Learn all about digital marketing, we have built this glossary to help you understand everything to thrive in online marketing and promoting your website or business.
What is a Link Farm?
A link farm essentially is a grouping of websites that all hyperlink to every other site in the group. Created with the intent to manipulate the popularity of a website, link farms aim to trick search engine algorithms to gain higher ranking in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). However, using link farms is considered 'black hat SEO' tactics, as it goes against the ethical code of search engine guidelines.
Originally, the search engine algorithms did not have the capacity to penalize this unethical practice, however, with regular updates in algorithms, today, they are smart enough to detect such practices and can even ban the website altogether eliminating it from the search results.
Thus, though it may offer quick results, using link farms is a risky strategy that may harm your website in the long run.
Role of Link Farms in Digital Marketing
The main purpose of a link farm is to inflate a website's ranking in search results. The more links a site has, the higher it ranks according to search engine algorithms. However, as search engines' algorithms have become more sophisticated, these link farms have become less effective and their use can lead to penalties.
Today, Link farms are associated with the practice of 'Black Hat' SEOs, tactics disapproved by search engines. Using link farms can lead to search engines devaluing your site, impeding its visibility or ranking. Thus, although link farms were once a commonly used tactic in digital marketing, they are now a dated and risky strategy.
Legitimate, organic link-building practices that offer value to users are now favored by search engines and digital marketers alike.
Link Farm Examples
A simple example of a link farm might be ‘Website A’ linking to ‘Website B’, ‘Website B’ linking to ‘Website C’ and so forth. But link farms now are often more involved, with websites interlinking with every other in the group to maximize link number.
The use of automated programs, software, or services, that generate links, and hence creating link farms is also prevalent. For instance, a service creating a network of blogs or sites and interlinking them is an example of a link farm.
Using guest posts or comment spam for the sole purpose of including a link back to contributor’s site proliferates link farming. But always keep in mind that using link farms can lead to search engine penalties and overall negative impacts on your website’s visibility.