How Link Farms Can Damage Your Site’s Search Performance

Chris Tweten7 Jun 2023 • 5 MIN READ

Many of us become impatient or deploy risky SEO practices and fail to get the desired results. This leads to using unethical practices to boost website ranking like abusing link farms for backlink equity. This practice was a cheat code to get around Google’s algorithm back in the day. But now, Google considers link farming as a manipulative black-hat SEO tactic that can have a devastating effect on the performance of your website in organic search results.

So while link farming can temporarily help your website gain visibility, it is a black-listed backlink building practice that you should avoid at all costs. Here, we discuss the risks associated with link farming and how to detect if a website is using link farms.

Header Image Source: Pexels

What Is a Link Farm?

Link farms are websites made up of a large number of links, often to unrelated sites. The purpose of link farms is to improve the rankings of their associated sites in search engine results pages. Or to just make money—oftentimes, link farms are made solely to generate profit from selling backlinks. Most are created with the intent to manipulate search engine rankings and are considered to violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. 

Link farms can be created using automated programs that generate a large number of links in a short amount of time. These programs create thousands of web pages containing hundreds or thousands of outgoing links to affiliated sites. This helps artificially inflate the number of backlinks pointed to affiliated sites, making them appear more popular and authoritative than they actually are.

Signs a Website Is Link Farm

Here are the signs that a website is potentially a link farm.

An Abundance of Outbound Links

One of the major signs that a website is a link farm is an abundance of external links or links to other websites. Link farms contain a large number of links to other websites that have nothing to do with the content on the page. This is done to increase the number of an affiliated website’s number of inbound links, which can boost the website’s search engine rankings or metrics like domain authority (DA) and domain rating (DR).

Poorly Written Content

Another sign that a website is a link farm is the presence of poorly written content. Link farms contain content stuffed with keywords and phrases, but it is written in a choppy or unnatural manner.

Through the use of AI, link farms can be written at scale in violation of Google’s AI guidelines. This type of content production is not only against guidelines, it can actually harm a website’s SERP ranking by triggering a manual penalty from Google.

link farm example

Random and Unrelated Content Published

Finding random and unrelated content published on the same page indicates that the website is a link farm. Link farms often contain content unrelated to the site’s main niche because they’re selling guest post placements to anyone with a wallet. 

If you’re wondering if a website has unrelated content, try using one of these Google searches:

  • crypto
  • gambling
  • casino
  • “any keyword or phrase here”
link farm example 2

Unnatural Anchor Text

Unnatural anchor text is another sign of a link farm. Link farms use unnatural or keyword-rich anchor texts to create backlinks, which can be easily identified by checking the source code of a website and doing a Ctrl+F search for “<a hrefs=”. This will highlight every instance of a hyperlink on a page.

Links from Low Authority Domains

The presence of links from low-authority domains is another indication that a website is a link farm. Link farms usually contain backlinks from websites with little to no domain authority, which can be easily identified by checking the source code of a website.

High Number of Links from the Same Domain

A high number of links from the same domain is a major sign that a website is a link farm. Link farms contain hundreds of backlinks from the same domain or website, which is a tell-tale sign of poor research and only focused on improving the site’s ranking through backlinking.

Web Pages with Nothing But Links without Context

Link farms contain web pages with nothing but links without context, another major sign of a link farm. Link farms are full of web pages with a long list of links without any meaningful content.

Why Should You Avoid Link from Link Farms

We know improving your site’s search results can force you to link farms, but here are all the reasons you should avoid doing it.

Negative Impact on Search Rankings

Link farming is considered a black hat SEO technique, and search engines like Google will penalize any website that engages in this practice. Search algorithms are designed to detect link farms, so it’s important to be careful when buildinglinks.

Decreased Visibility

Link farming can clog up search engine results with low-quality, irrelevant content. This means your website won’t be seen as much because it will get buried in all the links created by link farms.

Reputation Damage

Using a link farm can also damage your reputation and put your business at risk of losing customers or potential clients. It could lead to people believing that your business is operating unethically and will damage the trust between you and your customers.

Risk of Being Penalized by Search Engines

Another reason to avoid link farming is the risk of being penalized by search engines. Google has strict rules regarding linking under its spam policies, and if you violate these rules, your website could be removed from its indexes completely.

Low-Quality Links

Link farming can lead to low-quality links that provide no real value to your website. Link farms are often created by spammers and contain links to sites with poor context. These links will not help you improve your search engine rankings but could potentially hurt them.

Waste of Time and Money

Link farming is a time-consuming and expensive technique that requires constant monitoring. It also requires you to invest in marketing and advertising to get your links seen. All this effort can be wasted if your link farm ends up being detected by search engines. So it’s best to avoid link farms and focus on creating high-quality, relevant content.

Key Takeaways

A link farm is risky and can negatively affect your website’s search rankings. If you want to improve your SEO ranking without being penalized by search engines or damaging your business’s credibility, focus on creating high-quality content instead of link farms.

Link farms are websites with many backlinks without relevant content. 

Remember that:

  • Signs of link farming include unnatural anchor text, links from low authority domains, and webpages with nothing but links without context. 
  • Link farming can harm search rankings, decrease visibility, and damage your reputation. 
  • Link farming can also lead to being penalized by search engines and low-quality links that provide no real value.