Creating a link wheel is one of the most popular, although labor-intensive link-building strategies. It can help you get tangible results super-fast.
However, link wheel creation isn’t the most beginner-friendly SEO tactic you could use. It requires a deep understanding of complex factors, such as link juice, and loads of careful pre-planning.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know, plus give you a free planning template you can easily adapt to your link wheel.
A link wheel is a link-building strategy that entails creating multiple websites that link to each other, as well as the one website you’re actually trying to rank.
Here's an example of how a link wheel might work:
As implied in the above example, link wheel creation usually entails placing links on microsites that all point to the one site in the “center” of a link wheel. This central site is typically more general and difficult to rank on its own.
Perhaps a visual representation of a link wheel would be more helpful:
As seen in the above image, one site is at the center of a link wheel. This is the website A from the above example – or the main website you’re trying to rank.
Creating a link wheel allows you to increase the authority and link juice of all the sites inside it, especially the main site that receives links from all the other sites.
You now probably have a good idea of how link wheel strategies work. However, it may not be clear what type of microsites you need to create to get maximum SEO results, or how you should interlink them.
To help you understand this, let’s quickly review a sample link wheel plan. Imagine we’re trying to rank a website about health and wellness. We could create three microsites that tackle similar topics for that purpose:
Next, we need to create articles or web pages where we’ll place our links. Here are a few ideas on what types of articles we could create on each site:
Website A - Health And Wellness Hub articles:
Website B - Fitness Blog articles:
Website C - Nutrition Blog articles:
Website D - Mental Health Resource Center articles:
All that’s left to do from there is interlink the sites.
This type of planning allows us to do so naturally and ensure we don’t lose our audience or get penalized for spammy link-building tactics. That’s precisely why you always want to make sure the sites in your link wheel are relevant to each other.
But you’re right — that is a lot of work. Is it going to be worth it? Let’s find out.
To answer whether link wheels are worth the effort, let’s look at a few relevant link building statistics.
Now, let’s break down these statistics to see how they relate to link wheels. Based on the above data, we can draw the following conclusions respectively:
Based on these implications, we can conclude that link wheel creation can indeed help your SEO because it checks all the boxes:
With all that considered, it’s clear that link wheels can help you get needle-moving results faster than most link-building strategies.
But let’s talk more about the results you can expect, as well as the potential challenges you need to be aware of.
The main advantage of the link wheel technique is that it helps you increase your links’ link juice. This means your links become more powerful and capable of passing more authority and credibility to other sites – especially the main website in your link wheel.
Over time, this leads to the following benefits:
However, you should also keep in mind that creating link wheels does have its challenges as well.
Consider whether you actually have the necessary resources to successfully implement this strategy.
Although link wheel creation usually implies creating multiple websites yourself, that doesn’t have to be the case. The below sections will help you understand the different options you have at your disposal, as well as their pros and cons.
As mentioned, the first option you have is to create all websites in your link wheel yourself.
On the other hand, it also:
With that said, if you don’t find this option attractive, check out the methods below.
Alternatively, you can use websites owned by other organizations or individuals. This involves reaching out to bloggers or other website owners in your niche and asking them to link to your site.
In order to turn this strategy into a real link wheel, however, you’ll also need to:
With that in mind, we can say that this approach will save you some time and effort compared to the first option – but not by a great deal. You’ll also need to build links to other people’s websites instead of your own, which may not be the best use of your time.
Also, some website owners may require link exchanges, i.e., will only be open to linking to you if you’ll return the favor. This may not be ideal.
Still, this approach has several important advantages.
The main one is that you’ll save the time and money you’d spend on maintaining your sites, paying for hosting, and covering other website-related expenses. You may also form great relationships with other site owners, which can come in handy in the future.
Wikipedia link building is a popular strategy in the SEO world for two main reasons:
In order to build link wheels using Wikipedia, you could start by finding a relevant Wikipedia article and including a link to your site in it as a reference. You could then link from your site to the Wikipedia article, and find other articles that could host links to your site or the initial Wiki article.
This strategy is slightly different – and may not be considered a true link wheel – because it doesn’t include links from other websites. If you want to include them, you could, for instance, combine this approach with the one mentioned above.
The benefit of this approach is that Wiki backlinks are extremely high-quality and bound to up your rankings in search engines. The con is that Wikipedia has strict guidelines and may remove your links if the admins find them spammy.
As such, this strategy is the most unreliable – and perhaps the least “needle-moving” – out of the three.
Link wheels can be considered black hat, as they attempt to manipulate search engines by creating artificial links and sites.
However, if your link wheel comprises high-quality websites with valuable content, your link wheel is more likely to be considered white hat.
If you’ve decided to take the plunge and create your link wheel, here are the top five tips to help you maximize your efforts.
Supplement your link wheels with content wheels.
Content wheels involve creating multiple different pieces of content that tackle similar, but slightly different topics. They’ll help you build high-quality contextual links – ones that Google isn’t likely to penalize because they feel natural and provide value to your audience.
For example, if we were to create a content wheel ourselves, we could publish a case study about how we created link wheels for our clients and publish it on a different website. We could then link to it from this blog post, and vice versa.
In this case, we would’ve created two similar pieces of content that are highly relevant to each other.
Alternatively, we could also repurpose this blog post by transforming it into different formats and building a content wheel that way. For instance, we could turn this blog post into a podcast or a video that we’d publish on another site.
To sum up, you can approach creating content wheels in two ways:
Another thing to keep in mind is that your link wheel will only yield tangible results if the websites “inside” it are of high quality.
You can ensure that they are by following these guidelines:
The guidelines mentioned above are only a small part of ensuring high quality. Besides following the best “do” practices, you should also avoid spammy or black-hat tactics.
For starters, you should avoid:
Link wheels are one of the most complex link building strategies you can use. As such, they require careful pre-planning.
A good plan will help you ensure that all your microsites link to your main website, as well as help you avoid placing too many links on just one website and wasting its link juice.
Your link wheel plan should consist of three key components:
To help you plan your link wheels, we’ve prepared a plug-and-play template for you.
This template will help you create a solid link wheel plan in a matter of minutes. Simply replace the placeholders (e.g., website A, Article 1, etc.) with the real names of your websites and articles. Add or remove items if needed.
By following this plan, you will have ensured that all published articles on each website have at least one backlink, as well as that all websites point to different articles on your main website.
Dofollow links are quality links and have more link juice than no-follow links. They show search engines that you trust the site you’re pointing to — and, since this is your site, you definitely want to signal trust.
You don’t need to be a skilled programmer to do so. In fact, all links are dofollow by default. So, you just need to make sure you don’t add the nofollow tag to your site’s HTML code and you’ll be good to go.
While link wheels are great for SEO, they’re too time-consuming and resource-exhaustive for most business owners. Luckily, there’s an easier way to get high-quality backlinks.
When you work with us, we place your links on authoritative sites with no extra effort on your part. All you need to do is choose the sites you like. That’s it.
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