Tiered Link Building – Does it Still Work?

Tiered link building has been around in the consciousness of the collective SEO world for a few years now. Some SEOers argue that Google updates like Penguin worked to undercut the efficacy of tiered link building or worse even punish you or negatively impact your rankings. First let’s address what tiered link building is.

Tiered link building refers to creating a tiered system between your sites so that they link to one another. I’ve talked about link pyramids before and this is exactly what tiered linking is all about. You have your main site which you want to rank well in the SERPs. Many SEOers call this your “money site”. Generally this is the site which is going to make you your money at the end of the day. The content is 100% unique, well written, and you’re proud to stamp your name on the site in general. That’s the top tier.

Next we go down to our second tier which contains more websites which will all point/link back to your site. Some webmasters like to own their own unique URLs for this purpose, others make use of Web 2.0 properties, creating blogs on existing blog sites like BlogSpot or Blogger. Either way, you’re creating content on this second tier which relates to and serves your main money site.

You can use it as part of a presell if you intend for actual people to be reading that content but generally the second tier sites are primarily for the passing of link juice to your top tier money site. The reason for this is that it’s the money site which you can expect to rank well and thus earn the traffic which comes with a high ranking whereas it’s much less likely that the lower tiered sites will rank on their own.

The idea of why tiered link building is popular and why it works to help rank your top site is because tiered linking looks natural and because it creates a bit of a buffer between your site and the lower tiers which is why a lot of SEOers love to blast thousands of links at the lower tiered sites hoping it will trickle a great deal of link juice up top to help you rank.tiered link building

Tiered link building is still working according to a lot of SEOers, the general consensus is that you just need to be smart about it. You can be smart by doing a few different things.

1 – Private blog networks are effective for maintaining your own complete control over every site within your tiered system. This means that no one else is spamming, abusing, or calling attention to the sites which are pointing back to your top tiered money site. Make sure to keep your blog network truly private (check my post on private blog networks linked to above on how to do this) and you’ll be in good shape.

2 – If you purchase links, know where they’re coming from. A lot of people go to Fiverr to purchase link packages on the cheap and sometimes they can be good investments but many times the links will be coming from link fars which is exactly the kind of sites Google targeted and singled out in the Panda update years ago, so even having a buffer of a second tier of sites between these links and your top tier money site won’t be enough to shield you from the potential negative fallout Google will lay down on you.

3 – The most important thing is to look natural when it comes to tiered linking. Google has supposedly gotten better at detecting linking patterns so you need to be careful about sticking to white hat SEO or, failing that, at least making it look as much like white hat SEO as possible. Keep in mind that that’s the most important and consistent advice anyone can give for effective and safe SEO.

Posted in Link Building, SEO.

I teach webmasters and business owners everything they need to know about digital marketing for their websites from copywriting, analytics, social media, and even how to get Google to like them.