Link juice, also known as link equity, is a term used in SEO to describe the value or authority passed on by a backlink to the website it connects to.
The higher the authority and relevance of the website that provides the backlink, the more link juice it will generate and the better the chances of the linked page ranking higher on the SERP for its targeted keywords. Link juice is a crucial factor in determining a page’s rank, but it’s not the only one. PageRank, which measures a page’s authority, is often confused with link juice, but the two are not the same.
Only links from authoritative websites generate significant link juice. Google views websites with more authority as more trustworthy, and their links pass on more link juice.
How significant is link juice in terms of improving SEO?
The significance of link juice in SEO lies in the fact that having links to your website is crucial for SEO. However, acquiring link juice should not be the sole objective.
Rather, it can serve as a way to estimate the potential benefits of backlinks. The primary focus should be on generating high-quality content that earns links naturally. This involves adhering to the EAT principle, which emphasizes expertise, trustworthiness, and authority.
Google places great importance on content quality and has comprehensive guidelines for it. Meeting these guidelines and establishing authority while building relationships with reputable websites to earn links are the ultimate goals.
While getting numerous backlinks without link juice may result in some referral traffic, it will have minimal impact on your website’s rankings.
Is PageRank and Link Juice identical?
While often grouped, there are differences between the two terms. Google’s PageRank is a metric used to assess a page’s ranking, whereas link juice is the value that a page receives.
Although backlink profiles determine PageRank, it does not necessarily determine a website’s position in search engine results. Link juice is a crucial factor in determining PageRank and should be viewed as the value a page receives.
Link juice is an important factor in improving the ranking of your webpage on search engines, although it is not the only factor. It is considered one of the top signals for ranking.
By having link juice flow to your page, it can also spread to other pages on your website through internal linking, which has been proven to improve rankings according to several studies.
Essentially, link juice can be directed to other parts of your website to improve their rankings. If you want to learn more about this concept, you can check out our article on DA vs PA.
To illustrate how link juice works, imagine pouring water into a bucket. If you pour the water into one corner of the bucket, it will eventually spread and fill up the entire bucket.
Similarly, link juice can be directed to a specific page and eventually spread to other pages on your website, improving their rankings as well.
Link Juice and Keyword Relationships
In SEO, keywords are crucial for optimizing web pages and improving their search engine rankings. The more frequently and effectively they are used, the better a page will perform.
To boost page rankings, link building should be focused on using relevant keywords, such as those included in the post title. Using natural language and incorporating bolded keywords into the content can also help create effective links.
For example, instead of using generic link text like “click here,” it is better to use keyword-rich text that relates to the content of the page being linked to. This approach will help generate more powerful PR for the landing pages and improve overall SEO performance.
A. Source Page Relevance
The relevance of the source page to the target page is a crucial factor that determines the amount of link juice passed. If the source page is highly relevant to the target page, the link will carry more link juice.
B. Link Placement
The position of the link on the source page also affects the amount of link juice passed. Links placed in the main body of the content are more valuable than those placed in the footer or sidebar.
C. Anchor Text
The anchor text is the text that appears as a clickable hyperlink. Using relevant and descriptive anchor text helps search engines understand the context of the linked page and can pass more link juice.
D. Nofollow Attribute
When a link is marked with a “nofollow” attribute, search engines do not follow the link and no link juice is passed.
E. Page Authority
The authority of the source page also plays a significant role in determining the amount of link juice passed. A highly authoritative source page can pass more link juice than a less authoritative page.
F. Outbound Links
The number of outbound links on the source page also affects the amount of link juice passed. Fewer outbound links on the source page mean more link juice is passed to the linked page.
G. Link Age
The age of the link is also a factor that can affect link juice. Older links may lose their value over time, while new links may need time to gain authority and pass link juice.
How Can I Increase Link Juice?
Boosting link juice is crucial for improving a page’s visibility and traffic, as well as its page rank (PR). To achieve this, it’s important to employ effective strategies.
Here are some tips for obtaining more link juice:
Produce high-quality content that is informative, authoritative, and trustworthy. Poor content cannot be hidden by good links or keyword strategies, so it’s essential to ensure that your content is original, relevant and well-formatted to receive more link juice and better page rankings.
Engage in audience segmentation to refine your content to cater to specific buyer personas. This targeted communication resonates with the intended audience, thereby generating higher rankings and more link juice.
Consider guest posting and link exchange opportunities to create connections with other site owners. This link-building strategy strengthens your site authority and brings new audiences to your website, resulting in more link juice and increased site PR. It is always a great idea to partner with others and produce outstanding content that attracts more traffic.
A. Add External Links
The best technique to develop link juice is to build external links referring to a page. The authority of the page and your domain will improve as a result of quality inbound links. Link juice will be attracted to your site by any sort of link building. Next, we’ll concentrate on the three that relate to link equity the most.
B. Niche Edits
If you want to send external link equity to a page that doesn’t naturally draw links, think about applying niche edits.
When you pay other websites to link to your information in an article, such practice is known as niche editing. This kind of link-building allows you to pick the precise page you wish to link to, unlike some other link-building techniques.
The major drawback is that Google disapproves of websites that purchase links. You could be penalized if it determines that you have purchased links.
When purchasing connections, it’s important to exercise extreme caution and only do so when getting caught is unlikely. Strive to stay away from link farms, PBNs, and spam sites.
C. Linkable Assets
Making a linkable asset is the third tactic. This is information that is intended to draw links.
The content you wish to receive link juice from won’t get links from doing this. To transmit link juice to the sites you want to rank, however, you may employ internal links when the digital asset starts to garner links.
D. Add Internal Links
It’s common for website owners to notice that certain pages on their site receive more links than others, and some pages may not receive any links at all.
Unfortunately, the pages that are most important to rank higher in search results are often the same pages that have difficulty attracting links.
For example, an informative blog post with unique research is more likely to receive many links as other writers use the research to support their arguments, whereas a sales page may not have much external linking potential.
Having a well-structured internal linking system can help pass on link juice from pages with a high number of links to the pages that you want to rank higher.
This can be particularly useful for ranking commercial pages that are difficult to generate external links to, transferring equity from pages with many links to those with none, and boosting newly published pages’ rankings by sending link juice their way.
Over time, there has been significant discussion surrounding the concept of “link equity manipulation,” which is often viewed negatively due to its association with the term “manipulation.”
However, it is not always a negative practice, and if executed correctly, it can benefit both your SEO and user experience. Link equity manipulation involves utilizing link equity to enhance the ranking signals of other areas of your website. It can be categorized into two types: good and bad.
A. Bad Link Juice Manipulation
a. Nefarious External Linking
This refers to the act of linking to external websites unnaturally to enhance your authority or site relevance.
There are various methods of doing this, including providing do-follow links to affiliate products, do-follow links to products or services that provide payment for promotion, and creating unnatural links to other websites.
Numerous studies have indicated the advantages of external links, which were discussed earlier in this blog post. Nonetheless, if you link to a website too frequently, it may seem unnatural. Site-wide links, in particular, appear highly unnatural and should be eliminated.
Nevertheless, if the link is natural and you have not engaged in the purchase of blogroll links or other spammy site-wide links, there is usually no cause for concern. In our view, people use site-wide links when they receive payment or sponsorship, and such links should be nofollowed.
b. Are Internal Links good for SEO?
Internal linking is crucial not only for enhancing the user experience in navigating your website but also for providing robots with a clear understanding of page relationships.
Using internal linking, link equity can be distributed among pages. Nevertheless, if executed poorly, this practice can be detrimental to your site.
In this article, we focus on the negative aspects of internal linking, which include:
- Overloading internal links with anchor text
- Repeating the same anchor text excessively for a particular page
- Including an excessive number of internal links on a page (excluding navigation; aim for 2-3 per page)
- Including huge footer navigation.
B. Good Link Juice Manipulation
Effective link equity manipulation involves linking your website in a manner that simplifies comprehension for both users and bots. If you observe that your site has an abundance of high-quality links pointing to a specific page, you can utilize that page to enhance the ranking of other pages on your site.
This idea involves distributing link juice throughout your site, which can be achieved through various methods, such as:
- Identifying pages with substantial link juice and adding internal links to other crucial SEO pages naturally.
- Creating a map of internal links that logically categorizes your pages.
How do 301 Redirects work?
The 301 redirect is a tool that many SEO professionals use to optimize link equity. This involves redirecting pages with high link juice to a page that requires a boost to rank well. Some even redirect entire domains to acquire more link equity.
As with any SEO technique, there are both positive and negative ways to implement 301 redirects.
Google has said that 301 redirects transmit the bulk of the original authority, therefore SEOs shouldn’t be concerned about losing link equity during a 301 redirect, it is vital to remember. However, this is not always the case.
Google can distinguish between a useful 301 redirect and one that is intended to manipulate link equity and will regard irrelevant 301s as soft 404s, effectively nullifying any link juice.
GSQI conducted studies that confirm this to be true. Conducting a thorough SEO audit can help identify whether your site requires additional 301 support.
That’s an excellent question! Let me provide you with an answer. It’s essential to ensure that your 301 redirects are relevant and direct users to a specific and appropriate page. The anchor text you use is also crucial. For example, if you’re redirecting a page about cricket bats, avoid redirecting it to a page about flowers.
Instead, redirect it to a relevant page about cricket bats. If you acquire a new domain, redirecting all of its pages to your homepage can be beneficial, but it may result in losing a significant amount of link juice. It’s best to conduct a comprehensive 301 redirect project to ensure that all URLs are correctly redirected to the appropriate pages.
Moz has an excellent graphic about 301 redirects that you may find useful.
We believe that this visual representation is an excellent way to understand how to use 301 redirects to manipulate link juice effectively. It’s worth noting that unless a page redirect is temporary, using anything other than a 301 redirect is unnecessary.
404 Pages & Link Juice
One of the most practical tips from the article is to find 404 error pages with backlinks and write 301 redirects to a similar page.
This can instantly transfer link equity. If there is no similar page, create one and write the 301 redirects, then pass the link equity to another page using an internal link. However, it’s important to ensure that the link equity manipulation is user-friendly and not unnatural.
If it’s not possible to create a new page for the 301 redirects, you can retain the link equity through outreach by contacting third-party websites and asking them to update the URL to a working page. It’s crucial to make sure the new page is contextually relevant when pitching it as a replacement for the 404 page.
Link juice plays a crucial role in SEO by influencing a website’s authority and search engine rankings. Building high-quality backlinks is essential for obtaining link equity and improving website visibility.
However, it is important to use ethical practices and avoid manipulating link equity in unnatural ways, as this can result in penalties from search engines.
By following the tips discussed in this article, such as internal linking, leveraging 301 redirects, and using 404 pages to retain link equity, website owners and SEO professionals can effectively manage and enhance their link equity to boost their website’s search engine rankings and overall success.