As a small or medium-sized business owner, you’ll no doubt always be looking for new ways to improve your website’s SEO and increase your ranks for competitive terms on search engines.
Link building is one of the best ways to boost your SEO and get more out of your campaign, but the process of writing content for guest posts or conducting blogger outreach isn’t always going to work.
That’s especially true if you run a business that has a lot of competition or is commercialised in the guest blogging world.
For example, if you’re looking to write financial guest posts on major websites, then you’ll have to dig deep, as most bloggers expect a payment for posting.
One way that you can improve your SEO and get more value from your hard-earned links is through second-tier link building. Rather than building links back to your own website, you build links to the websites that already link back to you, in order to increase the authority of the page and the power of the link back to your website.
It sounds complicated, but once you get started, you’ll soon see that you can increase the value of your existing links without needing to build new ones.
Not only does this reduce your overall cost, but it makes your campaign more robust and makes it hard for competitors to catch up.
Understanding domain authority and page authority
Before we delve into second-tier link building, it’s important to give a refresher on the authority of websites.
Moz developed a ranking score known as Domain Authority (DA), which is designed to determine how authoritative a website is, based on the number of websites linking back to them.
The score shows how well a website will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs), and is used by marketers and SEO professionals around the world.
Page Authority, on the other hand, determines the authority of an individual page, and how well it will rank on search engine results pages. Again, Page Authority has scores ranging from one to 100 and is separate from Domain Authority.
Typically, a link from a DA100 website on a DA20 page would be less powerful than a link from a DA30 website with a DA30 page, but higher Domain Authority usually correlates to a higher Page Authority.
Second-tier link building is designed to increase the authority of the page your website is linked from, thus making your link more ‘authoritative’ and powerful.
How to build second-tier links
Building second-tier links is simple.
Find sites that are already linking back to your website, whether that’s a guest post you wrote, a resource that cites you as a reference or a news article, and build links to those pages rather than linking back to your own website.
Once you’ve got that, you can review the sites that link to you, analyse their domain and page authority and the value of the link, and decide where you want to begin with your second-tier link building.
It’s a good idea to ignore the links that aren’t going to provide much value or authority. Stick to link building on high-quality sites that are going to attract a real audience.
We’ve already talked about the methods in which you can acquire backlinks.
You could speak to a webmaster, for example, and let them know about a broken link, suggesting that they replace it with one of your second-tier link building articles.
The good news is that, if you suggest a new link to replace it with, they’ll be more likely to agree if it’s hosted on a third-party website.
Other ways that you can build more links back to your second-tier content is through guest blogging, blogger outreach, roundup posts, and much more.
Remember that the more relevant, quality links that go to your second-tier content, the more authoritative it will become.
Another great way to encourage links back to your second-tier content is to socialise your new pages.
Regular promotion of the content on social media will put it in front of more people, all of whom could potentially share or link back to your content on their own website.
What to remember when building links
Before you delve into your second-tier link building campaign, make sure you keep these things in mind.
First of all, make sure you apply the same quality guidelines when looking for links for your second-tier campaigns as you would for your main website.
A bad link going to a second-tier campaign may not be as damaging as it would be to your main site, but it’s still not going to do your link any good – and too many questionable links could ruin the link’s purpose.
Something else to consider is the authority.
If you write a guest post on a site that’s much more authoritative than your own, then you might have more success building links to that article than you would have on a brand new website you own, as it’ll be easier to find links, and the content will be more likely to sit on the first page of Google (and therefore become a more authoritative link back to your website, and drive more referral traffic back to your website, too).
Avoid these link building faux pax
Just because you’re not building links on your own website, that doesn’t mean that you can afford to get sloppy.
Low-quality, spammy links being sent to your second-tier link building websites may boost the Page Authority of those pages temporarily, but it could cause those second-tier link sources to become marked as spam, too, reducing the impact of the link and even causing your website to be penalised.
Simply put, don’t build links from sources that you wouldn’t want to link back to your own website.
On the same note, don’t build second-tier links on websites that aren’t providing any real SEO or real-life value to its readers or your website.
For example, if you’ve been mentioned in a press release on a dodgy website that doesn’t get any organic traffic, then that website isn’t going to provide much SEO value or organic traffic, even if you build thousands of links to it, because it’s a low-quality piece of content that people aren’t interested in reading or interacting with.
And finally, don’t automate the process of building second-tier links.
Use the same link building and outreach approach as you do for any other link building activity. Just because you’re not building a link back to your website directly, that doesn’t mean you can afford to make spammy decisions that could impact the linking website.
Be respectful, and be authentic. Real links will be much more beneficial and valuable to both websites than a bunch of low-quality ones.
Is second-tier link building a worthwhile investment?
Yes and no.
Depending on the size of your website, your content marketing strategy, your link building strategy and your overall marketing budget, you may find that second-tier link building is just too expensive and time-consuming for the limited results that it provides.
And rather than wasting your time and effort building these links back to other websites, you could be writing your own blogs or guest posts to build links and maintain a steady flow of traffic on your site.
Consider second-tier link building like renting a house.
A blogger has linked back to your site from their website (their home), but you’re paying to improve their website’s authority (aka their home) without owning that website.
Just as somebody who rents might want to decorate and add value to a property, others might consider their return on investment too low to bother decorating, as it won’t financially benefit them in the long-term, but someone else instead.
However, second-tier link building is entirely dependent on individual circumstances and how competitive and aggressive you want to be with your campaign.
For medium-sized businesses desperate to get to rank one for a competitive term, such link building will no doubt play a major role in your success.
Good luck with your strategy. It may take time, but the results will be worth it!