Can you get penalized for building a link wheel? Well that’s something that’s debated quite a bit these days and I’m on the side of them being a method you should most likely steer clear of. Why do I state that? Well it is clearly a link scheme defined by Google’s linking guidelines because they’re used to inflate your rankings. The other problem is that 99% of the link wheels created out there are being done with spun low quality content, and then blasted with Xrumer, Scrapebox and whatever other spam tool out there. I’m not one to judge at all here, for those doing it clearly know it works well and is making people money.
When it comes to building links the legit way for a business you plan on keeping high in the SERPs, then this isn’t a method you want to dabble with. I’ve written about the Pros & Cons of the Link Wheel before, but we’re certainly a company that won’t ever be offering this service any time soon. While I’ll agree link wheels form naturally in the wild through the magic of social media, the obvious ones will be easily sniped by Google.
I’ve constantly stated that you can find me helping out in Google’s Webmaster Help, and I’m running across more and more link wheel related issues on the boards. As you can see in the video above, SEO firms are offering this service to a more business oriented crowd, and this could potentially lead to disaster. I’d recommend at least offering a warning about these methods to clients before blindly leading them down that path.
So clearly link wheels work well, and I’ve personally seen a few that were done so professionally that I don’t think Google would ever have caught on. The site it was ranking for was within the finance niche and has been ranking top 5 for nearly two years now on nothing but a giant elaborate link wheel. While that’s all good and dandy, I’d still have a hard time sleeping at night, wondering if Google will have caught on and sent my site into it’s -50 black hole.
Now I’ve been in many verbal web arguments over whether link wheels are a spam link building tactic. Looking at Google’s TOS it is an obvious YES YES YES. I don’t care what else you have to say about it, you’re never going to be right in saying otherwise. I’ve said this before, but link schemes are considered a no-no, and by looking at the picture below, do you not see something that could be defined as a scheme?
Live Cases Of People Being Penalized?
So let’s get into the examples where people are talking about real world examples of sites getting in trouble, people talking about whether it’s spam or not and whatever else. The Google Crawling, Indexing and Ranking section of their webmaster help is full of those examples and I highly recommend you read through these to further ease your mind. With that being said, feel free to post up if you’ve had a problem or want to vent why you think they shouldn’t be considered a black hat tactic.
These are just some of the posts that are popping up lately over there and I’d expect to be seeing more. I know I’m not the only one who’s been seeing different behaviour towards links right around the time of Panda. It makes sense as well because Google is having a really hard time locking down the link spam that takes place. It is still quite evident that links will rank you just fine still, even if you have down right crap content. While it may not last for more than 2 weeks, there are keywords out there that make enough money to make it worth building another site for the next two weeks.
I’m just trying to define some sort of line because a lot of businesses out there are using link services out there and have no idea what they’re getting. You may also have nothing but great results from a proper link wheel, but do you really want to risk waking up one day to a bunch of devalued links?