When it comes to optimized online presence of a site, link building is one of the most important SEO Practices. Link farming is one such technique that belongs to black-hat SEO technique and works upon the spamdexing concept.
We all know that SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a technique that most companies and businesses employ to generate traffic and attract a wider audience towards their websites.
Companies that deal with SEO services provide large number of backlinks along with the package to their clients. In some other cases, one site develops a relationship with other site for reciprocal linking.
These backlinks are nothing but Link Farming.
Link Farming is considered one of the fastest ways of generating traffic by making it seem that the website is frequently talked about.
Link Farming is considered to be a tightly-knit community that incorporates links to websites that contain links to other websites. Then again, all these websites are used to endorse the quality and relevance of the main website.
By connecting various sites, link farming is substantially manipulating the search engines about the quality and relevance of these websites.
This complicated web of links is mostly called a link farm.
This article aims to highlight link farming and why it is considered as a questionable SEO technique. So, without any further ado, let us get started-
What is Link Farming?
As mentioned above, link farming is one of the techniques included in SEO that is employed by companies to generate traffic and attract a wider audience. In simple terms, a link farm is a group of websites that are all meant to endorse the quality of the leading site or hyperlinks.
Initially, various search engines would determine the ranking of a website based on the number of inbound links. This became the primary reason for websites to use link farming as a technique for boosting their ranks.
But unlink popular understanding during that time; link farming does not help entirely raising the relevance and prominence of a site in the eyes of search engines.
It just links one website to various other sites by using the reciprocal link technique.
Search Engines have become smarter now!
These days, the technique of link farming has significantly reduced as most search engine websites now know how to filter out useless links from their website. Various other SEO techniques are widely being used. But still, this technique hasn’t become entirely obsolete.
Mostly, a link farm is considered to be a technique of spamming the web search engine.
However, in some instances, when a particular website is allowed to exchange links with another site selectively, the link farming technique is not considered to be a form of spamming.
The method of one-way links is often confused with link farming. While a one-way link endorses the backlink technique, the link farming technique requires a reciprocal relationship. This creates a whole of interlinked websites, and hence, it becomes difficult to recognize which is the vendor site and which is promoting the site.
How Link Farming Works?
Link farming is one of the controversial tactics of SEO, but it is still employed by various websites to increase their inbound links. This technique works by either entering a site into a relationship of reciprocal link with another website or providing the vendor website a list of inbound links.
As mentioned above, the link farm is entirely different from a backlink.
In backlink, the vendor website forms a link with the promoting website. In reciprocal link, however, the vendor website ends up getting linked to a plethora of other websites. The technique makes it difficult to understand, which is the vendor website and thus, reduces the chances of increasing the website’s ranks.
Through link farming, a network of interconnected websites is formed usually of low-quality sites being linked to the vendor website.
The primary purpose of using link farming is to enhance the rank of the vendor website.
Since the website’s position depends on the number of inbound links, this technique was often used.
However, the search engines have optimized their system of ranking and now can filter out low-quality links. Hence, the only way to enhance the rank is by creating quality content and linking a website to other high-quality, relevant websites.
Role of Private Blog Network (PBN) in Link Farming
A Private Blog Network (PBN) is another word for link farms in which a group of blogs is owned by a particular company or entity. This group of blogs is created with the sole intent of promoting these blogs for generating advertising revenue or for uplifting the blogs in the ranking system.
A blog network may also refer to a central website where a user creates his blog. This blog created utilizes either a subdomain or a subfolder of the main domain, and hence, it is a part of a network. This technique is also called as a hosted blog platform.
A hosted blog platform initially gained prominence during the second phase of web development in which social and interactive websites came to the forefront.
Google targeting PBN
PBNs have a long history of getting targeted by Google, and there have been various incidents in the past which support this fact. A private blog network or link farming is considered to be one of the SEO methods that is always open to doubt.
In earlier times, websites would utilize the technique of link farming to increase their number of inbound links. These inbound links were of low-quality and did not provide valuable content to the internet. But these links helped the websites to gain momentum in the ranking system utilized by various search engines.
But contrary to popular opinion, it did not boost the ranks of the vendor websites effectively. Instead, it created an interwoven network of sites in which each link endorsed the quality of another link.
Hence, it has become difficult to recognize the vendor website.
Understanding the effect of link farming, the search engines optimized their ranking system, so that they could filter out the low-quality sites easily.
In September 2014, Google targeted PBNs with the manual action ranking penalty to prevent websites and SEO from using link farming or PBNs to improve their rankings. Since then, Google has been on the lookout for blog networks, and hence, it would not be the safest option to link your blog with Google, in case you are using the link farming technique. Google can detect and trace the entire group of networks just through a simple blog network.
Is Link Farming illegal?
As mentioned above, Google targeted various blogs with penalties on multiple occasions.
Although the technique is not entirely banned, Google and various other search engines encourage websites not to use this technique of SEO. Link farming is considered to be one of the unethical, problematic, and shady methods of enhancing a website’s rank.
These days, the technique’s usage has considerably dropped due to ineffectiveness in gaining traffic.
The website or blog which utilizes link farming is at constant risk of receiving a penalty, a drop in the ranking system, or in the worst case, a permanent ban.
The quality of inbound links provided by link farming is mostly of low-quality, not adding any value to the internet community. Hence, it is much preferred to have a low rank rather than to suffer from the massive blow that comes with the penalty.
Negatives of Link Farming In SEO
SEO is a technique that is mostly utilized by companies and businesses to generate traffic towards their website. There are various methodologies that SEO uses, link farming being one of them.
However, when Google targeted link farms or blog networks and took them down, the vendor or leading websites suffered a massive blow in the ranking system.
Due to the risk of penalty, it is not worth risking your website to use like farming for enhancing a website’s ranks. If the SEO Company takes down the link farming domain down, the leading site will suffer a temporary drop in the ranking system. Then again, experiencing a temporary decline is much more bearable than a penalty charge.
The drop that a website will face is not something that can be easily predicted.
The drop primarily depends on how big the domain is as well as how complicated the link farm is. If the link farming network is significantly vast, the website faces the risk of a permanent ban.
Wrapping it up!
SEO is one of the most essential techniques utilized by the websites to target a particular type of audience and gain advertising revenue.
Additionally, search engines have optimized their ranking systems to detect low-quality links and filter them out. These engines also attempt at encouraging website-holders to gain authority and website-ranks through some of the most legitimate ways possible.
The ideal way to increase traffic is to create quality content that has the potential to attract a wider audience. Also, frequently linking your website to high-quality ones can significantly help in receiving advertising revenues and safeguard the site from facing a drop in the ranking system.
In the age of social media and videography, the marketing of a link can be done effectively and conveniently, without resorting to any shady practices that are, unfortunately, a part of the SEO technology.
So, what are your thoughts about the Link Farming? Have you ever tried this? Share your views with us in the comments below.