What Is Link Farming? (+ Why Google Criticize Them in 2023)

Most users believe that engaging in link farming is more useful because of the minimal upfront costs and the rapid gratification it provides in the near run.

But if you think this is a good plan of action, you’re dead wrong.

Keep in mind that link farms are considered unethical SEO practices by Google and other search engines.

As a result, Google has begun taking strong action against link farm websites and the individuals who utilize them.

The truth is that link farming in SEO does help boost a website’s rating, but only temporarily. This sort of ranking, however, will continue to fall.

Having said that, let’s dive deeper to discuss the detailed answer to the most crucial question, which is, “What is link farming? What is a link farm example?” And lots more!

What Is Link Farming?

What is link farming?

A link farm refers to a network of websites that are created with the sole purpose of artificially increasing the number of links pointing to a specific website.

In an effort to boost the search engine rankings of the intended website, these links are often irrelevant and of low quality.

Though they have some similarities with private blog networks (PBNs), the goals of these groups of connections are different.

On the other hand, link farms are collections of websites that only connect to one another rather than having any external links at all, which is the primary purpose of most PBNs.

The group of online users who are most likely to engage in the practice of link farming in SEO is the search engine optimization industry.

To achieve this, they set up link farms to broker the sales and purchase of backlinks in existing online content or conjunction with the distribution of guest pieces.

A Brief History of Link Farming In SEO

In the early years of the internet, in 1999, the concept of link farm websites originated as a way to influence search engine rankings.

The goal of these links was to artificially increase traffic to a very fresh or unproven website. If you’re not familiar with SEO, you may find this hard to believe, but it’s the truth.

This link farming in SEO which is also known as link wheeling is a type of unethical black-hat SEO that has been around since the late 1990s.

The number of these inbound links used to be a major factor for Google, Bing, and Yahoo when deciding a site’s credibility.

Because of this, link exchange networks whose main purpose is to deceive search engine crawlers have emerged as a result.

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Google, however, has seen a significant and positive transformation as a result of upgrades like Panda and Penguin designed to combat such negative SEO tactics.

Let’s take a look at Google’s latest updates, as they will shed further light on the topic, “What is link farming?” Let’s take a look at them now:

The Panda Update 🐼

In the year 2011, Google released Panda to combat the growing problem of “content farms.”

In contrast, “content farms” refer to websites that purposefully produce low-quality content to improve their search engine rankings.

The Panda algorithm will successfully demote low-quality websites while giving preferential treatment in search engine results pages (SERPs) to those that provide high-quality, useful material.

The Penguin Update 🐧

Google introduced Penguin in April of the year, 2012. Indeed, its initial release was framed as a measure against “webspam algorithm modifications.”

This update’s primary intent was to expose sites engaging in manipulative link-building practices. Link farming in SEO strategies will be discouraged at this point, though.

With the release of Penguin, Google is shifting its attention entirely to the management of incoming links and the prevention of link farming.

Why Google Criticizes Link Farming Spam

The answer is a resounding “yes,” as Google has introduced rigorous standards for link building and has a zero-tolerance stance towards link farm websites.

These link farms provide no unique value to visitors and are full of spammy links designed to lower a site’s page rank.

As a reason, Google does criticize the act of practicing link farming spam for the following reasons:

  1. They solely produce bogus backlinks meant to trick search engines into thinking they belong somewhere else.
  2. There is a striking lack of depth and overall poor quality to the articles or material that the links lead to.
  3. The automated software that creates these link farm websites consistently produces mediocre work and doesn’t put the user’s experience first.
  4. Each and every industry connected to link farming in SEO covers a wide variety of irrelevant and erroneous material.
  5. A link farm lacks a coherent and logical connection between the current article and the various pieces of linked content.

It’s worth noting that Google and other major search engines have consistently strengthened their stance against this behavior over the years by enforcing a variety of restrictions.

However, with the help of these guidelines, the prevalence of link farms that aim to game Google’s algorithm to boost the rankings of questionable sites is decreasing.

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How Do I Identify Link Farm?

How identify link farming in SEO

After explaining in great detail, “What is link farming? And any additional questions that may arise.” Let’s set the record straight on how to spot this form of malicious SEO.

Paying close attention to the following features might help you determine whether or not a domain is part of the link farm sites or engage in link wheeling strategies:

  1. One surefire sign that a website is engaging in link farming on Reddit is a low Google Page Authority score.
  2. Subpar or overly general website content that fails to provide either human readers or search engine bots with any real value.
  3. The website has covered a wide variety of niches and topics that, at first glance, seem completely unconnected to one another.
  4. The web pages are nothing more than long lists of hyperlinks with no introductory or explanatory text.
  5. In the event that links descriptions or contextual information are frequently lacking on website pages.
  6. Using domain names that don’t relate to any particular topic or are just a random string of characters.

Is Link Farming Worth The Risk?

While engaging in and executing link farming spam may seem like a quick and easy way to increase your link popularity, it comes with a number of potential drawbacks that should be considered.

Take into account the main factors laid out below before deciding if working with link farm websites is worth the potential downsides.

  1. Quality: This unethical method of search engine optimization involves constructing links to your site that are of low quality and could hurt your domain’s rankings.
    • Keep in mind that search engines can detect link-wheeling and punish it accordingly. Therefore, you should give more weight to high-quality links.
  2. Penalties: In the event that Google suspects a website of using link farms, it will immediately and permanently be able to identify and penalize said website.
    • Reductions in organic traffic, click-through rates (CTR), return on INVESTMENT (ROI), website freezes, etc. are all possible outcomes of penalties.
  3. Longevity: You should note that the act of link farming spam offers only temporary solutions and fails to deliver any lasting benefits.
    • However, this link farming may have negative effects on your website down the road, costing you time and money.

What Should You Do Instead of Link Farming?

If you are familiar with the concept of “link farming in SEO,” you understand the dangers it poses to your website as a whole.

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The following are some viable alternatives to link farming that you should implement instead:

Be Selective About The Links You Share

When considering linking out to another website, it is important to do some background research beforehand.

A complete re-evaluation of every website text for relevancy and absence of black-hat SEO techniques.

Differentiate Between Link Farm And Directories

Before beginning the process of link farming in SEO, it is essential to have a firm grasp of the distinction between directories and link farms.

If you’re looking for quality backlinks, directories are the way to go. Since linking the link farm websites typically results in low-quality links, it’s best to avoid it.

Focus On Getting Organic Links

Do you know that the best search engine optimization strategy, in terms of rankings, is to generate high-quality links naturally?

Producing consistently valuable and interesting content is key, as this is what will ultimately result in the acquisition of high-quality organic links.

FAQs About What Is Link Farming

Frequent Asked Questions On link farming in SEO

Is Link Farming Legal?

Although it is not technically illegal to engage in any form of link farming in the search engine optimization approach.

However, keep in mind that this strategy directly contravenes the rules set forth by Google and other search engines.

What Is Google’s Stance On Link Farms?

Google considers link schemes that aim to manipulate search results to be in violation of its SEO Webmaster Guidelines.

In addition, link farm sites are a common target for this technique. As a result, it will be banned from Google’s search engine results pages.

Are Link Farm Websites A Type Of PBN?

A PBN is not the same thing as a link farm. To increase a website’s credibility, webmasters can register a large number of domain names and link them together to form a private blog network (PBN).

Search engines may become aware of your link-selling activities in a private blog network discussion forum. Therefore, this usually lessens the possibility of the forum functioning like link farm websites.

How Many Backlinks Are Enough?

When it comes to finding the optimal number of backlinks, there is no hard-and-fast rule. However, the most important thing is to focus on quality rather than quantity.

Instead of getting thousands of connections from low-quality sources, acquiring a small number of high-quality backlinks from respected and relevant websites can go a long way toward promoting your site.

Let’s call it a day here! See you in the other post!

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