Link Farms: What Are They?

Link farms

When searching for link builders, the chances are that you saw link farms. And now, you wonder if you should get links from there.

Should you?

Are the opinions online about link farms the truth?

Are link farms TRULY the WORST place to get backlinks to your money sites?

Will there be penalties from Google when you get links from link farms?

This article will provide answers to your pressing questions!

Before we begin, however, let’s show you an overview of what to expect:

  • What are link farms?
  • Do link farms work?
  • Are links from link farms safe?
  • How to tell if a link builder or link building agency is a link farm in disguise?
  • If, indeed, link farms will burn your money sites, how can you avoid them?
  • If you can’t trust link farms, who can you trust?

That said, let’s delve straight into the details!

Link farms are networks of websites created solely to sell as many links as possible to buyers.

Even when the owners know the sites are unrelated to your niche or business, they advise you to purchase the links regardless.

Surprisingly enough, the sites used for link farms are similar to regular websites. But if you look closely, you’ll find disjointed content with no direction – which is often poorly written.

In summary, the focus of link farms is not quality links. In contrast, they prioritize quantity and low-quality inputs. That is why they use black hat SEO techniques such as:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Site cloaking
  • Private link networks

Quick fact: Google frowns on black hat SEO techniques because they are unethical. And often, sites that practice such techniques eventually lose their rankings.

So, are link farms the same as Private Blog Networks (PBN)?

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer. Let’s explain!

By design, PBNs are used to bulk up the authority of one’s sites. These networks can serve as upvotes.

In that instance, no. Link farms are not PBNs.

On the other hand, if a PBN owner discovers that one of the networks isn’t fulfilling its purpose, such could be repackaged as a link farm.

Say a PBN has been discovered by Google; the owner could also decide to cash out on the loss by accepting backlinks.

In those cases, yes, the PBNs are link farms.

Outside PBNs, link farms “gurus” also exploit aged, expired domains. Here is how:

Ordinarily, you would check the DR and DA of a website (if shared) with Ahrefs before getting the links. Link farm owners understand that; they even created a way to navigate it. How?

Link farm owners look for aged domains with excellent DR and DA scores that have expired. They buy such and convert them to link farms.

When you check the “converted” sites, you’ll see high DR/DA scores. In reality, however, Google doesn’t send traffic to the websites.

Tricky, eh?

Despite the tricky, negative SEO techniques with no assured results, why are link farms still a thing?

Do link farms work? Are they GOOD for SEO?

Short answer: no; link farms don’t work!

If link farms don’t work, why are people still after them?

The answer is simple:

Link farms, like all black hat SEO techniques, offer fast results. And that is what SEO clients want.

Unfortunately, the FAST results black hat SEO techniques promise are not sustainable. If,  at all, there was an increase in rankings with link farms, be wary.

The rankings will soon drop. And when they do, Google penalties will follow shortly. The worst case: you won’t only lose rank but be removed entirely from search results.

In summary, we can’t say link farms work. And undoubtedly, they are not “good” for SEO.

Overall, link farms are not safe. Avoid them!

Below are “detailed” reasons why link farms should be avoided.

Doesn’t Deliver On Promise

The first red flag about link farms is their failure to deliver on their one goal: quality links.

Instead of “quality links,” you’ll get “spammy links.”

BTW, spammy links are low-quality links often outside your business areas from obscene sites (with no authority).

As though the failure couldn’t get any worse, low farms will tank your rankings. How so?

Say your website was at position 30 on search results; once you point the spammy links from link farms to your domain, you’d be demoted.

In the worst case – your site won’t appear on search results.

Now, is that the initial promise?

Against Google Policies

If you follow SEO “gurus” closely, you’ll know about their dread: Google updates.

And what are Google updates?

Google (like other search engines) often updates its algorithm to deliver the best search results to users. In other words, black hat SEO strategies like spammy links will be discovered.

Regardless of the trickiness of link farm owners, the algorithm updates can tell the difference between fake and authentic link building. Any sudden spike in referring domains is even suspicious.

Still, there is the issue of poorly-written articles that are keyword-stuffed. The “helpful content” update was created just for that.

Bottomline: Google does not support unnatural, shady link-building strategies. If caught, your site will be handed a hefty penalty.

Waste of Time & Money

Outside promising FAST results, another allure of link farms is the pricing. Truth be told, the links are sold at low rates across marketplaces.

In reality, however, such low rates are clickbait. And it’s simple:

The more links the farm sells, the more money you make. That’s the intention from the get-go.

Unfortunately, the same principle doesn’t apply to you. In contrast to link farms, the more shady links you buy, the harsher the penalties you’ll face.

In the end, you’ll see that your rankings on search results won’t increase as intended. By that time, you’d realize all the shady strategies waste time.

And regardless of how little you spent acquiring the shady links, it’s still a waste. You could have invested the money lucratively elsewhere.

Besides, the damage from the “cheap” links would cost you a wad of money to fix.

Dents Reputation

Google’s stance on shady, unnatural link-building is already known. But beyond search engines, link farms can soil your reputation with prospects.


Prospects will research your business before working with you – regardless of your online reviews. Can they trust you? What are your values and missions?

Imagine how distasteful it will be when a prospect sees you purchased links from link farms!

How will they know?

Tools like Ahrefs will show your referring domains. From the list, prospects will see the shady sites and how they were irrelevant to your niche, location, and business.

Bottomline: you won’t convert such a client.

The worst case: the prospect will spread the word about your unnatural links. That will create a ripple effect that could cripple your business altogether.

There Are Dire Consequences

Link farms can’t help your website in any way. The rankings they promise don’t stick. You will only bring trouble your way.

And talking about troubles, here are some of them:

  • You will lose your rankings on search engine result pages
  • You could face manual, hefty fines and penalties
  • You could be removed from search results altogether
  • You will lose prospects and even new clients
  • You will lose years of investment on your website

With all those consequences, you’ll find that link farms are not worth it. It is better to steer clear.

But how can you steer clear of link farms? What are the best ways to avoid them?

Well, you must first identify a link farm. Let’s show you how.

While it can be tricky to spot link farms, the following red flags will guide you.

Template Designs

Link farm owners will hardly pay for a custom-made website or even logos. And you can’t blame them. How would they afford such detailed branding?

The purpose of link farms is to take as much cash as possible. As a result, they won’t spend a ton on designs.

Often, link farms use FREE, common-used templates. That’s the first clue.

So, does that mean any website using a template design is a link farm?

Not yet; let’s check the other red flags.

No Specific Niche

In addition to templated websites, link farms don’t base their blog on a specific niche. You’ll find a lot about everything on just the site.

On “just” a blog, there will be articles about construction, beauty, law, real estate, and even digital marketing.

Now, don’t get us wrong. There are sites (that are not link farms) that talk about general issues like lifestyle and making money online. But at least there is a correlation among the topics discussed.

In link farms, on the other hand, there is no correlation whatsoever between the topics.

Poor-quality Articles

If the directionless articles on link farms were well-written and actionable, you’d gain valuable information. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

The articles on link farms are low-quality, zero-value, and often AI-generated. No diss intended, but you’d hardly understand the intent of the content.

Outside being “poor-quality,” the articles on link farms are spun. You will hardly find case studies or research-based, original content but only guest posts.

No Author & About Page

Furthermore, on original posts, link farms don’t feature the names of their authors. The reason for that is straightforward:

No reasonable writer wants to be associated with spammy links.

If authors don’t want a bad reputation, you shouldn’t too. Your business even has much at stake.

Author’s bio aside, link farms don’t have an about page. If at all they do, the information is short and confusing. Also, you won’t find direct contact info outside the ones for link buying.

The ultimate telling sign of link farms is their external links. The links are just too much.

And you can tell from the anchor texts – they are keyword-stuffed.

Overall, there are legit sites that feature the 5 signs discussed above. However, when the 5 red flags are present, that website is definitely a link farm. You should run!

Despite the telling signs, there are times it’ll be hard to tell if a link-building company uses link farms. In any case, double-check the red flags we mentioned.

Also, check the following details:


Building links to your website costs money and time. To feature on REAL authority sites, you must build relationships with the owners, authors, and journalists.

Unfortunately, relationship building is an arduous process. After establishing a rapport with an author, they might leave the blog.

In a nutshell, link building is not cheap. So, beware if any company or agency promises suspicious rates.

If the link is “too” cheap, it’s probably not good. Avoid it!

Fast Results

There are no shortcuts in link building unless you’re working with an agency with a well-structured process. Even at that, you won’t get results in days. It might take weeks or months.

So, if any agency promises to generate superfast quality backlinks for your business, it’s probably a shady deal. Avoid it!


Link building is expensive, time-consuming, and not fast. As a result, there are no guarantees.

Indeed, a pro link builder can give you estimates. But that is all they can do – provide ranges.

If an agency promises a site will allow your link on their articles, they might be a link farm patronizer.

With all these red flags and signs, you must be confused. What if you don’t have the time for the scrutiny? What if you need your link from quality, safe sources but don’t want to be scammed?

We can help!