Boost your Link Building with Tiered Links

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  22/05/2017

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We have been using a form of link building for years in which you not only collect links to your site, but also ensure that these links gain more value. The method with which we do this is called Tiered Link Building and I would like to share it with you here so that you can apply it too.

First some background about the importance of your link profile:

Links to your site are now only good for your Google ranking if they are good links. So that means contextual links (a link that occurs naturally in the text on a page of another website). Not a link that is obviously not real. Or even worse, a link in the footer of all pages of a site to your website.

In the old days you might get away with this, even earlier (ok, that’s not a word) it even gave you results. But these days it will ruin your link profile and hurt your search rankings rather than good.

At this point, the search engines already know exactly what value a link has for your profile. Lately they have switched from rewarding a link profile with quantity (just a lot of links), to one with quality.

A few good links on high-quality sites will do a lot more for your ranking than hundreds of spam links on lesser sites. Building links from link farms is a thing of the past.

Decision Tree Tiered linkbuilding case study

What are good quality links?

A few good quality links are therefore worth a lot more to your business and ensure that you keep your backlink profile at a good level without many lower quality spam links. You do this by only collecting high-quality links to your site.

To be of good quality, a link needs 4 things:

  1. It is a link on a respected domain (high Domain Authority)
  2. It’s on a page that many other domains link to (high Page Authority)
  3. It comes from a piece of text and is written in it in a natural way
  4. It comes from a website and page related to your topic

Google must also trust the site from which you receive your link in order to value the “vote” the domain gives you. When a site is linked to you it is like a “voice” for your site, they feel that your content has an added value for their audience.

Only when the site has the trust of Google is the link of value for your own site. Google’s valuation of a domain can be expressed in Domain Authority. In addition, the site that votes for you must also be related to your topic (topical relevance) in order to convey real value to your site.

A vote from an authority on suspenders is of course worth much more than a vote from a car site.

That is also the case in real life. You would also rather trust a well-known suspender wearer with suspender advice than just a random person who sells used cars. Google has already been able to process this in their algorithms.

Not only the domain that points to you must be related, but also the page. And the more relevance the better. For example, a page about suspenders is better than a page about men’s fashion. But of course both can help. It is important that the page is written naturally and that a link to your site appears somewhere in the text.

The link has the most value for your search term when the anchor text (the clickable piece of text such as outsource link building when you want to be found for the search term “outsource link building”) is used in a natural sentence that is about the topic. By the way, note that not all your anchor texts contain exactly your search term.

That is also not natural and is seen as spam. It is better to also use alternative words and, for example, to simply use your website name ( and your entire url ( When these variants are also surrounded by a piece on the subject, they still have a lot of SEO value.

This way you can add some variety to your link profile. You want an exact match anchor of no higher than 4% of your links. That means sufficient variation of the anchor texts. If your links came to your page naturally (i.e. without creating them yourself or asking webmasters to link to your site on their page with your keyword in it) there would naturally be diversity in your anchor texts. so you have nothing to worry about.

The more links there are also pointing to the page on which the redirection to your site is located, the better. Google then attaches more value to the piece of text on that page, and therefore also to the link that points to you! The value of the page can be expressed in Page Authority.

What is Tiered Link Building

How does Tiered Link Building fit into this story? Tiered Link Building is creating multiple layers (Tiers) of links to your site. The top layer (Tier 1) is kept for the most valuable links. In addition, you ensure that the pages that contain your Tier 1 links also receive links in a second layer (Tier 2).

By ensuring that the pages that point to your site receive more referrals of their own, they gain more value. And the more value the better it is for the link value you will receive.

The advantage of this method of link building is that you can increase and exploit the number of high-quality links to your main site, without having to acquire more links. Links that you can receive (or create) that you might not want to point to your main domain because of their quality can then be pointed to the first Tier.

That way you take its value with you, without diluting your link profile with these extra links.

The value of the links is the most important, not the amount. The more value the referrals to your site have, the faster you will rise in search results.

And the big advantage is that you can influence the value of these referrals. You give the pages that vote for you an extra boost, as it were.

The more traditional forms of link building, such as posting comments on related blogs or in your profiles on niche blogs, can thus regain their value. I would only advise that they no longer point to your main site, but to your Tier 1s.

It also brings another added benefit in requesting links from others. Sometimes it is much easier to link to pages of a blog than to your own site because it has a commercial approach.

Many moderators on other sites will screen your comment or suggestion and reject it to your own site. They will often accept the link to a respected blog (which happens to have a link to your web page).

Hopefully I was able to explain our strategy in link building well. If you have any questions about our method, please feel free to contact us.

Joost Nusselder is The Content Decoder, a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new tools en tactics. He's been working on a portfolio of niche sites since 2010. Now since 2016 he creates in-depth blog articles together with his team to help loyal readers earn from their own succesful sites.