What is a link farm? How Does it Affect SEO?
A link farm is a pool of websites that direct to a particular website through backlinks. All of the websites are bought only with an intention to increase the number of links directing to a particular site. It has been a well-known strategy in the past to add to the SEO of a website.
Link spamming is the term that perfectly defines what is a link farm. It negatively affects the SEO of any website. Wondering why many websites go for link farming when it has a negative impact on their health?
A deep insight into its efficacy, adverse outcomes, and alternatives will thoroughly guide you on link farming. Have a read!
1. Are They Effective?
With the advent of search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and Google, it became the dream of every business to rank high on them mainly because of the potential of clients and sales they offer.
With time, more and more businesses came forward in this race, and that’s when link farming came into the picture. Many people choose these tactics because the cost of link-building is higher than link farming.
Many websites started to misuse backlinks and started to promote their value-deficient content through malpractice and spam the websites with irrelevant links. Then through the evolution of link farms, businesses started to make a series of websites that serve no other purpose but to link to their target website.
Before Penguin Update
Many people tapped into what is Link Farming before Google launched its Penguin update that mainly dealt with backlinks. They used low-quality links on different websites, directing them to the website of their choice, irrespective of their niche. It did help them rank higher, but it couldn’t withstand the Penguin update of Google.
Ranking Boost With Increased Backlinks
The ranking of many sub-standard websites went over the roof when the number of their backlinks improved exponentially through link farms. They had thousands of links referring to them, but they lacked a quality backlink profile. As Google grew smarter, it made its crawlers strong enough to identify spam links rendering all link farming tactics useless.
Private Blogging Networks and Link Farms
A Private Blogging Network is a number of websites owned by a single person connected to each other and linking to each other. It was a well-known strategy that most bloggers used before getting strict in its backlinking guidelines.
Is a Link Farm a PBN? This is something that has been asked by many lately. Just like link farms, PBN also violates Google’s guidelines, and all the websites in a blogging network are referring to a single primary website. It is as harmful to your site as link farms.
2. Why They’re Bad
The sole reason why link farming was banned by Google was that it was affecting the quality of content and shifting the whole focus on a number of backlinks irrespective of their quality and link juice. Just like link farms, you will also want to stay away from most common link building mistakes that can damage your website’s SEO health.
This strategy caters to the link building for a website, but the quality of these links is not at par with Google’s guidelines for credible link building. If you’re wondering what is a link farm and does it have any negative effects. Here is a list for you:
Against Google’s Guidelines
According to Webmaster Guidelines of Google, using spam links, going for irrelevant linking, and providing substandard content to your audiences fall in violation. Hence, if you want your content to rank on search engines, you should abide by the guidelines of that search engine because they spend millions of dollars and thousands of data engineers to detect guideline violations.
The content with compromised quality cannot rank on Google but, using black hat tactics, rank even the sub-standard content high. However, how link farming affects your SEO is mostly misunderstood. People perceive that low-quality content with a good amount of backlinks is enough to rank on google while it’s not.
Isn’t Just For Authentic Websites
People who follow the best practices of blogging produce high-quality content. The concern on what is a link farm and how they work has put the efforts of all original content creators on the lower end. Their position is instead taken by an artificially ranked website that uses black-hat SEO tactics that can harm their website in the long run.
A Black-Hat Technique
If link farms give a large number of backlinks, is Link Farm Good for SEO? The answer to this concern lies in the type of SEO technique it follows. The black-hat technique of SEO is the one that uses foul methods to up-rank websites on Google.
Risk of Penalty
Using black hat SEO tactics is one of the greatest ways to get your website penalized in no time. The use of link farms increases the risk of penalty for your website. As a result of which, your website can rank lowest on the search engines because instead of promoting your site, Google will start to avoid suggesting it to people because it has sub-standard content on it.
Use of Expired Domains
Expired domains play a very important role in what is link farms. Link farms were used by a plethora of business owners in the 90s. People adopted the malpractice of buying expired domains with high DA and putting their own irrelevant content on that website. The previous website might not have the same topic of interest and content; hence, such websites get lost in the rankings of search engines.
2. How to Identify Them
There are various methods that modern search engine algorithms use to spot link farms. Following are some of the most effective ways you can also spot a link farm in no time:
Templated Website Design
If you see a website with a very basic rather than template design claiming to give you backlinks at the cheapest rates, run away from that site. Basic website designs are usually used by people using black hat SEO tactics as they have tons of websites to cater to. They buy a number of websites and copy-paste the same theme and code in making each website.
Quality of content
Poorly content written in irrelevant context to the website is a clear giveaway of a link farm. You can easily detect the quality of the content by looking at the anchor texts and the relevance of the backlinks used throughout the website. Moreover, the content will have anonymous writers and unknown links.
Irrelevant Topics and Niche
When a website has posts, content, and links on irrelevant topics in different niches, it hints at what is a link farm. The irrelevant topics and niches speak volumes about the presence of a website network and a link farm.
No Proof of Credibility
Lack of credibility in a website and high DA at the same time is a subtle clue that the website is using link-farming strategies. If there are no testimonies and reviews on a website, it means that the particular website has declined credibility. You can build credibility by adding reviews and testimonies and authentic value-based content.
Page With Only Links
The number of links on a page defines the link juice, and if a page has nothing but links, then it speaks a lot about what is a link farm. They are websites with different kinds of links in them, and they have no content in them. Such websites are banned by Google for ranking high.
Low PageRank Score
A few years back, the search engines would just focus on the number of backlinks a page provided and were not concerned with the quality of those links. But, now, the Google crawl engines are smart enough to track broken links, old domains, link juices, and the niche of related websites that give a negative impression of these sites. If someone claims that he will rank your website on the first google page within a day, this is an instant red-flag. Such websites will only use link farms and will have low page rank.
Unconventional Domain Names
Unconventional domain names often describe a characteristic feature of what is a link farm. The domain names have irrelevant letters and words in them. They just have symbols or words that don’t make any sense. Such domains are usually used to use the black-hat techniques of link farming.
3. Better Alternatives
There are many Link Farming Alternatives that can help you with ranking your website high without compromising the integrity of your website. It will save you from the unnecessary risk that link farming puts on you.
Use White Hat SEO Techniques
SEO techniques are divided into white hat, black hat, and grey-hat SEO strategies. The White hat SEO tactics are those that are compliant with Google’s guidelines and are advised by search engines to promote your website’s rankings. The Grey-hat tactics are the ones that fall on the borderline of white and black techniques. They are ill-defined, and there is room for better solutions. Use the best SEO tools in 2022 to level up your on-page SEO and content.
Produce Unique Content
Have you wondered what are Guest Post and Link Farms? Your content should be free of plagiarism and unique to appeal to the relevant audiences. Producing unique and valuable content is very important to get higher rankings.
Follow Webmaster Guidelines
Google has given webmaster guidelines for the websites to follow. You can go for a link-building service provider to abide by the rules and regulations of Google. There are various sets of rules for the quality of content, the type of backlinks to use, and how to present the content.
Best Placement of Keywords
Keyword placement is extremely crucial to rank on Google. But according to new guidelines, the quality of content surpasses the SEO requirements and keyword distribution. Make sure there is no keyword stuffing, and all the keywords are placed naturally and in perfect flow. Do follow best practices of competitor research and modern keyword tools to rank your website faster.
Weigh Your Outbound Links Carefully
If you are going well with Google’s guidelines for quality content, make sure the sites you’re linking to are also high value. You can research How to Fix Unnatural Links and replace them accordingly to make the outbound links perfectly fit your content. Similarly, make sure the outbound links are not pointing to any shady website because it might lower your ranking.
Tap into Link Directories
When it comes to answering what is a link farm, people usually confuse it with link directories. The only difference between the two is that the link directories and link farms are that link directories are organized and provide value to their audiences as opposed to link farms that offer no value to their audiences. Using link directories is a white hat tactic to improve the SEO of your website and is one of the best methods to improve website’s ranking.
Aim for Organic Links
Guest posting is the most effective link-building strategy that you can opt for your website, and make sure to get it from a reliable guest post service provider. You can never go wrong with organic boosting of your website. Organic links do take a lot of effort and quality content. It sometimes also costs you up to $100 or more for one backlink, but this will improve the SEO of your website and its health in the long run.