The Tier 1 is your url/domain/home page;
The Tier 2 is your category pages (the index pages listed in your navabar);
The tier 3 is your article pages.
tier 1 > tier 2 > tier 3
eelkat.com is my tier 1
if you look at my navabar you see the categories:
Those ^^^ categories are my tier 2s
Then when you click to each category, you see a list of articles. Those are the tier 3s.
If you use breadcrumb links, they are set up on each page like this:
tier 1 > tier 2 > tier 3
For example my own site the tiers are like this:
Because I'm an author and this is an author home page, obviously one of the primary tier 2 keywords for my site is "Novel Writing Tips", with the tier 3 keywords under it being the tips themselves.
Do keep in mind that a keyword can be a phrase of multiple words, up to 80 characters long (according to Google) and thus this entire phrase: "How do you make your story longer? | NaNoWriMo - Reaching 50k" is one single keyword.
When you are writing Fantasy novels, a lot of them in one single universe, that means a lot of world building is happening and thus worldbuilding is another topic found here on my site...
With my novels being literary and thus character driven instead of plot driven, you see me writing many articles of the process of how to create characters and thus the keywords for that tier sat become...
Did you notice that last one... it has a hashtag. Yes, you can include Twitter hashtags and Twitter @mentions in your keywords.
Because most of my characters are Elves, I am often writing articles on how to write Elves, thus the following tier set...
Did you notice here, how a tier 3 page can fall under more then one tier 2 page?
Lets look at the one that was listed under three different tiers:
This is because that page is about building a ethnic culture in your world, so falls under the topic of worldbuilding. Because you are creating a society and filling it with people, this page also falls under the topic of character creation. And finally, because it is dealing with a specific aspect of one races culture - how Moon Elves view marriage - it therefore falls under the topic of being about Moon Elf society. Thus one single tier 3 page, can be listed on more then one tier 2 page (index).
This means too that this one page has 3 primary keywords: world building, character creation, and Moon Elf society, in addition to being about the marriage practices found in a single culture. Thus we see how 4 keywords are utilized in a single tier 3 page.
Because I write about wizards, I thus also have a category for teaching other writers how it is I build the magic system used in my novels, and this the following set of tiers:
You are also not limited to 3 tiers, for example, one of my sections has 4 tiers:
tier 1 > tier 2 > tier 3 > tier 4
home pge > series of books > book > chapter
As you can see, I rarely, if ever, use single word keywords, using long tail keywords (aka full sentences) instead.
It is generally not recommended to go more then 5 tiers deep though.
Translating this into keywords goes like this:
Because my site is an author home page, my name (EelKat) is the primary (Tier 1) keyword for the entire website.
Each category becomes the secondary-major (Tier 2) keywords for my site. These are the topics I talk about in the articles. ( Novel Writing Tips, WorldBuilding, Character Creation, Moon Elf Society, The Magic System, The Adventures of The Pink Necromancer: Quaraun The Insane, Writing Prompts, Web-Building & SEO For Authors, The Business of Writing, EelKat's Guide To Writing Monster Porn, FAQs, etc ) In all my site has more then 70 categories/tier 2 pages.
Within each category are the articles themselves (the tier 3 pages). These are the long-tail keywords that are about the topic of each page.
For example: "Ernest Hemingway Style of Writing Literary Fiction Used In Epic Fantasy Novels" is a tier 3 keyword, because that is the topic of that page's article, while "Spell Casting Side Effects: Magic In Quaraun's Universe" is also a tier 3 keyword because that is the topic of that page's article. Each of my 70+ tier 2 topics has 10 to 100+ tier 3 pages. (There are many thousands of pages on my site).
So in your example, your pages would look like this:
tier 1 > tier 2 > tier 3
Do you see what I did? A few of the tier 3s have the tier 2 keyword in the long tail tier 3 keyword, but most do not and are just a subtopic of the tier 2.
Your tier 1 page is your home page:
Your tier 2 pages are your category/index pages:
Your tier 3 pages are your content pages with articles about your topic:
Just as my tier 1 page is my home page:
Just as my tier 2 pages are my category/index pages:
Just as my tier 3 pages are my content pages with articles about my topic:
Your site will only ever have 1, single, solitary tier 1 page - your home page.
Your site should have at minimum 10 tier 2 pages (the category index pages, to index your content pages together.)
Your site should have 100+ tier 3 pages, with each tier 2 category page having a minimum of no fewer than 10 tier 3 content pages.
If you have 10 tier 2 pages and each tier 2 page contains 10 tier 3 pages, this means your site has 101 pages total, which is the barest minimum pages any website should have if you want to gain any traction with search engines like Google and Bing.
This 101 pages is not your completed website either. If you wnt to turn your website into a content writing business (as you so stated in your question) then you MUST add no fewer then 3 new pages to your site each and every week, just to stay on Google's radar.
However if you actually want Google to take you seriously and be sending you large sums of traffic, you need to be added no less than 1 new page each and every day. MINIMUM. And I do mean minimum.
Google puts more emphesis on sites that are updated frequently, as in every few hours. Meaning if you REALLY want to turn writing a contnt site into a full time business, then publishing 1 new page a day isn't gonna cut it. You need to be publishing 3 or 4 or more new pages a day AND be updating at least 3 of yyour old pages every day. Striving for 10 pages a day should be your ultimate goal.
This is why sites like ProBlogger, BuzzFeed, MOZ, and CopyBlogger rank so high in search engines. It's not because their content is any better then yours, but rather it's because they each have a team of 10to 30 writers and are publishing new pages EVERY HOUR of every day. Not 1 new page a day, but 3 new pages a day, per writer, staggered out so that a new page goes live every hour - 24 new pages a day.
THAT is how sites like ProBlogger, BuzzFeed, MOZ, and CopyBlogger reached the top.
Yes, you can make a full time income on writing articles for your content site. You can make this your full time business. But do pay careful attention to the people who ARE making a full time living at this, look carefully at how massively HUGE their websites are, and how many new pages they put out each day.
People often look at me and my site and like you ask how can you do what I do... then they build a 10 page site and come to me bitching and moaning that they aren't gaining traffic or making money. Honey... my site has more then 10,000 pages on it.
If you want to replicate what I do... 10 pages ain't gonna cut it... 100 pages ain't gonna cut it... you'll need to be producing 3+ pages a day every day for 3 YEARS minimum before you'll start to see income and traffic coming in... yes... you need a MINIMUM of 1,000 pages before you'll see enough traffic to start seeing income.
So, do take that into consideration.
You say you want to start a business.
But can you put in the time, effort, and determination to build the firm foundation of those first 101 Tier pages you'll need to get your site off the ground?
Does your niche topic have 10 categories for you to write about? (ten Tier 2 pages - MINIMUM.)
Does each of your 10 categories have at MINIMUM 10 articles you can write about it? (ten Tier 3 pages.)
And then once you have your basic 101 pages down, can you find enough to say about your topic to expand it to 1,000 pages? Can you keep doing it for the next 20 years and like I did, eventually write 10,000 pages about your topic?
THAT is the secret to success in content writing and turning writing about niche topics into your full time business.
You Tier 1 and primary keyword of your site, is ALWAYS your url domain name... this is why chooseing a domain name that matches your niche topic is so very important.
For an Author home page, your url, and thus your primary keyword, should always be your name.
Thus my tier 1 page is eelkat.com
The Tier 2 page is an "index" page which is a list of links to all the teir 3 pages of that topic... here is an example of what a tier 2 page looks like...
as you can see, it is a list of all the tier 3 pages under the topic off building a magic system in Fantasy novels.
here is what a tier 3 page looks like:
https://www.eelkat.com/wizards-vs-witch ... books.html
https://www.eelkat.com/bean-nighe-and-b ... death.html
all 3 of those pages are linked to from their Tier 2 page,
and from the charts above, those look like this:
So in the end, as you can see, you don't need to put the tier 1 and tier 2 keywords in the long tail tier 3 keywords, but you can if they fit logically in the keyword phrase.
Hope that helps explain it (hopefully I haven't confused you even more! LOL!)