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What is Link Farming and How does it affect SEO?

Just as every round is not a nut; Any backlink you get from other websites will not necessarily be a good and effective backlink. In fact, for a backlink to have a positive impact on your SEO, it needs to be of high quality. This raises two questions:
• What makes one link high quality and another link low quality?
Why are low-quality links bad for SEO?
To answer these questions, we will step into the darker parts of the SEO world, and at the same time, we will also mention Google penalties in this field. At the end, we will introduce one of the methods of producing low-quality links, known as “link farming” and get acquainted with its intricacies.

What is the factor of “good” or “bad” link quality?

In order to identify and understand the determining factor of the quality of links, it is not bad to go to the master of search engines and ask his opinion in this regard. In the first paragraph of the link-building tricks section of Google’s link quality guidelines, we read:
“Any link created with the purpose of manipulating a website’s ranking in search results may be considered part of a link-building trick and a violation of Google’s guidelines for webmasters. This case includes all behaviors that include manipulation of incoming links to the site as well as outgoing links from the site.”

By reading this paragraph, it may seem as if you have violated Google’s guidelines by creating any link that aims to increase your ranking in search results; But in the very first sentence, there is a key phrase that significantly affects our interpretation of this paragraph, and that phrase is nothing but “maybe”.

Google doesn’t say it is “considered part of a link trick and a violation of Google’s guidelines for webmasters,” but instead says “it may be considered part of a link trick and a violation of Google’s guidelines for webmasters.” The very word “possible” leaves your hand open to some extent, But it is in this area where you have freedom of action that the issue of link quality is disputed.
In the last paragraph of the mentioned article on the Google website, we read:
“The best way to get other websites to link to you is to create unique and relevant content that can naturally gain popularity among the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: the links received are usually positive editorial (editorial) votes that are given to your site without coercion, and the more useful content you have, the more likely that content will be seen as valuable by another website owner to his audience and to If you give that link, it will be more.


What is An Editorial link?

Before we can define poor quality link, we must first see what is meant by an editorial link. Please note that Editorial links in Farsi are translated as “Editorial links”, “Editorial links” and “Editorial links”, which will be referred to as “Editorial links” from here on.
Editorial links are links that the editor of a site naturally adds to the contents of his website without the request of the link owner, considering the value of their content; In other words, the link provider is free to link to the backlink recipient and has full “control” to include or not include any link. To better define and understand this category of links, it might be better to see what an editorial link “isn’t”:
“Publishing quality, interesting content and sitting back hoping someone will find it and link to your site.”

Note that even the best content in the world cannot get links for itself; Unless you are extremely lucky; So you should promote it and ask others to link to it. In this regard, various tactics can be used, some of which are precisely and absolutely in the editorial category; such as content production, interviews, infographics and similar things; But there are some things that can be controversial and sometimes you have to pay attention to some points so that they don’t seem worthy of a fine from Google’s point of view; For example:

• Guest blogging: Here the linking website has the right to choose whether or not to accept your content. In addition, it will have the necessary editorial control over the links you include in the content.
• Submitting to Internet directories: You should only ask for backlinks from directories that review requests and do not accept low-quality sites and content; In other words, directories that exercise their editorial authority.
• Press Release: The press release should be done for issues that are really newsworthy and most likely to attract the attention of the press and media. Basically, the reportage of the ad should have the potential to be distributed and broadcast on the Internet.
• Commenting on blogs: Only high-quality and meaningful comments on a selection of relevant blogs have the potential to have a positive impact. In this case, the blog owner has the necessary editorial authority to approve or reject messages.
• Activities in Internet forums, social sites and question-and-answer platforms: spam content is removed by the administrators of these sites and low quality content receives a low rating from users; Therefore, there is a great deal of editorial control here.

As you can see, all of the above options have some degree of editorial control. In the case of guest blogging, we can even meet Google’s requirement to “produce unique and relevant content that can naturally gain popularity among the Internet community.”
Despite these, we should also mention an interesting point that complicates the situation and that is that “every non-editorial link is not necessarily a bad link.” For example, there is no harm in linking to your site in your social media profiles; Or, for example, changing the format of the content from text to video or slideshow (with a link) or publishing it on a reputable site.

How Can a Bad link affect your site’s ranking?

In the past, links that were not of high quality did not make much of a positive or negative difference to a website’s position in search results. Of course, there were cases where Google non-automatically considered heavy penalties for gross manipulations, but usually it simply did not value poor quality links. This policy was not unreasonable; Because naturally, as a website owner, you don’t have much control over the links you receive. As a result, we could focus our website SEO on a quantity-oriented strategy without any particular worries; Because in the worst case, our poor quality links would be ignored. But today, the situation has completely changed and the presence of poor quality links can cause your rank to fall freely in the Google search results pages. The cause of this quality-oriented situation is one of Google’s algorithms called “Penguin”.

Google Penguin Algorithm: Destroyer of poor quality links

In 2012, Google implemented the first version of its new algorithm called “Penguin”, whose main goal was to destroy link farms. From then on, no action related to a link was left out of Google’s sight, and it was from here that the sites that used the relevant link building policies were pulled down overnight.
Furthermore, as Penguin’s algorithm matured with subsequent updates, the performance of its filters at finding spam links also improved. Meanwhile, Google’s non-automatic penalties have also increased significantly, with more resources being allocated to spam detection teams.


What is Link Farm?

As mentioned in the introduction of the Penguin algorithm, one of the most important goals of Google in implementing this algorithm was to destroy the value of link farms; But what is this so-called “link farm”?
A link farm (or link network) is a website or group of websites created solely for the purpose of providing links to other websites and in order to influence the page rank of the linked websites. For example, let’s say we have four websites named “A”, “B”, “C” and “D”. In the link farm method, website “A” gives backlinks to website “B”, “C” and “D” and receives backlinks from them in return. In fact, each site links to the other and eventually a network of linked websites is created.


Why is the link farm subject to Google fines?

Google always seeks to show the best and most appropriate results to its search user, and therefore places the websites that are more useful in the higher ranks of its search results pages; But the problem comes from here that the purpose of the link farm is to manipulate the search results and not to provide more quality content; As a result, if Google were to value a link farm, the worst websites would be at the top of the search results, which would cause dissatisfaction among users.
Therefore, Google always seeks to identify and deal with such tricks by targeting the best websites at the highest levels. Basically, Google always checks the possibility of a link farm through the Penguin algorithm before assigning high rankings.

Consequently, don’t even think about using a link farm if you’re looking to rank higher in search results. If you are currently using this method, stop all associated programs and take appropriate corrective action before you are penalized by Google.


What should you do if you have used a link farm incorrectly?

If you have launched a website for yourself or your business and have used this method without knowing the dark dimensions of the link farm with the aim of improving and strengthening SEO, follow the steps below before Google detects it:

1. Immediately cease all activities and programs related to Link Farm.
2. Remove all backlinks.
3. Download the list of all backlinks registered by Google for your website by visiting the Links section of the Google search console and then clicking on the EXPORT EXTERNAL LINKS button on the top right of the page and selecting the More sample links option.
4. In the file you downloaded, find all the backlinks received through the link farm method and save them line by line in a text file with the extension txt.
5. Upload the created text file in the Disavow Links Tool tool to declare your lack of control over these links. Note that it may take several weeks for these links to be removed.
6. Publish useful and informative articles and get backlinks for them from reliable methods.
7. This step is for websites that have been penalized by Google. In this case, after following the above steps, you should refer to the errors section of the search console, and after finding and making sure that the related errors are fixed, request their re-indexing (by clicking on the address of the desired page and then using the Inspect URL option and Click on the REQUEST INDEXING button to send to Google.

What to do if your competitors use negative SEO and link farming to harm you?

Due to the fact that Google penalizes websites that use link farming, some try to lower the ranking of competitors’ websites by implementing this method. In some cases, the competitor’s website will retaliate in order to increase its relative ranking. If you have been attacked by this negative SEO method, use the Disavow Links Tool by following the steps mentioned above and inform Google that you do not have control over the said links.f


All trick methods, including the link farm method, fall under the category of black hat SEO methods; Because the content of websites that use this method is often unrelated, not human-generated (mostly created through specific programs or services or copied from other websites), and usually of very low quality. Keep in mind that today search engines can easily detect link farms; Therefore, do not use such methods with the aim of strengthening SEO, which will ultimately result in nothing but wasted resources and regret.