White Hat vs Black Hat: The PBN vs The PIN

White Hat vs Black Hat: The PBN vs The PIN


There is a bit of discussion within the SEO community about white hat versus black hat and having a PBN (Private Blog Network) against building up a PIN (Personal Influencer Network).

There are common arguments on both sides of the coin that makes it rather an amusing spectacle. Keep it in mind that most SEOs use a combination of both black hat and white hat on their blogs/websites.

There are plenty of black hat SEOs who defend themselves saying they have already made so much money using black hat strategies. While white hat purists argue that black hat is risky and you can get taken down at any time.

This is often the things that black hats say in response:

-‘It Works! The pages are ranking well.’

-‘It is easy to do’ – it takes quite a bit of reading up but overall building a PBN is reasonable straightforward.

-‘You can start earning money pretty quickly.’

-‘If your site gets penalised, just build it up again.’

White hats will often try to detract from them saying:

-‘You can get penalised at any time and lose everything.’

-‘It is not a viable long-term strategy. Your business could disappear below your feet at any time.’


These are the common reasons black hats give for not pursuing white hat strategies:

-‘It is super expensive’ – you have to build up content, an audience, build links using legitimate means – that is a super expensive process.

-‘It is time-consuming’ – the amount of time you have to dedicate to what you are doing is crazy. It takes forever to start seeing results.

-‘It is hard’ – it requires you to put yourself out there and actually be engaging with people as opposed to just gaming the system

-‘It is not scalable’ – building a PBN is like manufacturing a product. You have full control over the size and every aspect.


White Hats counter these ideas with the following notions:

-You are doing something you enjoy and building up a genuine community around your brand.

-You are building up an effective long-term strategy for growth: super low risk.

-It is more rewarding – you are not just gaming the system – you legitimately care about the site and are personally heavily invested in it.

-it is less expensive than a PBN: you are building up your own personal brand. You produce all the content and acquire all the backlinks yourself.


Scott Davidson aka SEO Genius’ main drawings from this:

There is no doubt that black hat works and there are plenty of people making good money out of it.

But as a long-term strategy relying solely on the black hat is not going to be a wise strategy.

It leaves you way to openly exposed to taking a big hit.

The best way to mitigate this is by focusing on building up some sites through a healthy mixture of white hat and black hat.

Using the odd black hat link to add strength, but not relying full on it.

Giving the Website Character: provide personality

Choosing a niche that you care about and really going for it is going to be the way to secure your future online business.

Of course, it takes a lot more work and the profits don’t come in instantly but it is a better strategy for long time growth.

There is no doubt of the strength and long-term benefit that a personal influencer network offers. Your website suddenly becomes something that is genuinely linked in with other webmasters with their own unique ambition and goals.

Instead of being linked to stagnant website manufactured by yourself suddenly it is linked in with another active website that is also constantly growing and acquiring more links themselves.

Google is smart, very very smart and is only getting smarter: it can pick up on this kind of activity. They will soon be able to spot black hat activity from a mile away.

The days of gaming the system in this fashion could soon be gone forever.

A PIN is the kind of network you want your website to belong to.

For me, I find that email is a great way to connect with other webmasters especially when you are interested in article marketing.

My guess is that we will reach a point where the blogs that are genuinely linked in with living, breathing webmasters with active communities will stand tall.

These will be the sites that are worth millions of dollars in years to come.

Google wants to reward websites that are sincerely engaged within a community.

A level of personal engagement that is reflected through their backlinking profile.

For anyone who wants to make the move into white hat SEO – I would say choose a niche that you like and start connecting with people at a personal level.

Follow your gut feeling in all your interactions with others and slowly start expanding your influence.

You will find that a PIN is scalable on the same level that a PBN is. Once you have joined a whole network of webmasters, you can use this network to grow and expand into other niches.

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