Giving Your Links a Boost with Tiered Link Building


The following link building tip may or may not sit well with all SEOs, and when deciding on a link building strategy that will suit your business, it's important to weight all the pros and cons before making a choice. Now, with that said, let's talk a little about tiered link building.

Tiered link building allows you to drive some extra juice to your quality links and keep the more aggressive link building tactics aimed at buffers in between the more questionable links and your website. The below is a very quick overview of what this may look like.

tiered link building

Getting Quality Links

Quality links in the above diagram are those you are proud of. They are the kids in the frame on your living room wall, with happy faces having just graduated from college. There are a number of ways to get quality links:

1) Create Great Content: You can create market-relevant content for a target group of users, and even with limited time you can still attract links with content.

2) Guest Blog Posts: This is perhaps one of the easiest way of acquiring quality links. It can be difficult to scale, but one suggestion would be to look for bloggers who are willing to a) look for guest blogging opportunities and b) write the actual content. You can arm them with a list of queries relevant to find these opportunities, for example:

  • “Submit a guest post” / “Submit post” / “Submit blog post”
  • “Add blog post”
  • “Submit an article”
  • “Suggest a guest post”
  • “Send a guest post”
  • “Write for us”
  • “Become an author”
  • “Guest bloggers wanted”
  • “Contribute to our site”
  • “Become a contributor”
  • “Become guest writer”
  • “(Write for our) guest column”

There are dozens more commands that can be used for this. If you are lucky enough to have a tool like Ontolo, it can do all the work for you.

3) Articles / Web2.0 Sites: No doubt the Google farmer/panda update has caused big issues for article and web 2.0 sites. But if you create quality content on sites like Squidoo, Tumblr, and EzineArticles, it can still lead to quality links that can act as buffers. The important words here are “quality content.”

4) Satellite Sites: Buying aged domains and rebuilding them with content relevant to your market is definitely something that can help you rank for competitive keywords. Just ensure you choose a domain that has some relevance to the space you are in (by checking on to see what content the site used to have).

Boosting Your Links

There are a number of ways to build link layers to boost your quality links:

1) Social Forum Profiles: Obviously something that a lot of people will not agree with, but creating hundreds or thousands of social profile links can help boost your quality links. This can be done extremely cheaply; just look over on the WarriorForum and there are dozens of people offering these services.

2) Article Spinning: Not something that fared too well during the recent Google update, but sites like ArticleRanks allow you to spin an article and distribute across a wide range of article sites and blogs. All of these are extremely low-value, but can create thousands of links. WordStream no longers recommends this strategy as it is against Google policy (duplicate content) and can heavily penalize your website.

3) Blog Networks: This is something Google must despise, but networks like LinkVana, SEONitro and BuildMyRank allow you to distribute posts across their own private network. WordStream no longers recommends this strategy as it is against Google policy (link networks) and can heavily penalize your website.

4) Auto Social Factors: There are a lot of services like Synnd that will auto-tweet, bookmark and like your content. Again, this can be a means of getting a little extra juice to your quality links (although, I would see this as something that may be at layer 3 of your tiered pyramid).

The above is a quick overview of how tiered link building can be used to boost your quality links and ensure you are getting the max juice from them.

Kieran Flanagan is a European SEO manager with a large international company. Kieran offers SEO services at He also builds affiliate sites in competitive markets.



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Tara Geissinger
Apr 11, 2011

Great ideas for link building! I noticed that you didn't include press release publishing as a means for generating links. An SEO press release can be really beneficial if you post your news on a website that is specifically built for optimal SEO. You not only generate backlinks, but the news announcement itself will rank well in the search engines -- giving your customers and readers even more opportunities to find you online! They key in writing a successful SEO press release starts with having *something* new to announce, however. Because you are writing it for SEO purposes, it doesn't have to be earth-shattering news. Just something new happening within your company -- like a new blog post published, award won, website refresh, etc...

Vlad Piersec
Apr 12, 2011

LoL! This is what they call a "link pyramid" and it's not white hat at all.

It looks like there's a trend promoting grey and black techniques all over the net now.

Kieran Flanagan
May 28, 2011

I never said anything about White Hat vlad. Everyone should decide form themselves on the tactics they used. But I don't see a big issue with building links to your quality content regardless of weather it's sitting on or off your site.

Codrut Turcanu
Apr 12, 2011

hi, I like the guest post opportunity research tips you give. Will check Ontolo soon.

P.S. Kieran, what is the most powerful affiliate SEO keyword tool in your opinion and why?

Kieran Flanagan
May 28, 2011

Hi Codrut,

One of the best keyword tools for affiliate marketing is Market Samurai.



How to Build a Link Network - This S**t F*@cking WORKS !!
Apr 12, 2011

[...] “Why Hat SEO is a Joke“. Also, in terms of the below, I recently guest blogged on tiered link building over at Wordstream, which is related to the below.What is a Link Network ?Now back to the post. [...]

Maneet Puri
Apr 12, 2011

I myself own a website designing company. found this link building strategy intriguing.. Good job and thanks for posting this article.

Ana | Traffic generation cafe
Apr 15, 2011

The only downside to this strategy is the amount of time it takes.

However, it does work beautifully and the links you are pointing to your secondary online properties, like guest post, don't have to be of the highest quality either, so that helps.

Great infographic!

Ana |
Apr 16, 2011

[...] your links a boost with tiered link building – help build authority for those quality links to your site by building additional backlinks [...]

How to Build a Link Network
May 06, 2011

[...] titled “Why Hat SEO is a Joke“. Also, in terms of the below, I recently guest blogged on tiered link building over at Wordstream, which is related to the [...]

Maneet Puri
May 16, 2011

Wonderful blog piece! Had no knowledge about Auto Social Factors before I read it.Thanks for sharing


79 Link Building Resources - 2011 Edition
May 24, 2011

[...] Giving Your Links a Boost with Tiered Link Building [...]

search engine optimization
Aug 16, 2011

Thanks for the recommendation. I checked them out originally, but for this post I was specifically looking for blogs that somewhat regularly wrote about link building. They didn’t seem to have a category for it and I didn’t see any posts from this year when I searched it through their RSS feed. Otherwise they are a great blog though!

Nov 14, 2011

Well written article. Thanks for posting!

Dec 21, 2011

A Master piece of link building tatics. thanks for sharing this cool foot print for finding new blog for Guest posting. I am tryint to expand my writing area by using Guest posting. This will gives me a helping hand.

Matthew Woodward
Aug 13, 2012

A great explanation of tiered link building and even though this post is back from early 2011 these techniques are still highly effective post Penguin assuming your doing the anchor text side of things correctly.One of the major benefits you didn't outline though is using this approach gives you a layer of protection around your site.For example if you have a high quality set of tier 1 links, you can use spammier link building methods for your tier 2 and tier 3 without risking any penalty to your site.  Using public blog networks directly to your site is a no no since Google went on a killing spree but they are still great for boosting your tier 1 links without risking a penalty for your site.  Worst case scenario is your tier 1 link gets a ranking penalty which makes no difference to your main site, and if it does you can just remove the tier 1 link entirely.I have create a video series/tutorial about tiered link building which might be of benefit to people looking into tiered link building which can be seen here

Mohammed Anzil
Jan 19, 2013

Really useful. First time i get complete about Tiered Link Building. 

Apr 14, 2013

Thanks for the article...make lots of sense...Tw

Gregory Smith
Jul 23, 2013

Great explanation,Going on 3 years later, and this post still rings very true in the world of link building. I have written some really valuable tiered link building tutorials and would love it if your audience could possibly compare them. Everything you've mentioned still works today. Adding shitty links to your site is a no no. Building high quality authority backlinks isn't a task that is done and then just forgotten, when you build high quality links, then start building links to your links. Keep it interesting... more importantly, keep all those login details when building links, so that in case you ever need to remove them, you'll be in complete control over the situation.Looking forward to more articles like this from wordstream. Gregory Smith

Jul 12, 2014

Thanks for the post

Apr 16, 2015

Realy Usefull,, Thanks this is what im looking for ..:)

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