The Guide To Tier 2 Link Building In 2019

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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.

The Introduction of Page by Page Backlinks

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 – 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 –

  • // – DR 86
  • // – DR 91
  • // – 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 –

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.
  • – A branded anchor is always easy and natural.
  • // – 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.

More To Explore


Valuable SEO Quotes From Industry Experts

SEO is an industry where we learn from each other’s triumphs and failures. Rather than repeating the same tests and activities, we use each other


Reply John March 8, 2019 at 2:01 pm

Does using keyword rich anchor text from Youtube descriptions and social networks help rankings?

Reply Charles Floate March 8, 2019 at 2:19 pm

No, they’re NoFollow.

Reply Flo March 8, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Hey pretty nice article man, thanks again. In the end, you briefly speak about foreign link building, what do you mean exactly by that, everything non US, UK? The algorithm actually doesn’t work as accurately in other countries as it does in the UK or US? So I could still blast GSA on my pages that then lead to my money page? Thanks and have an awesome day.

Reply Charles Floate March 8, 2019 at 2:20 pm

Anything Non-English as that’s what all the algo’s are setup in.

Reply Will March 8, 2019 at 2:56 pm

You mention anything ‘Non-English’ in the comment above. I’ve found in CA (certain niches anyway) that sites can get away with tonnes of spam in comparison to the UK and US. Have you ever focused on the Canadian market. What are your overall thoughts on this?


Reply Charles Floate March 8, 2019 at 3:07 pm

It’s likely because there’s just not enough Canadian pages for Google to put in the SERPs, so they’ll allow anything that’s localized. I still wouldn’t recommend it for long term English SERPs.

Reply Colby March 8, 2019 at 2:29 pm

Chuck – short and sweet post here. I would assume you are only focusing on Do-Follow Tier 1’s as well correct?

Reply Colby March 8, 2019 at 2:30 pm

And I see that I missed it in the first section. Cheers

Reply John March 9, 2019 at 8:03 am

Do you load the guest post up with social signals first?

Reply Charles Floate March 9, 2019 at 9:03 am

If it’s lower authority yes. DA/DR40 – 60.

Reply Tom March 9, 2019 at 2:13 pm

Thanks for the article. Do you usually see a specific time frame after placing edits to your high DR article in terms of movement for the money site for its keyword?

Reply Charles Floate March 9, 2019 at 6:45 pm

1 – 2 months.

Reply Josh March 10, 2019 at 6:31 pm

Are the tier2 links you sell auction or expired domains?

Reply Charles Floate March 11, 2019 at 1:41 pm


Reply Nir Levi March 11, 2019 at 6:38 am

once again Charles, awesome stuff, thanks a lot, I will order a few PBN links for sure for my Gambling projects.
Cheers mate.

Reply viludi March 12, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Hi Charles, i have site in arabic language do you mean algorithm in foreign language does not penalize spam backlinks in tier 1?

Reply Charles Floate March 12, 2019 at 2:02 pm

You can just get away with a lot spammier tactics, I would always do some research and see who is ranking and using what techniques for the spammy SERPs in those countries Google.

Reply viludi March 13, 2019 at 5:53 am

I know you were right I noticed that from a long time I just want to make sure taht result from someone who is experienced like you Most of the old tactics still work in rtl languages like commenting on blogs , that is proofs it has own algorithm , thanks again charles

Reply viludi March 13, 2019 at 5:53 am

I know you were right I noticed that from a long time I just want to make sure taht result from someone who is experienced like you Most of the old tactics still work in rtl languages like commenting on blogs , that is proofs it has own algorithm , thanks again charles

Reply Z March 12, 2019 at 8:08 pm

Hi Charles,

For Tier 1 with DA/DR<40, is it simply not worth the resources to send tier 2? Or is there perhaps another reason you don't send to these guest posts?

Thanks for the post.

Reply Charles Floate March 12, 2019 at 9:44 pm

It’s just not worth the resources, you won’t be able to get a non-niche domain at such a little authority site.

Reply Pete March 13, 2019 at 1:10 am

Im talking foreign (german): Can there be TOO many Tier 2 Links?
The DR is 83 for this one and I want to put like 20 PBN Links on there.

Reply Charles Floate March 13, 2019 at 1:32 am

It’s doable, but I’d drip feed them for sure and let them naturally index.

Reply Gal March 13, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Charles, thanks a ton for a clear scheme

Clarification: “at sites with decent organic” meaning in numbers? Like no less than..

Thanks again and many clients to you

Reply Charles Floate March 13, 2019 at 3:27 pm

3,000+ or so ideally 🙂

Reply Santiago March 27, 2019 at 10:29 pm

“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”

Why is that?

Reply Charles Floate March 27, 2019 at 10:35 pm

That’s just the number of links I recommend per month to build at these sites.. The higher authority, generally the higher referring domains across the domain so you’ll be able to get away with higher link velocities.

Reply Gazza April 22, 2019 at 5:46 pm

So that’s the number of T2 links per month, not total?

Reply Charles Floate April 22, 2019 at 6:51 pm


Reply Derek April 23, 2019 at 8:46 pm

Hey Charles, love your stuff! So glad you started this service. I’m curious if you power up citations? For local businesses powering up a citation even though most have nofollow, would the brand mention on these sites make a difference or do you only power up dofollow.

Reply Charles Floate April 24, 2019 at 1:25 am

We don’t power up any links that are nofollow and I only like powering up contextual links, so generally no unless the citation is DoFollow and very high authority.

Reply Jesse May 8, 2019 at 8:55 pm

Hey Charles,
I have two questions:
1. I have a high DR PR from would this be ok to do tier 2’s at, or would you recommend they point to a guest post?
2. If a lawyer in the US has a profile on a high DR site, would the tier 2’s be good for this?

Reply Charles Floate May 12, 2019 at 8:45 am

1 – Yes, as long as it’s DoFollow it’s on a high DR domain so it’d be good to power up.

2 – I dislike non-contextual links for tier 2, e.g. profiles.

Reply Ekim Saribardak May 20, 2019 at 1:20 pm

I read the article but I was wondering how you came up with T1 dofollow links. Can you elaborate a little bit on how you acquired the list or see the dofollow backlink list?

Reply Charles Floate May 20, 2019 at 2:54 pm

We have an inventory of tens of thousands of sites we build relationships with – From bloggers to journalists to interns..

Reply Patrick June 1, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Thank you for this amazing post.
I know that you talked about the link on ApartmentTherapy just as an example, but I have a question: since the post on that site has several links to competitors with the same keyword ‘bar stools’, and you said that one criterion to build tier 2 links is that the tier 1 post shouldn’t have links to competing pages, aren’t you helping your competitors by doing this?
Have a great day!
Another question: what if your tier 1 link is currently on a competitor site with very high authority and is already ranking #3 in the SERPs (for the same keyword you plan to rank)? Will this help your website to rank or it will help your competitor only? Sorry if I’m not explaining well. This is like getting a guest post on a competing site and then boost it with tier 2 links, but keeping in mind that the keyword you’re trying to rank (the anchor you already used in that guest post) is the same than your competitor is already ranking in the top 3.

Reply Yashar June 11, 2019 at 6:07 pm

Hi Charles,
I wondered about this section here:

“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.”

Why do you suggest web 2.0 here? Also, what would you suggest to use as anchors?

One more thing, is there a way to apply for your ” elite customer” program?

Reply Charles Floate June 11, 2019 at 10:22 pm

You can get away with doing web 2.0, old school link building tactics, especially at tier 2 so we use blasts that have much better ROI than using PBNs that are getting more and more expensive for tier 2.

Reply Matt July 23, 2019 at 4:52 am

Awesome article Charles! For how long would you personally keep drip feeding thoseT1 sites with T2?

Reply Charles Floate July 23, 2019 at 11:56 am

For as long as you need, all depends on the analysis of what you think are needed.

Reply bee July 26, 2019 at 4:39 pm

Dope post! I have a question for you charles- Do you think it would be wise to use one tier 2 pbn link to power up — say 2 tier 1 high DA guest post?

Reply Charles Floate July 26, 2019 at 4:52 pm

Yes that’s fine, but I’d recommend doing a handful of links to get the best shot 🙂

Reply adnan August 31, 2019 at 9:05 am

Nice way to explain it, can you tell me can we use automatic tools for teir 3 backlink building and how much important are the teir 3 backlinks?

Reply Jessie September 17, 2019 at 6:17 pm

Hello nice article , love the way you described it, but can you tell us is their an article about tier 3 backlinks also? I mean are they also better for SEO related works and do they also provide link juice to the end website?

Reply Charles Floate September 19, 2019 at 7:58 am

Tier 3 is taken into consideration with PBNs anyway as they already have links to the PBNs. If you’re doing multi-tier link building, then I’d recommend still trying to stay on niche with your tier 3.

Reply RC Helicopter October 1, 2019 at 11:15 am

This Was A Very Helpful Post and Unique Information It Contained As Well. Thank you very much for giving this awesome post, it is a great way to fully enjoy it.

Reply Gabe October 4, 2019 at 12:25 am

Hey Charles, so the flow would look something like this (correct me were I am wrong).
1) publish article & index
2) GP (df)
3) social signals to GP
4) drip PBN to GP based on DR of GP
5) repeat

Reply saba October 28, 2019 at 8:24 am

I was searching for a piece of information for a long time and this blog has helped me a lot. It has enough information and easy to understand. Great blog.

Reply imam ali quotes October 29, 2019 at 11:38 pm

Very helpful and informative article my keywords stuck on sec page of google its really help me alot thanks

Reply Ali November 1, 2019 at 2:56 am

amazing article bro i really found this helpful for me i appreciated your effort thanks

Reply saba November 6, 2019 at 8:21 am

I was searching for authentic and informative content for a long time, and surprisingly everything I got it from here. They are doing a great job.

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