Tiered linking is a very popular SEO tactic. It's also very effective, if done properly. There are some important concepts of Tiered Linking that you need to keep in mind, so you don't end up making common mistakes. First, let's cover the fundamentals of Tiered Linking. Q: What makes a high-quality backlink "high quality"? What differentiates it from a low-quality backlink? A: The website the backlink is posted on. A backlink on a Wikipedia page is high-quality. A backlink on a PR0 forum is low-quality. The difference is in the website. Q: Why should we build tier 2 backlinks to a "high quality" website to improve our tier 1 backlink? Isn't it good enough? A: The problem lies in the fact that most Tier 1 backlinks are posted to a orphan page on the high-quality website. This is the case for any Web 2.0 property or Article directory. The website itself has a ton of authority, but the orphan page needs a "kickstart" to be recognized by Google and valued as a high-quality page. Building backlinks is a great way to kickstart the page. The take-away is the purpose of tiered linking is to strengthen the page itself, which in turn strengthens all backlinks found on the page, not just yours. Ok, so we reviewed the fundamentals of tiered linking... what's the problem? two words: link dilution. Link dilution is the negative effect of other backlinks found on your tier 1 property. Every link on a webpage shares link juice, so more backlinks = less link juice for each individual backlink. A great example of this is a blog post with 300 comments. Each of the 300 comments split the link juice, which reduces the value of each backlink. Let's look at the link dilution on popular Tier 1 properties: A 0% link dilution means you are the only backlink on the page. A 99% link dilution means you are one of 99 other backlinks. Squidoo - Buy Cialis - 25% link dilution (great job on the linkbuilders part!) Hub Pages - Online Poker Review - 80% link dilution. 2 links to money site, 8 other internal links. Ezine Articles - Forex Article - 92% link dilution. 2 links to money site, 24 other internal links. Squidoo - 5 Easy Internet Marketing Ideas - 70% link dilution. 5 links to money sites, 12 other internal links. Sidenote #1: Squidoo seems like a great tier 1 property. Sidenote #2: A solid internal link structure, like we see on Squidoo/Hubpages/Ezine, are both good and bad. They make it easier for your orphan page to absorb some of the website's authority/link juice, making it easier to strengthen your property. On the downside, they dilute link juice you send to the property. Sidenote #3: An important thing to keep in mind when building common tier 1 properties like Web 2.0 properties or Social Bookmarks is that you have the option to include tags and categories. Make sure to use broad tags and categories for your niche. This is because you're page will be included in these catagory and tag sections, resulting in natural tiered links that will send relevant link juice to your web 2.0 property with little effort. Back on topic now. So we can see that most tier 1 properties have significant link dilution. Common Mistakes to avoid in Tiered Linking Backlink Funnelling isn't effective: A common tactic among SEO's is to funnel low quality backlinks through high-quality backlinks on tier 1 properties. Losing anywhere between 70-90%+ of your link juice is not effective. It's still important to build some low-quality backlinks to strengthen Tier 1 properties, but most low-quality backlinks should be built directly to the money site. There's simply no reason to lose 70-90% of your link juice for the sake of funnelling. Building low-quality links to your money site isn't bad, that's a SEO myth. Tier 3+ Properties are a huge waste: I'll admit, the seo services with complex 3, or even 4, tier linkwheels look cool. The graphs are fun to look at. But other than that, there's little value past Tier 2+. Why? Because each additional Tier compounds the link dilution problem. Send those links to your Tier 1 property or, better yet, your money site. Carefully Consider what to use as Tier 2: I recently read a post, on another SEO forum, suggesting that SEO's should manually build high-quality backlinks to Tier 1 properties. With such little talk about link dilution, I don't blame the poster for proposing a flawed tactic. If you understand link dilution, it's apparent that these manual backlinks should be built directly to the money site. There's no value in spending precious time building links to a page with 70-90% link dilution. Tiered Backlinking is still a sound strategy that can help you reach the top of the SERPs. It simply needs to be done right. Best of luck everyone! Make that moolah.