Link Farms: How To Identify Them when Linkbuilding

Understanding what type of website is imperative when it comes to a successful link building campaign.

If you’re new to link building, identifying link farms is paramount to your success.

But how do you do it, and what exactly is a link farm, anyway?

We’ll get into all of that and more below.

Let’s get started.

What is a Link Farm?

Just as the name eludes, a link farm is a website that exists solely to sell backlinks. These websites are not taken care of and will post content from anyone for a smaller than usual fee.

That does not mean that the website in question is effective at passing any link equity, but they do exist, and TONS of them are always popping up.

Our job as link builders here at Zen Backlinks is to completely avoid these types of websites because over time, if they had any traffic, they would die out.

We’ve seen link farms evolve as well, so it can get more difficult to spot what websites are utilizing shady tactics. You must vet each website thoroughly, otherwise, you’re going to end up with a backlink profile that doesn’t have any power behind it.

Many backlinks agencies use these types of websites so they can save money when it comes to their link building. While you can make a lot of profit utilizing this tactic, it means that your clients aren’t going to get ANY benefit. It may even be that they get penalized in the future for having link farms in their clients’ backlink profiles.

Link farm websites love to deploy the following tactics:

“Domain Rating Pumping”

While domain rating is a good metric to have to quickly identify sites with strong backlink profiles, they can be gamed by several tactics like getting many backlinks from or Google Maps, and then tricking the algorithm that Moz, Ahrefs, and Semrush utilize to make it seem more powerful than it is.

The best way to check if a website is utilizing these tactics if you aren’t sure is by popping the website in question into your favorite SEO tool, like If you see that they have a high DR of 50-80 but they don’t have many backlinks from high DR sites, then that’s a good signal that they are using some trick to pump up their metrics.

Utilizing weird keywords to pump up metrics

Another common tactic for these link farms is to rank for keywords like “best torrent sites for anime”, “how to watch movies at home” or even at times a weird string of numbers and letters that is an error code for a certain application.

These keywords are easy to rank for as there isn’t a lot of monetary value in these types of keywords, so there is less competition. If you only look at metrics when vetting your websites for backlinks, it’s easy to get tricked. The website you want to build links on should always have keywords that are relevant to the niche that they’re in.

Expired Domains

Another common tactic used by link farms is to purchase an expired domain and repurpose the website for selling links. You will have to check the backlink profile of the website and see if they are redirected to a new domain. You can also use another tool like Wayback Machine to see what the website looked like a few months ago.

If the website looks completely different than the website you’re looking at now, it could be that they did a redesign, or someone picked up the website from an auction and is now using it to sell backlinks to an unknowing crowd.

Similar Formatting

It’s super easy to spot a link farm, just check the header bar:

Notice how they have categories from everything from gift ideas to mental health, to even the laughable “everything else”. Would you go to a website for mental health that also offers you gift ideas? I hope not!

Link farms don’t take a lot of time to work on their UI/UX, so you can skip all the metric checking by just taking a look with your eyes.

If they post everything under the sun without taking into account a niche, then it’s likely that you’re looking at a guest post farm.

However, there are sites that I would deem a link farm that sticks with niche-relevant content. That’s why it’s important to also check backlink profiles if they pass the “sniff” test as I like to call it.

“Write for us” or Guest Post Page

Link farms make it apparent they will sell you a backlink by having a “Write for us” page. These pages are often SEO optimized so they show up when you do a Google search for “home write for us” or “automobile write for us” as it is still a tactic that many use to find sites to build links to.

Is a great example of what you want to be avoiding. This is straight-up telling Google “Hey, we’re selling backlinks!! Come and get us!”.

Not all websites that have a Write for Us page are sites you don’t want links from, for example, Cloudways has a Write for Us page and they’re high DR and would be a great addition to any site’s backlink profile in the SaaS niche.

Some Examples of a Link Farm

Earlier today someone sent me a list of backlinks to check out. Typically these lists are passed around like hotcakes and are spammed to death by anyone who’s building cheap backlinks for their clients.

Almost 95% of these lists are always trash. But, it’s a great example of what to look out for.

Before we even look at the metrics of this site, you can check the front page for clues:

Formatting that looks like it’s from the 1990s, every article is written by the same person, and it doesn’t look well taken care of.

Now, we can check the stats:

You can see here how swingy the traffic is, not to mention how they have ZERO traffic! The authority score doesn’t mean anything here, even though it’s quite low, the most important thing is they get ZERO traffic.

One of my favorite methods is to input the site into Google with a site operator to see if they link out to shady websites like so:

Why does a site about lawyers have tips about how to gamble well? You don’t need to do much digging to find out what these sites are up to.

While this website in question does look a bit better, I’ll let you play “What’s wrong with this picture” with a screenshot below.

What does a green and clean website have to do with divorce, autism, and the psychological benefits of your appearance?

Absolutely nothing.

These are the types of things you want to watch out for when vetting your prospects when building backlinks.

It may get tempting to shortcut the process and build a link from a website like this, but it will do nothing for your website and you will only be out of $50 (or whatever they may be charging).

This is also very common to see. At one point in time from around 2020 to 2021, the website looked like it was getting a fair bit of traffic. What likely happened was they started to sell backlinks, and over time their site’s quality dropped, and so did their rankings.

This type of website is not going to cut it. As this website sold backlinks in the wrong way, the result ended up tanking their website.

Final Thoughts

Be aware of what a link farm is, and how they are evolving. It’s paramount that you take the time to vet each backlink, especially if you are going to buy backlinks.

If you start to get lazy, you will only end up losing money in the end as these types of backlinks aren’t going to propel your website to the top of the SERPs.

Take the time to check in Ahrefs or Semrush if you aren’t sure, and ensure that the traffic trend is stable, they aren’t linking out to shady websites and are relevant to your niche.

It isn’t hard, but it does take a lot of work to continuously vet the prospects during a backlink campaign. Don’t get lazy and do the hard work, in the end, it will pay off.

About Roy Cohen

I'm Roy, the founder of Zen Backlinks. I've been building links for over four years, and with my wealth of knowledge, I'm happy to share everything I've learned and what has worked for our clients. You can contact me on my LinkedIn or