This article originally appeared on annascheller.com
A link farm is a collection of pages created with the sole intention of linking to one another in order to improve search engine ratings. If you want to get ahead of the competition and rank higher on search engine results, using a link farm might look like an easy way to do it. STOP! If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is; link farms are a dangerous SEO technique that can actually damage your website’s prospects.
Resist Link Farm Temptation
Your website shouldn’t link to, or be linked from, link farms. These web sites are set up with no other purpose than to exploit search engine popularity algorithms by containing huge numbers of links. They are considered to be search engine ‘spam’ and attract a lot of criticism from genuine SEO professionals who use genuine SEO techniques.
Be careful not to confuse the link farm with the directory. Directories are actually a great way to get your site listed. The difference is that directories have a purpose – they are giving their users the information they need in an organised way. Link farms just post a vast array of links without actually providing a service – and they usually charge the linkee for the privilege.
Using link farms can result in ranking penalties, so the best course of action is to avoid them! Your website could even be banned from the search engine completely, which would have drastic consequences for your website. Unless you want to be left with no other choice than to create a whole new website, link farms and similar sites just aren’t worth the risk.
When it comes to links, it is always better to have quality rather than quantity. You need high-quality, relevant links. Remember, you want real people with real sites to connect with yours. Quality of links is increasingly important, with lots of recent rumors than Google is implementing new ways to establish a quality control algorithm that looks at the length of time a link has existed as well as taking into consideration the reputation of the linked sites. For example, a link which has existed for months to a site that only links to two others will be viewed by Google as a valuable link. However, a link to a site that has links to many other sites, which change frequently, is going to be a lot less impactful.
Free for Alls (FFAs)
An FFA a page where any user can create a link, and these work in a similar way to the more common link farm. Don’t be tricked into listing your website on one of these FFA sites or joining a program to submit your link to many of these FFAs automatically. Search engines will penalize this type of behavior and you will actually damage your ranking or get yourself banned.
Replace Link Farms with Quality Links
It pays to be selective about the links you choose, both your outbound links and in judging the requests for inbound links. Avoid any website that looks like a link farm. Instead, choose websites that have similar subjects as yours; they should be relevant, have a good ranking and attract good traffic. Don’t worry if they are hard to find – that means there is less competition and it should be easier to rank higher.
When you have chosen some good sites you would like to link to, then simply email them and request a link, offering them a link in return. Not every website will get back to you and some may decline the offer but you will find websites who are interested in the offer. Once you have set up links, continue to monitor and check them so you don’t have any dead links on your site.
Put In Time and Effort
There is no substitution for putting in time and effort when it comes to SEO. Link farms and FFAs might seem like a quick fix but ultimately, they can bring your business down. Focus on genuine SEO and proven global marketing methods; there are lots of real ways to drive traffic to your website without resorting to link farms.