Rank Hero Private Blog Network Review
Update 9/22/14: Rank Hero is shut down. Looks like Google found sites in the network and started handing out penalties to sites who have links from them. For more info, check out this post from Spencer: Alright Google, You Win.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Rank Hero, read my Linkvana Review.
WTF is an internet marketer to do these days? Every popular method of building links always meets the wrath of Google. Even guest blogging, which used to be one link building method that both the white and black hats agreed was great, came under fire by Google earlier this year. I’m still a huge supporter of guest blogging, and I think people got way too scared and freaked out for no reason.
My point in all of this is that Google is really trying to make it hard for online marketers to build links and increase their rankings. Basically every popular link building method that starts to be effective eventually gets shut down. But recently, a newish way to build links is really starting to gain a lot of traction. Private Blog Networks.
Since this isn’t a post about how to make PBN’s, I’ll just give a brief synopsis, and refer you to a couple of awesome posts from people I respect and have some great info you should check out. Basically, a PBN is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a group of blogs with high metrics (page authority, domain authority, PR, etc.) that marketers build to rank their websites. The blogs in the network are unconnected, meaning they don’t link to each other like a link wheel. They’re also usually hosted under a wide range of hosting accounts, and are built on expired domains. That’s a really basic definition of a PBN. For more info on them and how they’re built, here are some really great articles:
Why Google Pushed Me To Build a (Bigger) Link Network – Viperchill
Building a Private Blog Network The Right Way – Cloud Income
Enter Rank Hero! Rank Hero is a private blog network created by niche site expert Spencer Haws and PBN expert Hayden Miyamoto. You’ve seen me mention Spencer before in my review on his keyword research tool, Long Tail Pro. He teamed up with Hayden to launch this new service aimed at helping marketers rank their sites. As Spencer puts it on his site:
You can think of Rank Hero as a high quality group of sites that Hayden and I own, that we are allowing you to post content to or that you can use for “guest posting”
So you’re essentially paying to access their PBN. I’ve used several different private blog networks recently. Mostly because it’s what most SEO services are using these days. So I’ll give you some insight into what I think about Rank Hero, show you the results I got, and let you know whether or not I liked it as much as I love LTP.
How Rank Hero Works
Rank Hero works on a credit system (more on pricing later). Each credit is worth one blog post. Now, that credit does not include content. You have to write the content yourself or outsource it. Each blog in the network has it’s own unique personality to it. This is one of the key differences between Rank Hero and other PBN services. They are built to be real blogs, not the content farms that blogs in other networks are. One of the blogs available might be from the perspective of a working mother that gives health tips or a political focused blog by a hardcore Republican.
At the home screen (also the sites screen), you’ll see a list of all of the available blogs for you to post on. These blogs get refreshed routinely so you don’t have to worry about running out of blogs to post on.
Basically what you see in the above is:
Column 1: ID’s to specify the blog
Column 2: The TLD of the site. Most of the ones I’ve seen so far are .com, but there’s a good mixture
Column 3: A description of the blog
Column 4: Page authority (PA) of the blog’s home page
Column 5: Domain authority (DA)
Column 6: Any site that you’ve assigned to that blog
Column 7: The next date available for a post to be published on that blog
Column 8: The button to either write your post, or send the info for the blog post to a writer
The next section is where you create your projects. A project is just a way to keep your posts organized. I created a project for each site. But you could also create a project based on a group of sites or a certain niche. When you actually make posts, you can assign them to a project. Not much to see here.
Under the “Posts” tab, you can see all of the posts you’ve written. I was going to put a pic to show you what it looks like but almost the entire thing would be blanked out because it shows the URL of the blog your post is going on, the title of my post, and the project I assigned the posts to. Tor obvious reasons, I don’t want to reveal that info. Sorry, I can’t share it all!
Writing Posts For Rank Hero
This is where the real work comes in. You’ll notice at the bottom there are the rules for posting on the Rank Hero blogs, which are:
- Have 500+ words
- Pass Copyscape with > 90% uniqueness
- Contain a maximum of 2 links to your money site; additional links can be added to authority sites
- Have no spelling or grammatical errors and make sense to a human reader
- Be relevant to the publishing site through link injection
- Have links relevant to content with varied anchor text
Your post has to be submitted in HTML format. There is no WYSIWYG editor like WordPress which kind of sucks. What I did was write my posts in the WordPress editor of one of my sites, then copy the HTML format and paste it into Rank Hero.
You’re probably curious about what the heck the Link Injection stuff is all about. An easy way to describe link injection is it’s a way to include links to your site even if the blog you’re posting to isn’t directly related to yours. Rank Hero will give you a few suggestions on how you can link to your site, and still fit the theme of the blog in the network so it’s RELEVANT.
For instance, the blog in the screenshot I posted above is by a philosophy professor who is kind of a hippy. If I was trying to link to my site about car insurance, it might seem weird to make a post about the best car insurance deals. But with their link injection, Rank Hero gives you suggestions on what you could write about and how to link to your site. They suggest a post about hybrid cars, which is a great way to include a link to a car insurance site somehow. They have a downloadable video available that gives more details about link injection, but it’s not that complicated.
After you’ve written your post, you can preview it and then publish it. Each post is manually reviewed before they post it on the blog. Once it’s published, you’ll actually be able to see the blog it was posted to and your blog post live. That’s pretty much it for the “technical” aspects of Rank Hero and how it works.
What Sets Rank Hero Apart
Like I said, I’ve tried other Private Blog Networks before, and I’m always testing out new ones. There are some pretty big differences between Rank Hero and other ones I’ve used.
First and foremost is the quality of the sites in the network. These blogs are built out and are made to look like 100% real blogs written by real people. That’s a big advantage. With other networks, the blogs are almost just like article directories with a bunch of random posts. That makes the blogs look completely natural to Google, which works in our favor because relevancy is extremely important for contextual links.
Second, they don’t use page rank to determine what blogs are in the network. Instead, they look at page and domain authority, which are much better indicators of what type of link juice you’ll be getting from your posts.
Third, you get to pick what blogs your posts go on (based on the blog’s description). You get to see the page and domain authority, and the description of the site before you submit your post. With other PBN’s, you have no control over where your posts are going.
Fourth, Spencer and Haydo are very transparent. I’ve used very few networks that will actually give you links to your published posts. Most claim it’s to keep their networks safe, and I can understand that. But on the other hand, I’ve gone through and found the posts that other PBN’s have made for my sites by checking my backlinks, and I wasn’t happy at all with what I saw. So being able to see all your posts on Rank Hero shows that they really stand behind their network.
The backend for Rank Hero is also extremely simple and easy to use.
Rank Hero Pricing
So how much does Rank Hero cost? Like I said, they work on a series of credits. There’s 3 packages:
- Standard: $197 – 5 Credits ($39.40/post)
- Professional: $297- 10 Credits ($29.7/post)
- Agency: $669 – 25 Credits ($26.76/post)
Each package is a monthly subscription that will automatically renew unless you cancel and you cancel anytime. If you have credits left over when you cancel, you get to keep them and use them whenever you want, they don’t expire.
You might be thinking that the pricing is really high. And you’d be correct. Other private blog networks on Black Hat World, Wickedfire, and Warrior Forum can range from a few bucks per post to $10 or $20 per post, and they include the content. Some people sell posts on their PBN on Fiverr for $5/piece. So Rank Hero is definitely at the top tier in terms of price. That’s probably one of my only gripes about it. I’d probably feel a little better in the $10-$20 per post range. Because at the cheapest price range ($26.76/post), you could actually pay someone to write a post and find your own blog to post it on. You can find writers for $2/100 words that write pretty darn good.
My Results From Rank Hero
I only used 4 blog posts. 3 were on one site, and one was on another (I still have one credit left to use). These results are for the site that I used 3 credits on. During the period, I didn’t do any other link building for this site. Here is the growth of my keywords from June 30th when the first post was published until the day I’m writing this post (July 24th).
The numbers on the left hand side are not my rankings, they’re the increase in ranking spots. So my overall keywords increased over 220 spots from June 30th to July 24th. Prior to using Rank Hero, all the keywords were on their way down, and other link building methods I used were pretty much ineffective. So these are huge improvements from just 3 posts!
Is It Worth It?
I think Rank Hero is worth trying out. The links are very high quality, which isn’t something I can say for every private blog network I’ve used. It’s clearly a service aimed at online marketers with larger budgets. Beginners more than likely won’t be shelling out $670 for 25 posts. Even $197 for 5 posts might not be doable for people just starting out. Especially since it doesn’t include content.
But if you can afford it, give it a go. I may do a real in depth case study on Rank Hero on one of my sites that has never had any type of linkbuilding done on it and see what happens. Have you tried Rank Hero? What did you think?
Same here .. very happy i did not used it as my main link building actually i only used it for max 5 links last week so for me very good timing!! link build this was a test for me and good thing it happened now before i built more and more with RH …
Same here looks like this evening I will also be doing the same!! Shame after I just signed up but that’s my own risk… Any tips on what to do after disavow? This should clear this issue up? Or will we still be hit? Looks like its time to cancel RHero after just 1month 🙁 it happens.. I am actually going to build my own PBN as I think this can be a safer option..
Hopefully disavowing will be good enough. Luckily I didn’t use Rank Hero a whole lot, so the deindexing of their network isn’t a huge deal to me (the sites I used it on didn’t lose rankings). I feel sorry for the people that spent thousands on Rank Hero and used it as the foundation for their link building. From what I’ve seen so far, it looks like those are the people who got hit the hardest including Spencer’s protege with the A Penny Shaved site.
But yea like you said, it’s a risk we take with link building. It’s kind of like the criminal that gets caught. We know what we’re doing is against the rules, so I we can’t really blame Google. Good luck with building your own PBN. Personally there’s too much work involved in it for me. You should check out my review of Linkvana. It’s what I’ve been using as the foundation of my linkbuilding.
Thanks, I actually just looked over Spencer’s newest post and it sucks to hear what happened. I’m probably going to go back and disavow the links from Rank Hero’s PBN I had. It’s a risk you take when buying any types of links, and something you have to deal with when it comes to SEO. My personal stance is that PBN’s aren’t “dead”. This actually isn’t anything new. PBN’s get caught and taken out all the time. That’s why they’re so hard to do successfully. But yea, it looks like Rank Hero is done.
sorry not sure why i did not copy it into the post…so far i have had no issues but my links have not been indexed yet…. maybe i can remove them ..
I purchased credits some days ago. I submitted but its pending reviews 3 days
I have submitted helpdesk ticket but no one response.
Could you please suggest what should I do?
I’m not sure. My first posts took a couple of days to be approved and posted. Maybe try reaching out to support again. I submitted a ticket to them once and they responded in a couple days.
just read something little concerning about RHero ,“thin content” penalty, refrence can be seen here….
is this something to be conerned about 🙁 have you had any issues?
There’s no link in your comment so I’m not sure what penalty you’re referring to?
Great post! I’ve been struggling with the decision of using RH for a while, very new to IM and only made a few hundred bucks which I have spent on rubbish which didn’t work lol
You mentioned you jumped 200+ spots, out of interest, which page did this take you to for your main keyword? and have many of your keywords made it to page 1 so far?
Again, great review!
Hey Gavin, glad you liked the post. The site I used RH for was for a local business, so there is no “main keyword” per say. The increase was in the site’s overall rankings for all the keywords I’m tracking, not just one. When I build links, I don’t use exact match anchor text. I know a lot of people still do, particularly for niche sites, but for local businesses/client sites, I don’t. For a case study surrounding niche sites, I’d look at the niche site case study on Nichepursuits.com for A Penny Shaved. Rank Hero links were the main pillars of their link building strategy and the site got great results.
Rank Hero is definitely not a cheap service. If you’re going to give it a try, I’d suggest just starting with the 5 credit plan like I did. Just to see what type of results you get. But it’s also important to mix in other link building too. Rank Hero is a solid service, but I wouldn’t recommend just using one service for all your link building. SEO is really changing, and to get the best results you need to focus on building a brand instead of the old way of thinking of just ranking a keyword. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned this year and it’s the way I think everyone involved in making money online needs to start thinking.
Sorry for rambling lol, but hopefully that helps you out a little.
Have your Rank Hero posts rolled into inner pages yet?
If so, how much have your rankings gone down since then?
I’ve recently started doing some more link building on that site so the rankings have continued to go up. Rank Hero definitely helped. It’s also worth noting that this isn’t like a niche site where I’m just targeting a single keyword. I don’t suggest anyone to just build links around a single keyword. Rank Hero definitely gave me nice results.
I recently signed up made and have been approved my 4 blog posts I shall keep you posted on the results. But love rankhero very easy to use and support is very responsive. I just worry about keywords as anchor text and how to manage this. So most keywords are just related to my niche site surrounded by context relatted with keywords.. any advise for keyword anchor text?
Awesome, definitely let me know how it works out for you. Do you have a blog?
A lot of people have different approaches to anchor text. Personally I keep exact match anchor text to a minimum. In my opinion, Google is really factoring in the context of your backlinks more since it’s so easy to spam with exact match anchor text. This is actually why I like Rank Hero so much. Your links will fit into the context of your article without needing to use “optimized” anchor text. For instance, if I was trying to rank for “dentist dallas texas”. I wouldn’t use “dentist dallas texas” as my anchor text. I’d either use the actual dentist’s office name, or something that made sense like “the dentist I use in Dallas”. As long as the link makes sense within the blog post, it should be fine. For the dentist in dallas example, maybe an article about the best local businesses in Dallas would work.
That’s the technique I use for my anchor text and link building and I’ve had success. Hope that helps.
I have a wordpress blog with my own domain has great rankings for some great keywords but now i want to open up to other keywords and get the site ranking for other niche relatted keywords. I will keep you updatted on the rank improvments as im sure there will be with rank hero. Personaly keeping price hight works well as its not spamed by poor quality content and links. On avarage i think it could take afew weeks to notice improvments depending on site and niche but i will give my personal feed back shortly. Thank you very much for the anchor text tips this will definatly help me on the next few articles!!!
great review and honestly I have finally decided to do the NSD challenge by Spencer and before reading this I was going to use Rank Hero but now I am DEFINITELY going to use Rank Hero.
My main question though, it helped with helping you rank for over 220 keywords, does this mean that it got you one the first page for most of those? Or just improved your rankings from like 5th page to the 2nd page? Just curious =D
Thanks for checking out the review and I’m definitely going to be following your niche site project. I think that going towards Authority sites is definitely where it’s at right now too. I’m sure Rank Hero will be very good for you.
But to answer your question, it helped me improve my overall rankings by 200+ spots, not increase rankings for 220 keywords. I’m tracking a little over 40 keywords for this site, and most of them increased in rankings (which is that 200+ ranking increase in the graph). I hope that clears things up a little bit.
On an unrelated note, this comment goes to show that blog comments are still very much effective because you just got yourself at least one new reader!
Hey thanks for the reply,
And thanks for following it, I really hope it does do well, I am waiting though for about a month before I start sending links to it.
And that does help! That is pretty stellar that it moved you up 200 spots! Damn, I have built up my own small PBN’s but I got tired of managing it all, it is really tiresome reviewing them and making sure they are okay.
And great! I agree that they are, but thanks for reading my blog =D
The amount of time and maintenance that goes into running a PBN is why I find it easier to just order links from a network that’s already established like Rank Hero. But I definitely give props to anyone who can build and manage one successfully.
Looks a good service. My only concern is one thing you listed as an advantage: transparency. They give you the link details.
It’s pretty common knowledge that several of the blog networks shut down in recent times were infiltrated by Google employees signing up for the service, finding the blogs in the network and deindexing them (and the users of the service).
Isn’t that a big risk here?
That’s a good point. Technically I guess Google could do that. But it would cost them thousands of dollars and a ton of effort. The way Rank Hero works is they only give you the URL to the blog after you’ve submitted a post and it’s been manually reviewed and published. So Google would have to write a ton of posts in order to find all the blogs in the network, and have to pay a ton of money in Rank Hero credits to discover the blogs. And on top of that, the blogs are rotated out constantly and they’re always adding new blogs to their network so it would be a really time consuming effort on Google’s part. So yea I guess it would be possible, but it’s highly unlikely in my opinion.
Awesome review! Just a couple of questions:
1. How are your rankings holding up?
2. Does the “Send to Writer” function cost extra? Which package(s) is it available for?
Thanks for reading Peter. The rankings are still doing well and even improving a little bit. I haven’t done any additional SEO to the site since using Rank Hero so that’s a good sign that the links are pretty powerful. The “Send to writer” feature doesn’t cost anything extra. All of the different packages have the same features, you’re only paying for the credits. Hope that helps!
I guess I’m a little confused cause you wrote, “Even $197 for 5 posts might not be doable for people just starting out. Especially since it doesn’t include content.”
So I took that as the more expensive packages allow the “send to writer” feature.
How does the “send to writer” feature work exactly?
I guess I should clarify it a little. The send to writer feature just let’s you send an email to your own writer (one that you’ve hired, not supplied by Rank Hero) and gives them access to your account so that they can write the post.
Here’s what the actual send to writer page says:
“Use this form to send a message to a writer on your team to request them to write an article for a particular site.”
Then you have a form to enter the email address of your writer and message with any details you want them to know.
Rank Hero simply supplies the blogs. You have to supply the content. I hope that clears things up a little. Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions about RH. I think I’ll go back and edit my post to make it a bit more clear what the send to writer feature is.
Great review, Spencer and Hayden’s blogs are two of my favourites so I do inherently trust that they’d provide good value in a PBN service. The price is almost prohibitive though. Could you clarify – the monthly fee is for 5 new posts each month, correct? Not just a recurring fee to keep your original posts active on their sites. Once a post is up, does it stay up forever, even if you cancel your membership?
You are correct, the monthly fee is for credits. The links are permanent. If you cancel, your posts stay up. That’s an advantage over a lot of those link rental services. And the price is definitely higher than other services, but now that I’ve thought about it more that’s probably a good thing. The higher pricing keeps crappy SEO’s from using the service and flooding the network. I feel like one of the problems with cheaper services is that their blogs become way too overpopulated which takes away from the value they provide. I like to think of Rank Hero as a premium service.