Apr 9, 2024

What Is Link Equity? All There Is To Know About "Link Juice"

What Is Link Equity? All There Is To Know About "Link Juice"
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Did you know the top Google result has about 3.8x more backlinks than positions #2 to #10?

Link building, including internal and backlinks, is a core component of off-page SEO that greatly affects rankings.

Indeed, when external websites link back to your page, they signal trust, quality, and increased domain authority for search engines and humans.

Sounds simple - right?

Well, the fact is that having ‘countless’ backlinks from any website scattered randomly around your content will not necessarily boost your page to the top.

It will rather look like you are trying too hard the wrong way and can even drag your pages down the search results.

Here’s where link equity comes in.

Also referred to as link juice or link authority, link equity determines the value a link gives to your page.

Along with your targeted SEO keywords, link authority from external sources pointing to your page can significantly raise your rankings for your targeted queries.

Let’s start with the basics.

What Is Link Equity?

Link equity (link juice or link authority) refers to the level of value a linking webpage passes on to the target webpage it’s linked to.

The value of the linking page depends on various factors, such as page authority (PA) and domain authority (DA), topical relevance, link positioning, and more.

Link equity is equally important for internal and external links - as reported by 42% of SEO strategists.

Some links pass on more authority than others, and they play a more prominent role in search engine rankings.

Until some years ago, link equity was determined by a metric called PageRank.

What Is PageRank?

PageRank (PR) was initially launched by Google as an algorithm and public tool to determine the importance of a webpage based on the quality and quantity of other pages linking to it.

Though Google’s PageRank tool stopped some years ago, this function is still available on other SEO tools.

Today, determining a page’s value in relation to similar pages depends on many factors, including PageRank. However, SEOs agree that a good PageRank offers more chances for high rankings.

Why Is Link Equity Important?

Think about this: every time a page links to your selected page, it vouches for its quality and relevance.

Link authority works like references in real life (or like customer reviews in online reputation management).

In other words, references from prominent people in their field or from satisfied customers always increase brand popularity and sales. This is what influencers do all the time!

In this respect, search engines (and humans) consider links coming from high authority, industry-related pages more important than links from a personal blog with low traffic.

To assess the value of an external (or internal) link, search engines consider a list of factors.

What Determines Link Equity?

Here are the core SEO principles that determine link authority strength:

1. Page Relevance

Link equity SEO is founded on topical relevance. In fact, with semantic SEO on the rise, topical relevance is an increasingly important factor for a successful search engine optimization strategy.

It is based on simple logic.

Take a look at this example: if your page is about coffee machines, a backlink from a psychology article on dyslexia is most likely irrelevant. And it will probably offer little value (or no value) to your page.

But if you get a link from a famous coffee brand, then that would make quite a difference!

2. Domain Authority Of The Linking Website

The credibility, reputation, and topical relevance of a linking website greatly determine the “power” of the link juice passed on to your target page.

Typically, older websites have more authority than new websites.

But this does not mean that a newly published site won’t get ahead for some topical-related queries. In this case, you can be one of the first pages to have gained a backlink from this ‘rising star!’

Another thing to remember is that website authority is also calculated based on its backlink profile.

Various SEO tools are available to assess a third party website authority or domain authority (DA).

But beware: there are numerous spammy or toxic websites out there that are offered for backlinks.

Such toxic pages include link directories, crypto, or casino websites. These are backlink sources you must avoid. Indeed, they are very likely to spill their toxic link juice on you and increase the chances of Google penalizing your page.

3. Page Authority Of The Linking Page

External link equity is also valued according to the authority of the linking page.

In other words, if your page is linked to a homepage, it gets much more value than if it’s linked to a 5-year-old blog post that’s not really ranking anymore.

But the same stands for your internal linking strategy.

For example, a product page linked to your store’s home page is much better off than if linked to another product page (that may soon be out of stock).

4. Number Of Outgoing Links On The Referring Page

Let’s explain this with a real-life example.

Picture this: If you have 1 kilo of oranges to make juice for 2 people, they will share 2 pints of juice. But if there are 4 of you, you will each get just one small glace of orange juice!

Sounds simple, right?

This is exactly what happens with link juice from referring pages with many outgoing links.

The more outgoing links a page has, the smaller the link juice share you get.

But there’s a way around it!

You can take advantage of parasite SEO techniques. Simply said, you can offer original, high-quality content to be published on an authoritative website in order to get exclusive (or nearly exclusive) backlinks from a prominent third-party page.

5. Page Indexability

For a page to be able to offer its link juice it needs, first of all, to be indexed!

No matter how basic this sounds, it’s worth pointing out that if a link comes from a page marked as “no index” or a page that’s uncrawlable in any way, search engines won't be able to find it and crawl it (obviously!) - so you will get zero link juice.

Just add this to your internal linking checklist.

But there’s more to it.

Among the SEO community, there’s a big discussion on whether links marked as ‘nofollow’ offer link authority.

At the moment, 89% of SEOs see that nofollow links do, in fact, have an impact on rankings - in some cases similar to “dofollow” links.

Let’s see it in more detail.

NoFollow Links And Link Juice

The “nofollow” attribute was originally developed by Google to combat spammy rankings from links in blog comments. In other words, all links mentioned in post comments were automatically marked as ‘nofollow.’

Today, many online sources use the ‘nofollow’ attribute by default. Such sources include: blog comments, links in social media posts, links from widgets, and discussion links in some prominent forums.

In addition, Google’s Webmaster Guidelines state that all paid links should also be tagged as ‘nofollow.’

These restrictions come from SEO fundamentals that backlinks must be earned naturally to account for ranking factors.

With this in mind, if ethically used, ‘nofollow’ backlinks do, in fact, offer valuable link equity to your page.

Also remember that ‘nofollow’ links are actually part of a natural link profile, which is actually what Google is looking for.

6. Link Location

A website’s architecture helps search engines determine the value of a link.

Just like keywords in SEO, link equity also depends on where links are positioned. Ideally, the higher they are placed within the page's main content, the better.

Google considers the primary piece of content to be the most important. In contrast, links in footers and sidebars are often treated as additional or navigational information.

7. Anchor Text Relevance

Relevance is also established by your anchor text.

Think of this example:

You have a recipe website and a famous chef refers to your ‘Easy Almond Brownies Recipe’ page with a phrase like: “Try the original almond brownies recipe on Grandma Jo's website and impress your friends.”

In this phrase, what would be the ideal anchor text?

If it linked to the words “impress your friends” it wouldn’t have so much link equity value compared to an anchor text over: “almond brownies recipe.” Get the point?

One more thing to note is that exact match anchor text typically does well in internal and external linking. But you don’t need to be obsessed with it or make your content sound unnatural to fit it in.

Similar anchor text works well, too. In the example above, a text link over the words ”bake tasty brownies” would also provide equal link equity value.

How Can You Check Link Equity?

There are many SEO tools that help you check link equity from the backlinks you receive.

It’s worth monitoring your backlink profile regularly to discover new link-building opportunities or to prevent toxic backlinking.

As for internal links, you should always look for new internal linking opportunities with every piece of content you publish.

And don’t forget: following a thoughtful internal linking strategy is very important in your overall SEO strategy.

As time passes, new internal linking opportunities that offer powerful link juice opportunities may spring up.

That’s why link equity manager software can help you do away with manual work. It can help you leverage AI and big data to distribute your website’s existing equity in an optimal way and boost pages that depict ranking potential.

Elevate Your SEO With Link Building

A solid link-building strategy can elevate your website and offer high rankings for your targeted keywords and queries.

With most websites lacking authoritative backlinks, there is plenty of space for your business pages to come on top - right in front of the eyes of your potential customers.

At Atropos Digital, we combine intelligent tools, substantial SEO experience, and innovative thinking to build solid backlinks that will help raise your rankings for the most prominent search queries that drive conversions. Contact Atropos Digital.

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