One of the many factors that determine the popularity of a website is the number and quality of links within it and the referrals to and from it. Google was the first Search Engine, which evaluated a website's links to determine its popularity and its "PageRank". Other search engines soon followed and created an environment where web administrators could search for links to other websites to increase the popularity of their websites. This led to a Black Hat SEO Practice, named Link farming.
What is a Link Farm?
The so-called link farming can be seen as a Black Hat SEO-tactic can be described. It is based on the fact that one website creates reciprocal links with another website, which is referred to as the Link farm or a website pays for inbound links to artificially create links that are meant to fool the search engines. This is to portray the website as a popular website and give it a higher Ranking lend . These link farms exist only to increase link popularity and have no other purpose. These pages are recognized by the fact that they contain links to pages that are completely different in nature and completely independent from each other. Link farming can be considered as spamming of the Index a Search Engine be considered and is auvh referred to as spamdexing.
How Google deals with link farming
When Google realized the way artificial links were created to manipulate search rank, it worked to eliminate the problem by changing its algorithm to detect link farms and penalizing websites that used links from these farms to artificially increase their popularity rating. Now, Google penalizes websites that link to link farms, and such websites could find themselves being removed from Google indexing itself. Google also rates links created by link farms as spam.
Good and bad links
Since search engines use links to determine the popularity of a website, websites with good links will usually have a better Ranking can achieve on Google. Not all links are treated the same by search engines anymore. The links that come from government sites or universities (gov & edu) and are Relevance are considered better for the site than links from non-authority sites or those that have the Search Engine considers irrelevant. So, good links are links that point to popular websites that rank highly in search results and are relevant to the content of the website.
The far-reaching links are essential for the existence of the Internet. Websites need to be linked to each other. Therefore, it's important to pay attention to links, but don't get them from sites that are obviously link farms. If you need good links, look for forums and blogs that are relevant to your business and link to them or put a listing in a spam-free business directory.
How to recognize a link farm?
A Link farm is a group of websites that are all linked together to artificially increase the number of Backlinks and thus the Ranking in the search engines. Such practices violate the guidelines of search engines like Google and can lead to a penalty. Here are some tips on how to create a Link farm can recognize:
- Irrelevant links: If you find a lot of links to other pages on a website that are thematically unrelated to the content of the page, this can be an indication of a Link farm be. Often these links are placed in a list or directory without context or explanation.
- Low quality content: Link farm-Websites often place little emphasis on high-quality content. Therefore, they can be filled with poorly written texts, grammatical errors, automatically generated content, or even duplicates.
- Excessive number of outbound links: A high number of outbound links on a page, especially if they have little to no relation to the topic of the page, can be a sign of a Link farm be
- Page structure: Link farm-Websites often have a simple and disorganized page structure. They may have a simple layout and design, without clear navigation or categorization of content.
- Missing information: Link farm-Websites often do not contain any information about the site operator, such as a Imprint or contact information. This can be a sign that the page was created for the sole purpose of link building.
To ensure that you do not receive links from Link farm-websites or are associated with them, it is important to pay attention to quality and Relevance to pay attention when you are looking for Backlinks search. Make sure you build links to reputable sites with thematically appropriate content that adds value for your users.
Examples of link farms
The names are fictitious, of course, so as not to pillory anyone, but the mechanisms are real.
- Multi-blog network ("MyGardenTips" and friends): Someone who has a main page about gardening creates several other blogs on the same topic. All these blogs then link to the main page. Each blog looks harmless on its own, but the whole network serves only one purpose: to send SEO Juice to the main page.
- The "info cluster" method ("TechyInfoHub" and co.): Here, several info or wiki pages are created in different niches. These pages have hardly any content, but lots of links that lead to a main website or webpage. Often content is even copied back and forth between the pages to save time.
- Private Blog Networks (PBNs): A classic. You buy old domains with a high Domain Authority Score and uses them to link to their own main page. Very risky, since Google is now good at recognizing PBNs.
- The "article directory" trap: Older sites like article directories were often used to generate links. You write a quick, low-quality article and put your link in. Today, however, such links are not only worthless, but can even harm you.
- Social Media Spammer ("Follow4FollowXYZ"): Some people try to create networks of fake accounts on social media platforms. These accounts then follow the main page or share their content. This is more of a social media black hat, but the same techniques can be applied to websites as well, with these fake accounts posting blog comments with links.
So, these are examples of people trying to trick the system. But as I said, Google is smart. Sooner or later, they're going to get you. And the penalties are severe. So it's better to stay away and focus on good, honest work.
Back in the day, around the turn of the millennium, this was a quick way to shoot up the Google rankings. You build a whole bunch of websites, link them all together, and bam - Google thought your site must be really important.
But wait before you consider building a link farm empire: That doesn't fly today. Google has gotten smarter. Much smarter.
Why it no longer works:
Google has updated its algorithms, several times. Updates like "Penguin" and "Panda" are the best known. What do they do?
- Quality instead of quantity: Google now looks not only at how many links point to your site, but also at how good those links are. One link from a respected news site now weighs much more heavily than 100 links from sites that have no authority themselves.
- Relevance: Google also checks if the links have anything to do with your site. If you have a page about gardening and suddenly get hundreds of links from car forums, then Google notices that something is wrong.
- Natural Link Profile: Google has learned to distinguish natural link profiles from artificial ones. If all your Backlinks with the same Anchor text come and all point to the same page, then the alarm bells ring at Google.
Updates against Link Farms:
Google has released a lot of updates over the years to fight exactly such black hat SEO tactics. I've already mentioned "Penguin" and "Panda", but there are many more, and Google is not tired of bringing new updates.
The end goal is always the same: To provide users with the best, most relevant, and highest quality results. And link farms have no place in that.
If Google notices that you are engaging in link farming, it can turn out really bad. In the best case, Google simply ignores the bad links. In the worst case you get kicked out of the Index and thus virtually out of the Google world. And believe me, that's pretty much the worst thing that can happen to you if you're on organic Traffic are dependent.
So, stay away from link farms. It's like playing poker with marked cards. You might win in the short term, but in the long term you'll lose - big time.« Back to Glossary Index