Private networks are a great option for highly competitive search verticals as they allow for better control over the link sources, more options for link placement, opportunities to place links where no competitor can place them and get some competitive advantage that way in a search vertical where often most sites buy links from the same sources. We have outlined all the benefits of a bespoke private network before. But how can a site owner decide whether it's the right option for their site at the moment?

To illustrate the decision making process, I decided to analyse a random site. This is not our client or a potential client, I took this site purely as an example. Also, as my research is based on the third party tools' data, it may not be 100% accurate but only an approximation of what's really going on with the site. As this is not our client, we do not have access to its internal data like GSC.

The site in question is an affiliate site in the online lottery niche. It's a relatively new (2020) domain which had been registered and dropped before but there was no live site on it prior to the current incarnation so the previous history of the domain is irrelevant. It has been making some steady progress in terms of rankings since its launch, although not without a couple of drops - but we'll get back to that later.

One of its biggest keywords in terms of search volume and potential converting traffic has been "daily millions result" (data for the UK shown below, although the site does not target UK market only):

keyword overview

"Daily Millions Result" keyword data for the UK market, source: SISTRIX

While the site targets a lot of longer tail keywords, not without success, many of them are very low volume. It goes after many provider brand related queries aside from the one above, but this is one of the higher search volume one. The site does not rank anywhere meaningful for this keyword yet:

Top 10 sites in UK Google

Top 10 sites in UK Google for "daily millions result" vs the analysed site - rankings according to SpyFu

The site's link profile is rather weak and not very topically relevant:

Majestic link profile

The site's link profile according to Majestic

Its link profile mostly consists of guest posts / paid links on mostly topically irrelevant sites, some of them looking clearly built for guest posts on any random topic. On the positive side, there is a low link attrition rate.

If we compare our analysed site's link profile to that of the other sites ranking in the top 10 for the same keyword, it makes most sense to compare like for like, i.e. other affiliate sites ranking in the top 10 rather than operators and larger companies. In our case, these would be:

  • irishlottery.com
  • lotterypost.com
  • irishlottoresults.ie
  • lotteryextreme.com
  • comparethelotto.com

Here is what their link profiles look like:

site link comparison

Link profiles of the analysed site vs other affiliate sites ranking in the top 10 for "daily millions result", source: Majestic

All of the sites except for one have a compatible amount of links/linking domains, so the (relatively) low amount of links is not an obstacle per se for ranking in this SERP. 3 out of all analysed sites have a topically relevant link profile (Topical Trust Flow: Games/Gambling), so that is desirable. However, our analysed site is the second smallest in the group, so it cannot benefit form a massive amount of internal links to counter what other sites have working for them.

A case like this usually means a site would benefit from a low-volume, steady acquisition of topically relevant links via a high-quality bespoke private network building project. However, is this the right time for this particular site to start building one?

Let's get back to the site's ranking history:

Keyword ranking history of the analysed site

Keyword ranking history of the analysed site as per SISTRIX, Google UK

As I mentioned, the site experienced some ranking drops. The most concerning one started in September 2022 and looks like it may not have stopped yet.

Starting from September 2022, a number of Google updates happened:

  • 11 September - Core update (R on the above graph)
  • 19 September - Product Reviews update (S)
  • 18 October - Google Spam update (T)
  • 4 December - Helpful Content update (U)
  • 13 December - Link Spam update (V)

Any and all of these updates could have an impact on the site - but also let's keep in mind that we are looking at the third party data here so in the site's Google Search Console things may look differently. In any case, what this site needs is an SEO audit with a deep analysis of the recent updates' impact, followed by fixing all the detected issues. After that is done, a carefully built bespoke private network would be the next logical step to give it some competitive advantage and improve its rankings.

We have worked with similar cases before and have seen great results. Here is a client for whom we did an SEO audit, seen some improvements after the implementation of recommended steps, and then proceeded by building a private network:

Client site case study

Case study: a client's site's organic visibility progress after an SEO audit and building a bespoke private network

We’re interested in talking
about your business.