The Dangers of Link Farms

So you want to get ahead of the competition on the search engines, and you decide to use a link farm. Stop! There’s danger in link farms as with all SEO methods that seem to good to be true.

Your website shouldn’t link to, or be linked from, websites with any of the characteristics of link farms. Link farms are web sites that have been set up for no reason other than to contain masses of links, exploiting search engines’ link popularity algorithms. They serve no real purpose, other than getting everyone who joins to link to and from them and boosting the rankings of everyone involved. This is a big problem, as most people consider it to be nothing more than search engine ‘spam’.

Do not get link farms confused with directories which are excellent places to get your site listed. The difference here is that a directory attempts to provide its users with a nice organized way to get to the information that they want while a link farm simply posts a ton of links (generally at cost to the linkee) and serves no purpose to anybody on the web.

Avoid all link farms and similar sites! If you try to use one then the end result could be a ranking penalty, or your website might even be banned from the search engine altogether. Being banned from a search engine is a terrible loss for your site and will generally lead you to creating a brand new site out of sheer necessity.

Remember: the number of links to your site isn’t as important as the quality of those links. You’re trying to get people with real, quality sites to link to you. There are even rumors (which are being validated daily) that Google is implementing a quality control algorithm for links which includes the amount of time that a link has existed between two sites as well as the reputations of the two sites based on how many links they send out. For example, if you have a link from a site that only links to three sites all together and this link has stood strong for months, Google will consider it a valuable link. On the other hand, if you get linked to by a site with a massive number of links, Google could care less. Remember, Google is the Santa Claus of the internet, it’s always watching.

Free for All (FFA).

An FFA is a links page where anyone can add a link – quite similar to a link farm. Don’t be fooled into listing your site on these or linking to them. Many programs will submit your link automatically, to hundreds of FFAs all over the web. Don’t use these programs! The search engines will steer clear of your site for a long time if you do.

Who Should I Link To, and How?

Be very selective about your outbound links and your requests for inbound links, and avoid any site that’s anything like a link farm. Look for websites that have similar subjects to yours, good rankings and good traffic. Depending on the topic, they might be hard to find – but then you should find it easier to rank highly in these topics.

Once you’ve found a few good sites, the next step is to email them and request a link. You should, of course, offer one in return. You will run into some opposition with this method and you will sometimes be ignored completely, but you should have a reasonable amount of success. We can’t stress enough, though, that you should be careful about which sites you link to, and check your links regularly.

The Bottom Line.

Link farms are dangerous to your website and a complete waste of time. They can bring your business crashing down by getting you banned from the search engines. You should be concentrating on real marketing methods – even though they’re not a ‘quick fix’, they can work if you give them some time.

There are many real ways to get traffic to your website, and using professional methods can give you a big increase in traffic. Using link farms and FFAs is a good way to get yourself nowhere fast.

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