Case Study: Yes, Web 2.0 Backlinks Can Rank A Site

Building a PBN can be both time consuming and expensive – it can take a while to find suitable expired domains and then getting the sites all set up takes even more time. For that reason, I started testing using only web 2.0 links as a sort of PBN.

I did this partially to see if I got similar results to using an expired domain (since it would be cheaper and less time consuming), but also because I was coaching someone who could not afford to build out a PBN of expired domains. It’s been just over six months now I started this little experiment and the results might surprise you.

The Web 2.0 Backlink Experiment

Since I am kinda lazy when it comes to backlinks and PBN, I decided to do my test with just three web 2.0s to backlink a site. At the time, I was paying for a SerpWoo account, so I selected the top web 2.0’s on their list at the time, which were Wix, Weebly and Blogspot. You can actually get this data with a free account – just click on “Global Stats” on the top right of the screen when logged in and then scroll down to the “Today’s Top Sites” section.

Here’s how the experiment started:

What I Started With:

Two niche websites with around 10 posts each.

Both sites created in August 2014 but not earning. Site #1 had a few page 2, 3 and 4 rankings, but site #2 had none.

Each site targeting different niches, but similar competition.

So, just a couple of simple sites in low competition niches and no other backlinks.

Within two weeks, the results looked like this:

Test site #1’s rankings (previous reported ranking listed for easy reference):

kw #1 = 19 (23)
kw #2 = 16 (17)
kw #3 = 27 (36)
kw #4 = 19 (21)
kw #5 = NA
kw #6 = 23 (25)

Test site #2’s rankings:

kw #1 = NA
kw #2 = 38
kw #3 = 15
kw #4 = NA
kw #5 = NA

Not too bad, eh? And this was late January 2015 by this point in the experiment. Well, it got even better one week later….at least for site #1.

Test site #1’s rankings (previous reported rankings listed for easy reference):

kw #1 = 10 (19) (23)
kw #2 = 9 (16) (17)
kw #3 = 22 (27) (36)
kw #4 = 8 (19) (21)
kw #5 = NA
kw #6 = 10 (23) (25)

Test site #2’s rankings:

kw #1 = NA
kw #2 = 25 (38)
kw #3 = 22 (15)
kw #4 = NA
kw #5 = NA

I was curious if I sent some high DA links to the web 2.0’s if that would increase their power, so I tried that out with the ones linking to site #2. I just did a 301 redirect with the domain registrar and not a PBN in-post style link.

And, two weeks later, it looked like this:

Test site #1’s rankings (previous reported rankings listed for easy reference):

kw #1 = 7 (10) (19) (23)
kw #2 = 4 (9) (16) (17)
kw #3 = 9 (22) (27) (36)
kw #4 = 3 (8 ) (19) (21)
kw #5 = NA
kw #6 = 5 (10) (23) (25)

Test site #2’s rankings:

kw #1 = 46 (NA)
kw #2 = 18 (25) (38)
kw #3 = 19 (22) (15)
kw #4 = NA
kw #5 = NA

And, three weeks later, the rankings looked like this:

Test site #1’s rankings (previous reported rankings listed for easy reference):

kw #1 = 8 (10) (19) (23)
kw #2 = 4 (9) (16) (17)
kw #3 = 12 (22) (27) (36)
kw #4 = 3 (8 ) (19) (21)
kw #5 = NA
kw #6 = 8 (10) (23) (25)

Test site #2’s  rankings:

kw #1 = 53 (NA)
kw #2 = 20 (25) (38)
kw #3 = 20 (22) (15)
kw #4 = NA
kw #5 = NA

And, three weeks after that (which made it the first week of April 2015), the rankings looked like this:

Test site #1’s rankings (previous reported rankings listed for easy reference):

kw #1 = 2 (8 ) (10) (19) (23)
kw #2 = 3 (4) (9) (16) (17)
kw #3 = 3 (12) (22) (27) (36)
kw #4 = 1 (3) (8 ) (19) (21)
kw #5 = 79 (NA)
kw #6 = 2 (8 ) (10) (23) (25)

Test site #2’s rankings:

kw #1 = 59 (53) (NA)
kw #2 = 15 (20) (25) (38)
kw #3 = 16 (20) (22) (15)
kw #4 = NA
kw #5 = NA

I think it’s important to note a few things about this experiment now. First, I did not add any content to the two sites during this experiment. In fact, I still haven’t added any new content to them. Neither site seems to have attracted any backlinks from other sites or social media, so it’s still just the links that I’ve created for this experiment. But probably the most important thing to know is that site #1 began earning in February 2015 and is averaging around $65 for the past three months.

And, fast forward to today and here are the rankings…

Test site #1’s rankings as of July 2015:

kw #1 = 2 (2) (8 ) (10) (19) (23)
kw #2 = 1 (3) (4) (9) (16) (17)
kw #3 = 2 (3) (12) (22) (27) (36)
kw #4 = 1 (1) (3) (8 ) (19) (21)
kw #5 = 86 (79) (NA)
kw #6 = 1 (2) (8 ) (10) (23) (25)

Test site #2’s rankings as of July 2015:

kw #1 = 90 (59) (53) (NA)
kw #2 = 21 (15) (20) (25) (38)
kw #3 = 18 (16) (20) (22) (15)
kw #4 = NA
kw #5 = NA

What I find most interesting about this experiment is that juicing site #2’s web 2.0s with some high DA redirects did not really give it all that much of a boost. I honestly expected it to rank better and faster than site #1, but it appears to be the exact opposite. Of course, I have not checked the competition lately, so it is very possible that the keywords site #2 is targeting have gotten more competitive in the past six months.

Next, I plan on removing the redirects of the three high DA sites and instead making them proper PBN sites with a link out to the actual website. Surely I’ll see some positive outcome from that….although those domain are obviously not indexed…so maybe not.

About the Author

Hey, I'm Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok and (currently) Las Vegas. I share how I do some of that on this website.

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