Tiered Link Building: Everything You Should Know

Link building is important for SEO. According to Search Engine Land, quality links are one of the top two criteria of Google’s algorithm used to rank web pages and websites. So by linking to high-ranking sites or increasing the number of high-quality links on a page, you can improve the rank of your website.

That’s why 58.1% of webmasters claim backlinks significantly impact their search engine rankings.

Clearly, link building is crucial for your site’s search rankings.

But are you tapping into the power of link building completely? More specifically, are you using tier link building methods to boost your current link building strategy?

Let’s look at what tiered link building is, how it can benefit your digital marketing efforts, techniques to include in your SEO strategy, and practices you should avoid to prevent black hat SEO, the dreaded and corrupt practice of using dark tech to promote your company.

What is Tiered Link Building?

Think of tiered link building like good backlinks to your already good backlinks. And all of them relate back to your channel. You can pass more link juice to your site by using different link tiers. When done effectively, tiered link building improves website authority, organic ranking and traffic, and strengthens your backlink profile.

How does tiered link building work? 

A first tier backlink points back to your main website. These links are the most authoritative ones and are from relevant websites. A second tier backlink points to the tier 1 backlink, while a 3rd tier backlink points to the tier 2 backlink. 

So, how many of each should you use?

Ideally, a robust white hat link building strategy uses a combination of tier links in moderation. You can utilize a few second tier backlinks pointing to each first tier backlink, as well as a couple of third tier backlinks pointing to each second tier 2 backlink.

But more on this later.

For now, let’s examine each tier in more detail and how you can do tiered link building.

The Different Levels in Tiered Links

We’ll look at three different levels or tiers you can use in your tiered link building strategy.

What is a Tier 1 Link?

First tier links are part of every content marketing strategy. They are the links pointing directly back to your site and are the highest quality links.

How to Get First Tier Links

To create first tier links, you need to start by creating unique content. The content you post should be relevant to your industry so that it provides value to everyone who reads it. Of course, that means you need to study your target audience and do comprehensive keyword research.

Once that’s done, it’s time to post the content on websites that are relevant to your niche and rank well on search results.

The best way to get first tier links is to find guest posting opportunities and collaborate with established websites within your industry. Find prospects who are interested in publishing your guest posts.

A good place to start is to search for trustworthy, popular, and credible sites with healthy SEO practices. With the help of automation tools, you can find websites that already link to your competitors but have not linked to yours yet. This highlights more opportunities where you can guest post.

Besides guest posting, you can also submit your blog post on Web 2.0 sites, such as wordpress.com and blogger.com. Again, remember that you want to deal with those that have high domain authority. More importantly, make sure the backlinks are indexed properly so that search engines notice them.

What is a Tier 2 Link?

Next, you need to work on creating second tier links that link to your first tier link. They will help boost the authority of first tier links, thereby improving the overall authority of your website. However, this means you still need to look at getting links from quality sites with good domain authority.

How to Get Second Tier Links

You can get a second tier link whenever another source backlinks to your content, for example, your guest post. That could happen on social media, forums, bio profile links, or any other place with plenty of user-generated content.

So some easy ways you can generate second-tier links are as follows:

  • create guest posts consistently so that other high-domain authority websites want to share and backlink your content
  • share the guest posts on multiple social networks
  • ask friends and contacts to share content
  • reach out to other sites that might consider sharing your guest piece with their audience

What is a Tier 3 Link?

With third tier links, the focus on quality isn’t as much as before. In fact, I find them to be borderline spam. This includes links in review sites, directories, blog post comments, Q&A sites, social bookmarks, etc. Even though the third tier links are typically of low quality, they still can help add value to your backlink profile.

How to Get Third Tier Links

I’ll be honest. To get third tier links with the least amount of struggle, simply use automation tools such as SEO Autopilot and Xrumer.

Benefits of Tiered Link Building

Exponentially Increases SEO Efforts

When dealing with multiple tiers of backlinks, you can boost your SEO strategies. Tier three influences tier two, which, in turn, drives results to tier one. So something down on level three can create an impressive impact on your SEO campaign.

Affordable Link Building Options

As I mentioned earlier, top tier links must be high-quality links. The content needs to be spot on, so the process can be time-consuming and costly. This limits the quantity of backlinks you can include in your profile.

However, on the flip side, lower tier links are cheaper. Investing in a bunch of these links can also influence your backlinks – at a lower cost.

More Freedom to Experiment Link Building Ideas

Since second and third-tier backlinks do not directly point to your website, you can experiment with your tiered link strategy without the constant fear of violating Google guidelines.

Try building your backlink profile by adding diversity to your current link building strategy. For example, combine crowd marketing into your mix. Comment on various blogs, forums, review sites, social networks, and more. Collect a variety of high quality and low quality links.

What are the Risks of Tiered Link Building

Yes, tiered link building encroaches on gray hat SEO techniques. So there are a few risks involved. Here are a few common ones:

Risk of Incurring Google Penalty

If you break Google guidelines, you could get into trouble. Your website could get penalized or, worse, get de-indexed. And that isn’t something you want to deal with.

Results Aren’t 100% Guaranteed 

Like everything in digital marketing, tiered link building takes time and effort. Often, tiered link building efforts only impact your rankings marginally. That means you’ve invested resources in something that hasn’t produced optimal results.

Is Tiered Link Building Black Hat?

While tiered link building comes with benefits and risks, some SEO experts claim that it’s a black hat practice, why?

For a couple of reasons.

Firstly, Google doesn’t appreciate it when businesses create links for their own website. Google prefers that they acquire links naturally.  In fact, according to Webmaster Guidelines, two aspects of tiered link building have been highlighted as a possible violation of Google guidelines. These are:

  • Low-quality directory links or website links
  • Comments on forums that contain optimized links in the post or signature

Secondly, Google clearly states that businesses should avoid using automated link building tools and services to create links for their website. 

So when considering these aspects of tiered link building, you could be infringing on black hat practices.

White Hat Alternatives

Even though some aspects of tiered backlinking go against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, you can still use it for white hat SEO.

Here are some tips you need to keep in mind:

  • Create first tier links in guest posts or sponsored posts. Remember, a link to a relevant source can offer considerable value to your site.
  • Practice link outreach to gather tier 1 links. If you have an article or blog that’s unique and is packed with insightful content, don’t be shy. Search for first tier links for your post.
  • Help A Reporter Out (HARO) has a whole list of topics reporters need more information about. So if you happen to have in-depth industry insights, it’s a great way to answer questions and earn backlinks in the process. Now that’s what I call hitting two birds with one stone.

Does Tiered Link Building Still Work?

There are tons of case studies where white hat tiered link building strategies have helped businesses excel. Take, for example, Muzigal’s case. Their link building strategy included posting relevant guest posts on relevant sites using optimized anchor texts to create high-quality backlinks.

But one thing is clear. A thorough white hat tiered link building approach is just as important as finding the right donor websites. They have the potential to become the platform for further backlinks. So a relevant site for a killer guest post will help you connect with the right target audience and synchronize your brand awareness efforts. 

Tips to Build Effective Tiered Links

If you’ve read this far, I’m sure you plan on using tiered link strategies. Here are a few pointers to ensure you get it right:

  • Link to only high quality sites that are relevant to your website. This is especially important when building tiered link(s) for the first tier. The weight of the site you link to will influence yours too. So avoid low quality links at all costs.
  • Be aware of Google guidelines when building tiered link strategies. This will prevent  black-hat SEO activities that could potentially penalize your website.
  • Create a strong content marketing campaign. Through contextual backlinking, your content will create a more positive impact on search engine rankings for longer.
  • Don’t create low quality content that neither readers nor Google will appreciate.
  • Hire qualified individuals with comprehensive link building services for your site. They should have enough experience in link building and be up to date with current Google algorithms.
  • Include nofollow links throughout your link building strategies, including social media links, forum comments, etc. The more authoritative signals you send to search engines, the more trustworthy you appear to Google.

In order to measure the effectiveness of link building campaigns, you need to monitor key metrics such as the number of visitors, average time visitors spend on the page, inbound links, etc. This will provide opportunities to tweak your SEO strategy and digital marketing efforts.

Over to You

Building tiered links with the right techniques can boost your website’s visibility, SEO efforts, and search engine rank. 

Of course, the goal is to use white hat tiered strategies to ensure you continue to remain on Google’s good side.

So without further delay, it’s time to optimize and empower your site. Create and implement well-thought-out tiered link strategies regularly.

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