Kim Krause's Thoughts
on the Seeming Success of FFA Sites
Viking Waters asked Kim:
I realize that with Google "content is king". However,
in an attempt to measure perception against reality, I've
found some sites that are on page one of a Google search (in
a VERY competitive area) that are loaded with links on their
"link page". Not only that, but they have a link
on their index page to a set of link pages provided by "Links
To You," a notorious FFA link farm that puts your site
on one of their pages in return for you hosting over a dozen
pages of categorized links on your site.
Many sites are optimized as well as using link farm techniques,
but the risk is entirely theirs to take. Google is routinely
penalizing sites for the practice, but worse, there are now
what we call "search engine police" who go around
reporting sites for having links farms. This was encouraged
by Google. (There's a whole ethical debate on this too!) Alta
Vista used to ban entire IPs for using doorways, which caused
quite a storm. Therefore, you won't find top of line professional
SEO's using link farms. But, since the practice does work
in certain cases, it's still done.
For example, Zeus. It's a software application whose developer,
David, actually contacted Google for help in avoiding having
his customer sites banned for using it. He's tried to educate
his customers to really research a site first and only link
to quality sites, and not load up pages with quantity links
vs quality. Zeus is abused unfortunately, which bothers David,
but he continues to promote it as a way to help webmasters
find links to work out link requests with.
I've never used them, nor have my clients. They refuse to
have links pages on their sites because it doesn't look professional.
They rank well regardless using branding, or advertising methods
Link farms ignore the fact that what Google cares about are
how many links are on a page. A page with 50 outbound links
is not as worthy as a page with 5. Google gives more weight
to the links on the page with 5 links. They did this to blow
the link farms away. Google figures a page of content with
a few links to resources means those resources must be pretty
"worthy". Google also places weight on what the
link description says, which link farms don't pay much attention
I wrote the article prompted by the experiences of some Cre8asiteForum
subscriber experiences with scams. Some are crazy. Like a
bait and switch technique where they say they link to their
main domain, but actually put it in a sub-domain that isn't
even linked to anything.
The choice is always yours. I link to offsite pages a lot
because it's an informational site and I enjoy highlighting
good sites, articles, etc. I know full well these links "leak"
my own PageRank, but I don't care. For me, the reward is in
customer satisfaction, not pleasing Google. But, if my keywords
were "books" or"weight loss", I'd likely
be using every darned thing I could find to outwit engines
because the competition is ridiculous :)
Hope this helps and thanks for asking. Cheers!
See more on search engines at Kim's Search