What Is A Link Wheel and Does It Work for SEO? [+Free Template!]

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. 

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What Is A 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:

  • Website A = the main site whose search engine rankings you’re trying to improve
  • Websites B, C, and D = microsites created for the purpose of improving website A’s rankings
  1. Website B links to websites C and A.
  2. Website C links to websites D and A.
  3. Website D links to websites B and A.
  4. Website A links to websites B, C, and D.

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: 

one site in the center with links to all the other sites in a link wheel

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.

Example Of The Link Wheel Technique

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:

  • Website A (the main website): Health and Wellness Hub 
  • Website B (microsite #1): Fitness Blog
  • Website C (microsite #2): Nutrition Blog
  • Website D (microsite #3): Mental Health Resource Center

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: 

  • "Achieving Overall Health: The Importance of Balanced Eating Habits"
  • "Prioritizing Mental Health: Simple Ways to Boost Your Mood"

Website B - Fitness Blog articles:

  • "5 Best Cardio Exercises for Weight Loss and Endurance"
  • "The Top Strength Training Routines for Building Muscle Mass"

Website C - Nutrition Blog articles:

  • "The Power of Nutrient-Dense Foods for a Healthy Lifestyle"
  • "The Benefits of Meal Prepping and Planning Ahead for Better Nutrition"

Website D - Mental Health Resource Center articles:

  • "Why Mental Health Matters: Breaking Down the Stigma"
  • "Simple Techniques for Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Daily Life"

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.

Should You Create A Link Wheel?

To answer whether link wheels are worth the effort, let’s look at a few relevant link building statistics.

  • The #1 result in Google has, on average, 3.2x more referring domains than positions 2 - 10. (Backlinko)
  • 43.7% of top-ranking pages have reciprocal links. (Ahrefs
  • First-ranking pages have, on average, 3.8x more backlinks than pages on positions 2 - 10. (Userp)

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: 

  • Search engines may give an advantage to sites with diverse backlink profiles. They may prefer sites that have links coming from lots of different places, rather than just a few websites. 
  • Link exchanges between websites aren’t likely to hurt your SEO. In fact, they may even help you rank higher.
  • There’s a clear correlation between backlinks and search engine rankings. Sites and pages with more backlinks are likely to rank higher than sites and pages with fewer backlinks. 

Based on these implications, we can conclude that link wheel creation can indeed help your SEO because it checks all the boxes: 

  • It helps you build a diverse backlink profile by allowing you to place your links on multiple sites. ✅
  • Reciprocal linking, at the very least, won’t harm your SEO efforts. ✅
  • Link wheels will increase the number of your site’s backlinks, which can almost immediately lead to higher rankings. ✅

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.

Benefits And Challenges Of The Link Wheel Strategy

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:

  • Increased rankings in the SERPs (search engine results pages). As we saw above, high numbers of backlinks and referring domains positively impact rankings. So, it’s safe to say that link wheels can boost your positions in the SERPs.
  • More visibility. As you move higher up in the SERPs, you’ll get more exposure and draw in more eyeballs.
  • More organic (free!) traffic. The higher you are in the SERPs, the more people will actually click and land on your website. For example, consider that the #1 ranked site in search results gets 32.5% of clicks, whereas the #10 site gets only 2.4% of clicks. 

However, you should also keep in mind that creating link wheels does have its challenges as well.

  • It’s time-consuming. Creating multiple sites just to rank one is one of the most labor-intensive ways to go about link building. 
  • It requires ongoing maintenance. You’ll need to regularly maintain all sites in your link wheel if you want them to contribute to your SEO efforts.
  • It implies an intense SEO workload. Each site in your link wheel needs to be optimized in order to positively impact your main site. This means you’ll probably need to invest even more time and resources into this project or even hire additional talent.

Consider whether you actually have the necessary resources to successfully implement this strategy.

What Websites Can You Use Within Your Link Wheel? 

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.

Websites you created yourself

As mentioned, the first option you have is to create all websites in your link wheel yourself. 

This approach:

  • requires a lot of ongoing work 
  • is the most time-consuming
  • can get expensive really quickly, especially if you need to hire more staff

On the other hand, it also: 

  • guarantees the best search engine optimization results 
  • gives you the most control over your links

With that said, if you don’t find this option attractive, check out the methods below.

Websites owned by other organizations or individuals

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:

  • link to other websites from your own website
  • help build links to other people’s sites 

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: 

  • Wikipedia pages typically have high authority 
  • you can build your links on Wikipedia for free, which is often not the case with high-authority websites

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.

Are Link Wheels Black Hat?

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. 

5 Top Tips For Creating Your Own Link Wheel

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.

1. Create Content Wheels

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:

  • create new pieces of content from scratch that are highly relevant to your existing content
  • repurpose existing content for different channels or audiences

2. Create High-Quality Sites

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:

  • Publish unique, relevant, and engaging content. 
  • Ensure high loading speed.
  • Use a responsive design to optimize your website for mobile devices.
  • Ensure your website is secure by using HTTPS and SSL certificates.
  • Provide easy navigation and clear menus to help users find what they’re looking for.
  • Make your website accessible to all users, especially those with disabilities.

3. Avoid Black-Hat Tactics

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: 

  • Publishing duplicate content. 
  • Publishing AI-generated content without reviewing and editing it. 
  • Automatic internal links. 
  • Hosting or building paid links. 
  • Keyword stuffing.
  • Using exact match anchor text all the time, as this can make your links appear spammy. 

4. Preplan Your Link Wheel Strategy

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:

  • Website connections — defines how your websites will link to each other
  • Article plan — defines which articles you’ll publish on each site
  • Article links — defines which articles will link where

To help you plan your link wheels, we’ve prepared a plug-and-play template for you. 

Plug-And-Play Link Wheel Plan Template

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.

  • Main website: Website A
  • Self-owned, Wikipedia, or others’ websites: Website B, Website C, Website D, Website E

Website connections:

  • Website A links to websites B, C, D, and E
  • Website B links to websites C and A
  • Website C links to websites D and A
  • Website D links to websites E and A
  • Website E links to websites B and A

Article plan:

  • Website A: Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, Article 4
  • Website B: Article 4, Article 5
  • Website C: Article 7, Article 8
  • Website D: Article 10, Article 11
  • Website E: Article 13, Article 14

Article links:

Website A:

  • Article 1 links to Website B's article 4
  • Article 2 links to Website C's article 7
  • Article 3 links to Website D's article 10
  • Article 4 links to Website E’s article 13

Website B:

  • Article 4 links to Website C's article 8
  • Article 5 links to Website A’s article 1

Website C:

  • Article 7 links to Website D's article 11
  • Article 9 links to Website A's article 2

Website D:

  • Article 10 links to Website E's article 14
  • Article 11 links to Website A's article 3

Website E:

  • Article 14 links to Website B's article 5
  • Article 13 links to Website A's article 4

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.

5. Make Your Links Dofollow

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.

Get High-Quality Backlinks The Easy Way

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.

Order your links now or schedule a free consultation to learn more.

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We specialize in real, white-hat links optimized for SEO. Get in touch with our team today.
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Written by
Dina Šoštarec

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