Tiered Link Building: Benefits & Risks Revealed

tiered link building

Tiered Link Building: Benefits & Risks Revealed

Tiered link building has been used in the past as a black-hat SEO technique. Most webmasters have drifted from this SEO strategy for obvious reasons; for example, fear of penalties or future loss.

But should there be a rethink? 

In this article, you will discover some benefits of tiered link building, know the risks involved and discover tips on some mistakes to avoid

What is Tiered Link Building? 

Tiered link building means building backlinks from your backlinks. The objective is to increase the amount of link juice passed from your backlink profile to your website.

It is regarded as a white hat SEO strategy because when you make backlinks in tiers, it will be difficult for Google to notice any link schemes of your website. 

Most tired strategies consist of three tiers. Therefore, the website owner builds backlinks for the first tier, second and third. 

How to Build First, Second, and Third Tier Links?

Building tiered links is easy, but it has to be done right to avoid penalties. Below is how to implement the most effective tier link-building strategy. 

1. Tier One Links: These are backlinks pointing directly to your website. These links should be top-quality backlinks placed ethically on your website. You should follow all SEO guidelines when building first-tier links. 

Your first-tier links should be from industries relevant to your niche. The websites should have a good DA and significant traffic. You should build your best backlinks in the first tier.

2. Tier Two Links: For second-tier backlinks, it is more relaxed. Your primary focus should be to avoid spam. Any link that could be considered fair can add to your second tier; for example, high-quality PBNs, profile links, social bookmarks, and article directories. 

Focus on placing the links manually and ensuring they are intelligible. To make your second tier stronger, create links for first-tier links; therefore, for each first-tier backlink you have, create a second tier for it. 

3. Tier Three Links: It is at this point that you can go all in. You can use tools like Ranker X to autogenerate backlinks at scale for your third tier. Low-quality PBNs, bookmark websites, web 2.0, and even as low blog comments are good third-tier links. 

However, you should NEVER build third-tier links for your first-tier links. Keep them as far away as possible.

Why? Because the third-tier links can easily compromise your first-tier links. As such, you should only link them to your second-tier links. 

What are the Benefits of Tiered Link Building? 

While some webmasters may still consider tier link building as a black hat SEO strategy, it has some benefits that could be priceless for website owners. 

1. Cheap Link Juice: Building high-quality backlinks is very costly. Imagine the possibility of building one costly backlink and then leveraging other cheaper links to benefit from that link. That’s one of the mind-blowing benefits of tiered link-building. 

For example, you’ll effortlessly pass the link juice if you have a high-quality HARO backlink in tier one, build tier two links to that link using article directories or high-quality PBNs, and tier three links with low-quality PBNs and web 2.0. That’s less costly than building countless HARO links. 

2. Easy Risk Management: While some websites could be penalized by Google for unnatural links or link schemes, your website won’t. Why? Because your high-quality backlinks will have no proximity to your tier-three links, which are the most likely to get penalized. 

Once you notice a link is affecting your backlink profile, go one tier higher and remove the backlink pointing toward your website. It will be more difficult if this link was your primary backlink and a great source of link juice. 

3. Make Room For Error: When you spend thousands of dollars on backlinks, you want it to work, right? Even more so considering that Google regards backlinks as its top ranking factor.

The relieving thing about tier link building is that you have room for trial and error, especially with tier two and three backlinks. 

Therefore you can try different strategies and different platforms when building tier links. You could be as arrogant as you want because it won’t directly affect your website. 

4. Invisible Self Promotion: You’ll notice that most platforms and groups, whether on Facebook, Reddit, or Instagram, prohibit self-promotion. Tier link building is a hack because you’ll promote your stuff – but indirectly.

Therefore those platforms will never know it is your stuff, so zero red flags. As such, you can effortlessly create your second and third-tier backlinks. 

5. Reasonable Backlink Profile: As Google is getting better at noticing link schemes, it is even more essential for your backlink profile to be reasonable.

Therefore, you should have a mix of do-follow, no-follow, high-quality and low-quality backlinks from a variety of websites. Also, build backlinks from social media platforms, and blogs, amongst others. 

The good news is you can get all of this with a tier backlink profile. All that link depth and dissimilarity will put you in Google’s good graces. 

What Are the Risks of Tiered Link Building?

Tier link building had been considered a black hat link-building strategy. Therefore, despite its benefits, doing it comes with some risks. 

1. Penalties From Google: If you get carried away while building a believable backlink profile, you may trigger sanctions from Google. Therefore, you may attract action from Google if you go against some updates like the Panda or Penguin.

For example, your website could either be susceptible to manual action, or Google could deindex it. 

2. Low Opportunity Cost: Tiered link building isn’t as effective as other link-building strategies like guest posting, HARO, or linkable assets. Why? Because it’d take time for you to benefit from the link juice generated from second and third-tier links.

Even when you do, the effects could be minimal. Therefore, if you can afford those costly link-building strategies, you should focus on them before engaging in tier link-building. 

3. Very Time-Consuming: Building the first, second, and third-tier links can take time and effort. Link building is naturally a very demanding process. However, building tier links for your website benefit is even more tedious.

Sometimes you may throw caution to the wind at the level of your second tier, which could be very detrimental. Building tier links requires focus and patience

4. Trigger Future Losses: Every backlink you get in a bid to game the system is a short-term strategy. Therefore, it could catch up with you in the long run.

Maintaining tier backlinks is a very demanding task. As such, everything could crumble the moment you stop following it up.

Tiered link building is a smart SEO strategy, but not one you should rely heavily on. It shouldn’t be your primary link-building strategy because it could backfire anytime. 

3 Common Mistakes in Tiered Link-Building Campaigns 

Tiered link-building can be very successful if done correctly, however, there are some common mistakes that could destroy the entire link-building campaign. 

1. Poorly Written or Spun Content: Content creation is a very demanding process. As such, you may be tempted to curate low-quality content to catch up with your competition. Unfortunately, you can’t get away with it.

Google prioritizes user experience over everything, so if your content doesn’t attain that requirement, you’ll lose rankings and eventually not benefit from the numerous tiered links you build for that content. 

2. Focused only on Tiered Link-Building: As mentioned above, you must prioritize other link-building strategies like guest posts and HARO, amongst others, before tiered links. The reason is the risk involved when building tiered links.

For example, your website will take a major hit if your tiered links are penalized. On the other hand, if you prioritized other link-building strategies, the penalties on your tiered links will not be fatal for your website. 

3. Failure to Evolve: Keyword stuffing used to work, spun content used to work, and most black-hat SEO strategies used to work; but Google’s updates have spammed most of those strategies. 

What this means, in essence, is that you should always evolve.

Do your research, check out those updates, and figure out how to outsmart them. Webmasters have been using tiered link-building successfully, but it doesn’t mean it’d work for you. Identify what’s successful for others and tweak it for your benefit.

For example, you could use a different strategy to build links for your first tier, like blogger outreach and focus on social networks for your second tier, then use blog comments and Web 2.0 for the third tier.

Do what works for you. 

When to consider tiered link building?

Every website owner who wants to maximize the benefits of backlinks should consider tiered link-building. It is a strategy that’ll be cost-effective for you and will help you get more link juice from your backlinks.

Also, tiered link-building is ideal for you when you’ve mastered how to build tiered backlinks. Not everyone is skilled at building tiered links. If you can do it, then you should. You have more to gain than lose. 

Nevertheless, if you are interested in building tiered links for your website and don’t want to go through the stress it entails, you can hire a link-building professional to help you. Traffic kite can help you effortlessly build tiered backlinks that’ll benefit your website. 

What is GSA tiered link building and how to do it?

GSA Search Engine Ranker is a tool that’s become very popular and can be used for tiered link-building. With this tool, you can create a project and let it execute your requirements.

For example, you can identify the links you desire and the platforms you intend to target. Once you set everything up, the tool will execute it seamlessly. 

Does tiered link building helps in google ranking?

Yes, it does. Tiered link building, when done well, will help maximize the link juice you get from one good link. Having a good backlink is excellent for Google rankings, but you can add tiered links to increase the effectiveness of that link. 


Tiered link building is an SEO strategy that’s both affordable and effective. It might be risky, but at the same time, you’ll be losing if you don’t do it.

You just need to use the correct strategies, and you’ll nail this link-building strategy. 

Is there anything we missed? Please share your thoughts.


#1 Is tiered link building dead?

No, it isn’t. Tiered link building is not dead. It has become a risky link-building strategy, but still very promising. 

#2 What is the future of tiered link building?

Tiered link building is a strategy you shouldn’t totally rely on for your campaign. Nevertheless, it is a strategy that you shouldn’t neglect. It will always play a crucial role in SEO link building.

#3 Is a tiered backlinking strategy black hat SEO?

It depends on the strategy you use. If you build all the tiers as prescribed in this article, your website will have no issues. Nevertheless, there are risks involved. 

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