As you can probably see by our sidebar (if you happen to be viewing this on desktop) tier 2 PBN links are our #1 best selling product.
Whilst this might be down to the fact that they’re generally bought in quantities and are at an insanely awesome rate of just $20 a post.. It’s also because as more and more people are finding out, you can’t just get away with building really high authority tier 1 links anymore – In fact, even links from huge sites like The New York Times & Reuters can have no positive ranking effects.
Why is this you may ask? Well we have to jump back in time a little to understand exactly what made well setup tiered link building so damn effective.
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When the real time Penguin algorithm was released in 2016, they made a crucial update to how links were calculated. Instead of allowing the overall domains links to have a major impact on the rankings of a page, Google shifted to a focus on the indiviual pages backlinks.
What this means is, Google now analyzes your pages as indiviual pages and no longer gives large ranking signals based on having an overall higher level of root domain authority – Not Moz’s DA, I mean actual domain authority, aka a large number of links contributing positive signals across the domain’s page portfolio.
What Tier 1s Want Tier 2s?
When it comes to finding links that are ideal for tier 2 link building, there’s a few criteria I like to keep in mind –
- 3+ Years of Domain Age
- DA / DR 40+
- DoFollow, Contextual Backlink
- Low Outbound Links On The Page
- No Links To Competing Pages
Following these rules and you’ll be set to find or build tier 1 links that are perfect for powering up.
How Many Links Should I Build?
This one depends on a several factors – How much investment do you want? How old is the link? How many links does it already have? How authoritative is the site?
Generally, when building tier 2 links you’re going to want to go between 1 and 5 links.. The higher the authority, the better you can go. As an easy rule of thumb you can just go with:
DA/DR40+ – 1 Link
DA/DR50+ – 2 Links
DA/DR60+ – 3 Links
DA/DR70+ – 4 Links
DA/DR80+ – 5 Links
Choosing Your Tier 2 Anchor Text
This is one of the most commonly asked questions I get when it comes to tier 2 links.
We’ve run dozens of experiments to see if optimizing your tier 2 anchor texts to match those of your money pages keywords can have a pass on effect for that specific keyword – It doesn’t.. It seems Google only tracks anchor text signals directly between links and not down tiered chains.
So with this in mind, we’ll simply be going for white hat, natural looking anchor texts to pass link juice up the chain rather than trying to manipulate anchor texts.
I always find the best way to teach people how to choose anchor texts is by giving a real world example.
Tier 2 Choosing Links & Anchor Text Example
For a minute, let’s imagine you’re the head of SEO for Wayfair.co.uk – Your Director of Marketing was screaming at you to up the organic positions for your “Bar Stools” page because it was ranking position #3 to #5 for it’s major keywords –
Unfortunately though, you’ve only been left with little remaining budget left for the site and most of your competitors pages are outclassing you with more high quality & authority links.
That being said though, you already have several decent links a the site and hardly any of them have backlinks themselves.. Using Ahrefs we note the following Tier 1 DoFollow backlinks –
- //www.apartmenttherapy.com/easy-kitchen-decor-ideas-266741 – DR 86
- //www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wayfaircom-launches-as-online-shopping-mega-site-with-largest-selection-of-home-products-anywhere-128877693.html – DR 91
- //www.thekitchn.com/cheap-kitchen-upgrade-ideas-264904 – DR 85
As all of these are high DR (DR75+) links, you can go for a higher number of tier 2 links.. I’d recommend around the 5 mark per site and have them drip fed over the course of a month. Bonus Tip: We only recommend building tier 2 PBN Links at sites with decent organic and a DA/DR over 40. The higher the authority, the more tier 2s you can build.
In this example I’ll go ahead and use the link from ApartmentTherapy.com –
This page has a higher OBL than we’d like but as it’s on a high authority domain, has decent traffic, some links/social signals already and a large contextual article it is still worth investing a $100 to power-up the site.
We’ll be using this 5, mixed anchor texts, the anchor texts are bolded –
- 19 Low-Stress, Low-Commitment Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen This Year – This is the article name and H1. This would look completely natural.
- ApartmentTherapy.com – A branded anchor is always easy and natural.
- //www.apartmenttherapy.com/easy-kitchen-decor-ideas-266741 – A generic URL is another easy and natural looking anchor text but I only recommend using this one sparingly as it can be an easy sign of manipulation for Google with masses amounts of exact URL anchor texts.
- Easy Kitchen Decor Ideas – I really like using the URL wording for tier 2s, as long as it makes sense.
- These Kitchen Ideas by Apartment Therapy – A “generic” anchor text modifier that has the brand and article name within the anchor text.
As you can see, I don’t put anything to do with the Bar Stools page we’re trying to rank because I want to as naturally as possible bulk up that tier 1 link with a load of juice to pass on to our tier 1.
Why I Only Like PBNs For Tier 2
Over the years I’ve used everything from blog comment spam to SAPE links to try and improve the link signals by backlinks are sending to my sites. More recently though, I have purely been relying on PBNs to power up your tier 1 links.
This is because that PBNs themselves have links.. And as you should of learned in this guide, your links require links and it can work on a multi-leveled chain with PBN links often having multiple tiers of links already at the domains.
The Difference With Foreign Link Building
When it comes to foreign link building, you can get away with a lot more – You don’t really need niche relevant tier 1 or tier 2 links and you can use things like SEO Autopilot or GSA SER to power up your contextual tier 1s due to the algorithm’s being so out of date – If you did this in the English SERPs, you’ve quickly make all of your positive link signals invalid.
If you’re looking to do foreign niches and want to try this out, then I highly recommend running some tests utilizing some DoFollow high DA/DR Web 2.0s or press releases – You then power those up with spam blasts, it works a treat.
Thanks For Reading
I hope you enjoyed this guide and it gave you a much clearer insight into how to go about your tiered link building.