While digging deeper into building links, we land across the term 'Link Farm.' Through this article, you will be able to understand what is Link Farm and the SEO impact of Link Farming. You will be taken through this topic and its approach to the World Wide Web.
Earlier, Google algorithm was designed to sort pages based on inbound links directed toward these pages. The basis of creating link farms arose from this concept, where Google practiced its results page ranking based on only links. Google has a PageRank algorithm to rank the indexed blogs by crawling through them all. Editorial links were used to conclude how these search results are supposed to be listed.
When unique and quality content is published, other websites direct a link to it by stating or creating a backlink on the relevant blogs. However, to fasten the process, some site owners chose to build link farms by exchanging these valuable editorial links. They do this to manipulate the search engines to consider them at the top of the results page instead of the websites that may even have better content for the audience. This way Link farms emerged on the internet long back due to the vulnerabilities possessed by Google as well as most of the search engines.
WHAT IS LINK FARM?
Link farming is a system of building links by hyperlinking a group of websites with each other. Link farms are such sites in groups created for the sole purpose of generating links to enhance their SEO. They are a type of reciprocal link, whether related or unrelated.
Take this example of four websites connected to each other where the arrows resemble links:
Website A <-> Website B
Website A <-> Website C
Website A <-> Website D
Website B <-> Website C
Website B <-> Website D
Website C <-> Website D
Here, all the websites are linked to each other in a loop.
Link farming is also known as 'spamdexing,' as it spams multiple links in the index that are usually of no use. Some link farms are manually created. Most of them are developed by programs or provided as services to boost link popularity in Google. A lot of websites advertise about providing services to boost a blog's SEO. They are nothing but link farms.
It is an objectionable technique as it diverts traffic from the honest and appropriate pages towards them. Most of these link farms contain arbitrary links that are not even associated with their content.
This tactic had been devised by studying the old Google algorithm and using it to their advantage. Links are indeed a parameter assumed by Google to identify the websites high or low in authority. Nevertheless, links are not the only concern you should be concentrating on to grow SEO. If your content is useful to the viewers, many websites would automatically hyperlink to yours that would increase traffic. But fooling Google is not the correct behavior.
Link farms look like general websites unless opened in the browser for a full view. You will observe that its content mostly includes hyperlinks with random and pointless pages. That is why it is called Spamdexing. It is a kind of spamming of the search engine's index. However, those links that are exchanged between related websites are not rated as spams.
An example of a link farm is a blog network, where a set of blogs are owned by an entity to promote the websites maintained by the same company to increase its ranking based on link quantity. This is Black Hat SEO.
SEO IMPACT OF LINK FARMING
Search engines were highly sensitive to link farms before when they all followed Google in deciding website ranks based on their volume of links. Now, running Link farms are banned as per Google standards as well as other search engines. These websites often lose their ranks, or the sites are kicked out of the index. Therefore, instead of boosting the website's reputation, it is penalized for illegal use of hyperlinks.
Most search engines have taken a step ahead to punish building content farms as an offense. Earlier, they were prone to these contents. However, they have adjusted their ranking criteria by evaluating what is more useful to the user and how relevant the websites are to each other if they are connected.
Forcefully incorporating a large number of links is also detectable by Google. They could be removed from the index or face low page ranks. Link farming is illegal and condemned by Google as it is a transgression of stealing the traffic that would have been directed to worthy useful blogs instead.
Link farming could have been seen as a clever plot, but it does not work anymore. Instead, you might land your website into trouble.
RECOGNIZING WEBSITES THAT USE LINK FARMING
Google toolbar could be accessed using IE and Firefox browsers by installing it there itself. This tool permits you to check the Google Page Rank as well. You can visit the suspected page for interrogation or get the required information from the source. It is best to know if a site is a link farm by finding its Page rank. Blogs assigned a lower ranking are usually the ones Google does not recommend for high authenticity.
You can also know if a website visited is a part of link farming or not by scrutinizing its contents. The reason is that link farms are often connected to other websites that have completely unrelated content with the visited page. It is obvious that you would not find many useful statements in your visits to these blogs as they do not focus much on the content.
A blog network is the best example of a Link Farm. A PBN (Private Blog Network) is a network of blogs that are maintained by the same entity. They could be blogs owned by different owners sending reciprocal links to each other, or the whole group could be under the administration of a single company.
There is only one operating these blogs i.e., to boost the SEO of other blogs in that network. This way the corporation aims to improve its Page Rank as well as the revenue generated from commercials.
However, once Google changed its algorithm, these companies face huge backlashes when they were exposed. PBNs are unsafe options as Google targets them. Nowadays, they are not always linked together as they have a history of being attacked by the search engine. However, if you interlink to even one of them, the whole network could be revealed simply by viewing the external links.
LINK FARMING: CURRENT AND FUTURE REPUTATION OF WEBSITE'S SEO
Google has banned link farming long back in time. It does not work anymore as expected. It is not the right way to earn popularity among the web crawlers in the first place. These engines are improving themselves time and again with the Page Ranking technology to gain trust from the audience. This change is constant. You cannot go far by creating artificial reciprocal links to rank at the top.
Link farming not only leads to low ranking punishment, but also to creating a notorious and bad reputation for the company. Google might even remove your website from its index since these are not organic to support the deserving search results.
UNDERSTANDING GOOD AND BAD LINKS
Links are significant factors to determine page authority for Google. That is a way of popularizing your website. Links that come from those websites that have better domain authority and relevance get favored by Google rather than the other unrelated ones. Not all links are as significant as the other.
Good links point to useful, relevant, and unique websites that have attained a good rank because of their quality content. Reciprocal and random links lead to downfalls.
Linking plays a vital role on the web. That is how the pages are connected, sourced, and referred to each other for ease of information and details. Still, this does not mean that one should play with these by signing in to link farms.
To find good links, visit sites that are related to your business. Register under a suitable directory as per your category. These are more likely to boost your SEO and increase traffic.
Black hat SEO never leads to any reputing promotion of pages in the long run.
WHAT IS BLACK HAT SEO?
Black hat SEO is the strategy that focuses on search engines more than the audience. These are the rule-breaking techniques of achieving higher ranks in the search results page in the search engines
There are usually three well-known types of Black Hat SEO:
-Link farming is filed under the black hat technique of SEO as the content on these sites link with each other in the most unrelated way. They are not manually built but through services and programs. They are easily detectable by the search engines and penalized by reducing their rank.
-Keyword stuffing happens where the editor fills the content published in their blog with too many keywords. The outcome results in meaningless sentences that do not have any value. Keyword stuffing is such that the keywords are filled in an unnatural way to force them in the phrases.
-Cloaking is a cunning trick where the blogger shows the viewer one content while giving the search engine crawler another. This is done when the content is in demand but tagged as unethical by Google. You end up creating two different contents for the visitor and the Spider. These contents are not user-friendly but tricks the search engines into seeing something else.
It is highly advised to keep away from Link Farms and such Black hat SEO methods. Link farms and the SEO impact of link farming is towards the negative. They are not only unethical but also can affect the health of your website in a hazardous way.