Stay Away from Link Farm and Paid Low Quality Links

Google vs J.C. Penney – Testimony to Milestone’s key SEO principles

A recent NY Times article discussed the black hat SEO activities conducted by retailer J.C. Penney, their short-term reward, and the enduring consequences. For couple months during and before the holidays J.C. Penney was ranking number 1 organic ally in various search terms from dresses to rugs to bedding. Investigation by NY Times and Blue Fountain Media discovered that J.C. Penney’s strong performance were the result of what the industry calls black hat SEO. Expectedly, Google took punitive action against J.C. Penny’s website and it was panelized and devalued from rank #1 in certain keyword searches to rank #70 or below.

Google draws a very clear line between what it considers cheating (black hat) or legitimate (white hat) SEO efforts; in this case, what J.C. Penney did was engage in a link farm service that simply buys high quantities of links to point to J.C. Penney’s website, regardless of whether or not the website giving the link has any relevancy to J.C. Penney at all.

If pure quantity alone is not the best approach, then how should we increase the website’s link popularity?  Milestone Insight:  There are 4 key principles to increasing website’s link popularity.

  1. Link Relevancy – we want a link from a website that is relevant to our own, for example: as a hotel, we would want links coming in from hotel directories, attractions, nearby government office’s relocation assistance page, and etc.
  2. Link Quality – Not only do we want relevant links, but we also want quality links.  The quality if the link is based on the authority of the host site, and since quality flows from one website to another through links, having quality links is building your own website’s authority.
  3. Anchor Text – anchor text is the clickable part of the link, we uses anchor text to take full advantage of the keyword ranking.
  4. Link Quantity – and finally, we want more links, but not just any links.  It needs to be relevant, quality links, and with optimized anchor text.

In conclusion, we need to remember that even though search engine and algorithm has evolve so much over the years, the core principles and guideline still very much set in stone and we as marketer, should not stray from.  Paid low quality links coming from non-relevant content does not help. Cheating Google’s system can reap in short-term rewards, but the enduring consequences will out weight the gain.

Contributed by: Chad Tsang, eStrategist, Milestone Internet Marketing

2 Responses to “ Stay Away from Link Farm and Paid Low Quality Links ”

I was referred to the NYT article by a friend. I am working on SEO myself for an auto tools and equipment website, and found this NYT article to be so interesting…. Why would a reputable, well-known company such as JC Penney even attempt to go this route? (Maybe any publicity is good publicity?) As for paying for links, this makes perfect sense that sites doing this would be ranked lower based on relevancy. However, aside from paying for links, I’m wondering how one can distinguish between a link farm and a legitimate directory? I’ve tried Google searches on companies/urls, and have proceeded with caution, where this is concerned. In some cases, it is obvious, but with the advent of “repuation management”, it’s easy enough to create more content that essentially buries the warning signs (e.g. this is not a website you’d want to be associated with) deep down in Google pages, so this info is not easily accessible. Any thoughts on this?

Wait, so someone could pay for or post a bunch of non relevant links against its competition and then google will drop them in ranking?

Sounds fishy to me, if that is the case anyone can sabotage anyone else if they wanted to.

Tips on Developing and Promoting Hotels on the Internet