A link farm is a network of websites that link to each other and serve the primary purpose of increasing the search engine rankings of the sites they link to. Link farms are categorized as web spam because of the nature of the links and the random and unrelated content of the pages.
Although very effective a few years back where search engine results depended on link popularity, link farms are no longer useful and sites that are part of these networks end up being penalized or deindexed completely from the search engines.
During the early days of search engines, the algorithms used to determine how to rank web sites depended on how many links a website had. This allowed search engine optimizers to manipulate the system by introducing link farms that shared links to every site in the network. However, search engine algorithms are regularly evolving with the ultimate aim of screening out spammy websites with little quality which benefit from link farms. While these networks proved to be very effective in the past, they are now nothing more than spam after the recent search engine updates because:
Link Farms Do Not Offer Quality Links
Google and all other major search engines prioritize websites or pages that are linked to from quality websites. Links from link farms are the opposite of good links because of the quality of their content and the quality of the sites themselves. For the most part, sites in link farms offer little in value to the reader as opposed to sites that are white hat in nature. Most link farm websites have low quality content littered with links that can deter a visitor from reading through the page due to the blatant spammy links across all the pages.
Link Farms Do Not Offer Links From Relevant Websites
The regular search engine algorithm updates have shown that search engines are now prioritizing sites that are linked to from relevant websites in the same niche. The open nature of link farms means that websites from any niche can participate in one network making the links useless. An internet marketing website with links coming from weight loss websites or relationship websites is nothing more than a waste of internet space in the eyes of the search engines.
Link Farms Do Not Have Backlink Diversity
The recent Panda and Penguin updates of Google have proven that search engines now value websites that have links from a variety of sources. Clearly, a link farm does not have this advantage because it is only offering one type of backlink.
Link Farm Websites Have Too Many Outgoing Links
Another important realization from the recent Google Panda and Penguin updates is that websites or webpages that have too many outgoing links to other sites suffer from poor search engine rankings. The ranking score they gain from the search engines is dissipated into each and every site they link to making them much less rankable. Websites in link farms, particularly those in networks with hundreds of member sites, have hundreds of outgoing links which gives all of them poor search engine rankings.
Link Farms Do Not Have Anchor Text Diversity
The Google Panda and Penguin updates have affected more than 50 percent of money making websites and website owners have discovered that sites with high anchor text backlink diversity suffer little in website ranking or have their rankings remain unchanged after the updates. In link farms, this simply is not the case because most link farms are programmed to have only one anchor text per link which is detrimental in search engine optimization today. In fact, it is now ideal to have at most only 40% of the links containing the keywords to maintain good rankings.
Link Farms Are Considered A Bad Neighborhood
Major search engines today are not only penalizing or deindexing individual websites that break webmaster guidelines for search engines, they also investigate links coming to and from the bad sites they catch. This means that every site participating in a link farm, whether they be in the hundreds or thousands, can be penalized by suffering from poor results or being completely deindexed even if only one of the sites in the network is discovered. These networks leave traceable footprints that search engine crawlers can easily follow making it a gamble to be part of these link farms.
Have You Had Any Experience With Link Farms?
If you have ventured into link farming, has it worked for you? Does it still work for you? Have you be penalised for being part of a link farm? Share your experiences with us in the comment box below.