The Complete Idiot's Guide

Growing Your Business With Google
By Dave Taylor

Does Google Consider My Site a Link Farm?

Just finished your Google book and I'm dismayed to discover that my web site may be a link farm not a portal. The goal of this now updated site is to have students talk to other students via reviews of the handout links by doing "reviews", like

My Google rank is currently 7, so I must be doing something right, but a link: report only shows 70 links to the site. Yet I know that there are many more. What gives? Is my site considered a link farm? and thereby not getting indexed by Google?

Thanks for your note and I'm glad that you're finding value in Growing Your Business with Google. Now, on to your questions...

First off, let me reiterate that a link farm is commonly believed to be a site where its only purpose for existence is to have an ever-increasing database of links, typically without any underlying rhyme or reason. For example, if I had a link on this page that led you to my "best of the Web" area where anyone could submit and have added a link to any site, regardless of category, Google and other search engines tend to frown upon that.

The reason's simple: if inbound links are considered a vote of confidence or an indication that a highly-linked site is somehow better than one with less links, the assumption is that each link is added by someone maintaining a site - or writing a blog entry - that found the content worthy of recommendation. underlying all the fancy algorithms and secret formula, that's the core idea behind Google.

So you can see how having a site that exists purely to have two-directional links (because that's the other half of a link farm: a requirement that every site you point to also points to you, making these huge, artificial webs) really does nothing to indicate what sites are better or worse than other sites.

Having said all that, a PageRank of 7 is quite good, so clearly...

Category: Google Q&A   (Article #4375)

This is a very useful and succinct answer. Thanks.

I have a related question. Someone told me that Google penalizes sites for using the word "link". In other words, if on my home page, I have in my directory the word "link" to connect visitors to my links pages, I will be penalized. I've found nothing to corroborate this. Do you know?

Posted by: Connie Barrett at February 1, 2006 3:58 PM

Thanks Connie. I have to say I'm skeptical that using the word "link" is going to penalize you, but perhaps it's true. If the rest of your site is really great, though, I can't imagine it'd be a problem...

Posted by: Dave Taylor at February 1, 2006 10:57 PM

So, should I avoid all outbound links completely?

Posted by: samuel at April 26, 2009 7:51 PM

Definitely not, Samuel! You should just link to sites that make sense with links that make sense. If you have a site about camping, don't link to a dozen casinos. But if you want to link to a few national park sites, isn't that logical and reasonable? :-)

Posted by: Dave Taylor at April 26, 2009 8:02 PM

My company has 5 websites for different businesses (building material, natural stone, IT & computer, import/export). Within last 3 weeks, keyphrase rankings in Google search all dropped significantly - from 1st page to 5th and beyond. We did participate in for link exchanges. Has that caused our sites being penalized by Google? Please advise. Thanks.

Posted by: Jon Wang at July 27, 2009 1:47 PM

I do have a comment, now that you mention it!

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Growing Your Business with Google
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Growing Your Business
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Search Engine Friendly, or Easy Navigation?
The Table of Contents

Inside The Book
Foreword, by Guy Kawasaki
Introduction to the Book
Increasing Your Business Visibility (chapter 1)
The Benefits of Increasing Your Visibility (Chapter 2)
What Is Google Anyway? (Chapter 3)
Learning about Google Search (Chapter 4)
Disassembling the Google Search Engine (Chapter 5)
What's Your Core Business? (Chapter 6)
Living in an Online World (Chapter 7)
Your Business Website (Chapter 8)
Assessing Your Competitors (Chapter 9)
Keeping Track of Customers (Chapter 10)
The Basics of Building A Good Business Site (Chapter 11)
Developing Online and Offline Content (Chapter 12)
Stretching Your Marketing Dollars (Chapter 13)
Secrets of the Online Marketing Masters (Chapter 14)
Content, Content, Content! (Chapter 15)
Becoming a More Popular Site (Chapter 16)
Becoming an Online Expert (Chapter 17)
Advertising Your Business with Google AdWords (Chapter 18)
Making Money with Google AdSense (Chapter 19)
The Advantages of Affiliate Programs (Chapter 20)
Avoiding Dumb Online Promotional Mistakes (Chapter 21)
Growing and Expanding Your Content (Chapter 22)
The Future of Findability (Chapter 23)

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Initial "Growing Your Business with Google" Press Release

Search Engine News
Google Friends Newsletter, Sept 2008
Bill Gates: The Age of Software-Powered Communications
Google Friends Newsletter - April 2007
Beta announcement of Google AdSense Referrals
Enabling Secure Anywhere Access in a Connected World
Google Friends Newsletter
Google Launches Hosted Communications Services
AdWords now has fraud analysis accessible to advertisers
Google doesn't support click fraud. But isn't that obvious?
Welcome to Google's online payment system, Google Checkout
Google now offers Ad Scheduling for AdWords
AdSense click fraud done by robots?
AdSense: Google's Hidden Payroll
Fun new Google service: Movie info
Google agrees to pay $90 mln in click fraud suit
Latest news from Google: Google Friends Newsletter
Nofollow: Another salvo in the Spam Wars
Google Toolbar Gets Personal
Yahoo Search redesign scheduled?
Note from the Google AdSense Team
What's the future of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising?
New Google AdWords Keyword System Released

Updates for Readers
Blogging for Search Engine Results
Why does advertising site Chitika audit commission payments?
Google Adsense Update: Section Targeting
Understanding "link:" results (book errata)

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