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Do Link Wheels Still Work After Panda and Penguin?

May 24, 2012 by Larry Dozier divider image

Link Wheels

After the Penguin update, most SEO blogs I visited began advising a more “white hat” approach to link building. It’s understandable, since Panda was very hard on many questionable link building strategies. Interestingly enough, though, one “off-white hat” link building strategy may have survived the Panda update, and might even thrive. Link wheels, if created properly, actually fit in extremely well with the new terrain in SEO.

For several years, now, link wheels have been an effective means of sending significant link juice to a targeted website. Get enough link juice to a quality site, and you can rise in the SERP’s pretty quickly. It’s been a bit of a staple in the SEO cupboard.

Now, in the post-Panda and post-Penguin update hysteria, many site owners are at a bit of a loss trying to figure out how to attract legitimate backlinks. Google and the white hat guys propose that if you put up enough quality content, people will naturally link to you. That may work for information and general interest sites, but what about the common Main Street business with a website? Do you really think anyone is going to spontaneously link to them because of their quality content? Not a snowball’s chance in Hell. Plumbing services and insurance brokers just don’t get a lot of love in the gratuitous link department, much less on Twitter and Facebook. Obviously, they must somehow get some backlinks in a not-so-whitehat-ish fashion, and link wheels are perfect for that.

You see, link wheels still work because – if constructed properly – they sidestep the penalty incurring behavior of both updates.

What do I mean by “constructed correctly”? Well, let me explain how and why this works.

The oldest link wheels were designed to be a cluster of several websites which linked to one another in a circular pattern, with each site also linking to the “money site” which was placed in the center of the wheel. The theory was that each site passed on a PageRank bump to the next site in the wheel and that this was all passed on to the money site. More adventurous SEO’s began creating a second tier of sites so that each site in the link wheel was also surrounded by its own link wheel. This all worked out pretty good until Google began algorithmically detecting the wheels, a task fairly easy for a computer to perform because of its circular pattern.

That little problem was fixed by the next generation of link wheels, which broke the chain in each circle by neglecting to place a link between two of the sites in each wheel. Add in randomized linking between the hub sites, and they became almost impossible to detect.

Admittedly, in the last couple years, the introduction of link wheel building software and spun (usually over-spun) articles has allowed link wheels to become heavily associated with the Black Hat community.

Alas, though, it doesn’t have to be that way.

By surrounding your site with several sites which are well written and provide useful information to readers about your subject matter, and having each link to your site, you effectively follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by providing excellent content and getting quality links from relevant websites. You also set up a perimeter of buffer sites which you can point any of your off-white link building efforts at, knowing that link juice will flow from the buffer sites to your money site. You can get all black hat using this method if you want, but you can stay strictly white hat as well, it’s up to you and your own convictions.

At this point, we’re still talking theory, but it should work. I’m running some tests right now and will fill you in as soon as I see any results.

Late Entry: As promised, I’ve done some testing of this theory. You should definitely read the results HERE


4 Responses to Do Link Wheels Still Work After Panda and Penguin?

  • Everyday we would worriedly check our rankings in Google as our sites fluctuated up and down in the SERPs every so often only to come right back up if we did things correctly. Panda takes care of on-page SEO and Penguin takes care of off-page SEO. These are also supplements to the core index algorithm.


  • Penguin came down the pipeline last week, right on the tail of the latest Panda update. Since most of the big updates in the past year have been focused on Panda, many site owners are left wondering what the real differences between Panda and Penguin are. It’s important to remember that Panda is an algorithm update, not a manual penalty. As always do not panic if you are seeing a down turn in traffic, in the past when there is a major Google update like these things often rebound.


  • Penguin update was launched on 24th April 2012. Penguin targets link-schemes and privately owned and managed networks that attempt to manipulate the rankings. You need to make out whether its Panda or Penguin that hit your blog or website. You can use Google Webmaster Tool to check what all issues Google found in your website.


  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your
    efforts and I will be waiting for your next write ups thanks
    once again.


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