Links to and from other sites, are great for increasing the popularity of your blog.

When I first started this blog, I decided to provide a link to all individuals (who had blogs or websites) who commented on, or linked to my blogs. That is when my “Blogging Buddies” page was born.

It was my way of saying “thank you” for visiting my sites. Since, I also believe in “paying it forward”, my hope is, that the blogs of my “Blogging Buddies”, will gain more visitors, as well.

While researching for additional lessons to pass on to my readers, I was studying “linking”. Long story, short….it appears, in the process of setting up links to all of my “Blogging Buddies”, I may be inadvertently, also be setting up a “link farm”.

To quote Webopedia

A link farm is a Web page that is nothing more than a page of links to other sites

Link farms, sometimes computer generated, were formed years ago by individuals who wanted to “beat the system” and gain page rank. Links were bought, sold, and traded (reciprocal linking), and some websites quickly climbed up the Google page rank. Then, Google and the other search engines, caught on to this technique, and started penalizing these sites.

I doubt my “Blogging Buddies” pages would yet be considered a link farm, as it only had 28 links, however, I do not want to risk being penalized. Being penalized could mean I stop getting indexed, and if that were to happen, I would also risk being able to refer others to my “Blogging Buddies”.

I have updated my Blogging Buddies page, and have removed all of the direct links. The names of all of my “Blogging Buddies” are left intact. To visit a “Blogging Buddie” of mine, it’s just a matter of doing a quick search for their name.

It saddens me when I hear stories of others trying to “beat the system”, and undoubtedly, it’s money related. Unfortunately, those setting up link farms, are no different than any other individual (or group of individuals), who are always looking for a way to make a quick buck, cheat an employer or the government, rob from others, and then use the excuse that “it’s owed to them”. I say get a job. Get a life. And quit looking for a free ride.

To my loyal “Blogging Buddies”, I do apologize if I mislead you in any way. It’s still my hope, that my blog, will be one of many referral sites, that helps to get you discovered. I thank you for your loyal readership, and am wishing much success to all of you!

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  1. AsakoNo Gravatar says:

    That is interesting. I was thinking to set up the same, so it is good that I read this. This internet world is so anti-intuitive. Sometimes, what you are doing from a good intention can be taken wrongly by these engines.

    By the way, I just realized that my site is not activated with “trackback”. I even did not know what it is for a long time. I was supposed to trackback when people comment on my posts, but I did not know that is the etiquette. (Or is it?)

    Thank you for continuing educating us!! You do not mis-lead us at all. That’s why we all come and visit here.

  2. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Asako,

    I’m glad you read my post before setting up a page of links.

    It’s really not the search engines that created the problem, it was people who took advantage of artificial links. Now, the search engines have everyone in the same “box”. Unfortunately, a search engine cannot differentiate between link farms and my “blogging buddies.”

    Thank you for the words of encouragement.

    Re: trackbacks . A trackback means someone else is writing about/referring to, one of your posts, and it lets you know, by leaving a “trackback” in your comment section. I don’t believe it’s necessary to respond to a trackback, as you would, a comment. However, a visit to the referring site, would probably be a great courtesy, as it is a link to your site.

  3. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    I wonder if the same applies to a Blogroll – such as that on Blogger?

    I must admit that on my personal blog, I’d rather be penalised than bow down to page rank.

    But that’s because I have little ambition for the personal blog. The company blog is a different matter!

  4. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Ian,

    I don’t think that applies to a blogroll, as normally it’s listed on the same page as our content.

    It’s not page rank that I’m concerned with, as I am still “unranked”. However, I do have a few posts that get indexed on the first few pages of the search engines (using the right search terms), and that is what I would hate to lose.

  5. AsakoNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you, Barbara. We studied it more, and found that what we need is Pingback not Trackback…. we are learning…

  6. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Glad you figured it out Asako.

  7. KekoaNo Gravatar says:

    First, a typo: “And quite looking for a free ride.” should “and quit” looking for a free ride.”

    Barbara, I understand your concern about BloggingBuddies, but people (including me before) have had “favorite links” pages for years and have not gotten penalized. Sadly, I think the mystery and uncertainty surrounded the linkfarm issue has clouded the real danger. Linkfarms are very blatant and contain no useable content, and search engines know this.

    The chances of the bloggingbuddies page hurting your pankrank are extremely small.

  8. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Kekoa,

    I fixed the typo. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

    I’m not sure if my blogging buddies page would have been (when I included links), considered a link farm, however, based on some of the definitions, I don’t want to take the risk.

    Looking into the future, when that page could include thousands of links to sites, a good deed could be misconstrued. That is what I don’t want to take a chance on.

  9. Hi Barbara – Unfortunately, a lot of those link farms aren’t penalized – at least the sites they link to aren’t. They are usually v spammy sites and the site they’re linking to bears little resemblance in content.

    I know this because I searched what sites were linking to many of my competitors sites, and a lot were link farms. Yet some of the competitors had PR6.

    Now whether the farms are penalised is another matter. But, I think that what does matter is that the links from your site are relevant to the content on the site you’re linking to.

    To me, it all seems very complicated. They say that lots of inbound links can give you a higher PR – yet they also say that a high PR won’t make your site rank highly in the search engines. So, I just don’t understand why it matters so much.

    Then I hear about people paying for links and I have to wonder why they’re doing that if it won’t give them a higher ranking. It seems nobody knows for sure.

  10. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Catherine,

    Linking gets pretty confusing. As I was researching linking, that’s when I ran across “link farming”. As much as I am not too concerned about having my blogging buddies classified as a link farm, with under 30 links, I do wonder what would happen if I had 3000.

    Then too, we are depending on computer generated search engines to visit out site, so if a computer “bot” sees a long page of links, I don’t see how they would have the capability of determining it’s not a link farm.

    Inbound links can not be controlled by a site, but it seems like if you had a lot of spammy links coming in, that could degrade your site. Maybe not with Google, but with your readers.

    I’m trying to maintain a quality site, and as mentioned before, I won’t resort to buying links. I feel, in time, I will get more incoming quality links, and with that, page rank will follow.

    I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the sites of my loyal readers either, so unless I figure out another method of listing my blogging buddies, my links to them will continue to individual links, in posts.

  11. Not so long ago I wandered across this website and have been reading along. I decided I would give my opening comment. Im not sure exactly what to say except that Ive enjoyed perusing. Interesting blog. I intend to continue coming back to this blog now and again. I have also got your feed for any updates.

  12. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Mathews,

    Thank you for dropping by, for your comment and for your kind words. I hope you continue to enjoy that which I share.