Link Building

Tiered Link Building

Glossary  |  4 mins

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Tiered link building is a link building strategy that involves creating a chain of backlinks to a target site from multiple sources, with each link feeding into the value of the previous one. This strategy is also known as pyramid link building, and it involves building backlinks across multiple tiers, with each tier supporting the integrity of the tier above it.

A tiered link building strategy is particularly attractive to sites that want to improve the authority of their backlink profile, as it allows them to leverage relatively low-authority referring domains to achieve stronger organic rankings.

Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 Link Building

Though tiered link building can be approached in a variety of ways, a typical tiered link building service will apply the following structure:

Tier 1 Link Building

Tier 1 link building involves building backlinks directly from a quality referring page to a website’s key target pages. These links are often the kind of sought after links most marketers think of when they hear “link building”, and are essential for building a strong foundation for a site’s backlink profile. Examples of Tier 1 referring domains include major news outlets, industry journals, and high-authority blogs.

Tier 2 Link Building

Tier 2 link building involves creating backlinks that point to the Tier 1 referring pages. These links are often from lower level websites and will have less of an immediate effect compared to Tier 1 links. Having said that, they can still be highly beneficial for a site’s organic rankings. Examples of Tier 2 backlinks include links from niche blogs, forums, and social media profiles with a large following.

Tier 3 Link Building

Tier 3 link building, as you’ve probably guessed, is focussed on creating backlinks targeting the Tier 2 referring pages. These links are often from low quality referring domains and can include links from directories, blog comments, and social bookmarks. While these links don’t necessarily have much direct impact on a website’s search engine ranking, they can help to diversify the backlink portfolio and ensure more natural results from a targeted link building campaign.

The Risks of a Tiered Link Building Strategy

The main risk of tiered link building is the potential for search engines to consider it a form of link manipulation. If search engines identify a pattern of unnatural or low quality backlinks, they may penalise the website involved. This penalty could result in a significant drop in search engine ranking or even removal from the search engine index altogether.

As with any link building strategy, it’s essential to focus on creating high-quality content that earns natural backlinks rather than leaning too heavily on a tiered link building strategy. By creating valuable content and building relationships with reputable and authoritative websites, webmasters can improve their rankings naturally and develop a diversified backlink profile which will be less likely to be considered manipulative by search engines.

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Tiered Link Building FAQs

What are the risks of tiered link building?

The key risk of tiered link building is the potential for search engines to flag it as a form of link manipulation and investigate the operation – which can lead to manual penalties. Although relatively rare, penalties often result in a significant drop in search engine ranking or even de-indexation of the target site.

Questions to ask your link builder