What Is Tiered Link Building?

There are more layers to link building than you can ever imagine. For example, not all backlinks are the same. Some are much more powerful and can help increase your site’s search rankings compared to others.

At the same time, just because other links aren’t strong doesn’t mean they can never be as long. In fact, there are ways to cultivate your weaker links so you can grow your SERP positions for your target keywords.

One of the ways to do this is tiered link building.

This post explains this link building concept and how you can apply it in your link profile. This way, you can squeeze the most out of your existing links and generate more organic traffic in the process.

Tiered Link Building in a Nutshell

Tiered link building is the process of creating backlinks to your backlinks. The goal is to help make your best backlinks, i.e., links from authoritative websites relevant to your niche, even stronger by linking to them.

“Tiered” here refers to the different levels of links pointing from one backlink to another down to your website. Below is a visual example of tiered link building at work:

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There are three tiers in the image above, although you can extend beyond tier 3 to diversify your link profile.

First-tier links are your best backlinks from trustworthy websites using guest post tactics, link inserts, and others.

Second-tier links support tier 1 links. These are composed of links from web 2.0 properties like blogging platforms (wordpress.com, tumblr.com, etc.), profile links, article directories, and private blog networks or PBN (more about this later).

Third-tier links strengthen links in tier 2. These can be composed of blog comment links, forum links, and others.

Links from tiers 2 and 3 are interchangeable. For example, links from private blog networks can also appear as tier 3 links, while you can use blog comments in your tier 2 links. As long as it helps make your tier 1 links stronger, the type of links you include in the lower tiers shouldn’t matter as much.

Benefits of Tiered Link Building

Include this tactic immensely helps your SEO strategy in several ways.

Pass Link Juice

First, the different tiers enable you to pass link juice to your best backlinks, which should help you increase your keyword rankings over time.

SEO - Link Juice

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The quality of link juice depends on a site’s authority. The more authoritative it is based on SEO metrics like Domain Authority (DA), the more influential the juice it will send to your site.

Relatively Easy to Build

Getting links from blog comments and discussion boards could pose a problem, especially if the owners heavily moderate them.

Other than these properties, creating tiered links is not difficult because you have full control over including the links and where they’ll appear on the site.

For example, you can sign up for a WordPress.com account and create a blog. From there, you may make a one-pager site that features a link to any of your tier 1 links.

Reduces Algorithm Impact

You’re probably wondering why you build links to your backlinks when you can just link to your money site. Shouldn’t this increase your search engine rankings much faster because you’re funneling all the link juice from a site straight to yours?

It could increase your rankings much quicker. But pointing all backlinks to your site makes your link profile look unnatural. Worse, Google could penalize your website if it finds any links you built as spammy.

By developing tiered link building, you can cushion the effect of the penalty search engines would cast on your bad backlinks. Instead of directly affecting your website, it only trickles down from tier to tier. This way, your website’s SEO performance may only incur minimal damage, and you can recover quickly.

The Pitfalls of Tiered Link Building

Tiered link building is one of the most unheralded tactics, but for good reasons.

Time-Consuming and Resource-Intensive

Developing complex levels of tiers may be time-consuming for most site owners, especially if you’re just a one-person operation with limited budgets. You need to allocate proper resources to scale and implement tiered link building correctly, as the different levels you’ll create could confuse you down the line.

Risk of Penalty

As mentioned, you could incur an algorithmic penalty if you abuse tiered link building.

This is true for links from private blog networks that Google catches. If you’re not good at covering your tracks and are creating PBN links straight to your site, you can easily incur an algorithmic penalty that will render your site and business useless.

Tips for Building Your Tiered Link Building Strategy

If you plan on building tiered links for your website, proceed with caution and keep the tips below in mind:

  • Building links for your tiers is not an inherently black-hat SEO activity. It ultimately depends on how you create your tier links. For instance, it’s possible to have high-quality links across all tiers if you wish. However, building them could take time since you observe Google guidelines when acquiring these links.
  • Make your links as random as possible. Don’t fall into a pattern when building your tier links because Google could use this as a footprint and uncover potential bad backlinks you have in your tiers.
  • If you’re considering using automated link building tools like GSA Search Engine Ranker and RankerX, make sure to keep them at the lower tiers so as not to affect your higher-tier links negatively should Google penalize them.
  • Include nofollow links into your tiers. Examples include social media links, some forum and blog comments, and others. While they don’t pass link juice, Google still considers them “hints” that could influence your rankings. The more authoritative your signals are, the more trustworthy your site looks in the eyes of search engines.
  • Hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Find a trustworthy freelancer or agency that offers website link building service and includes tiered link building. If you try doing this yourself without any experience, you might undo the goodwill you built with Google through the years.


Developing tiered link building strategies could help benefit your website in the long run but only if you know what you’re doing.

As powerful as tier link building is, people can easily abuse it by creating tier links that could make their backlink profile stick out like a sore thumb. This could draw attention to Google and could lead to a site penalty.

If you wish to avoid the risk of losing all the hard work you put into growing your organic traffic, get Linkplicity that knows what it’s doing. It will ensure that your tier links are organized and won’t raise the ire of Google, all while improving your search traffic!


Linkplicity is a dedicated guest posting agency that prides itself on delivering the most relevant and highest quality guest post on the market.

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