Knowing what constitutes a link farm is easy. In addition to the site characteristics that have already
been mentioned, there are some other indicators that a site might not be legitimate. And it’s your
responsibility to ensure that the pages with which your site is linked are real pages, designed for site
visitors, not for crawlers.
Link farms have no connection at all to your site, either in topic or in actual relation to the
content that’s on your site.
Link farms have long, complex URLs and links are often stored in deep directories so that
it’s harder for search engine crawlers to find them.
Link farms will usually accept any link that is sent to them, so it’s not unusual for links to
be unrelated. If someone wants to add your link to a site that isn’t even close to yours,
Link farm owners will sometimes send you an e-mail stating they have linked to you and
would like a link to their page in return. Again, be cautious of whom you link to or whom
you allow to link back to you.
The Basics of Link Building
Building a great linking structure for your web site is not something that happens in the time it takes
to throw a web page together. Building a successful link structure takes months, and sometimes longer.
When you begin creating your link structure, you’ll probably have mostly outgoing links. Those are
links that lead to other pages — popular pages if you can manage it — that will help to bring traffic
back to your site. But over time, you should be building your links to include not only links back
into your site, but other useful links that aren’t damaging to your search engine results rankings.
One of the most important things to remember as you’re building your link structure is that quan-
tity isn’t nearly as important as quality. Your linking strategy will be far more successful if you create
links (both inbound and outbound) that are high quality. Link to great sites that are more popular
than your own and try to gain links from those sites to your own, as well.
Of course, getting those inbound links won’t be nearly as easy as creating links out to other web
sites. Gaining links to your site is a business process. It takes time, and lots of consistent effort on
your part. As mentioned earlier, one strategy for gaining inbound links is to send letters to prospec-
tive sites, requesting a link. But don’t just send out 10,000 letters, generated by some mail-merge
program that doesn’t customize the letters to the particular site that you’re targeting.
Your link request will be most effective if you can give potential linking partners a good reason for
them to support you. Perhaps you can show their customers why they should purchase more of that
site’s products. Whatever the reason, try to give the site you’re requesting a link from some motiva-
tion to take the time to add your site to their linking system.
Understanding the Role of Links and Linking
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