Before search engines got smart, a site’s page ranking was based on keyword match-ups. When webmasters stock-piled their sites with keywords, the wrong sites were getting too much attention. Google decided to focus on a site’s “popularity” instead. The number of incoming links became the focus of PR criteria. The theory behind this system was that if a lot of sites link to another site, that site would contain valuable content.
But again, webmasters got sneaky. With this trend, we began to see the evolution of “Link Farms” and “Free-for-All” (FFA) sites. These pages were essentially a gigantic collection of (often times) useless links. In most cases, the sites were not categorized or descriptive. They became a place for webmasters to dump their links in order to make their site appear more popular.
This strategy worked for some time, but soon search engines caught on. “Link Farms” and FFA sites served no purpose to web users. Since Google prides itself on catering to web users (and NOT developers), a solution had to be formed. “Link Farms” were cluttering up the web and making it more difficult for users to find valuable resources online.
Google soon began to rate the quality of the links that determined a site’s “link pop.” “Link Farms” and FFA sites became categorized as spam, and thus contributed no value to a site’s link popularity.
Today, submitting to a “Link Farm” or FFA site can be harmful to your website’s reputation. Google takes a strong stance against these kinds of link pages. At best, the “Link Farm” will drag down your ranking and make it harder for the valuable sites to work in your favor. At worst, your site will be BANNED altogether for using spam sites to attempt to generate traffic. This is a very real possibility.
“Link Farms” and FFA sites present very little value. Although it may sound tempting, users will not obtain quality or relevant links from the submission. Plus, who wants to see their link among “junk” websites for adult entertainment, dating sites, and casinos? Submitting to “Link Farms” doesn’t contribute to your credibility and is just not worth the risk.
Instead, spend your time submitting to credible directories and exchanging links with other relevant sites. The process can be time-consuming, but it is the only way to generate safe, site-specific traffic.