external sites on the danger of link farms
glossary of terms
Bad Neighborhood: Pages with links to pornography sites, gambling sites, prescription drug sites, and sites with a lot of misleading keywords but no real content or sharing a server or IP block with sites that have been penalized for using illicit SEO tactics, such link farms or hidden text.
Content Network: A group of related feeder websites sites containing an encyclopedia of articles about various aspects of a product or service all driving traffic to a target website.
Feeder Site: An informational website with links and forms to drive traffic and build sales for a target domain.
Keyword Phrase: A set of words used for a search engine query that describe the contents of a web page or web site.
Link Farm: Website pages typically containing long lists of unrelated hyperlinks without any groupings, categories, or contextual relationship to the root domain that have been built for the sole purpose of artificially increasing the number of incoming links to a web site.
Target Domain: The primary domain name for a company or organization.
Link Popularity: The number of high quality websites that link to yours, has a major impact on the way your website is ranked by the search engines.
Natural/Organic Search: Listings on search results pages that are returned by the search engine algorithms based on their relevance to the search terms.
Off-Page SEO: It uses superior content for link building, as quality is more important than quantity.
SEO Company: Helps customers build or improve websites and website pages making them both clear and easy for the search engines to index.
examples of reputable SEO companies
The natural search rank of your website is determined in large part by link popularity - defined as how many well ranked pages on other websites link to yours. Link analysis has been gaining more importance to the search engines, not less. Search engines are looking at the quality and relevance of links from ranked pages that point to your website as opposed to just the number of inbound links (i.e. link farms). A high quality link comes from a website that has a high page rank, although any site with a Google PageRank of 0/10 or above is considered beneficial. Usually, a link farm site will NOT meet this criteria. Search engines will also consider the theme of the linking website in determining its quality. Higher consideration is given to links from websites that are associated with the industry in which you operate.
"Link building" is the process of creating inbound links to a website. Developing quality links can be difficult and time consuming as most links are built based on superior content. Links to your website can come from developing content-only feeder websites, getting reciprocal links with non-competing yet related websites, being published in e-zines and newsletters, submitting articles to the many article directories, participating in industry related discussion forums, blogging on sites related to your industry, gathering friends on social networks, sending out publicity notices, writing product reviews for press releases, etc. The value of creating outstanding and unique content can not be overstated. Solid content builds links and keeps search engine rankings high.
Illicit link farms are designed to circumvent the effort it takes to develop quality links. The focus is on quantity of links without regard to their quality. As the search engines get more sophisticated with backward link analysis, the risk of being penalized for having inbound links from an illicit link farm will grow.
|A link farm is a website page or set of websites containing a very large list of hyperlinks to different websites without groupings, categories, or any relationship to the site domain name. Many link farm sites have no actual content of their own or standards for link submission. Link farms are disreputable versions of legitimate sites exchanging links based on related topics to provide visitors with some added content value.
Link farms are built for the sole purpose of artificially increasing the number of incoming links to a website to increase that site's index ranking in the search engines. An illicit link farm is a form of search engine spam and is used to trick search engines into giving a website a higher ranking (because of the inbound link from the link farm) for a particular keyword than the website merits on its own. These types of sites are penalized by all of the search engines and carry no PageRank or weight. Adding a link to your website on a link farm can cause your site to be penalized by the search engines as well.
Example - This is what a link farm page looks like. This is long list of unrelated and uncategorized websites. Legitimate businesses are listed on this same page on this link farm site as pornography sites, prescription drug sites and gambling sites. There is no PageRank on the Google tool bar for this link farm - this page has been filtered from the index and may never be displayed by Google in the natural search results. The websites listed here have possibly paid a search engine optimization firm for inclusion in this link farm to spam the search engines and artificially boost their search engine rankings. Many of these search engine optimization firms that DO use link farms will adamantly deny the use of link farms even though a person can find their client's sites listed on one link farm or many link farms.
Risks in participating in link farms - Webmaster Guidelines
1. Google - While Google does not explicitly threaten expulsion from the index for joining link farms, it clearly discourages the use of illicit link farms.
"Google and most other search engines use links to determine reputation. A site's ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to it. Link-based analysis is an extremely useful way of measuring a site's value, and has greatly improved the quality of web search. Both the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of links count towards this rating.
However, some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results."
"If you believe that another site is abusing Google's quality guidelines, please report that site at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/spamreport. Google prefers developing scalable and automated solutions to problems, so we attempt to minimize hand-to-hand spam fighting. The spam reports we receive are used to create scalable algorithms that recognize and block future spam attempts.
Quality guidelines - basic principles
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as "cloaking."
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?"
- Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
- Don't use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.
"Your site's ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality, and relevance of links count towards your rating. The sites that link to you can provide context about the subject matter of your site, and can indicate its quality and popularity. However, some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact your site's ranking in search results. Examples of link schemes can include:
- Links intended to manipulate PageRank
- Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
- Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging ("Link to me and I'll link to you.")
- Buying or selling links that pass PageRank
The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it. Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself the question: Is this going to be beneficial for my page's visitors?
It is not only the number of links you have pointing to your site that matters, but also the quality and relevance of those links. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the buzzing blogger community can be an excellent place to generate interest."
The Internet Search Engine Monitoring Center interprets 'bad neighborhoods' as pages with links to pornography sites, gambling sites, prescription drug sites, sites using deliberate copyright violations and sites with lots of misleading keywords but no real content. Many web spammers use pages of links with many different and unrelated sites including both legitimate sites and these 'bad neighborhood' sites on the same page. Being in a 'bad neighborhood' also includes sharing a server or IP block with sites that have been penalized for using illicit search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, such link farms or hidden text.
2. Yahoo - While Yahoo does not explicitly threaten expulsion from the index for participating in link farms, it clearly reserves the right to do so.
"Unfortunately, not all web pages contain information that is valuable to a user. Some pages are created deliberately to trick the search engine into offering inappropriate, redundant or poor-quality search results; this is often called "spam." Yahoo! does not want these pages in the index.
What Yahoo! Considers Unwanted:
- Some, but not all, examples of the more common types of content that Yahoo! does not want include:
- Pages that harm accuracy, diversity or relevance of search results
- Pages dedicated to directing the user to another page (doorway pages)
- Multiple sites or pages offering substantially the same content
- Pages that rely heavily on content or links to content created for another web site, such as affiliate content
- Sites with numerous, unnecessary virtual hostnames
- Pages in great quantity, automatically generated or of little value (cookie-cutter pages)
- Pages using methods to artificially inflate search engine ranking
- The use of text or links hidden from the user
- Pages that give the search engine different content than what the end user sees (cloaking)
- Sites cross-linked excessively with other sites to inflate a site's apparent popularity (link schemes)
- Pages built primarily for the search engines or pages with excessive or irrelevant keywords
- Misuse or inaccurate use of competitor or brand names
- Sites that use excessive pop-ups, install malware (i.e. spyware, viruses, trojans), or interfering with user navigation
- Pages that seem deceptive, fraudulent, or provide a poor user experience
Yahoo! Search Content Quality Guidelines are designed to ensure that poor-quality pages do not degrade the user experience in any way. As with Yahoo!'s other guidelines, Yahoo! reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to take any and all action it deems appropriate to ensure the quality of its index."
3. MSN - MSN does directly threaten websites with expulsion from the index for joining link farms.
"Guidelines for successful indexing
The following are recommendations that might help Live Search's MSNBot and other web crawlers effectively index and rank your website. Live Search has also provided a list of techniques to avoid if you want to make sure your website is indexed.
Techniques that might prevent your website from appearing in Live Search results:
The following techniques aren't appropriate in terms of attempting to gain higher ranking with the Live Search index. Use of these techniques might actually adversely affect how your website is ranked within Live Search, and might even cause your website to be removed from the index.
- Attempting to increase a webpage's keyword density by add lots of irrelevant words. This includes stuffing ALT tags that users are unlikely to view.
- Using hidden text or links. Only use text and links that are visible to users.
- Using techniques, such as link farms, to artificially increase the number of links to your webpage."
There are many ways of legitimate link building:
1. Develop feeder sites with encyclopedia quality content that link to your website. Articles are posted on separate domain names made from your primary keywords and can contain numerous deep links to your internal website pages plus a banner ad for your product or service. Do NOT allow these sites to by used as link farm sites.
2. Submit articles to the article syndication websites, where other webmasters can use your article on their e-zines and newsletters. They all offer links back to your website in return for the free use of your articles. Article Publishing not only brings one way links but also helps to building your brand and increase targeted traffic. The top article publishers are as follows:
3. Participate in an industry related forum or blog on sites related to the same industry as your business. Include a link to your website in your signature to generate one way links. Bloggers are available for hire if you are not a good writer or don't have much time.
4. Social network sites give out lots of links. Build a large network of friends to pass your links around. The types of content that will generate viral links on a social networking site like facebook.com, myspace.com or bebo.com include:
- Useful, well written, relevant, and unique information - this is the ongoing reason for the existence of the Internet
- Controversial topics
- Bashing the government, brand-names, companies, organizations, politicians, etc.
- Breaking news stories
- Anything funny, gross, disgusting or bizarre
5. Reciprocal links - a reciprocal link is a set of links on two related websites that link to each other. Link exchange is a proven way to build link popularity. It is not considered spam by the search engines as the websites chose to exchange links selectively to build networking relationships or provide additional resources to customers. However, excessive linking can be penalized. Make sure the links have contextual relevance to your customers.
A good link building strategy will be resistant over time to the ever changing algorithms of the search engines and will help keep your website highly ranked. Please fill out the contact form to start developing the content and web sites you need for legitimate, effective link building.