How to Build Tier Two Backlinks

So now that you’re a pro at building tier one backlinks, I’m going to show you how to strengthen those backlinks while staying under the radar at the same time.

You can probably relate with some of the tier two concerns/questions below if you’re just starting out:

  • “What the eff is “tier two”?”
  • “How many links should I build?!”
  • “What anchor text ratios should I used to be safe?!”
  • “When am I going to see results!!!?”
  • “Is this even going to work!?”
  • “Will I get penalized??”

At one point or another, EVERY SEO has probably asked at least one of those questions above. The truth is, no one WANTS to get penalized and that’s why there are so many concerns when it comes to tier two link building.

I’m going to explain exactly how you can build tier two backlinks that will dramatically strengthen the links pointing to your money site.

What ARE Tier Two Backlinks?

For those who already know, I apologize ahead of time. Before I explain tier two, you must know what tier one is.

Tier one backlinks: links that directly hit your money, business, or personal website.

Tier two backlinks: links that directly hit your tier one backlinks

How to Build Tier Two Backlinks That Actually Work

There are lots of different theories on how to properly build a tier two, but as you know, I only like to show you guys what works.

Let’s start out with the best types of links to use on tier two.

I’m going to list each link type from the best, to the least effective.

Cheap Private Blog Network Posts – as of right now (and probably for the near future), PBN links are the strongest. There are tons of cheap private blog networks you can use, but I still recommend doing your due diligence.

Static High PR Backlinks – you’ll typically get a static high PR backlink in the sidebar or footer. These links are strong, but not as strong as PBN links because there is no surrounding relevant content.

301 Redirects – this is one of my favorite techniques.


  • You create (x5) high-quality web 2.0s
  • You start bidding in expired domain auctions, and win 5 decent quality domains – obviously, the stronger the domain, the more powerful this method will be.
  • 301 redirect one domain to each web 2.0

You have now created five extremely powerful web 2.0 properties.

Someone may say, “it would be cheaper to just buy a bunch of PBN links”.

Not necessarily.

Consider the fact that the domain you’ll be redirecting already has AGED backlinks. Also, you can redirect the domain through your registrar, so you don’t even have to pay for hosting.

Keep in mind, this strategy is a little more sketchy and will leave a pretty obvious footprint. So use with caution.

Web 2.0s – building a layer of web 2.0s around your tier one is a good strategy, but there is one minor issue: the web 2.0s have a page authority of ZERO.

So, if you take this route you have two options: 1) either you need to use aged web 2.0s or 2) you need to build tier three links.

Article Directories / Wikis – these links offer the same power as fresh web 2.0s.

So, you’ll have to build tier three links to strengthen them.

High PR DoFollow Blog Comments – comments aren’t as strong as a contextual link, but they are great for sending PR and page authority for your tier one.

Social Bookmarks – They aren’t very strong, but they’re cheap and great for diversifying your anchor text and link profile.

Social Signals – many people don’t use this little technique, but it’s extremely valuable. It’s pretty simple, you hit your tier one PBN articles, guest posts, and web 2.0s with social signals.

In return, you give more weight to the articles because it SEEMS that those posts are being shared and therefore must be important.

What About Automation?

Tools like SEnuke, GSA, and Ultimate Demon are pretty safe on tier two, but you should still be smart. I’ll be explaining some strategies for staying safe on tier two in a second (especially when it comes to automation).

Best Anchor Text for Tier Two

As you know, you have to be very careful with anchor text ratios on tier one to avoid being hit by Penguin, but can be a little more aggressive on tier two. I’ll be elaborating on this further below.

How Many Links Should You Build, and When Will You See Results?

This is the question of the day! Everyone wants to know the magic number of tier two links to build…well – there isn’t one.

Every campaign is different and every keyword is different.

Personally, I start small and track the results. If movement seems to be stalled out, then I send another flood of links and track the results. This continues until I rank. It’s really that simple.

4 Tier Two Commandments for Avoiding Penalties

For some reason, people think you can only get penalized because of your tier one backlinks. I really hope you don’t believe this because it IS possible to get penalized because of a poorly built tier two. Although you do have more freedom on this level of link building, you still have to follow some basic principles to make sure you’re staying under the radar.

Commandment #1: Thou Shalt Not Use Over-Optimized Anchor Text

As I always say, the easiest way for Google to wipe you out is through over-optimized anchor text. That’s why you need to keep things as “natural” as possible. On TIER TWO, you should still keep your exact match anchors below 10%, and other keyword-rich anchors below 20% or so. That leaves a nice 70% cushion for natural anchor text on the rest of your links.

Commandment #2: Thou Shalt Have “Natural” Link Velocity

Another big mistake people make on this level is building links way too fast. You CAN build links faster than you would on tier one, but don’t go insane. You should still try to drip feed your links. Don’t assault your tier one with 20,000 links in one day. Spread those links out over a month.

Commandment #3: Thou Shalt Not Assault Your Tier One

As I mentioned above, determining quantity of links really depends on the competition, and most importantly, how many tier one properties you have. Obviously, hitting 10 properties with 20,000 links is much different than hitting 100 properties.

* It’s Math Time:
20,000 links –> 10 tier one links = 2,000 links per property – this is obviously NOT smart and can get you penalized.

20,000 links –> 100 tier one links = 200 links per property – you can easily get away with this.

So, two really obvious conclusions can be made here about tier two link quantity: 1) either build more tier one properties to spread the links out across the properties more naturally, 2) decrease the amount of tier two links.

Commandment #4: Thou Shalt Have No Obvious Footprints

Your tier two links should be completely random and there should be nothing tying them together. Avoid getting links from the same IP address and avoid building links on a schedule – some people will build 5 links everyday for a month.

This is actually a huge footprint because it’s a dead giveaway that you’re either using automated tools or you’re using a drip feed feature on a blog network.

Link velocity should be completely random and unpredictable.

Tier Two Links (The “White Hat” Way)

As you know, I think the white hat propaganda is silly, but I think it’s still important to cover some “safer” tier two strategies that don’t involve the shady tactics I listed above (even though they work WAY better).

Guest Post Pyramid + Natural Sharing

This little guest pyramid I’m about to show you is perfect for any white hatter. In fact, it’s really good for any person doing SEO.

In essence, you’re going to focus your efforts on increasing the strength of your best guest post.

Here’s what it looks like:

Guest Post Pyramid

Okay, so don’t be scared by my insane lack of creativity and the overwhelming amount of arrows.

It’s actually really simple.

Here’s what you do:

  • Get a guest post published on a very authoritative website
  • Hustle to get some natural social shares
  • Prospect some medium quality websites where you can get guest posts
  • Get published on these sites and link back to your article on the authoritative website
  • Hustle to get some natural social shares for the medium quality guest posts
  • Prospect again for some average quality websites
  • Get published and link back to your medium quality guest posts
  • Hustle to get some natural social shares low quality guest posts
  • Rinse and repeat.

Use these search strings to find guest post opportunities:

keyword inurl:”write for us”
Keyword + intitle:“write for us”
Keyword + intitle:“contribute to”
Keyword + intitle:“submit” + inurl:blog
keyword “Guest post” / keyword “Write for us”
keyword Intitle:Guest Post
keyword Intitle: Advertise
keyword “Guest *” blog

inpostauthor:guest + keyword
inpostauthor:”guest blog” + keyword
inpostauthor:”guest post” + keyword

“your niche” + guest post
“your niche” + guest author
“your niche” + write for us
“your niche” + guest article

Article Quality
So, obviously every guest post is going to require a different level of quality. For example, getting an article published on the Huffington Post will require extreme quality, but getting published on a medium quality website won’t necessarily need an insanely good article.

Keep in mind, you should try to produce quality articles on each level because you want to keep your reputation as an authority at a high level. Really, the only thing changing is the level depth that each article goes into.

How you do you determine a high, medium, or average quality guest posting opportunity? Simple: is it a relevant, and does it have good metrics?

If it’s relevant and it meets this metrics below, then you’re good to go:

High-Quality: DA 30 +
Medium-Quality: DA 20 +
Average-Quality: DA 10 +

That’s a Wrap

Please do not over-complicate tier two link building. You have a lot more freedom to mess around and even make mistakes because you have built a nice protective layer of tier one backlinks. Just make sure you follow the commandment above, use decent links, and try to make the process look natural.

Do you have some questions?? Drop a comment below right now and thanks for reading!

-Gotch SEO

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