There is still an ongoing debate as to the value of using PageRank in
determining search results ranking. Reputable search engines are one in
recommending that webmasters request for relevant links to their sites instead
of participating in link farms. Sites that participate in link farms run the
risk of having their search rankings penalized.
Link Farm Spam Page or Not?
Link farms usually refer to sites with an almost boundless list of links to
other websites rather than links from page to page within a site. Relevancy to
a site is not a major consideration in determining the links as the major
purpose of linking is to get a high ranking among search engines. The
provisions of good information to users cease to be the goal of these websites
as they concentrate on attaining search popularity through the sheer number of links.
When is a specific website said to be participating in a link farm? The current
indication seems to be pointing at having not more than 100 links on a page as
a safe measure. There are apprehensions of whether having numerous internal
links will be interpreted as a link farm.
A link farm is composed of a group of web pages that hyperlink to every other
web page in the group. It can be manually created but is most often created
through automated programs and services. It is sometimes called spamdexing as
it is a form of spamming the index of a search engine. A term that is often
associated with it is the "spaghetti code" which is a code with a
complex and tangled control structure that uses unstructured branching
The algorithmic principle that puts emphasis on the voting power of
"authority sites" lies behind the manipulated processes of link
farms. There is that assumption that related pages link to each other and
authoritative pages tend to link to other authoritative pages. Conversely,
being linked to spam sites or sites that use Black-Hat SEO degrades the
reputation of any site. Association with poorly reputed sites affects a site's
search engine positioning as it stands to be categorized as an irrelevant site.
As spammers continue to go around the valid purpose of linking, the value of
reciprocal linking continue to decrease. Too many irrelevant links provide no
value and can be seen as spam by human experts and search engines. A link
directory with no clear, organized and distinct categories of links can be
interpreted as a link farm especially if there are already more than 50 links
on a page.
TrustRank is used to counter the various techniques employed to achieve higher
rankings than actually deserved in a search engine's result. It uses a
technique that manually identifies reputable seed pages and uses their link
structure to discover other pages that are likely to be good as well. It aims
to cut down on spam and deliver the real content that is desired by the
There are a number of ways to ensure that a website's link directory does not
end up being categorized as another form of a link farm. Incorporating a link
directory into a website has its own advantages but caution should be taken so
as not to have too many outbound links on a page that dilutes its value. If a
website's links are very much varied and tend to be unrelated, they will need
to be categorized to become relevant to each other.
The use of clear, concise titles and descriptions for categories will help searchers
(humans and search engines' spiders alike) understand what a particular
category is all about so that the measure of relevancy can out rightly be
determined. It is not a requirement to agree to all link exchange requests
especially if the requesting site cannot be considered a good representation of
a site's theme and values. It is highly recommended that regular follow-up on
approved link exchanges is done to determine the status of the links and
determine whether continued linkage with them is still acceptable. It is
possible that although some links present themselves initially as good links
have been banned, gone under, or moved. These are situations beyond anyone's
control so it is best for a website to work hard on keeping its links and contents
relevant so as to bring continuous qualified traffic to itself. Link farms may
be considered obsolete in a sense but it continuous to pop-up in different
forms at present.