It’s also likely to throw up a red flag when you’re cross-linking hundreds or even thousands of sites.
When this occurs, the only real configuration that makes sense is a link far m or set of link farms.
And search engines don’t like link farms at all. If you want to get your sites completely delisted
from the search engine, then set up and take part in a link farm. It will just be a matter of time
before your sites are bounced into oblivion.
So, cross-linking isn’t always a bad thing. There are times when it works nicely. And the main require-
ment is that sites have something in common so that the links would have occurred naturally anyway.
Another thing that helps to keep cross-linking a legitimate linking strategy is for every site to have
unique content. If you’ve created a handful of different sites with exactly the same content on all of
them, search engines are going to take notice and your sites will be penalized.
As long as you’re using cross-linking in a legitimate way, there’s no reason you should avoid it com-
pletely. But like all the other linking strategies, use it wrong and you’ll pay the price.
The skinny on link farms
Have you ever seen a large farm from the air? From a few thousand feet up, farms look like orderly
divisions of land. Each little square looks perfectly proportioned and perfectly laid out.
That’s exactly how link farms look. If you’ve ever landed on a page with links ordered neatly around
the page, and with little or no text explaining all of the various links, then you’ve landed on a link
farm. That’s all they are, too — collections of links that lead to other web sites, or sometimes off to
other link farms.
You’ll hear this term often in SEO because link farms are not a good strategy for improving your
search engine rankings. Search engines don’t like link farms, because they offer no information
that’s of any value to the people who perform searches. And for that reason, link farms are usually
delisted as soon as they’re discovered.
It’s easy for you to get pulled into a link farm, thinking it’s a legitimate link to your site. You’ll usu-
ally receive some type of solicitation for you to place a link to one of these sites in return for a link
to your site; it’s even possible that you’ll hear of an SEO firm that uses link farms in an attempt to
artificially produce results that help them to charge you more.
That’s why it’s wise to check closely the places where your links will be placed. If you receive a request
for a reciprocal link, be sure you check to make sure that the page that will be displaying your link
actually is a relevant web page that has some association with the topic of your page. If you check it
out and find that what you’re just being added to a collection of links on a page, many of which are
unrelated, don’t allow your link to be displayed there.
You may not be the person who created the link farm, but your site can be delisted just as fast as the
page for the link farm can if you provide a link back to the link farm. All they care is that someone is
spamming the crawler, trying to make it believe something that’s not true.
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