What is Link Equity? (aka Link Authority or Link Juice)
When it comes to building or buying backlinks, we want to maximise their value.
Which means we need to consider link equity, link juice, backlink liquor (I just made that up) or whatever you refer to it as.
Whatever you call it, you want to be able to answer this:
How does link equity flow after all the algorithm updates, and how can you use it to improve your rankings?
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of link equity, list out common issues your site may be experiencing, and leave you with an actionable list to make sure you’re ready for all that link juice.
What is link equity in SEO? (or What is link juice?)
Link equity or “link juice” is the idea that reputation/authority is passed when one page links to another, therefore sharing some of the SEO value between pages.
In simple terms looks like this:
SEOs leverage this feature to perform link building—connecting high authority, contextual links from trusted, established websites to raise a site’s reputation with a varied (but relevant) backlink profile.
Both internal and external links pass link equity.
A link’s value is often determined using link building metrics like topical relevancy, anchor text, page strength, etc to assess backlink quality.
Google uses links alongside an unknown number of other ranking factors to determine search engine rankings.
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How does link juice work?
PageRank (PR) was the first algorithm used by Google to order search results. Named after one the Google founders, Larry Page, it ranks pages by the number and quality of links to each page. The thought being, webpages with a higher number of links are more likely to be important.
When you link to another page, some of your page’s reputation, “link juice,” flows to that linked page.
Today, Google continues to take links into account alongside other algorithms that consider numerous other signals. It’s not as simple as spamming links to a page to rank it. There is a significant amount of different signals that can be much stronger.
But link equity still remains, and links are the core of determining reputation.
Each page has its own reputation, and Google has consistently stated they do not use any domain authority metric. Therefore, it’s crucial to build internal links that will send Googlebot and users to other parts of your website.
Want to check domain authority of a bunch of sites? Use our FREE domain authority checker tool to bulk check DA (+ other metrics like DR, CF, TF and organic traffic).
The homepage generally receives the most external links and will be the top result for a branded search. You can give some of your page’s reputation to other pages on your site by linking them together.
So, how is link equity calculated?
Remember that both internal and external links pass link equity. Here’s a checklist to help you determine the value of a link:
- Is it relevant? Search algorithms seek out content relevant to what people are looking for.
- Is it authoritative? Search algorithms prioritize the most reliable sources available.
- Is it followed? Nofollow links tell Google not to associate your site with the linking page.
- Is it crawlable? If Google can’t crawl it, it won’t pass value.
- Is it located well? Google uses site architecture to determine what content is most useful to visitors. Links in the footer often aren’t as helpful as links in the body.
- Is it one of the few? If the link is lost among a sea of links, it is likely devalued.
- Does the status code pass? Google passes link value through 200s, 301s, and 302s.
How do I check link juice?
As of March 7, 2016, Google officially removed all access to any PageRank scores. However, there are numerous tools to check what backlinks you’re receiving and even other page authority scores like Page Authority by Moz and URL Rating by Ahrefs.
These scores use metrics you need to know for your link building campaigns. Knowing what they are, how they work, and how to use them is essential for any SEO starting a link building campaign.
Links from non-related sites or to non-related content, even if earned from genuine sites, can be harmful—link relevance matters.
Nofollow Links + Link Juice
You may have heard of no-follow links and be wondering, do no-follow links pass link juice?
No-following a link means you’re telling Google that the link should not give any of your page’s reputation. This is crucial for user-generated content such as comments, or if you don’t want to dilute the relevance of your site by linking to a non-related site.
For the best results, you want high-value followed links.
How to Get More Link Juice for Your Web Pages
Here are some tactics to get the most from your link juice.
- Create content worth linking to
- Create topic clusters
- Get interviewed by high authority websites
- Create visual content that is likely to be shared
- Sponsor or speak at an event
- Network with other organizations or influencers
- Have social sharing buttons on your website
- Post regularly on social media
- Encrypt your site with SSL
- Use internal links
It’s essential to keep learning from other entrepreneurs and experts in your field to succeed. If you’re a small business owner, you can start with our favorite small business blogs.
Here’s a quick-win SEO tactic: tap into your existing content for link juice. How? Grab your keyword list and we’ll show you how to find internal content that contains your keywords.
How to Quickly Find Internal Link Juice Targets:
Use this Google search operator to find pages that contain your keyword you want to build internal text links for.
[site:www.yoursite.com intext:”target keyword”]
If you’re looking for more link juice, this is a seriously easy way to get it.
8 Pages to check for (untapped) backlinks
- Contact page: You can create a bulleted list of links below the fold, so it doesn’t hinder users from filling out any forms.
- Terms of Service/Privacy Policies: Most don’t even think about using these pages. Again, you can add a bulleted list of links below the fold.
- About pages: This is increasingly common. Often you can utilize this page to insert target keywords.
- News/Press: You can really tap into past press release pages without hindering users as nobody actually reads them.
- Meet the Team pages: If the page links out to individual team member bios, you can add trailing “About the Company” sections with links.
- Footer Links: This is prime real-estate often overlooked when looking to pass value and relevance internally.
- Sitemap: For sites with lots of content, implementing multiple sitemaps can provide better crawling, indexing, and better ability to boost your internal linking strategy.
- Homepage: The homepage is a power page. It should have links to some of the most competitive terms you’re trying to rank.
Connecting high authority, contextual links from trusted, established websites help raise a site’s reputation. It’s essential to determine the link’s value, but the most critical factor is link relevance.
Remember, both internal and external links pass link equity. So you can get more link juice just by linking internal content.
Now that you know what link equity (“link juice”) is and how it works, it’s time for you to get out there and start linking.