Old McDonald had a Farm, with a Link to Me and a Link to You…

by Brian on January 20, 2010

Just say “No” to link farms and reciprocal link directories.

What are link farms and reciprocal link directories?

Link farms are when site owners have pages on their site with nothing but outbound links. All of the site owners agree to exchange links with other site owners. Most often they accept any site in any niche, regardless of the quality of the site. In exchange, the sites they link to have their link on a links page with tons of other outbound links.

These were made popular back before Google and other search engines’ technology caught up. Back in the day, being part of a link farm was a great way to boost your site’s results in the SERP… Because search engines used to count any link coming into a site.
Now they take the inbound link’s quality into account. Nowadays participating in a link farm or reciprocal link directory is a good way to get kicked out of the search engines completely.

This is a touchy subject, because so many people get involved with link directories and truly believe in them. That’s fine; if you are one of those people, our blog is not for you. We follow Google’s guidelines. They are the king of the search engines and every search engine follows their lead.

We own a couple of different websites and blogs… We have people solicit us on a regular basis asking if we would like to exchange links. While some of the people who contact us have relevant sites and offer to do article swaps and such, the majority of sites we review have no relevance to our niches at all… Or they are Link Exchange Directories vying for us to pay to be listed. This is a tell-tale way of knowing you are being solicited by a link farm.

Outbound links are VERY important… But, link farms are looked at as spam and if your site is part of one, it will be considered a spam site as well.

As our blog continues, we will talk more in depth about paid links for advertising… which is perfectly okay as long as they include the <rel=”nofollow”> attribute to the tag. This may be a little advanced for you now, but in time it will all come together.

How will the search engines find out? They have programs (spiders, bots, auto indexers, etc.) that constantly crawl through every website out there. They will crawl your site too.

Why do people still participate in link farms and reciprocal link directories?

We think it’s 1 of 2 reasons:

  1. Because they just don’t know better (more often than not)
  2. They are morons who do know better and think they can “get one over” on the search engines…

Either way, being involved with a link farm is a good way to get your site banned from the search engines.

Have you been approached by or participated a reciprocal link/ link farm?

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