I’m sure by now most of you have either seen, heard or put in to action a “link wheel” of sorts into your SEO gameplan. Now some of you might be starting to worry about me and wonder why I’m bringing up this topic. Afterall, it is usually kept in black/greyhat arena’s but I don’t think it needs to be. As usual I’m hoping to get a ton of good feedback from you folks in the comments to dig into the topic, but I’ll try my best to bring up the pro’s and con’s.
The term link wheel has only been used for a year or two now but in reality any good blackhat affiliate marketer has been doing something similar since links have been king. Linkwheeling is just the nice term used to sell to the endless amounts of clueless noobs on Digital Point and any similar forum. There’s nothing too secret about the method and it can be extremely successful if implemented correctly. 99% of the webmasters I see on forums asking questions about it just think that paying $250 for a link wheel service will boost them into the top 10, or do something magical.
Before I get some nasty comments about that last comment, I will state that I’ve seen top 10 results from a simple link wheel, just not for any difficult search term. And no, I won’t out anyone’s link wheel on here and please don’t in the comments. If you’re constantly snooping your competitions link profile like I do, you’ll easily be able to spot one in action.
What Is A Link Wheel?
For those of you who have been hiding under a rock or just don’t frequent the tubes as much as most of us do then let me explain a little bit beyond the diagram. The idea here is to create mini sites across a whole host of free social media and blogging platforms. Specifically you want to minimize the linking amongst each other, obviously for the one way links, and in the end push all the link juice to the money making website.
We all know that one way links are the key here but 3/4’s of the people implementing the technique are so god damn lazy it isn’t working 100%. I say this because from what I mostly see myself are people paying for the service and then letting it just sit there. They might occasionally update the link wheel with new content, but for the most part this doesn’t happen. Despite all the the content put on the link wheel sites are usually spun or just straight up copied. We all know how Google’s “dupe content” filter is near worthless.
Con’s Of A Link Wheel:
I figure I’d start with the bad stuff because it is the most important afterall. A link wheel system is a link scheme and we all know what Google thinks about that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a link builder my profession so I don’t think I’m all high and mighty with my techniques. Although I do not waste my client’s time with endless directory/social bookmarking/blog commenting “packages”, I’m still building links to influence their ranking.
Like I mentioned earlier that for the most part people are lazy or don’t have the time to build a network like this up. Paying someone from a forum is usually the route I see taken and this is where it all goes wrong(with the exception of a handful of skilled people who do high quality content and link building – an example being Red_Virus). A lot of link wheelers don’t care about your site, and if you’re a company they won’t really care about your brand.
The big issue is you want links in content from sites that are related to your topic and have some weight. So while the free blog hosts may have some authority, your fresh subdomain blog does not. And 3 measly spun articles that are bookmarked isn’t going to do much for you. You’ll get indexed but your link wheel is going to passing link juice that’s not from concentrate :) If you’re trying to target difficult keywords you’re going to have to spend a lot of time making those wheel sites to have some authority.
So if the content quality is bad how long will those wheel sites stay indexed? Well that could really go either way but my money is on they’ll be filtered out eventually, thus ruining little juice you had coming to you. Another aspect you have to think about is how diverse is this going to make your link profile look? If you’re a big brand or somewhat established company, and not an affiliate flog, you’re going to want to be cautious in your link building efforts.
Google can potentially pick up on what’s going on here and with the amount it’s being done poorly I’d suspect it could be problematic in the future. But all in all, after all my yapping, the moral of the story is to keep the quality high.
Pro’s Of A Link Wheel:
Since the opportunity presents itself to build super high quality content and get links it could potentially be a killer method. I use similar techniques for clients from time to time, especially if there is a lack of quality places to put content. If they’ve got the time and money to invest in a long term strategy then makin a link wheel that’s;
a) based on high quality content that isn’t spun or copied from any other web source
b) updated frequently with good content to keep the indexing and eventually bring some authority to those hub sites
From what I’ve seen by developing content for certain social media sites is that you open yourself up to more exposure, and hopefully clients. Some of the sites used by link wheel’s your content actually gets viewed, and if it’s good it could get passed around. I’ll even do “micro linkbait” articles to make sure the reader is enjoying his or herself.
I know this sounds like a lot of work, and it is so be prepared to get someone writing full time or make sure you have the funds to “get’er done”. From what I’ve seen it takes a couple months to get a 7-10 site link wheel going where it has enough content and authority to start pushing some weight.
So enough with my blabbing on and on….lets hear what you folks have to say about all this, and if anything at least get the flaming out of the way :)