The Road to Better Site Indexing – Episode 2

Next in our
series: “The Ballot Box Stuffers,” a.k.a. link farms.

What’s a link
farm? Let’s look at the randomly chosen site http://www.rc-car.ravemart.com. At
first glance, this remote control car ecommerce site seems to be a typical
small biz site plying its wares in the typical way.

Now take a closer
look by clicking on some of the text links at the bottom of the page. You’ll
see this site has decided to aid the search engines by providing links to
thousands of its friends’ sites. Click on the generically titled “Link” and
you’ll find links to the company’s “Partners” under categories such as Debt
Consolidation, Vitamins, Legal Services and Sweepstakes. Or click on
“Sponsored Links” for fast access to Cheap Viagra, Casino And Poker
News, Psychic Readings, or Online Dating Services.

Similarly, visit www.all-carpets.com where under “Resources” you’ll not only find links
for Home Flooring and Kitchen Design (not too far off base), but also Cash Back
Credit Cards, South African Zulu Culture, and Offshore Banking (uh-oh, we’re in
left field now…).

Even larger
companies and organizations may participate in these types of link programs,
where all members link to all other members, often regardless of the relevance
of the content, in the somewhat desperate hope of augmenting their popularity
and hence appearing higher in search results.

If you’re a web
searcher trying to find quality results, don’t worry, we remain vigilant ;-).
If you’re a site owner, avoid participating in link farms. You may find the
strategy backfires as your site is demoted or even dropped from some search
engine databases. Instead seek out quality reciprocal links with sites with
whom you share a genuine relationship, and you’ll build the kind of true
popularity both visitors and search engines appreciate.

Next episode: The
Integration of RSS Feeds.

Sebastien, Web
Team Head Chef