Tier 2 Links: What Are They and When Are They Important?

By Josh With Niche University •  Updated: 07/28/22 •  8 min read

While building links may be questionable to some, no one can downplay their benefit to your site’s performance, from just normal SERP position to better stability in algorithm updates, so what are tier 2 links?

Tier 2 backlinks are links are built to an existing link on your website. Tier 2 links are typically built to backlinks that are lower in Page Authority (PA) but higher in Domain Authority (DA). This makes them amazing to “power up” already existing links.

While they aren’t targeting your site directly, the tier two links can provide you immense opportunity to grow in traffic and boost the content that links to you and is one of the strongest SEO strategies off-page.

Image of a robot pointing out and counting links - what are tier 2 links

Tier 2 backlinks differ from the more traditional tier 1 that most bloggers would be working to build. Instead of getting direct links to your website, you are looking to boost and leverage the value of the already existing link to you to help grow.

The search engines crawl the tier 2 backlinks to measure the importance of a first-tier link that points to a site, whether at you or another.

So they are votes of confidence in the content that is pointing at your site, hence why boosting that page value can boost the value of the link to you.

Your goal in attaining tier 2 links is to increase the value of your links by building more powerful links to them. This will help your SEO goals as it effectively increases the strength of what is linking to you.

The key aim of tier 2 link development is to improve the page authority rating for first-tier backlinks that point to your website’s homepage or individual URLs to help them rank higher in search results.

As for the quality of tier 2 backlinks, you don’t have to be picky since they aren’t sending link equity directly to your website. Second-tier backlinking aims to create a balance between quality and quantity. Anything that isn’t completely worthless is typically sufficient for tier 2 link development.

Tier 2 Backlink Examples

Let’s take a look into what good examples of things you can use to build tier 2 links:

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As you can see, there are a variety of ways that you can go about building tier 2 backlinks to your website. You’ll want to mix it up to make it look as natural as possible to the search engines.

These are just some of the ways that you could look to build yourself a stronger backlink profile. Let’s dig more into why they can help you and why sites and owners choose to build tier 2 links.

Why Sites Use Tier 2 Links

While tier 2 links can help power up an existing link to your site, they have a valuable secondary purpose: they can help generate more traffic to your site that isn’t from organic search.

Every link built is helping influence traffic in your direction; regardless if the link is a follow link, no-follow link, UGC, or other, the traffic is just as important to add additional routes to your content.

Traffic diversification can help weather algorithm changes and sudden drops by having other inbound routes for traffic to reach you.

Timing Your Social Media Shares

An additional consideration is using social options to spread the word of your content and, hopefully, additional shares and more viral growth patterns from those readers sharing again.

If you want to do this, some very specific times have been researched by groups that get the best reach and maximum spread online:

Now your niche could deviate from the above. Still, if starting, it would be a good idea to keep to something similar to the above but track the growth of anything you post to see what causes virality, as it can be the content, the image, the hashtags, and other information.

For most affiliate and niche websites, a tier 2 approach will happen after you have built a solid amount of tier 1 links (I love to use OneLittleWeb), as the priority is to gain strength and begin to build content that you could point your tier 2 links at.

One of the best ways to do this is to post guest blog content on another site and then build links to these guest articles. As you know, the only outbound link you added would be to your site.

You will want to build up these other pieces of content to point at your site. The guest post content typically has a very low page authority but could be on high domain authority sites.

You will then work with pointing tier 2 links at these lower page authority posts to boost them up and benefit from this link power passed along to your website.

While researching building these tier 2 links, most don’t suggest spending the time to create them on sites with a lower DR than about 30 by ahrefs data and that you would be better off with the tier 2 links to the highest DR target you have.

The growth in value of your site is exponential, building two tier 2 links to a DR 40 site or two to a DR 70 site, you get far more benefit and performance from the higher DR site.

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As a result, the higher the DR of the link, the more value you’ll get from each created tier 2 link. This makes it more profitable to focus on more tier 2 links to the higher DR content you have published linking to your site.

You also prefer that the content and target page preferably have low outbound links. The reason is that the more outbound links on the content, the more your returns are diminished in passing that link power to your URL as it is distributed amongst all the links.

Another thing to think about is that your main competitors are not already linked on the same content, which means any benefit you get you would be providing them also.

Any Limitation On Anchor Text Selection?

For your tier 1 links, you typically have a hard and fast approach to the link text you want to use, but does this still hold to tier 2 link creation? In general, crawlers like Bing and Google look at the content and aren’t focused on the relevance.

They are looking at the overall count of the links built to the content and the amount of link power that should be passed through each link on the post or page. I wouldn’t suggest using the same words to make the links, but the specific relevance matters little.

This will depend heavily on the amount and quality of the tier 1 links you have acquired for your site and how many links they have outbound from that content.

In general, you want to ensure that the number of links built on any tier is healthy and not over the top.

The main reason is that you want to avoid what Google and other search engines could consider link farms, which Google has cracked down on over the past few years.

A link farm is when someone builds an unnatural number of links with the same or similar anchor text, all linking back as this tiered link building is frowned upon.

As you discovered, second-tier link building is the second most important stage of your link scheme because it contains links that indirectly point to your main website.

These second-tier backlinks are used to boost up existing links to pass more link equity for SEO. Therefore, you should do everything you can to get a higher quantity of tier 2 backlinks to improve the PageRank scores for target URLs faster.

Tier 2 links are an important part of any SEO or link-building strategy. These links boost existing links to pass more link equity for better search engine ranking.

You can improve the performance and value of your tier 2 links by using relevant content and high-quality websites as your target.

Josh With Niche University

Josh is the owner of Niche University, a blog and free resource built specifically to help teach you how to build a side hustle and hopefully freedom in life. His favorite investment platform is FTX for Crypto, a site that allows him to grow crypto investments as these build up passive income, in addition, he loves Fundrise for Real Estate investing.