We recently got a call from one of our clients who had been contacted by an SEO company in Brisbane offering them a unique and highly valuable link building service using link wheels for a rock bottom price. Interested to find out more about this holy grail of link building our client reached out to us to see if we could replicate this “amazing” process for her. After highlighting the dangers associated with link wheels, our client quickly came to the decision to abandon this strategy. Seeing as this technique may still be used by some SEOs out there, we thought we’d put a post together about the basics of a link wheel, how it used to work, and why you should avoid them.
What is a link wheel?
A link wheel is a collection of 5 or more web 2.0 properties (typically with high pagerank), that are used to create backlinks to a hub or money site. The wheel is constructed by creating links between one unique web 2.0 property to another unique web 2.0 property and so on, while also pointing a backlink from each to the money site. The money site is the website that is trying to improve its search engine rankings.
After Google released the first Penguin algorithm update back in April 2012 which affected around 3.1% of search queries, link wheels have been ineffective in increasing search engine rankings. This technique was determined to be in clear breach of Google’s Webmaster Tools Guidelines, and as such, sites using this process were penalised.
The reason this technique used to work quite well was because one of the biggest factors used to determine rankings was (and still is) backlinks to a website. However as Google’s algorithms advanced, the value placed on link wheel schemes was removed as it became possible to track the footprints of sites engaged in link wheel creation. Even if you are incredibly sneaky and manage to build an undiscoverable wheel, it’s important to recognise that large numbers of low quality links are no longer beneficial.
Is it worth building a link wheel?
For the amount of time and effort required to build a link wheel, you would be able to create an amazing piece of content, or outreach to thousands of bloggers with legitimate sites that would produce far better results with less risk.