This is another Unlimited Budget SEO post (see: “get broken links on pages which already link to you removed to increase your rankings“). This means that it’s more of a thought experiment than something you should ever actually do. I love the idea though.
Websites grow old and die. Someone forgets to renew the domain name and they just disappear. This presents an interesting crossover:
See where I’m going with this?
There’s not much to differentiate this post from other ‘make a PBN (Private Blog Network)’ posts except the motivation is just different enough to be novel. There’s a nice veneer of legitimacy, and I’ve not seen the idea forwarded before: Create a PBN out of the sites that used to link to you, but have since died. Providing these links were organic in the first place (not the article directories you used to spam, which have since died), then once resurrected they should pass manual review and give you the value of those links just like in the good old days. Probably.
Most readers will have a decent grasp of how PBNs should work. If you fancy a refresher then it’s worth reading through ‘How to Build a Piece of Shit PBN‘ on some simple things to avoid:
- You don’t want to be hosting the sites in the same places.
- You don’t want to be listed as the owner of the domain.
- You don’t want obvious footprints that scream THIS IS A PBN.
If you’re a little inventive you should probably resurrect the site on the same registrar with the same hosting it used to reside on. You’ll want to do this yourself and not have an agency do it for you. We’ve all heard stories of agencies propping up their clients performance using blog networks, and pulling the links once the relationship is over.
The White Hat PBN Method
This will only work for sites with large venerable link profiles.
- Get as much historic and current link data as you possibly can. Be creative and aggregate and deduplicate all those old reports.
- Don’t bother checking to see which links are live. Deduplicate by domains to get a list of domains.
- Enter this list in batches to a bulk registration tool. Create a list of those which you can register.
- Using the wayback machine and your link list, audit these dead sites and the dead links.
- Resurrect the good ones. Don’t sue me.
Now sit back and assess the impact from putting these sites live. Was the ROI better than your ordinary link building activities? Are you back to the good old days? No? Sorry.
Gently Does It
This isn’t whitehat and that title is clearly bullshit but I’m sure if you need to you can spin the idea to ‘making the internet a better place’ or ‘keeping history alive’.
Now the problem for anyone executing the original idea here is temptation, and knowing you, you won’t be able to resist the idea of pushing it further. You’ll no doubt want to add more links to your network of sites which already link to you, or change the anchor text up, or sit them all on the homepage of each site. Maybe don’t.
Most optimisations you with your network will be super obvious. The obvious-yet-still-effective method would be to update the homepage and the most linked to pages so that they link to the URL which links to your site. Beyond that, crawl the site for links to your competitors before it goes live and look into remove them (probably just go through the external links tab in Screaming Frog). I think this is a little less blatant than adding links, but still pretty blatant.
If you liked this sort of thing, you might want to think about this.