Link wheels used to be extremely popular a couple of years ago, although their popularity has faded they still work when it comes to ranking on google. There are a lot of different link building strategies, and you will notice that a lot of them have different names, although most link building strategies do the same thing. Link wheels have become popular with SEO softwares like SEnuke, GSA, and Scrapebox.
A link wheel is a wheel of links which are built to link back to your money site, a link wheel can have several tiers or no tiers at all. Generally speaking the more tiers a link wheel has the higher the chances of the backlinks getting indexed. Link wheels used to be extremely popular, however, they do not work as well as they used to, google is extremely fast in picking up unnatural backlinks and this is one of the main reasons why link wheels do not work as well anymore.
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Now, this doesn’t mean that all link wheels are created with automated software, as it is fairly easy to create them manually as well. A link wheel is basically a set of backlinks that are pointing to your website, generally speaking, these are backlinks from authority websites. Most people who still use link wheels will build backlinks from Web 2.0 properties as they have high authority and it is fairly easy to create them, either manually or with a software.
In the world of SEO, there are a lot of buzzwords, SEO can be extremely intimidating for beginners, and people who sell SEO services try to differentiate themselves by naming their link building strategies in different ways. In essence, a link wheel is basically the same as a link pyramid or any other tiered link building strategy. They all have one thing in common which are high authority links pointing to the money site and these backlinks are getting linked back from low authority websites.
Link wheels come in two forms, simple link wheels and tiered link wheels. Generally speaking when you are building backlinks to your website you are basically creating a link wheel. If you build backlinks to these backlinks then this is called a tiered link wheel. Building backlinks can be relatively risky, for more information check out my recent article What are the risks of building backlinks? ( Top 11 Risks ).
Simple link wheel
The simple link wheel only contains one layer of backlinks, although a lot of people still use indexing services to index them which technically are considered another tier but generally speaking they are still considered simple link wheels. Generally speaking, if you have a high-quality website and you target low competition keywords than a couple of well-made link wheels could do magic to your rankings.
On the other hand, if you are in a competitive niche than a simple link wheel might not be enough. Oftentimes the biggest problem with building backlinks is that they tend to be hard to index. Google is not a fan of websites that build backlinks to manipulate their rankings, and oftentimes a badly made link wheel can make more harm than good. If you want to know how to get backlinks organically then check out my recent article How to get Backlinks organically? ( In 12 Easy Steps ).
Tiered link wheel
Tiered link wheels are backlinks that are created directly to your site and there are additional backlinks created to the first layer of backlinks. A lot of webmasters do this kind of tiered link wheels as it increases the chances of the backlinks getting indexed. Generally speaking, the tiered link wheel strategy goes like this, high-quality backlinks pointing directly to the money site, and lower quality backlinks built to the previous backlinks.
As for how many tiers a link wheel has that depends on a lot of factors. Some people go overboard and build 4-5 tiers of backlinks, while others make only 2-3 tiers. The problem is that there is no proof of which one works, as there are a lot of factors that impact the ranking of a website. Although honestly speaking I really doubt google would waste time crawling several tiers of backlinks.
Do link wheels still work?
Generally speaking, yes link wheels still work although they are not as good as they used to be. The main problem is that by creating several tiers of backlinks you will end up with thousands of backlinks that are pointing to your other backlinks. This causes a lot of problems for Google as in theory it should crawl and index all the backlinks. However, this is not always the case if Google notices that the links are unnatural than it will simply stop crawling and indexing the backlinks.
This is why there are so many people on forums crying that they can’t get their backlinks indexed. The time when you build a link wheel is crucial, if you make the link wheel in the first month of creating your website then that is a dead giveaway that the links are unnatural. Google has a fairly simple way of thinking, if a website doesn’t have traffic than it shouldn’t get backlinks, and yes it is as simple as that.
Can link wheels harm your website?
Building backlinks no matter what strategy you are using is always a risky business, especially if you don’t know what you are doing. Let’s face it most people who rely on SEO tend to test a lot of things, and once they find a working method they will scale and abuse it as much as they can. Sadly this is the state of Google, what works today might cause a penalty tomorrow so you better strike that iron while it is hot.
The problem with most link wheels is that they are bought, and these tend to be fairly low-quality backlinks. Generally speaking, most link wheels are created with a software, although the domains on where the backlinks are created tend to be high, but the quality of the content for the backlinks is extremely low. Most people will create Web 2.0 backlinks for their link wheel campaign, these type of sites allow you to insert your backlink into an article which you submit.
The problem is that most of these articles are either scraped or use spinned content, which is an instant red flag for Google. At that point, you have made more harm than good with the link wheel. On the other hand, if you take the time to create unique content for each of the websites which will link back to you, then the quality of these backlinks will shoot up and they will have a positive effect on your website’s ranking.
Link wheels are a fairly popular link building strategy, although they are kind of outdated. A lot of people still use this strategy with mixed results, the main reason for the mixed results is that the google algorithm changed a lot, and now backlinks are not that important.