In this article, we detail our method for sourcing domains for the Relentless Network to obtain high authority domains that provide these juicy links to our customers. We only use auctioned domains as these domains have usually not been dropped and much more likely to pass the PBN tests in the later part of our process. We have a list of strict filters in the form of domain metrics, indexing, and past website history checks, as well as analysing anchors and backlinks of potential PBN domains, before bidding for them.
Initial Domain Search
To start our domain hunt, we use a secret tool. This tool is easy to use and is powerful enough to easily find and grab domains currently being auctioned. These are the settings we use to obtain the base list of domains to sort out:
- Domain name does not contain porn and illegal terms
- Domain name does not contain digits
- Only .com, .net, .org and .info TLDs
- Google Index > 0
- Domain age less than 2015
- Moz Domain Authority and Page Authority > 15
- Majestic Citation Flow > 10 and Trust Flow > 14
Selecting the Right Domains
After obtaining the list of auctioned domains that fulfill our initial criteria, we start a process of filtering out the domains that do not pass our minimum metrics and other checks. For this section, we are analysing the domains for harmful properties; the reason being that a ‘superstar’ domain with extremely high metrics would still be unusable and even toxic if their backlinks and anchors were spammy.
Step 1: Indexing Check
Checking if a domain is indexed is one of the first few things that we do to filter out the domains that we cannot use. We do this because auctioned domains that are not indexed have usually been penalized in the past and it would be too difficult to salvage them.
How we do this is by typing ‘site:DOMAINNAME’ where ‘DOMAINNAME’ refers to the name of the domain. Remember that domains have four different variations of URLs, namely:
We perform this first check on all the domains from the spreadsheet. If a variation of the URL is not indexed, remember to check the other three variations. For the domains not indexed, remove them from the main list.
Step 2: Domain Metrics
Next, we put the domains (and their variations) through tools such as Ahrefs, Majestic and Open Site Explorer to obtain their domain metrics. These metrics are shown below. The metrics that we are most interested in are bolded.
- Ahrefs: DR 6, RD 15
- Majestic: TF 15, RD 10, CF not more than 1.5x of TF
- Moz (Open Site Explorer): DA 15, PA 15, Mozrank 1.5
For Ahrefs, the reason why we prefer sites with DR more or equal to 6 is due to Ahrefs themselves stating that most sites, 83.9% in their database, have a DR in the 0-5 range; therefore, we want sites that are better than the majority of sites online to be part of our network.
For Majestic, what is meant by CF not more than 1.5x TF is that if the TF is 15, the CF should never be more than 22.5. Spammy websites often have high citation flow (CF) but have extremely low (or even 0) trust flow (TF). This filters out all the potential spammy domains that are included in our list.
We also want domains with a relatively high RD as we do not want the authority of the site to tank if any of the backlinks to the PBN domain get removed. A domain with 20 RD will suffer less link-juice decreases if a backlink gets removed, as compared to a domain with only 3 RD.
While most PBN vendors only use one or two metrics to measure their sites, we take into consideration all the different metrics that are provided by the most popular domain analysis tools in the market. Furthermore, we combine all this information to generate an in-house measurement metric, also known as the ArchSEO Rating (ASR), which we use to qualify the domains and filter them further. After using ASR in our criteria, we were able to more consistently identify well performing domains in our searches.
Step 3: Wayback Machine check (Archive.org)
The next step in our process is to check the history of the website through the Wayback Machine at Archive.org. What we usually look for is the latest screenshot of the domain before it went in the auctions, one year before that, three years before that, and any other significant changes to the website in the past. We do this to filter out any possibility that the domain was misused and became spammy, or a possible past PBN site. Here are the things that we look out for (not exhaustive):
- Any obscene, illegal or spammy material on the site
- Strange foreign language sites, after translation
- Past PBNs
- Website purpose drastically changed from the original owner to another type of site (that makes no sense; for example, an internet forum site that became a site about windsurfing)
Step 4: Check Anchors and RDs for spam
With Majestic, we now check the Anchors and RDs for any undesirable or spammy links.
- Anchor text should not have any porn, pharmaceutical or illegal keywords (e.g., fake Rolex watches, drugs, viagra)
- Anchor text not heavily keyword targeted by a specific exact match keyword
- Sitewide links or mass anchor text from blog comments, directories, and foreign anchors (e.g., Chinese or Japanese characters but the site is not from either of these countries)
If at any point in time we suspect that a domain is not fit to be part of our network, we take it off right away. It is much less risky to have a false negative result of rejecting a good domain, than a false positive where we accept a highly toxic domain.
Everything in our PBN process is done in-house, from the domain hunting to the setup, and also the testing of new PBNs. It is essential that we obtain only the highest grade of domains for our network, as not only do we want to provide those of the highest quality to you, but we also use them for our activities. Move forward to our next article if you would like to know more about how we set up our PBN domains.
Now that you have found a great domain, click here find out how to set up your PBN beautifully. Alternatively, read this article if you have already set them up and want to learn how to do PBN testing.