As for me, I can neither recommend, nor show you exactly which one to be tried first. The thing is that I personally don’t feel like Grey-Hat SEO, or God forbid Black-Hat SEO. And buying backlinks from private network blogs is a definitely tabooed scheme hated by Google so much. I believe that getting paid backlinks from network blogs (PBNs), no matter how successful they are at the moment, is probably the easiest way to earn a heavy and hardly recoverable (sometimes even irreversible) ranking demotion.
Nevertheless, private network blogs are still popular now, and I’ve also seen many novice webmasters enjoying the deal and benefitting from a quite prompt and pretty measurable progress in SEO. But what is the truth? How to take a well-formed decision about backlinks from network blogs? Let’s try to make everything clear - just with several cold facts and my brief suggestions to weigh their pros and cons. After all, it’s only up to you to decide.
Backlinks from Network Blogs are Good for:
Having control of SEO, I mean you can get a powerful advantage over your competitors. Everything is simple - buying links from PBNs means you are free to customize your links like crazy to test any possible options for links themselves and their text anchors. Yes, it’s insanely attractive feature - just because there is no other strategy giving that freedom to check everything in action - here and now.
Benefitting from instantly higher authority, as with PBNs you can leverage the aged and well-trusted authority of already existing website - with no delay. Purchasing backlinks from network blogs can seem even more attractive, particularly considering that this type of links is especially difficult to build in a purely natural way.
Saving much time and effort, simply because betting on PBNs - you don't need to work with the outreach or building relationships anymore. As for me, such a tedious task to identify the right opportunities for outreach is probably the worst of time-consuming attempts I've ever had.
While PBNs are incredibly reasonable time-savers, they are leaving the door open to face even ultimately tough challenges in traditional link building. I mean, for example, that sometimes it’s nearly impossible to earn these high PR backlinks from aged and trusted domains. The doing seems hardly manageable even before you're up to it, at least without breaking the guidelines. After all, investing your time and effort in building the actual relationship or any other sizable outreach - can never give you any expectations or foreseeable outcomes, not to say guaranteed progress in a long-lasting partnership.
Well, here are some of the worst things about backlinks from network blogs, just for the sake of completeness. In the worst-case scenario, using PBNs for link building can result in a manual penalty - sometimes it can even go to extremes when everything ends up with a permanent ban on search. Should it happen so, there would be nothing to do, except for building your unfortunate website or blog all over again - from the very beginning.