I remember that when I started dabbling with SEO in 2006 the concept of link wheel was one of the best methods used to get solid rankings. In fact, for a short while link wheel was probably the best way to get rankings boost and was the preferred way of link building for many SEOs and webmasters. Of course we know that certain link building techniques had their golden moments and then disappeared. Currently, content marketing rules as the best way to get quality links that will reflect on your rankings, and that is for a reason, but let’s get back to link wheel, what it is, what it was and why you should stay away from it, especially now with Penguin update running loose.

Link Wheel is way older than my SEO years, it probably started way back in 2001 or 2002 after Google gained popularity. It is a simple concept that still works to some extent and is based on link power, or how much a link is able to pass juice or authority or call it whatever you like. The image below is the most basic concept of link wheel, one of the first.

basic link wheel

The idea behind this concept is to a) get all the pages indexed fast, b) get link juice flowing from each of the pages to the others passing page rank and targeting the money page with more power.You have the “money page” which is on your website, and you have several properties on other websites, this could be videos, photos, journals, or as the image above suggests, Web 2.0 sites that link to each other in a circle while each giving a link to the money page.

The concept we still use today from link wheel is backing up existing links. If you have a link from the guest post you created, you build a few more links to the guest post, like shown below. That makes the link to the “money page” even stronger.

link backup

Anyway, the link wheel concept grew stronger and was used to the extreme, so new patterns emerged to get more benefits and at some point to avoid Google finding out your link schemes. The next one in evolution was open link wheel, while the first example above is a classic example of a closed link wheel. Open link wheel didn’t inner link each of the web 2.0 properties but created a break between one or more pages linking to the money page.

open link wheel

This is an example of an open link wheel from back in the day.

Well, various patterns emerged later, like the following:

link wheel pattern

Or even this one:

complex link wheel pattern


They became more complex, including all possible sources for links, but they soon fell apart. Even the random link wheel left breadcrumbs for the Google Spam team to pick up on. I won’t give an example of a random link wheel as you can probably imagine it already.

The most important thing to remember is that your backlink profile can become really strong with careful approach using link wheel concept, but now with Penguin update scavenging for link schemes this is probably the worst idea you can have. Which is why I am writing about this outdated idea, people still use it in all forms, and they are feeling the wrath of the black and white updates.

The best thing you can do is dedicate your time to writing quality posts to feature on high quality websites. That will get you the support links, social mentions and bunch of direct referrals, not to mention new guest opps. In fact, one outstanding guest post featured on a highly authoritative blog can get you dozens of quality guest post opportunities that will get links and a whole lot of traffic and mentions with them, so forget about link schemes, blog networks and link wheels and concentrate on high quality firepower.