This is part 4 in my series on SEO for Travel Bloggers. If you’re just arriving you might want to wander over to the first part of this series Crafting Keyword Specific Posts as the topic here will build on this article and the subsequent articles in the series. I covered some of the platforms we’re going to look at in Basic Link Building Ideas but let’s first answer the question:
Why Build a Link Wheel?
The two simple answers are to improve your rankings in Google and other search engines and to get your content more visibility in the niche from linked sites. Read: Increase your web presence.
A link wheel is a representation of what happens naturally on the web. The problem, especially with newer sites, is that while they may have great content they are lacking exposure. Creating a link wheel allows your content to gain that exposure and particularly on sites that have more authority (pagerank) than your own. This not only increases the authority of your site but gives prospective readership an avenue to find the source of the great content they are reading. It’s also wonderful way to give a new site a boost and get it indexed faster so that the natural (organic) expansion of the link wheel will occur. It’s a viable means to extend the authority of a site that is already doing well, too.
In its most basic form a link wheel is a network of sites and pages created by you or your minions that link to each other and to your site or blog.
For the travel bloggers reading this post we need to come back to the idea of cornerstone posts. Travel blogs don’t work the way other sites do. The keywords you use from post to post vary drastically as you’re typically writing destination based content. Let’s face it, chances of any of us getting a top 10 rank for terms like “world travel” are pretty slim. If every post you wrote was about “flat screen computer monitors” things would be different.
That being said, I think it behooves us to build our link wheels based on cornerstone content and not just the site itself. That involves selecting a post that puts your best foot forward and thinking about ways to spin it off into more content that is not duplicate content to use on the component sites of your link wheel. I think the best approach for this is narrowing the scope. Use the component sites of your link wheel to explore one aspect of the subject and then link back to the original article and another site in the wheel for support.
Explaining the Diagram
This is pretty simple and I’ll include it for conversation’s sake. Using the diagram above, identify the article that you want to build a link wheel around. Let’s say it’s titled “The Unconventional Guide to Mexico City.”
Head over to Squidoo and build a lens, let call it “best places to drink in Mexico city”.” Write a unique article that supports the headline and somewhere in it link back to your original article (The Unconventional Guide to Mexico City) for more information on Mexico City.
Now head over to WordPress and create a quick miniblog, let’s call this one “museums and galleries of Mexico City.” Write a unique article supporting this headline and link in to the original article on your blog for more information.
Go back to the Suidoo lens and link it to the new WordPress miniblog article “museums and galleries of Mexico City.”
Now create a blogger miniblog and repeat the process each time linking to the previous article you created and your original post.
It takes some time in the beginning, but it beats clicking refresh on your stats waiting for some visitors to arrive.
Inventing the wheel
If you have a sound understanding of everything that I’ve said so far you probably won’t need any further assistance in creating a basic link wheel. There are, however, a couple more things I think you should keep in mind before you get started.
- Pagerank – The value of a component site can be summed up pretty efficiently here. Check out the page rank first.
- Web 2.0 – These sites are on the way up while article repositories are on the way down.
- Do Follow – Make sure the sites you are using provide ‘do follow’ links or you’re not going to make as much headway.
- Length – The center of your link wheel should be a hefty, useful article, but the component sites with a narrowed scope can be effective in the 400 word range.
- Keywords – Make sure to maintain consistent keywords but with some slight variation throughout your link wheel.
- Open or Closed – I think it is far better to leave your link wheels open. It seems more organic. Read: Don’t link the last component site to the first.
- Content – Unique content is the key to a successful link wheel. If you duplicate content you’re gonna get slapped.
- Chaos Theory – There are diagrams in here that look pretty and provide a basic guide, but as you plan your link wheel try not to be to orderly with your thought process. Chaos looks more natural to the search engines. Understand the concept and then make an abstract out of it.
Advanced Link Wheel Concepts
Excellent. You’ve got the idea.