A link wheel is like a spider web – with the hub in the middle and connections linking to a larger outer “wheel” where you grab the attention of your potential customers.
We all use social media sites to some extent, usually for personal use and ease of conversation with friends, family and acquaintances. However, in the case of business, it’s often hard to envision how all the different pieces work together in the bigger picture of web presence and search engine relevance.
This is where the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words comes into play. While there are nearly an infinite number of combinations of what the outer link wheel components can be, the following images will give you the general idea of how link wheels work from the 30,000 foot view.
This simple image shows a variety of different components that make up the outer ring of a link wheel:
A little more specific than the image above, this image shows a few specific social sites that might feed into the central hub /website:
In this slightly more in depth view, it now becomes more apparent how your activity on various social sites, which all typically rank high with Google and other search engines, draw in the search engines and ultimately feed into your hub/site.
Another way to explain this is that you are piggy backing on social sites’ high page rank with search engines.
For example, you’re interacting on your Facebook business page, and Facebook has a page rank of 1 (the highest) on Google since it’s an extremely popular site. In addition to the fact you’re actively engaging with people, which Google looks highly upon, your Facebook page links to your website. That’s a link to your site from a page rank 1 site. This increases your site “relevance” in the eyes of Google and other search providers.
In the past, it was possible and quite common to pay services to post a bunch of links to your site for you. However, these were largely posted on low ranking page sites and were actually “gaming the system” by blasting incoming links around. Google’s continual algorythm updates are intensely targeted at weeding out these “fake” or meaningless “black hat” links and instead focusing on relevant “white hat” links from reputable sites relevant to your website (ie. your business Twitter page, which links to your website).
The beauty here is, you’re in complete control of your own link wheel.
Hopefully you can begin to see how these all play in together and the underlying importance of search engine benefits from a link wheel.
The bottom line: there’s a lot more to interacting on social media from a business standpoint, than just the online chat functionality.