Link Wheels

Link Wheels: The Coolest Thing Since Electricity?

Link wheels – all the cool kids have them, so why don’t you?

“What’s a link wheel?”

Fine, let’s start there.

What IS a Link Wheel?

Link wheels are a method of one way link building with a twist.

There is one property in the middle of the link wheel, usually your “squeeze page” where you entice your visitor to cough up their email and name in exchange for more information or whatever you bait your “hook” with.

(Can you imagine me fishing?).

In other words, your “money page” is at the center of the wheel, where you want your reader to buy something or take another action, like give you the keys to their home in exchange for a thank-you note.

For example, your website opt-in page could be in the middle of the wheel.

The “spokes” of the wheel are properties such as another blog you run, or Weebly, Tubmlr, WordPress.com, Squidoo, Hubpages, etc…

You get the drift. Usually link wheels leverage any one of the endless “web 2.0” freebies where anyone can post, and where there is traffic already.

The “twist” is that these properties will have two links, generally: one to your main “money page” and one link to the next property in the link wheel.

Are you still with me?

(This gets much more exciting, grab the popcorn…done popping?)

What Are The Benefits of Link Wheels?

Unless you simply love writing until your nails break, this sounds like a lot of work, right?

Of course, it’s for a reason. The two main reasons for a link wheel are to improve your search engine ranking (for the “hub” or main page), and –

– what’s the name of this blog? –

For traffic! More traffic, more customers, more customers, more sales, more sales, more single-serve coffee packs for Ana. 🙂

Do Link Wheels Work?

Yes! They work.

The good news is that you can outsource this work for pennies, click a button, and “Poof!” You’re at number one in Google for any terms you desire…

Yeah, right.

It’s not that easy, and here is where I say, let’s re-invent the wheel.

First, if you want to outsource, there are services galore and software that you can try. I don’t have a single recommendation at the moment for two reasons:

1) The software usually requires spun content – where you take perfectly great articles and blend them in a garbage disposal: presto! Unique garbage.

Can you tell my thoughts on spun content? Good.

2) The services usually cost an arm and three legs to buy – so I recommend you try it yourself before ever buying any service. Sure, you can find services that work, but bear with me.

Link Wheels Vs. Merry-Go-Rounds

Having read a number of sales pages and heard testimonials from others, I know that many of these services will do one of two things in most cases that I don’t approve of.

First, many of these services will simply steal content and re-write using a spinner software.

That is not good business in my opinion for obvious reasons, but also consider these questions:

Do you want your potential visitor to find this re-hashed, half-legible junk of an article and have that lead to your website? I wouldn’t.

The second thing many of these link wheel services do is recylce the <<<>>> article and use it for ALL the properties in the wheel.

I can’t believe so many people pay for re-hashed articles, when the visitor will likely be turned off before clicking to your main site. Can you imagine their frustration of a wild goose chase reading the same thing over and over?

There are likely some services that do a better job at this – but sadly, many of these services will simply post 100-200 words and include a link.

If you had read 4-5 “articles” that were the same 100 words – what do you do when you finally get to the main site?

If you’re me, you never make it to the website. You get off the merry-go-round quickly, once you get sick of reading the content.

Additionally, with the recent, very widely talked about Google Panda update, original content is what we are after.

Re-Invent The (Link) Wheel

We want the benefits of the link wheel (traffic and better rankings in Google), but we don’t want to make our visitors sick. If you haven’t guessed by now how to do it, it’s simply to treat your visitor the way you want to be treated.

The Golden Rule applies in business, of course – and helps you build your reputation before your visitor even sets foot on your website.

This part is not as complicated as many people make it seem – armed with nothing more than a spreadsheet, you can make short work of it.

Here’s the plan:

1) Use Market Samurai (or whatever you use) to do your keyword research. You are looking for at least two keywords: one which you will use to link to your website (anchor text), and at least one keyword to use to write about in your link wheel.

Pro Tip: don’t use the same keywords for your anchor text that you use for your content on the link wheel “spokes.”

Don’t get too confused here, it’s not that complicated.

Let’s pretend you wanted to rank your website for the keyword phrase: “network marketing tips“.

Simply use that as your keyword for the anchor text that you use to link to your targeted web page.

Do NOT use “network marketing tips” for the content of your articles in the wheel itself. Instead, use related terms that are relevant.

Why? This way, you keep everything relevant and won’t compete against your main site in rankings.

The “trouble” is that these web 2.0 websites will rank very nicely in most cases on their own, usually easier than your main website will, because they’re authority websites with hundreds and thousands of pages. (once again, we are not talking about article directories or any other properties affected by Google Panda update)

I like to keep things as simple as they can be. To keep your link wheel project in order, simply make an Excel (or OpenOffice, etc.) spreadsheet with these columns:

Link Wheel Name/URL
– This is obvious. You want to keep track of where you posted (it’s best to use different web properties as parts of the wheel, so ONE WordPress.com, ONE Blogger.com, etc. per wheel).

Content Keyword – This needs to relate to your anchor text so it’s all relevant for the visitor and also for Google. This will be the anchor text used to link from one link wheel property to another – so they rank for the keyword in question.

For example, if your main web page is targeting “Network Marketing Tips” – you might write content for your link wheels using the term “Multi Level Marketing Success” or something like it. The benefit is that you will get traffic from both terms!

Anchor Text Keyword – The term(s) you want to rank your web page for (you can use the same one or different keywords, it’s up to you, as long as the terms are all relevant to the page).

Linked To – Keep track of which “spoke” links to what so you avoid “2-way” or “reciprocal” links.

Or you can use Notepad and keep your link wheels in a folder, titled with the “money page” title, “Network Marketing Tips,” or whatever you decide.

This makes the link wheel project much smoother and less of a headache. It’s much simpler once you get started.

Key Points to Bear in Mind

There are some “catches” you want to watch out for:

Don’t use 2-way or reciprocal links between your properties in the link wheels. This is just to reinforce what I already said – and the reason is that you will lose the benefit of rankings that a one-way link provides.

Make sure your visitors have a nice trip. You don’t want to link from Blogger to Weebly using the same article, for example, but try to make sure your visitors have something to think about. Hopefully you can pre-sell them before they get to your website.

Leverage the traffic from popular websites. YouTube, HubPages, Squidoo, WordPress, Twitter – these websites are traffic hogs. Wouldn’t you like some bacon? 😉

You can “borrow” some of that traffic, using this method.

Simply build pages or social profiles with links (and make real accounts) on these high traffic websites.

Then watch Google webmaster tools and analytics to see the numbers add up over time: you’ll get real traffic.

You don’t have to “close” the wheel. In fact, some argue it’s best not to close the link wheel – but this is up to you.

SEO opinions change more than the weather.

When writing the link wheel articles or making the videos, think of your visitors’ experience. What questions are they asking that will lead to your site?

Which benefits are they most interested in, or fears, that you can address? These are excellent ways to think of content for your link wheel properties, if I do say so myself. 🙂

Marketing Takeaway

wagon wheel effect

By now, I’ve been talking about wheels so long, your head must be spinning!

Don’t get discouraged, however – just stay focused with a simple spreadsheet and plug away.

By focusing on one page at a time at the center of your link wheel and then building link wheels as described, I’ll wager my Sunday cup of coffee that you’ll see a jump in the traffic, sales and rankings.

As your site climbs the SERPs, you’ll already enjoy traffic from these high-ranking, high-traffic websites you’ll leverage in the wheel.

Why choose either Social Media traffic OR SEO traffic, when link wheels give you both?

What are you waiting for?

Fire up Market Samurai and find 5-6 keywords to use for your first link wheels – then tell me how it went!

ana hoffman yournetbiz

image: The wagon-wheel effect

Traffic, traffic, traffic... Can't do without it, but don't know how to get it? Ana does, and she freely shares her best advice on how to increase web traffic on her Traffic Generation Cafe blog. And don't forget to pick up Ana's 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination free SEO report while you are at it - stop hoping for more search engine traffic and go get it!


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{ 44 comments… add one }
  • King March 16, 2013, 6:25 am

    Ana, if you are around and still following the comments of this article, could you please tell me if this strategy is still working..? I am hearing lot of negative things in recent past about this strategy.. however I have never tried this one and would like to give this a shot but worried about the negative talk.. could you please clarify me on this.. Thanks!

  • John October 1, 2011, 7:39 am

    What i still don’t get clearly here is, must i use content already published on my blog for link wheels?

  • Mark July 11, 2011, 4:50 pm

    I think the key to a link wheel is to use Web 2.0 properties exclusively.

    I believe that you mildly alluded to this Ana and I agree.

    I don’t think that Web 2.0 properties have quite the ranking power they used to have, but if you are going to make a link wheel, it is definitely in your best interest to use them to the full.

    Great breakdown.


  • Blair April 24, 2011, 12:19 am

    Hello Ana,

    We meet again! You answered some of my questions in the Google forum a while back. I have a couple questions…

    1. How many web 2.0 sites do you typically use per link wheel? I have read that some seo’s are using up to 15!

    2. Do you stop using the wheel after your first round? Or do you continue posting fresh content to the same web 2.0 sites within the wheel using the same anchor text pointing to the money site?

  • ashwin shahapurkar March 27, 2011, 1:19 am

    Nice information. i have one query ..does using “Related posts” plugin can help build link wheel ?

  • Mike Morgan March 27, 2011, 1:18 am

    Hi Ana,
    Re: Wordpress.com
    Yes – I was surprised – logged in after Christmas…
    Next site… removed!
    Next site…
    3 of mine (and one client…No!)
    It is pretty easy to see a pattern of the same anchor text link from site to site and they found it some way, and they were right – I WAS using the sites for “search engine marketing” so I couldn’t exactly complain!
    So as far as wp.com goes I would say don’t even think you can use these sites for marketing. They don’t want it!
    And they will catch you out eventually.
    As I said in the earlier comment – no problems with any other Web2.0 sites so far.
    All the best

  • Jarret March 24, 2011, 5:36 pm

    Ana, I’ve experimented with link wheels and they do actually work. However, it took a very very long time for me to notice the SEO improvement in terms of the optimized post moving up in Google search rankings. After the first two weeks, I initially thought it was a waste of time, but maybe six weeks later or more I checked the post rank and it had moved up to #2 on Google from around #10 for the search phrase that I was targeting.

  • Axcell Van March 24, 2011, 2:28 pm

    Linkwheels seems like an excellent strategy in trafficking! I’m going to start using them on my youtube and myspace so I can get me some of that bacon!

  • JamestheJust March 24, 2011, 1:34 pm

    Ana –

    Great tips – some people are wondering about WordPress sites being in a link wheel, I’ve used them with no ill effect. To do so, all you need to do is be smart about your WP usage. I have a few sites doing a very similar thing Ana describes, but the WP sites have links on every post going this and that way – so not JUST creating ONE post with ONE link to your money page – sort of a camouflage effect – works, and it’s really easy.

    (Since WP has an internal linking tool you can use for any keywords – you just point and click and it creates links you can use to camo.)

    I have to agree wholeheartedly with my friend Ana – pre-selling in your link wheels works wonders. Benefits > Benefits > Problem > Money Site/Solution. Sale.

  • Saket Jajodia March 24, 2011, 11:46 am

    Not only my head, my eyes also started spinning by seeing last img.. :p
    JK, jocks a part nice article will give a try and see how much it will help me.. Thanks once again.. 🙂

    Best Wishes,
    Saket Jajodia

  • Gibson Goff - The Enlightened Traveler March 23, 2011, 5:48 pm

    Well, I’m glad I read this! I just published an article at eZine Articles and was going to create a link from my website to it. That would of been reciprocal and would of diminished the link from the article.

    Thanks, Ana! You just helped my ratings.

  • Sathishkumar March 23, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Hi Ana, wonderful article. I haven’t tried linkwheels yet, but I think they are the best way to build one way backlinks. Thanks for sharing these useful tips. Will definitely try them and will let you know the results.Sathish

  • Alex March 23, 2011, 12:28 pm

    Hello Ana, I think a lot of people don’t even know how much of their link building efforts are in vain, especially when their links aren’t getting indexed but with a well built link wheel all this can be history especially with a well design one.

    Also, an other power that a link wheel can have, if done correctly you can have the whole page of a search engine with only your results. That is, all your pages which comprise the link wheel can occupy the first page of a certain query. Of course this necessitates a bit more work and some samurai magic.

  • Steve March 23, 2011, 7:55 am


    Killer explanation of link wheels. Amusing yet informative. It is a pain to build link wheels, a lot of that nail breaking effort. But well worth the time in the long run

  • Ileane March 23, 2011, 4:55 am

    Delightful, funny, inspiring – all that and more. This post is a winner in my book. Any woman that makes keyword research sound like the best fun I can have all week is a girl after my own heart. Thanks Ana – you’re awesome (btw – something about spreadsheets that get me excited, must be my inner geek). 🙂

  • Mike Morgan March 23, 2011, 4:07 am

    Hi Ana,
    Nice post – great info.
    A word of caution about using Wordpress.com in link wheels – don’t do it!
    I had three blogs taken down for using them for “search engine marketing” – a breach of terms and conditions and eloquently pointed out after the fact.
    No problem with the other Web 2.0 sites so far but they are not going to rank very well as they have been hit hard with the same changes at Google as the article directories.
    My recommendation would be to have your main website (preferably a blog) – not a squeeze page – at the centre of the wheel.
    This is really effective if you want to get ahead of sites with higher page rank in the SERPs.
    Thanks again for sharing this little known strategy.
    All the best
    Mike Morgan

    • Ana March 27, 2011, 12:28 am

      Good to know about wp.com, Mike – I had no idea!

      Usually, that would be my number one choice simply because most of us are so familiar with the platform as is.


  • Mavis Nong March 23, 2011, 4:06 am

    Hey Ana,Great explanation of how link wheels work. I have only started using this technique not so long ago and I found it fascinating :)I have slowed down a bit since my friend’s WordPress.com sites got closed down for using them in link wheels :(Can you still get first page results by just using Web 2.0 sites following the recent algorithm changes, since most of them have been affected by the content spam?I have picked up a couple of tips from this, so thanks for sharing your insights.All the best,

    • Ana March 27, 2011, 12:23 am

      What do you mean by closed down, Mavis? Google sandbox?

      Link wheels are an art, but worth the work in most cases.

      Glad you picked up some tips from this post!

      • Mavis Nong March 27, 2011, 6:56 pm

        With WordPress.com blogs, they can just close your account if they feel that you don’t comply with their rules or whatever.

  • Ahmad Wali March 23, 2011, 3:10 am

    Link wheels! I am not a big fan of link wheels because when you outsource quality is not so good. It is not an easy job to write, write, write and write then interlinking all the sites. I would be glad to know where I can outsource it for pennies?

    • Ana March 26, 2011, 10:51 pm

      Ahmad – it doesn’t exist. 🙂 Trust me, I tried.

      Quality is still the key here, especially with Google breathing down our necks…

      I definitely understand why not too many people actually do it – it is a lot of work.

  • jilianne March 23, 2011, 2:27 am

    Is it okay to include Youtube videos, Bookmarking sites and other citations of your website in the wheel?

    • Ana March 26, 2011, 10:47 pm

      Yes, diversity is absolutely necessary and linking to those kinds of site is fine. Just remember to NOT link ONLY to your online properties.

  • Sandeep March 22, 2011, 11:07 pm

    I’ve never used link wheels but have heard that they’re very powerful.

    However, you should take care to have original content in your spokes as you’ve rightly said with “very widely talked about Google Panda update, original content is what we are after” which of course takes a lot of time..

    • Ana March 26, 2011, 10:43 pm

      It does take time, Sandeep.

      But think about this: how many guest posts do you need to write to acquire that many in-content links? Plus, most bloggers have very tight reigns on anchor text, etc.

      With link wheel properties, you are in full control. Not bad. Worth the effort – in my opinion.

      • Sandeep March 26, 2011, 11:10 pm

        what you’ve said about Anchor Text is so very true

  • Jitendra Singh March 22, 2011, 10:58 pm

    Very detail post on SEO for blogs by link wheels. Thanks Ana for the information. Are they support back links ?

    • Ana March 26, 2011, 10:38 pm

      You are welcome, Jitendra! Not sure what you mean by “support backlinks”.

  • RonLeyba March 22, 2011, 10:11 pm

    I like it when you said re invent the link wheel. I mean, link wheel do work “with proper linkages and interlinks”. Some link builders tend to take link wheels as easy as a pie type of work. But what they don’t know is the power it gives when done correctly.

    • Ana March 26, 2011, 10:37 pm

      It’s definitely not easy, I agree. As a matter of fact, to do it right is the only way worth doing it and that takes some serious work. 🙂

      Thanks for coming by!

  • semmy March 22, 2011, 9:15 pm

    Hi Ana this is good explanation and good article. Oh ya about link wheel is it still work? and same question with Karan, do you have any recommend web 2.0 for build link wheel?thanks

    • Ana March 26, 2011, 10:34 pm

      Of course, link wheels still work, Semmy – I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have written the article about them otherwise. 🙂

      I did answer Karan’s question below.


  • James Pruiit March 22, 2011, 7:43 pm

    Hi Ana, great post, and it goes really well with an article I just wrote using list posts. You can start out with a list post that you use on your blog or as a guest post some where, then take each item in the list and write a full article about it. each one of those articles becomes the spoke on the wheel.

    • Ana March 26, 2011, 10:31 pm

      Brilliant, James – never thought of doing something like that!

  • DiTesco March 22, 2011, 7:00 pm

    Solid tips Ana. Link Wheel is a very powerful “link building” strategy, provided it is done with “great care” and is way over the “old” reciprocal linking, which as far as I can tell are no longer of value. I started to use this technique not so long ago and it has been proven very useful. Thanks

    • Ana March 26, 2011, 10:29 pm

      Thanks for giving this methods thumbs up, Francisco – it certainly does work when, as you said, used with cautious and knowledge.

  • Brian March 22, 2011, 5:26 pm

    I’ve heard some rumblings that Google penalizes sites they catch link wheeling, but I can’t imagine how it would be found. Penalizing people who do reciprocal linking seems easy, but I don’t know how Google could differentiate organic linking and a single user creating a link wheel. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think a webmaster could get in trouble using this technique?

    • Ana March 26, 2011, 10:26 pm

      The trick is, Brian, to do it naturally.

      When you build any Web 2.0 property, say a Blogger.com blog, you treat it as an actual blog with potential for traffic, rankings, etc.

      If you link both out and in naturally, like with your main blog, it’s impossible to tell what the real purpose for the blog is.

      Hope this helps.

  • Fran Aslam From Onlinewriter March 22, 2011, 5:23 pm

    HI Ana:

    Like always you seem to have a great strategy for links. But how can we link to the squeeze page from all over , like blog, money blog, articles etc, all to the squeeze page. What kind of links are good to work this way. I asked because this could be an effective tool for list building. Please provider reading reference if possible. Thank you.

    Fran A

    • Ana March 26, 2011, 10:22 pm

      Of course, you can link to a squeeze page from any blog, article, video, etc – that’s how all the squeeze pages get to rank well on Google.

      Static site or blog – link building techniques are pretty much the same.

      Thanks for the question, Fran!

  • karan March 22, 2011, 4:35 pm

    What all web2.0 properties would you recommend to build up our link wheel ?

    • Ana March 26, 2011, 10:18 pm

      I prefer the free blogging platforms like Blogger.com, wordpress.com, tumbler, etc.

      • karan March 27, 2011, 4:06 am

        I too had something similar in mind.
        Thanks for clearing that out Ana.

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