Anyone following SEO trends knows that Google released an algorithm update the penalized PBN sites. It affected 3-5% of all searches, and several well-known PBN networks were effectively destroyed: Google detected them and delisted them. Does this mean PBNs, or private blog networks, are bad?
No. It just means that the networks that got caught were sloppy. Google ranks sites based on backlinks, and the quality of those backlinks. If you have good content on your own network, where each site offers some value, it can pass it's link juice on to your main site, or money site. This is just how Google works, and will continue to work for the foreseeable near and long term.
You can focus on link building from authority sites, or you can build authority sites, in your niche, and link from them to your main site. Getting natural backlinks from sites you don't control, though, is extremely hard if you aren't 100% immersed in a niche, and have developed relationships with the site owners.
The next best thing is to acquire quality, spam-free, expired domains which have a history of backlinks that Google can't discount. Put some quality content on these old sites, redirect their incoming links to your sites main page, and then direct a link or two from that entire site to your main site. Boom - you have passed a quality backlink to you main site you could not have otherwise gotten. Watch your rankings go up now. That is the power of backlinks.
So, how do you get expired domains? You need a quality expired domain vendor, like Oxbow Domains. We built our own tool to crawl sites, find expired domains, and sort them for us by authority. From there, we hand-check each site for spam, and only sell the good stuff.
No, PBNs are not dead, not by a long shot. So grab some expired domains and get going on quality content!