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Link farm

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Definition and Purpose of Link Farms
– Link farms are groups of websites that hyperlink to each other to increase SEO rankings.
– They can be created manually or through automated programs.
– Link farms are considered a form of spamdexing.
– Some link exchange systems allow selective link exchanges with relevant websites.
– Oscillation between vendor and promoting sites can render overall backlink advantage useless.

History and Development of Link Farms
– Link farms were developed in 1999 to manipulate the Inktomi search engine’s dependence on link popularity.
Inktomi’s primary index had a limit of approximately 100 million listings.
– Link farms stabilized listings for online business websites with few natural links.
– Service companies were founded to provide automated registration and link page updates.
Google’s ranking algorithm, PageRank, assigned different weights to inbound links, leading to adaptation of link farms.

Challenges and Countermeasures for Link Farms
– Unscrupulous webmasters manipulated link farms by hiding outbound links or avoiding posting any links.
– Link farm managers had to implement quality controls and monitor member compliance.
– Search engines identified link farm attributes and filtered those pages from indexing and search results.
– Some domains were completely removed from search engine indexes to prevent influence on search results.
– Link-finding software and directory-like link pages emerged as alternative link farm strategies.

Blog Networks
– A private blog network (PBN) is a group of blogs owned by the same entity.
– PBNs are used to promote other sites and increase search engine rankings or advertising revenue.
Google targeted PBNs with manual action ranking penalties in 2014.
– Interlinking blogs within a network can expose the entire network to Google.
– Hosted blog networks, like WordPress, allow users to create their own blogs within a central website.

Related Concepts
– Click farm, cloaking, content farm, doorway pages, and keyword stuffing are related concepts.
Scraper site, server farm, spam blog, and spam in blogs are also related.
– Strongly connected component and web guide are additional related terms.
– These concepts are relevant to understanding the broader landscape of SEO and web manipulation.
– Each concept has its own implications and consequences in the digital realm.

Link farm (Wikipedia)

On the World Wide Web, a link farm is any group of websites that all hyperlink to other sites in the group for the purpose of increasing SEO rankings. In graph theoretic terms, a link farm is a clique. Although some link farms can be created by hand, most are created through automated programs and services. A link farm is a form of spamming the index of a web search engine (sometimes called spamdexing). Other link exchange systems are designed to allow individual websites to selectively exchange links with other relevant websites, and are not considered a form of spamdexing.

A diagram of a link farm. Each circle represents a website, and each arrow represents a pair of hyperlinks between two websites.

Search engines require ways to confirm page relevancy. A known method is to examine for one-way links coming directly from relevant websites. The process of building links should not be confused with being listed on link farms, as the latter requires reciprocal return links, which often renders the overall backlink advantage useless. This is due to oscillation, causing confusion over which is the vendor site and which is the promoting site.

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