The effect of link farms on webpage ranking: a pilot study.

Engelbrecht, W.G. & Weideman, M.

Published Online

Engelbrecht, W.G. & Weideman, M. 2006. The effect of link farms on webpage ranking: a pilot study. ICT Research Forum No. 2, 441-454. Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town. ISSN: 1814-9812.

ABSTRACT
Introduction. Many webmasters will go to great lengths to improve the ranking of their website in search engines. The objective of this research project was to determine the effect link farms has on the ranking of webpages.
Method. A provisional literature study has indicated that many factors are considered to be "harmless", while others are considered "unethical". One of these questionable methods is the use of link farms. A link farm is a site with many hyperlinks pointing to a given webpage, to fool search engine algorithms into allocating artificially inflated rankings to that webpage.
Analysis. The methodology to be used will include the coding and hosting of test webpages with real content, the submission of these webpages to link farms, and the regular monitoring of their ranking.
Results. The author expects to find that one of the following will happen:
- The test webpages will be excluded from the search engine's result, indicating low or non-existent ranking,
- The test webpages will experience a dramatic increase in their ranking.
- An extensive amount of email spam will be the only result of link farm submissions.
Conclusion. A conclusion could be reached where there was no increase in rank experienced, and that contact details such as email addresses simply generated spam, indicating ulterior motives of the link farm owners.
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