Commonly referred to as a blackhat SEO tactic, tiered link building is a way to increase rankings by driving traffic from a variety of sources through tiered levels of link building. It takes advantage of the way Google spiders crawl websites and indexes them. This tactic is frowned upon by Google and other whitehat SEO marketers who prefer to ‘earn natural links.’ SEO, or search engine optimization, includes any method that manipulates the search engines for higher rankings so this seems counter-intuitive for website owners. On one hand, they need to attract more traffic to their website than their competitors, and on the other hand it could incur a Google penalty. How can website owners increase their rankings and appease Google at the same time?
Building tiered links safely
It is possible to build whitehat tiered links without getting hit by a search engine penalty. The key is to be as natural as possible when it comes to creating this link profile. You must think of the link tiers as levels of quality and relevance to your website:
The first tier links are links to highly ranking websites (or authority websites) that are related to your website’s niche
The second tier links include social media profiles, comments and forums linked to your first tier links
The third tier links point to your second tier links. They are built with the aim to let more people visit your website.
Just like a pyramid shape with the highest quality links at the very top, you are working with a purpose to bring more eyeballs to your website.
How not to do whitehat tiered link building
There is little discernible difference, if any, between earned links and whitehat tiered link building. Whitehat tiered link building mimics the way natural links are made between authority websites and other web 2.0 links. However, building whitehat tiered links must be done properly to increase the authority, and thus-the ranking of their website.
1.Avoid poorly spun content
Low quality content put in a generic article spinning tool is unlikely to survive Google algorithm updates. Since you want to establish your website as an authority, your content must be of high quality to begin with. The time invested in writing unique content that is readable and engaging for humans will be well worth it.
2.Avoid links with irrelevant, or low quality websites
A mistake to make in tiered link building is targeting any website without checking the trust flow and authority first. Even if the website is related to your niche, it has to have a good reputation with low spam and not part of a public blog network (more on this topic later).
3.Never neglect your link auditing
Once you have built your whitehat links, you need to keep an eye on the link profile for bad links. Remove links from websites that get penalized and be vigilant for negative SEO.
4.Do not ignore aged domains
Buying expired domains and using them as your first tier can be effective in link building. You can find aged domains with good trust flow from a domain broker or a website that sells aged websites. This will become part of your private blog network, which you control for quality and predictability when you link to your main website. Be careful of low quality private blog network (in actuality public blog network) services that put your website at risk of a penalty.
5.Be flexible in your whitehat link building tactic
Test the different links, anchor text ratios and websites. Use whitehat tiered link building in conjunction with other SEO tactics and never rely on one tactic alone.
Will tiered link building survive Google updates in the future?
That is anyone’s guess as to what Google will do. SEO will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated to help users find the most helpful and high quality content. If you produce spam, then you really deserve to be penalized when Google improve their spam filters. Link building is not a tactic to dupe Google and search engine users; when implemented correctly, it is meant to increase the relevance of your website for search queries. Out-linking the competition is not the answer.
Since the introduction of backlinks as a ranking factor in 1998, Google has changed their algorithms countless times to gauge the usefulness of a website. Linking is a sign of popularity but Google never explicitly said that it was the only factor for ranking. This is the reason why website owners must diversify their SEO tactics to survive future updates. The only certainty is that Google will focus on websites that has a great user experience across all user devices and mentioned by other authoritative websites.