What is Link Juice in SEO?
One of the main quality criteria is a link profile. Search engine algorithms just need to scan backlinks to understand how interesting the project is to other resources. If there are many mentions from quality websites in the profile, the project’s ranking will improve faster.
It can be difficult to create an organic profile because the number of donors in some niches is severely limited. Therefore, webmasters may shift their focus towards cheap methods of getting links, but they are not always beneficial.
1. What Is Link Juice (Link Equity)?
There are many specific terms in the SEO niche, some of which may be unfamiliar to website owners who simply monitor position dynamics and don’t want to spend time analyzing the specifics of content ranking.
One of the important terms associated with link building is link juice. There are many different definitions for it, but most of them are poorly understood by those who have not encountered SEO terminology before.
Link juice is a share of a project’s authority that is transferred when it links to another resource. That is, each donor transfers a portion of its trust to the recipient.
The value of each backlink is different. A large number of factors affect the final evaluation of a link by search algorithms. Even if you post a link from two projects in the same niche, their benefit will be different.
To better understand how this works, let’s look at a clear example. Imagine that there is a fleet of cars with 20 vehicles from different manufacturers. As long as we do not see the technical condition of the vehicles, they are all the same from a practical point of view. But when the brand, features, and capabilities of each car are known, we can understand which one is more attractive. The situation with link juice is similar. All links are part of the profile, but each one brings a different profit.
Ideally, website owners establish linking with projects that can pass much link juice. But in practice, things are different because it is difficult to measure this metric. Therefore, project optimization appears to be a big issue.
Web pages of the same project link to each other to distribute link juice. Internal optimization is just as important as external optimization. If a project has a good link profile but has problems with its URL structure or content loading speed, it may get less visibility than when there are no site quality issues.
With internal linking, link equity can be allocated to strengthen the right URLs and make them visible to search engine algorithms. In this case, the website owner keeps the situation under control, but things are much more complicated with link building.
The function of link juice is that it helps to saturate the right pages and remove URLs not important for promotion in search engines. For example, a contact page is only useful for a certain percentage of the audience and will not be ranked.
Webmasters should pay attention to working with internal link juice to get more benefits from linking. If you build links between pages without a clear strategy, it won’t make sense.
Internal linking is just as important as external linking. But webmasters very often do not pay enough attention to this issue. As a result, the project does not reveal its potential to the full.
External link juice is generated by backlinks. Each donor passes a share of its authority to the project to which it links. And website trust forms out of such linking.
If the project is doing well with internal optimization, the result of promotion depends on the quality of the link profile. So, the website owner must pay much attention to creating linking with reputable projects.
If a webmaster focuses on free directories, forums with minimal moderation, and other low-quality platforms, such links may not pass SEO juice.
2. What Is Link Juice Action?
Link equity is one of the main criteria of project quality for search engine algorithms. If two projects are roughly equally optimized, backlinks can determine their ranking.
Google representatives have repeatedly stated that they are against any link-exchange schemes, but in practice, most projects are doing quite well in SERPs with SEO links.
Still, you should not focus only on SEO juice. You should consider domain metrics when evaluating a donor but equally with the audience activity, content quality, and behavioral factors.
You should also remember that search results are dynamic, and the situation can change almost every minute. The same situation is with the core of the ranking algorithm – Google periodically releases updates to make the results better.
Therefore, you should keep the situation under control and monitor the dynamics of the link profile to see problems in time. If the domain authority will begin to decline in the eyes of Google algorithms, the project can quickly lose visibility.
3. How Does Link Juice Work?
To better understand what link juice is in SEO, you should take a closer look at the issue of content ranking. The problem is that even experienced webmasters don’t know exactly how Google arranges SERPs.
SEO experts assume that the algorithms use a point system. For example, if a project does well with inbound links, it gets a few points to its ranking.
One of the most important criteria for website evaluation is domain authority. Each domain name has a trust, which reflects a quantitative value of authority. Search engine algorithms use it to compare projects.
Domain rating is sometimes defined as the total score of PageRank of all pages. Therefore, each web page has its ranking that determines how much link juice it can pass when linking to other projects.
Imagine there is an empty glass on the table and 3 bottles of juice, each of which is only 10% filled. The more bottles you can use, the fuller the glass will be. It works the same way with link juice as long as donors are quality.
The stronger the page in terms of link juice, the more juice the recipient can get. But in practice, it works much more complicated than it sounds in theory. For example, Google algorithms may not pass the juice if they suspect manipulation.
Theoretically, to pass link juice from one page to another, you must link them together, but it all depends on the link evaluation by Google. Back in 2009, Google representatives said that redirects from abandoned domains do not always work, and you should not count on passing link juice in 100% of cases.
Therefore, webmasters actually cannot see whether the authority was transferred from the donor to the recipient. Only indirect signs can help determine this.
4. How Is It Generated?
Internal link juice is generated through linking, and external link juice – through backlinks. If the project is doing well with both, and search engine algorithms have no complaints about the content, the website can get a boost in ranking.
A domain’s link equity can change greatly over time, so when a webmaster chooses domains for linking, one needs to properly assess the prospect. If the project only loses links, there will be no benefit from backlinks from it.
If we imagine that this is a website that meets Google’s quality criteria, then in the cases described below, link juice should be passed without any problems.
4.1. Pages relevant to your website
Creating a link on an external project is not a problem, but you must clearly plan the steps that will help to promote the website in the organic search results. If you choose a poor strategy, there will be no result.
That’s why it’s important to link from pages relevant to the content of the final URL. That is, if the project about smartphones links to the store that sells phones, there will be no questions about this link.
4.2. Pages with high PageRank
Unfortunately, in 2022, it is impossible to see the actual PR of a page because Google has restricted access to this data. But we do know that the PageRank algorithm is still in the ranking core.
You can roughly estimate PageRank using alternative metrics from SEO services. Webmasters often use Page Authority, Page Score, and other indicators of well-known platforms. They help filter out poorly ranked websites and select donors from among those that can strengthen a project’s linking capital.
4.3. Pages with few outbound links
Some webmasters might consider this criterion of link juice formation somewhat surprising, but the share of page authority passed through backlinks varies depending on the number of links. Therefore, you should choose pages that do not have many links without nofollow, sponsored, or ugc attributes in the code. Google has been insisting on using these attributes for years, but most website owners still ignore them.
4.4. Pages with quality content
Search engine algorithms evaluate page quality by analyzing content, among other things. If behavioral factors demonstrate that it does not solve user problems and they return to search results, the amount of link juice will be small.
Webmasters often argue about the usefulness of this criterion, but content 100% affects the fact whether Google algorithms will pass link juice from the donor to the recipient.
4.5. Pages with high positions in SERP
To conclude whether the search engine considers a page to be quality, you can use position analysis. If it ranks well for several years and is periodically updated, you should make an effort to get a link.
Doorways and other types of low-quality websites can get to the top, but, in most cases, it doesn’t last long. At the time of the next update, algorithms remove such projects, and more worthy candidates take their place.
4.6. Pages with UGC
User-generated content is highly valued by search engines because such pages usually have high discussion activity and good behavioral factors.
If you must choose between a link in an old article and a new post that will generate activity, it is better to choose the second option. In this case, there are more guarantees that link juice will be passed because users will go to an external resource and signal content quality to algorithms.
4.7. Pages mentioned on social media
Mentions of a project on social media don’t have much effect on ranking, but they do show Google algorithms that the website is in demand with the audience of social media platforms.
Shares on social media can also generate click-throughs from interested users. Each non-bounce visit adds points to the project’s score, which can affect its visibility.
5. How to Analyze a Link Profile?
Selecting donors for link building is a complex task that should be done in steps. First, the webmaster goes through the initial search phase, when the maximum number of sources should be used to find relevant websites.
The next step is resource filtering. It is necessary to determine the projects with which it makes sense to create links and which you should better remove from the list. This step is no less important than the previous one.
SEO analysis services help to reduce the amount of routine work, creating a report on the link profile in a few minutes. They can partially answer the question of how the flow of link juice in Google works.
5.1. Learn more about link equity
Every project has different link equity, and the potential profits that a resource will receive from link building depend on its quality. Few people will want to buy a backlink from a domain that makes money from link building and has dozens of outbound links in its profile every day.
If the potential donor regularly publishes quality content, you may shift your focus from domain metrics to behavioral factors. Perhaps, in this case, it would be better to get a few hundred targeted conversions rather than unnecessary links without a nofollow tag.
5.1.1. Link HTML code
Source code analysis allows Google algorithms to understand exactly how the link appeared. For example, if there is a sponsored attribute, Google crawlers assume that the backlink is part of the sponsored content.
By the way, Google has nothing against sponsorship, so if the link fits into the context of the article, it will pass the juice. Accordingly, the donor’s juice will successfully reach the recipient.
5.1.2. Anchor text
One of the options for stabilizing the link profile is a variety of links with organic anchors. This approach is often used to promote commercial projects to show search engines that the site does not focus on SEO keywords.
When analyzing a potential donor, you should pay attention to anchors. If a resource cares about its reputation, it will not place backlinks with suspicious anchor texts.
5.1.3. Backlink relevance
Determining the relevance of backlinks is simple. It is enough to read the content and conclude whether it fits into the context of the page. If there are no claims, the backlink is relevant.
In specific niches, it can be difficult to get links, so there are sometimes suspicious anchors in the profile. They can attract the attention of algorithms, so do not exceed their number.
5.1.4. Website you plan to link to
There are several criteria for the quality of potential donors, which you can apply to decide whether to link to them. If the analysis will show negative signals, it is better to refuse to cooperate.
You should pay attention to the following factors:
- Audience activity
- Indexing speed
- Domain age
- Stability of visibility and positions
If there are no claims to the donor by any criterion, you can safely begin negotiations on placing links. And if you manage to get traffic as a result, you should agree on a permanent collaboration.
5.1.5. How authoritative the potential donor is
Website credibility is a relative concept that each webmaster interprets differently. You can fully trust search engines in this matter. If the project has stable traffic and visibility only grows, it is authoritative.
When the link mass graph regularly fluctuates, it is a sign of an insufficiently quality profile. Then, you must figure out whether placing a backlink will be beneficial.
5.1.6. Number of links on the page
Let’s imagine a page has 10 “liters” of link juice. If you place 5 links, the volume will be distributed equally between them – 2 “liters” each. This is why backlinks are much more expensive if they have no “neighbors.”
It is necessary to get maximum profit from links and monitor how linking affects the project’s visibility. If there is a benefit, you can continue to collaborate.
5.2. Link juice measurement tools
So, it is impossible to measure the amount of link juice on a page. That is, no analytical tool can determine how much juice Google algorithms will transfer from donor to recipient or whether it will happen at all.
Therefore, webmasters can only hope that the evaluation of the donor with the help of SEO services will be sufficient to gain a share of its authority and repay costs.
It is better to use several platforms simultaneously to analyze websites and get more useful data. Even if one service makes a mistake, you can still see the risk factors.
A popular SEO marketing platform helps to assess the authority of a domain and a particular page. Ahrefs has an analog of PageRank – the Page Score metric, which shows the authority of a page.
With the project audit tool, you can get a report on URLs with high PS scores. The higher the figures, the more link juice can theoretically be obtained after backlink placement.
This analytics platform offers many useful tools to site owners. Among them, the link analysis module stands out. The service is positioned as a quick way to check the link mass.
Many important data are available in the website report: from the evaluation of backlink authority to anchor texts. The platform gives all new users a free 7-day trial, which is worth using.
5.2.3. Majestic SEO
The service is considered one of the best in the niche of link profile analysis. It can assess the domain quality as a whole and individual pages. Trust Flow and Citation Flow metrics help check the website quality.
Majestic is loved for the historical index. It is the availability of data for a certain period that helps webmasters to decide whether to add a project to the list of donors.
5.2.4. Monitor Backlinks
The platform was created to track backlinks. With its help, webmasters can see lost links and can quickly take action to get them back. Monitor Backlinks also does an excellent job analyzing donors.
The service aggregates metrics from Majestic, Moz, and other platforms. You can use it to create a comprehensive report or when you don’t want to buy subscriptions to different services at once.
5.2.5. Moz Link Explorer
Moz boasts one of the largest link indexes — it now consists of 40.7 trillion found backlinks. You can use the service to compare the profiles of multiple sites, check each link for spam, and get an estimate of a site’s authority.
Webmasters use the Moz Domain Authority and Page Authority metrics as a sign of a project’s quality. If a page and domain score a lot of points, you can link to them.
Many website owners who want to get high positions in Google use link juice checking as an effective way to assess the authority of a potential donor. This tactic can be considered correct if you compare data from multiple services and don’t rely on the flawless performance of any particular platform.
6. Pages That Can Have More Link Juice
Every page, under ideal conditions, can pass link juice. Another question is how much juice the recipient can expect. It’s hard to answer, but you can do your best to analyze the project.
All types of pages below can theoretically contain more link juice if they have internal links and the site owner takes care to protect against juice decrease. But do not expect that the backlink will bring maximum benefit — it all depends on the approach to promoting a particular website.
6.1. About the company
It may be beneficial to get a link from the company web page if the list of partners will not include 200 other websites. If there are 3-5 links, you can count on a share of link juice and add another backlink to the profile.
Before placing a link, you should analyze the project owner’s approach to working with outbound links. If you can see that they do not take protective measures, you should not link to the resource.
In most cases, a link to a contact or feedback page will look suspicious. Therefore, it is better to choose another page and not spend money on a link that will not affect the overall picture. On the feedback page, there are often links to pages on social media, where users can ask questions to project representatives. In this case, Google algorithms will not have claims to links.
Terms of service and other legal conditions were previously published only by business projects, but now, these pages are created on informational resources as well. Theoretically, you could link to them, but they would have minimal juice.
Link juice to such pages is transferred from other sections of the site, but it is unlikely that there will be more than 2-3 such pages, and you should not expect link equity. Therefore, it is better to choose other sites for placement.
A page for media or information collaboration is created so that potential partners will see what is necessary to post a message or get an official comment.
Search algorithms will not consider links on such a page organic. And most site owners won’t agree to post links. And if the webmaster offers this page to build links, you should think about the benefits of such cooperation.
6.5. Employee biographies
Biographies of the company’s employees are posted for users and Google crawlers. This way, visitors can learn more about the firm’s philosophy and see its key employees. But in terms of passing link juice, there will be little use.
If you analyze examples of pages with employee biographies, you can see that most of them have no links to external resources. The exception is links to pages on social networks.
6.6. Link in the footer
It is believed that site-wide links pass the maximum amount of link juice because, when placing them, the recipient gets not just one link but a link from each page of the resource.
The footer usually includes mentions of partners or active patrons. This format allows you to protect yourself from increased attention from search engine crawlers.
For additional security, you can add the nofollow attribute, but there is no guarantee that the link juice will be passed. Google algorithms make their own decision based on the information collected.
Ten years ago, you could quickly get high positions for most keywords from the list of semantic keywords with site-wide links, but it doesn’t work like that anymore. There might be a boost in organic results, but you risk being penalized for manipulating algorithms. Therefore, it is better to minimize the use of such a format if you are betting on long-term promotion rather than short-term effects. In the future, it will be possible to get more benefits from the safe promotion format.
Webmasters often argue about whether a sitemap affects SEO, but it makes no sense. Google representatives have repeatedly noted that it serves only an informative function, demonstrating the architecture of the project.
In some cases, creating a map in HTML format can improve indexing and affect the juice distribution, but if the resource has many other problems, a powerful dynamic in organic search results is impossible.
A map is still needed for each site, but in most CMSs, it is created automatically, and the webmaster does not need to make efforts to edit it manually.
6.8. Home Page
It is believed that the home page of any resource contains the maximum amount of link juice, which is true for the most part. But it all depends on the quality of the link mass of the project and the owner’s approach to link building.
If you take the tool for checking the link juice of internal links and look at the scores for the home and internal pages of the resource, the former should have more points.
The power of the home page is easily explained by the fact that many webmasters buy a link for it. They accumulate link juice and then distribute it among the important sections of the site.
If the project is quality and search engines have no claims against it, getting a link from the home page is valuable but complicated. It is up to each webmaster to decide whether or not to pay for such an opportunity.
7. How to Get More Link Juice?
When promoting a site, you should regularly add quality backlinks containing link juice to your profile. But in practice, webmasters do not have a tool that would allow them to check link juice. Therefore, the decision to cooperate with a project is made on the basis of metrics from well-known SEO services. They cannot evaluate SEO Juice but offer alternative metrics, some of which are calculated based on the original PageRank formula.
7.1. Quality content
If a project is informational and users visit it to find solutions to their problems, they need quality content. If it does not solve the problem, visitors will go back to search results, and the resource will eventually lose its position.
Backlinks from the most reputable projects won’t make sense if the pages are filled with low-quality content. Google algorithms will see bad behavioral factors, and if there are many negative signals, visibility will decrease.
Creating quality content on a regular basis is a challenge, but you need to make an effort to make sure users get answers to their questions. Better yet, make sure they are active in the comments.
Quality content helps get free links. If no one else in the niche can offer infographics or research findings, such formats can generate lots of links.
7.2. Investing in digital marketing strategies
The effectiveness of website promotion also depends on the use of digital marketing strategies. The more target users a project attracts, the more profits it can generate in the future.
An effective digital marketing strategy can involve:
- Guest posting on niche websites
- Social media shares
- Interaction with influencers
- Encouraging user-generated content (UGC) posting
Particular attention should be paid to the first point on the list. It is through guest posting and outreach that you can get backlinks with a lot of link juice. In some cases, you do not even have to pay for them.
7.3. Working with your target audience
The more sources with a target audience you can engage, the more conversions you can theoretically get. If the content and tools available appeal to visitors, some may join the active core.
The main benefit of constant interaction with users is their engagement in comments and UGC creation. Not all website owners pay attention to this factor, which is wrong. Do not spare time to create a strong connection with the audience.
7.4. Guest posts
Guest posts are in demand with webmasters because it’s a common technique for building links to authoritative projects. With useful content, you can quickly strengthen your link profile.
It’s important to post content to attract the attention of your target audience rather than adding links with the right anchors. You can then get a new audience for your project along with link juice.
PRPosting will help you quickly find donors to post sponsored content. Using filters, you can quickly sort sites by quality criteria, such as Domain Rating, TF, CF, etc.
7.5. Focus on popularity
Reputable projects in any niche can regularly get new links even without the work of the project team. You will need a lot of time to count on such a bonus, but the cost will pay off.
You can make a website popular with quality content and useful tools that competitors can’t offer. Achieving these goals will increase user commitment to the project.
You should pay special attention to tools that help you save time. For example, almost every online laptop store offers an opportunity to compare the characteristics of devices, but for power tests, buyers use dedicated resources. If you add at least the indexes of profile power tests to the product page, users will be able to save time. Of course, such data are not enough to make a decision, but the benefit is clear.
7.6. Improving the PageRank of low-performing web pages
Website owners cannot see the actual PageRank value, but it can be replaced by alternative metrics from well-known SEO services listed in the section with analysis tools.
There are several ways to improve link juice. You do not necessarily need to use the deep-page method or spend thousands of dollars on link building. Sometimes, you can achieve your goal with the help of proper linking.
7.6.1. NoFollow Tags
By the time Google canceled the mandatory ban on passing juice to links with the nofollow attribute, webmasters could control the flow of link juice.
So far, the PageRank sculpting method does not work because the search engine no longer perceives nofollow as a signal to take action. The attribute is a recommendation that the search engine may not take into account.
Nofollow can still be used to remove pages, but the result is not guaranteed. You should consider this when creating a linking scheme and monitor the result.
7.6.2. Distance to page from the homepage
The distance to the page from the homepage is a signal to Google algorithms. The greater the distance, the lower the priority of the page. Therefore, special attention is paid to pages at a distance of 1-2 clicks.
It does not mean that other sections of the site will be indexed more slowly, but their priority is lower. That is why changes on the main page and categories appear in search results faster on average.
7.6.3. Creating a sitemap
A sitemap plays the role of a navigator. Google crawlers analyze it to understand the resource’s structure. This is how they can see which pages are 1-2 clicks away from the home page.
If you want, you can create an HTML map of the project, but it is unlikely to get at least a minimal boost in organic search. Most likely, the positions will remain the same if there are no changes in content and link mass.
7.6.4. Calculating link juice
If the website owner does not know what link juice is, they will have to spend plenty of time figuring it out. Then, they will realize that there is no guaranteed way to determine the amount of link juice on a page.
You can use metrics from SEO services, but keep in mind that they reflect the position of external platforms rather than Google algorithms. Some analogs are similar to PageRank, but there is no current publicly available formula for calculating PR.
Despite all the shortcomings, it is still worth using services to calculate page rank because there is no alternative. It is unlikely that Google will ever reopen PageRank for public viewing.
7.6.5. Link recovery
Over time, even pages with high authority can lose juice due to deleted links. Therefore, you must monitor their condition and promptly fix problems. Paid links require special control.
Recovering backlinks is a very important task that you should not save time on. If you manage to restore at least some of the lost backlinks, it can be considered a good result.
All sorts of services help to monitor the state of links. For example, you can use the Monitor Backlinks platform, which was created to automate this task.
7.6.6. Using linkbait content
Linkbait is content that generates links almost automatically. With its help, you can get backlinks even in specific niches, where it is difficult to find donors on exchanges.
To create content that site owners will want to distribute, you can use the technique of skyscraper. For example, imagine that the article from TOP-1 is a building with 20 floors. You must add at least 10-20 floors on top to get profits.
Outreach is based on interaction with website owners. They are happy to cooperate with webmasters and SEO specialists if they benefit from link building.
In most cases, you must pay or provide a unique article to place links, but such costs are justified if you manage to get a backlink from a reputable resource as a result.
Improving the juice of weak pages is an effective strategy but only if you can count on organic traffic. Otherwise, it is better to spend time and money on more promising pages.
8. Tips for Using Link Juice in your SEO Strategy
All site owners want to get as many links to authoritative projects as possible, but in the pursuit of backlinks, they should remember internal optimization. You can start promotion on external sites only after the internal work is completed.
The site that loads for 20 seconds can get a few backlinks, but many conversions to it may result in rejection. And when there are enough negative signals for lowering authority, Google will do it without hesitation.
8.1. Make your homepage a priority
The home page is a hub that usually accumulates the maximum amount of link juice. You can use this to distribute the juice between the important sections of the project. Now, you should develop a link-building strategy keeping in mind that concentrating 95% of links on the home page is not very useful. Search engines carefully analyze the profile, and such an approach can be detrimental.
It is better to cover as many important pages as possible and use the link juice correctly. This can affect the growth of positions and organic traffic.
8.2. Connect link juice to the home page
In some niches, a project’s home page may not rank. For example, if it’s a brand with a unique name, the home page will be in the first place when you type in a query by name. But when you need to promote a standard informational project, only a small part of the audience will enter its name. In such cases, most users get to the second and subsequent pages.
It is useful to redirect link juice from external sites to the main page but only if there is no opportunity to place a link to the internal page. Then, you’ll need to create a competent linking scheme.
9. Link Juice vs. PageRank
Newcomers to SEO often confuse the terms. It seems to them that there is no difference between PageRank and link juice. But you cannot put an equation sign between these concepts. First, it is necessary to understand the theory.
PageRank is an algorithm for evaluating page quality, which helps Google crawlers understand how authoritative the URL is in terms of link juice. And link Juice is a term that can refer to both PageRank and any other domain evaluation metric.
That is, if we focus, for example, on Ahrefs data, we can say that Page Score demonstrates how much link juice a page can pass. Then, link juice will not be related to PR. But if you use more than one service to score pages, problems with inconsistent numbers can arise. They occur because each platform uses different algorithms to calculate metrics. So, link juice can vary from page to page.
Figuring out what link juice in Google is quite realistic. But you need to clearly understand how it works. You can assess the link juice of a page only through indirect signs.
It is theoretically possible to control the passing of link juice between pages, but in practice, it all depends on how search engine algorithms work in each case.
It is a quantitative demonstration of page authority. The amount of link juice is part of the authority that a site or page can pass on when linking.
You can redirect it from internal pages or get links from authority projects.
Various SEO platforms that measure page authority in a quantitative sense help with this. But they are based on their own algorithms for calculating the page’s link juice rather than Google formulas.
PageRank shows authority, while Link Juice can be linked to any metric for calculating page authority.
Pages with quality content and strong link mass, pages with high positions in SERPs, availability of UGC, etc.