Tiered Link Building: Is It Safe? How To Do It RIGHT?

Tier Link Building

With the recent link spam updates, “tiered links” can seem like black hat SEO. Here is how:

Tiered link building involves manually upvoting the links pointing to your site with more backlinks. That hack adds more juice to your authority and increases your rank on search results.

So, what’s wrong with such a BRILLIANT hack?

According to Google’s December 2022 link spam update, links obtained primarily to game search results are “link spams.”

Does that mean tiered link building isn’t safe? Are your money sites better off without it?

When done right, tiered link building is safe. In fact, it can be an effective strategy that gets your site to the top pages of search results.

In this article, we’ll show you how to build tier links RIGHTLY — the ones to use and the pitfalls to avoid.

Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect:

  • What is tier link building?
  • How to build tier 2 links
  • Common pitfalls of tier link building to avoid

Tier link building, in simple terms, means using a system of backlinks (a multi-tiered system) to boost your ranking on search results.

It works in a structured way as below:

  • The first set of referring domains pointing directly to your website are the tier 1 links. That is where you stop in typical link building.
  • Tier link building, however, goes deeper.
  • You create a new set of backlinks to boost the effectiveness of the “tier 1” links. They are called tier 2 links.
  • Lastly, you add to the effectiveness of the “tier 2 links” using new sets of backlinks known as the tier 3 links.
Tier Link Building

For example, say “page A” points to your website from a high-traffic page. That will give you a tier 1 link.

Now, if another “page B” references “page A,” you’ll get a “tier 2 link.”

Lastly, if another “page C” link outs to “page B,” you’ll get a “tier 3 link.”

Still confused?

We’ll explain the multi-tiered system further below. Even better, we will tell you which “tiers” to focus on.

Spoiler Alert: There are no rules on the number of tiers to use. If you have the time, you might as well have 4 levels.

However, 3 tiers are often enough.

Now, let’s explain how the 3 tiers work.

Tier 1 links work like typical link building. They are gotten from the referring domains pointing directly to your money site.

As such, tier 1 links are from sites and pages with high DA, DR, and traffic.

Suggested reading: How To Increase Your Site’s Domain Authority?

Level-2 or tier 2 links do not point directly to your money sites. Instead, they refer to pages that feature tier 1 links.

As a result, the pages at this level have less authority and traffic. In fact, they are often referred to as web 2.0 sites.

Examples of web 2.0 sites include:

  • Microblogs
  • Social media platforms
  • Google maps

Level-3 or tier 3 links point to the pages featuring tier 2 links. As a result, they are further away from your money sites.

Often, tier 3 links come from forum sites and comments on blog posts. So, the authority passed by these links is almost insignificant.

The worst part: tier 3 links are often generated with automation tools. They are likely to violate Google’s link spam policies when done incorrectly.

Which of the 3 Tiers Should You Prioritize?

Undoubtedly, tier 1 is the most important of the tiers. They point directly to your site and have the most impact on your rankings on search results.

However, focusing solely on tier 1 defeats the purpose of the multi-tiered ranking system.

So what?

Prioritize your tier 1 links. You MUST vet the direct pages linking to you and make them natural.

But to compound your link juice, you should focus on tier 2 link building.

How about tier 3 link building?

Tier 3 links should not be your priority. Indeed, they have their use. However, pay only a little attention to acquiring them.

And if you must build “tier 3 links,” offer value before links.

Let’s discuss building tier 2 links and avoiding link spam backlash.

Before you build tier 2 links, ensure your internal link strategy and tier 1 links are sorted out. Otherwise, you might be wasting your time.

Fixed your internal link and tier 1 links already?

Now, follow the steps below!

As much as you want to start pushing out tier 2 links, wait and check existing resources you can exploit. In that case, expert roundups are the EASIEST resource.

How so?

Let’s ask you a simple question:

Say you get featured on a post or an interview on Forbes (for example). What will you do?

You would likely write an article or press release around the mention or interview. Then, you’ll link back to the post on Forbes.

If you would do that, the chances are that other experts in the roundup will do the same. And so?

The several websites linking to the Forbe page that point to your sites are tier 2 links.

Easy, eh?

The best part: the tier-2 links will get backlinks from other pages. More importantly, the owners of the sites are constantly building their backlink profiles.

Your site will benefit from all that juice.

So, how do you get featured on roundup posts?

  1. HARO
  2. Network with journalists
  3. Ask for collaboration with other experts in your niche
  4. Monitor hashtags such as “#journorequest” on social media networks

We are done with ready-made resources. Let’s get to the process of active tier 2 link building.

Be Picky With The Pages To Use

As you did with tier 1 links, your “tier 2” links shouldn’t come from any random site or page. Be picky.

Choose pages or sites with DA and DR worthy of tier 1 links. Why?

For starters, if your tier 2 links get featured on high authority sites, the referral juice will significantly impact your site’s ranking.

More importantly, high authority sites are hardly PBN or link dumps. In other words, you are automatically cleared of black hat SEO strategies.

Talking about SEO, be picky enough not to use sites that target your keywords. You might be shooting yourself in the leg.

So, how do you ensure a site is PERFECT for your tier 2 links?

  • Use Ahrefs to check the site’s traffic and DR.
  • Use Moz to verify the site’s authority and the keywords it’s ranking for.

Pro Tip 1

While being picky, don’t just pick 1 destination for all your tier 2 links. Draw up a list.

What next?

Mix Things Up

While drawing up the list of desired destinations for your tier 2 link, don’t be rigid. Here is what we mean:

Don’t stick to just your niche and only a group of publishers.


Google bots aside, anyone can suspect that you’ve built links unnaturally if your links are always coming from the same source or sources.

What should you do?

Mix things up; always revisit your list of preferred destinations for tier 2 links. You can do that every month or bi-monthly.

How about the niche?

Getting featured on an unrelated niche won’t help your site’s ranking too. So, here’s what you should do:

  • Get featured in a “general niche” somewhat related to yours.
  • Also, switch things up between blogs, news, and directory sites.
  • Lastly, target sites with varying DAs and DRs. You could do 70-80 occasionally and try 60 once in a while.
  • Also, make your tier 2 links a mix of “dofollow” and “nofollow” backlinks.

By now, you should have a list of diversified, top destinations for your tier 2 links. It’s time to place the links.

Often, the bulk of the work lies in outreach. Reach out to the authors, journalists, or site owners.

Overall, have a strategy in place. The common ones you can adopt with little hassle are:

  • Guest posting
  • Niche edits

Pro Tip 2

Ensure your content offers the RIGHT value; check the guidelines for guest post submission.

When the sites accept your guest posts and niche edits, ensure you place the links the RIGHT way. Does it matter?

Short answer: yes!

Google bots don’t stop their verification at the pattern and sources you post links to. They check the anchor texts too.

  • Are the anchor texts relevant to your topic or site?
  • When and where are the anchor texts placed?

So, what is the right way to place links?

While you can employ AI tools to determine the right anchor texts, the easy way out is to focus on relevancy.

In summary, your anchors and landing page must be within the same context and make sense.

This strategy is limited to unpublished content. It works best when you have an upcoming article.

So, how does this work?

  1. For a start, look for articles currently ranking well on search results that link to your websites.
  2. Sort the article by shares and comments. And pick the top 5.
  3. Now, find a valuable topic that matches the articles from step 2.
  4. Next, link out to the articles in your current content. Best if the current project is for a guest post.

You just created a tier 2 link on published content that is already ranking. That will power up your site!

You can also use this method directly from your site – but rarely. How?

  • Create a section on your site that features your mentions.
  • Now, link to the section in a new article you’re working on.

Tier link building often experiences indexing issues. Unfortunately, no juice will pass down to your site when that happens.

Fortunately, sharing the page where your tier 2 links are featured on social media can help. The act will fasten indexing. Plus, it’ll provide extra social signals.

Also, social sharing will increase the exposure and traffic to the pages.

Pro Tip 3

Share the pages featuring your tier 2 links on content-based social networks like LinkedIn and Reddit.

Choosing Just Any Place On Your Site As The Landing Page

Tiered link building is time-consuming and resource-intensive. After all the energy spent, channeling all the authority to just any page on your site is futile.

Indeed, your site would benefit from effective tier links.

However, it is best if the links target your money pages.

Believing That Results Are Instant.

No sustainable link building offers instant results. And in the case of a compound system like tier link building, it takes longer to see results.

Generally, you will only see direct results from tier link building in 6 months — or more. However, when done right, the timeline can be shorter.

Link building is undoubtedly a vital part of search engine optimization. However, it is only a “part.” Nonetheless, it works best with other strategies to get wholesome results.

Likewise, tiered link building is not enough; combine it with other SEO strategies.

Tier link building is a compound system of manually boosting your backlinks with even more backlinks to improve your rankings on search results.

Often, tier link builders stick to 3 tiers.

When done right, tier 2 links work. They are not far off from your site. So, their effectiveness is not all that watered down.

Besides, tier 2 links are placed on pages on authority sites. Often, these pages have DA 60 and above—the same as tier 1 links.

However, the overall effectiveness of your tiered 2 links depends on how you build them. Ensure you focus on value first and selectively pick the sites to place the links.


While tier 3 (and other tiers down the hierarchy)are not bad for SEO, they offer little to zero significance. Despite that, they can mar your overall SEO efforts.

So, we always recommend that only the minimum attention be paid to tier 3 links. And if you build one, ensure it’s done naturally.

Despite the several doubts about the processes involved in tier link building, it works. More importantly, you don’t have to worry about Google’s penalty.

When done right (as described in this guide), tiered link building is safe.

But if you find the process risky and prefer to get help, we can help.

Reach out, and let’s discuss your needs!