There are many link strategies available to help your site achieve
exceptional (traffic garnering) rankings. Articles, press releases, forums,
blogs, social media resources - all provide accepted ways to generate links that can positively influence search engine rankings - if it's done well and
thoughtfully, of course.
Directories, however, are both good and bad. There are many
quality directories where you can submit your website and gain traffic - for example, the
Yahoo! Directory, DMOZ (if you can get in) and others. But directories get a bad rap, for the most part. That's becuase
there are thousands of low-quality directories which many
webmasters don't discriminate against when it comes to submitting their sites, even though they probably should. The reason these directories are bad is
because most are no more than vast link farms - massive collections of
links. Leveraging link farms has been practiced for a long time and it continues today. It should be something you should avoid. If for no other reason
than that Google penalizes these sites. And by linking with them, your site will be penalized too.
Conceptualizing Link Farms
The initial idea behind link farming was to get as many links as possible. It didn’t matter if the sites were relevant or not, as search engines
would supposedly consider a site more popular than another because it has so many links
pointing to it. Most of the links in link farms have no relational subject
matter to each other. They will most likely have a page on a site with a
extended list of hyperlinked keywords - called anchor text - pointing to the various
sites in the farm. When search engines see that a link farm has formed, they
will penalize all involved, thus dropping ranks. Some have reported increased
rankings at first, but soon after report a drop lower than where
So how do you know which directory is a link farm and which is not? There
are a few indisputable signs of a link farm you should look out for:
- Requires reciprocal linking: Directories that mandate a
link to their site before they link to yours is a sure sign of a link farm.
- Link value diluted: Farms often list of hundreds of sites on a page
several levels deep with little or no description about the site being linked
- Unsolicited link requests: If emails arrive telling you how great
your site is and you should form a partnership with them, watch out.
- Tell-tale sign posts: Link farms are all the same. If the directory or
site features a page called “Link Partners” or “Links” - run away.
- No discrimination for sites included: Without a review period, you can
be sure that all sorts of irrelevant sites will be featured.