Website a links to website b, website b links to c, c links to d, d links to e, and so on.. The vast majority of software and services that provide these link wheels appear to be fully automated. You pay your $ and overnight, you get included in the link wheel.
The problem I see with it is that no editorial discretion is taking place. Even if there is some monitoring to insure relevancy, search engines can detect link wheels. SE guidelines and engineers at SE's repeatedly state "make linking decisions based on what benefits end users, not search engines".
Anyone joining a link wheel is most likely doing it for SEO reasons since a single link wheel is only going to generate a single one way link. Therefore, you are in violation of published guidelines on link building if you join these wheels.
I did some googling of "link wheel" and in the #4 position there is a company offering 119 links for $549 through the use of link wheels. Thats alot of money for a small business to spend on links that in most cases aren't going to be relevant or useful for the end user. SEO's are always going to be coming up with the latest "product" to give them a reason to charge their customers big $$$.
I would avoid it. Even if the practice doesn't hurt your rankings today, that doesn't mean the SE's won't change their formulas to lower your rankings tomorrow when they see you participating in this kind of chicanery.
I have said it here in other threads and I will say it again: Never ever ever give the SE's any reason to downgrade your rankings. Let the other guy play around with these blackhat games. The other guy might get a temporary boost in rankings today but its the good guy who is playing by the rules that will maintain solid rankings long term.
As I understabd it, a webring typically was a set of sites, where each was linked FORWARDS, BACKWARDS, and CENTRALLY. It was a pre-social networking way of grouping sites together, in a obvious way. Generally, it was not for SEO, but for genuine traffic sharing and, well, grouping.
A link wheel is a (potentially) manipulative practice whereby you give a link to a (possibly unknown) site, which links on to another site, reiterated until someone eventually links back to you. Will probably be sold as "undetectable"
The web wheel certainly fits into Google's definition of linking scheme if for no other reason than you're buying the links instead of earning them.
Google is all about "earning" a good return by doing x, y, z. Part of x, y, and z is "earning" good links, not buying them, and not sticking them on your site at random and hoping somebody notices and reciprocates, etc.
To earn something you have to do some work. In this case check out sites and solicit links from the good ones. The work is hard to do manually and much easier to do with editor based software, but it still needs to be done if you want search engines to consider the link a positive.
Sounds like there could be a bit of confusion, or possibly some people having different definitions of a link wheel.
A link wheel is similar to regular article marketing where an article is distributed to a number of article directories, etc. with a link back to the authors site.
A link wheel is a bit of an evolution of that in that you distribute an article, or articles, or version of an article to multiple properties including article directories, web 2.0 sites, etc. Each version has a link back to the central hub or target site as well as a link to one of the other sites the article was submitted to.
In theory, it would be setup so that property A links to B, links to C, etc. in a circle and each one also links back to the center.
Could it be seen as manipulative? Sure, just as virtually any link building could be seen as manipulative. Can it be mis-used? Yep, just like most other methods.
In-and-of itself, it's not bad if it's being done properly (i.e. unique articles created and distributed). It's simply that as with many methods, people try and automate it and often create articles of poor quality or spun which creates nothing but more web junk.
people try and automate it and often create articles of poor quality or spun which creates nothing but more web junk.
Most SEO veterans seem to agree that the best approach to link building (that which will keep you out of the dog house) is that which is 'quality' and manual.
Fine, doing things manually I can easily understand.
Quality is somewhat relative though. What's quality content? What's wrong with a good article spun a few ways to make 10 articles and to make my dollar go further? And even if that's not considered 'quality' how's it really going to be detected as such?
I've seen websites and blogs that are horribly written--I consider them to contain bad quality copy--but these also rank well.
Surely it must be methods that are unacceptable, not an arbitrary 'quality' attribute.
I wouldn't touch a link from a place as filthy with amateur SEO's as that place. It's like going to a bar all night. You may not smoke, but if everyone around you smokes, at the end of the night you're going to smell like you're a pack a day. And Google doesn't like smokers.
Or you can equate it to hopping into a pool full of heavy urinaters if you prefer.
Nothing against that site specifically. But if you are who you're associated with, remember that people sell squidoo pages over at the SEO cesspool.
I swear, I'm starting to sound like that guy running around claiming doom and gloom about the stock market. I look like a lunatic, but I'll be proven right.......eventually!
Outside of using Squidoo-like places for control of anchor text (of which I'm dubious of the actual benefit) I don't see the point. Squidoo, et al won't pass value; Google's way ahead of us on that one.
My general rule: a link that can easily be had, sucks.
@ dertyfern: well a 'poor' quality link can be easily had, but a 'good' one certainly takes a punch out of you. So, by building links pointing to your arsenal of web 2.0 properties that are geared to ultimately point to your main site, these squidoo-like and other hub sites will no longer be treated as just another commodity. It then contains some greater value thereby passing some juice to your main site.
It's just the link structure that needs to look more random in order to give it a more organic appearance. But it does take some work and certainly helps ranking for long-mid tail keywords. The downside is of course that it can't compete with one quality link from a related authority in a particlar niche, however at least you get anchor text control which is a great plus.