Linkfarms Not Worth It…

I had an interesting call the other day from a local coffee shop/signmaker/fax shop/web design firm.  They wanted to sell me a link in their “link farm” for $75.

Wikipedia on Link Farms:

A link farm is a form of spamming the index of a search engine (sometimes called spamexing or spamdexing). Other link exchange systems are designed to allow individual websites to selectively exchange links with other relevant websites and are not considered a form of spamdexing.

Okay, these guys aren’t spamming, but honestly, if you believe that their little link farm is going to help you get a top Google result, as they promised in their pitch, you’re sadly mistaken.  Not only will it have little effect, it might actually drop you into the Google Supplemental Index, more commonly known as Google Hell.

If you need a top Google result, then you’re going to do a whole lot of things correctly.  Such as:

  • First and foremost, have good well written, compelling, keyword-laden content that is well structured (uses h1, h2 and bold tags).
  • Use your keywords through out your page title, meta keywords and desc. as well as in alt image tags.
  • Have a clean, crisp design that doesn’t rely on flash or javascript, which the search engines can’t read.
  • Cultivate links that mean something – Inbound links should say “best sewer cleaning service in West Armpit” not “click here.”
  • Worthwhile links – having your link on a page with a hundred other links that have nothing to do with each other isn’t going to help.  If you’re a proctologist, get links in proctology directories.
  • Add content regularly – if there’s new content on a frequent basis, the search engines will start to index more.  The easiest way to do that is to blog (a subject to expand upon in another post).
  • Avoid layout tables, use tableless CSS – I can’t prove it (yet) but my tableless CSS sites seem to perform much better than their code-heavy layout tabled cousins.  One business recently switched from a tableless css layout to a layout table-type design and in a matter of 3 weeks, virtually disappearred from Google.  Of course, they did a lot of other things wrong as well.

There are no quick fixes.  And I question why you’d want to use a “one stop shop” for web design and SEO at all.  This is a highly specialized field, and you should not be using the same guy who does your copies and binds your business plans for your web site issues.

3 Replies to “Linkfarms Not Worth It…”

  1. Love that “local coffee shop/signmaker/fax shop/web design firm.” We’ve got more than a few of those here in New Mexico. And, I’m getting an increasing amount of email (just got one today) offering to pay me a monthly fee to have a link on my site (this one was from a web design firm…which should know better…sigh.)

    So, people pay that local coffee shop/signmaker/fax shop/web design firm $500 (or, ouch, $10K) for a web site – then wonder why they don’t get results. Then, they come to me and expect me to wave my magic marketing wand. We wanta be #1 in Google! So? Then what? Did I mention they don’t want to pay anything or do any work? Good business planning takes time and money. Effective marketing, ditto. Business-focused web development, ditto.

  2. Local coffee shop/signmaker/fax shop/web design firms really irk me. There’s a lot of that out there nowadays. I ran into a guy the other day at a client site that was telling my client he pays too much for us and that this guy’s nephew could do a website for like $200. My response: “Dude, you get what you pay for. My mother-in-law delivered a litter of puppies… does that make her a doctor?”

  3. I’ve seen too many of these “jack of all trades” shops where they hire an intern with no training to cut and paste text into templates. The site ends up a real hodgepodge, and the errors can be fatal. There was one I saw last week that had a flash navigation set that kept google from indexing it, and earlier in the monthI saw one that was using a frameset which made it impossible to index. The result: about the same as if you had no site at all.

    The funny thing is that in both situations, the customers wanted me to fix it at a special deal for them. “You see, I already paid for a site.” My point is that they didn’t pay me. It’s not up to me to make up for every hack in the world.

    In both cases, I did not do the job, because the owner was too cheap. In one case, I launched a site for a competitor who is now beating him at every turn.

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