While building a private blog network (PBN), a term you’ll encounter a lot is “link farm.” Often, people will advise you to avoid them–but why?

In this article, we’ll discuss link farms, what makes them risky, and how automated backlinks work.

Link farms are a black hat SEO tactic whereby a site is filled with low-quality or spammy content purely to build link equity. These links are often artificial or paid for, providing little to no value to the user. Link farms can be used to artificially inflate a site’s link popularity, which can lead to higher search engine rankings. 

However, link farms are considered a form of search engine spamming, and they can result in a website being penalized by Google and other search engines. Link farms are often created by automated software programs that create hundreds or even thousands of websites containing links to each other. In some cases, link farms may contain malicious content, such as viruses or spyware.

Are Link Farms PBNs?

Link farms are not necessarily PBNs, but they can be. A PBN is a special case of link farming because the owner of a PBN usually cares about long-term performance. On the other hand, link farms are often just created for temporary ranking boosts for short-term projects. 

And link farms are usually missing the main element of a private blog network – the private aspect. Link farm owners will typically sell links for as long as they can get away with it. 

A link farm is simply a group of websites that are created for the sole purpose of link building. PBNs, on the other hand, are networks of websites used to improve a single site’s search engine rankings. 

While link farms can be used to improve the search engine rankings of a site, they are generally considered a black hat SEO tactic and can result in search engine penalties. PBNs, on the other hand, are considered a gray hat SEO tactic, and while they may result in search engine penalties, they are not as severe as those associated with link farms.

Should You Use Link Farms?

The short answer is: no. Link farms were once a popular method of building backlinks to a website, but this is no longer the case. Google’s algorithm doesn’t like link farms and other unnatural link-building strategies, so a website will be penalized or even banned from Google if it’s found to be participating in these activities.

How to Identify Link Farms

Link farms can be difficult to spot, as they often look like any other group of websites. However, some telltale signs can help you identify a link farm.

  1. The sites have a very basic design, as owners don’t want to spend money or effort on them.
  2. The websites are of very poor quality.
  3. The sites have an unusual number of outbound links. 
  4. The websites contain random posts. Link farms will often post on unrelated topics with the goal of creating relevant content to link from to money sites.
  5. Check the anchor text of the links pointing to the target site. If the anchor text is repetitive or unrelated to the target site, the site may be part of a link farm.

Are Link Farms Worth the Risk?

Again, the short answer is: no. Link farms can lead to higher search engine rankings, but these rankings are not sustainable, as search engines can often identify link farms and dramatically penalize or discount their links. It’s more reliable to focus on automated backlinks.

Final Thoughts

When trying to increase the SERP position of your website, try to avoid link farms, as they will offer little benefit and risk causing permanent harm to your website.If you want to learn more about sustainable ways to boost your website’s ranking, be sure to read our article on what static PBN hosting is.