Backlinks are important elements of your SEO strategy. They signal to a web crawler that other websites find your content relevant and valuable. And the more backlinks you earn, the more your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) improve.
If you want to boost your SEO efforts, consider deploying a tiered backlinking strategy. Build links to your backlinks to create a so-called “link pyramid.”
Today, we will discuss the basic aspects of a tiered backlinking strategy and share tips on how you can make this strategy work for your website.
The Basics of a Tiered Backlinking Strategy
The tiered backlinking strategy is all about increasing the power of original backlinks to your website.
Let’s consider an example to understand how this strategy works.
Imagine that you run a SaaS company. You’ve built a website to promote your app. Recently, HuffPost has mentioned your app in an article. Now, you’ve got a backlink from a website with a high Domain Authority (DA) ranking.
How can you get the most out of this backlink? You can use a tiered link building – building links to that specific HuffPost article to increase its positive impact on your website. These links will be classified as tier 2.
If you are ready to go the extra mile, you can build links of tier 3 to increase the power of tier 2 links.
Here is how your link pyramid will look:
- Tier 1: HuffPost article with the link to your website
- Tier 2: Links to a specified HuffPost article
- Tier 3: Links to the pages that promote tier 2 links
The main goal of building a link pyramid is to increase the Page Authority (PA) of the page that is located at the top of the pyramid. In our example, it’s a page of a HuffPost article.
Page Authority and Its Influence on Your SEO Efforts
Page Authority is a metric similar to Domain Authority. The only difference is that it’s applied to a specific page, not a website in general.
Domain Authority for your website depends on any backlink that leads to your website. And Page Authority counts only those backlinks that are gained by a specific page.
Let’s get back to our example – an article published in HuffPost.
HuffPost is a website with a high Domain Authority. But it doesn’t mean that each of its pages has a high Page Authority.
Dozens of new articles are added to the HuffPost website daily. Some of these articles go viral online and earn dozens of backlinks, while others get just a few views and zero backlinks. It means that only the most popular HuffPost articles have a high Page Authority and can significantly benefit your website.
The tiered backlinking strategy allows you artificially increase the Page Authority score of a specific page that contains a backlink to your website and eventually improve your site’s ranking.
How To Build Different Tiers of a Link Pyramid
Naturally, you need to start building a “pyramid” from its top. Firstly, you need to choose a backlink that comes from a DA 80 website.
After that, you can start creating “tiers.” Each tier needs to include more backlinks than a previous tier. For instance, if tier 1 includes 10 links, you need to build 100 links for tier 2 and 1000 links for tier 3.
Link Types and Content Quality Varies From Tier to Tier
Tier 1 must include your best backlinks:
- Guest post links
- Resource page links
- Private blog network (PBN) links
- Web 2.0 mini-sites links
- Links from other websites that offer high-quality content and have high domain authority
When you start building tier 2, you need to focus on content quantity rather than quality. You can opt for the following link types:
- Blog comment links
- Forum comment links
- Social media links
- Human-readable Spintax Web 2.0
- Document-sharing links
Now let’s talk about tier 3. At this stage, you could focus less on content quality. Here, you just need to generate as many links as you can – and it doesn’t really matter what type of links you are using.
Is Tiered Backlinking Considered Black-hat or White-hat SEO?
Many SEO experts see tiered link building as a black-hat practice. Here’s why.
If you read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, you will see that Google considers all not naturally earned links as a violation of its guidelines. This means that if you decide to use low-quality directory links or forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature, you will violate the guidelines. Also, you should understand that Google doesn’t tolerate the use of automated link-building tools.
Basically, the use of tiered backlinking can be a manipulation of the system. And you should be aware of the risks and consequences of deploying this link scheme involving low-quality websites.
What Will Happen If You Violate the Webmaster Guidelines?
If Google spots that you are using a link scheme, it will issue a manual action. This means that your website or a specific page will be ranked lower or omitted from search results without any visual indication to the user.
You may not know this, but Google employs analysts, researchers and statisticians who manually evaluate search quality. Using a black-hat SEO strategy can trick web crawlers, but you will unlikely fool the qualified analysts and content researchers.
Besides, you should understand that Google’s indexing process is continually changing. Sooner or later, Google will find a way to detect more sophisticated link schemes. And if you rely solely on black-hat SEO, Google will likely apply manual action to your website.
How Tiered Backlinking Differs From Other Black-hat SEO Practices
Even though tiered backlinking is seen as black SEO, it is widely used. Why? There are two main reasons why website owners opt for it.
- This strategy is effective, and it works.
- This strategy is less risky than other black-hat practices.
What will happen if Google catches your link scheme? It will apply manual action to tier 2 and tier 3 links because they relate to not-so-legitimate sources –but your tier 1 links will remain intact.
A well-designed tiered backlinking building strategy can take your SEO efforts to the next level. So if you have enough resources to design and implement such a strategy, and if you are aware of the potential risks, give it a try. Build links to your tier 1 backlinks to get your website to the top of Google Search results pages.