For many of you, your first question will be “What is a link wheel?”
In short, a link wheel is to create a pattern of links which flow from one website to another which would finally link to a targeted website for the benefit of promotion. That is to say that building quality links can be a time consuming task, and by building out a link wheel consisting of sites you control, it’s essentially taking a short-cut. What’s astonishing is that most medical practices don’t know that their medical marketing firm is even adding these pages to their site for the purpose of link-building.
Google has said time and time again that building link wheels will hurt your own online marketing efforts in regards to SEO. While passing a link from your site to another may be a good thing if you are referring or recommending another practice or company, doing so for the sole purpose of gaining higher rankings could significantly impact your rankings in a negative way, if and when Google catches on ( and they will). It’s also important to note, that if you don’t know the page is there and a potential patient finds it, what links will they actually find? Will they find links to your competitors? While it seems hard to believe, this actually happens more often than you would think.
How do I know if my site is part of a link wheel?
For some it may be easy; we found a large number of plastic surgeon websites designed and built with a page called “resources” . For these sites you can usually enter your URL this way to land on this page. “sampleplasticsurgeonwebsitedesign.com/RESOURCES”. Once you find this page, you’ll be able to see a number of outbound links to other medical practices and related websites. For others we need to do a little more digging to find these pages that are often buried within the site structure. At no cost, we can research this for you to see if there is a hidden page on your site that you may not even know about. Just shoot us an email with your website name and we will let you know the results (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What can I do if my website is part of a link wheel ?
First, ask your provider to take the page down and request in writing an agreement that they will not link to any other websites without your permission. For some, your provider may have included permissions in your contract for them to add links. This will obviously make removing links difficult and you may have to wait till your agreement expires in order to remove the links.
There is a right way and a wrong way to optimize a website for rankings. Easy come, easy go applies. We have witnessed many of our competitor’s client sites drop significantly in the rankings over the last year, mostly due to Google’s SEO updates. If a medical practice SEO company is using spammy links or links wheels, someone is going to get burned. In these cases it is always the clients and not the SEO company.