gaining other natural links, I were to disavow the PBN links. Do you think that this would reduce my chances of someday getting penalized by Google?

  9. I have been thinking about using PBNs to get some initial boost for my blog site. But with all the mixed comments out there i was a bit worried. Thanks Timothy and HPD for publishing this insightful article. I would love to get the 5 backlink per month pack from you. How can i get started and what would be the cost? Please guide me so that i can get started ASAP

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