For years PR sites, also referred to as Page Rank have been the sites people have been after to help rank their sites. For people not sure what I’m talking about, or how this works please refer to my tutorial on PBN’s and it will explain everything. In the last 18 months or so a new metric called Page Authroity also known as PA has become quite popular. With how few and far between the PR updates are more people have been looking at PA as a better metric for determining the quality of the domain.
Some of my readers may know that I have another site where I sell domains for your PBN. I sell based on PA and have largely rejected PR as an inneffective and out of date metric as many other people are starting to do. I recently did a case study with one of my customers to get some solid and definitive data. In our study we supplied 3 virgin domains. Domains that had never been used ever before, for anything, and had no backlinks to them of any kind.
We sent 1 link to them and 1 link only from one of our 3 PBN sites. We had a PR5, a PR2 and a PR0.
The goal was to use higher PA on the lower PR, and a lower PA on the higher PR to show that PR was not going to be the determining factor in what was ranking the test money sites. We wanted to cut down on the variables as much as we could. We used the same WordPress themes, same keywords, same images same everything. For content we used the same article on the money sites and the PBN’s used the same articles. Everything was spun up so that it would appear original, except for the keywords. The keywords appeared the same number of times for all money sites, and all PBN’s had it used the same number of times. Even the alt tag on the image (as well as the file name) were the same. The intent was to knock out as many variables as we could just to get it down to PA vs PR.
We decided to run the test for a week just to let everything settle so that any “Google Dance” would have stopped. We ended the test on Sunday the 9th of March. At the time the money site that had the PR2 linked to it was ranked first. The money with the PR5 linked was in second, and the PR0 money had settled into third.
What is also interesting is that the PR5 site itself was in the 4-6th spots, and the PR2 was in the 7th spot for the SERP. The PR0 PBN was at the top of the 2nd page at #11. Again this was not a competitive keyword, which is why these sites were ranking so well. We wanted to go for a long tail kw that was for something made up just so we could get some good data for this. I think a good future test would be to do a similar test with a competitive keyword and see what the difference is between the sites and where they rank for a better gauge of the overall difference in link juice power.
The last few days of the test the money from the PR5 and PR2 were fighting for the #1 spot until Friday evening when the PR2 seemed to lock itself in. Given the PR2 did have better metrics from PA and DA I think that it is safe to conclude that there is something else being factored in. With the high regard placed on the PR5, and how much more money people were willing to pay for it vs a PR2, if the PR5 was going to out perform it should have done it, and should have had this contest won from the start. The fact that the PR2 was able to beat the PR5 suggests that the money spent on the PR5 is not worth the money.
At the time I write this, the day after the test is over, the PR5 money site has come back on top. This again suggests that the difference between the 2 sites is almost insignificant. The price paid for the PR5 (and this one was far cheaper than many of the PR5s I see for sale) was only $375. Given the cost of many PR2 sites at auction are $75 to $100, it would seem that buying 2 of them would give you the link juice needed to beat the PR5.
It should also be noted that with the infrequent PR updates, less and less PR sites will be available, and the costs should continue to go up to all of them because of just how few will be coming out. Also while shopping for the PR sites used I was amazed to see just how bad many of the metrics are on them. As much as I would love to buy one of these junk sites and do a similar test to prove that PR is not the only factor, I cannot bring myself to throw away the almost $400 that it would cost for me to buy one. When looking at PA sites that are available to buy on some of the websites, and not just High PA Domains (my site), it is possible to buy similar PA/DA domains with similar trust flow for only $50-$55. So for what was paid for the PR5, you could buy 7 similar sites without the PR, and other than the time investment of setting up the additional domains, you should have far more link juice at your disposal.
An additional thing to consider is that left alone, these domains will depreciate over time. You could always use 2.0 sites to keep the metrics of the domains up, but unless you are adding links, over time your metrics will drop. The links you have will not be fresh anymore, and eventually the links to your sites will go away because the sites linking to them will go away. So for this reason it might also be better to invest in more lower priced domains for your PBN.
Suggested Follow Up:
As I mentioned earlier a good follow up study to this would be to use the same sites in a more competitive keyword and see what the difference is in the SERPs. This is something we do plan to test on a much more difficult kw. I will post another case study of that after its been completed.
Post Conclusion Update:
This study ended on Sunday, with the PR2 site finishing on #1, but on Monday I happened to see that the money site the PR5 linked to was in the top spot. My friend Jason contacted me and told me that the #2 spot was the PR5 itself! Tonight (Tuesday), as I am putting the finishing touches on this case study before we take the links off and prepare for the next study I’m seeing the order PR2, PR0, PR5 in order that the money sites appear. The PR5 PBN is listed in spots 4, 5 and 6, and the PR2 is in the 7th spot. This again leads me to conclude that given the PA and DA of the domains are similar, there is not much overall difference between them. I still think that there is a small PR bonus, but there is not any real way to confirm this with this study alone. Hopefully future case studies will reveal more useful information.