Any good SEO Specialist knows that one of the most important parts of search engine optimization involves links and link building. However, not all links are created equal.
If you’re curious to learn more of the basics, check out Pippa’s blog post for an introduction to SEO.
Defining Link Juice
For a website to rank for its target keywords, it usually has to have a decent Domain Authority. A large part of increasing Domain Authority comes from link building, but the quality of links now matters much more than the quantity. One high quality link is worth more than 100 links from low quality sources. In fact, too many links from low quality sources can even harm your site—but that’s another blog post.
“Link juice” is a term used to explain the relative power that any link can give to another webpage. Links can send link juice to another page on the same website, or to an external page on a different website. Each link has a certain amount of link Juice, and some links have more powerful link juice than others.
This infographic from Linkdex is a bit outdated in that it suggests getting links from as many other sites as you can (links from spammy or low-quality sites can cause more harm than good) but it does a good job of illustrating how link juice flows between different pages on your website, and from one website to another.
There are a number of factors that will affect the power of a link’s link juice, including the power of the referring webpage and the number of other links that are on that page. For example, a link from a powerful page will have more “link juice” than a link from a weaker page, and a link from a page with many other links on it will have less “link juice” than a link from a page with only one link on it.
Best Practices for Maximizing Link Juice
The following are some best practices for maximizing link juice:
- Make sure the page the link is on is indexable by search engines.
- All links should be do-follow if you want them to send any link juice. Link juice will not pass if the no-follow attribute is added.
- Links pass more link juice when there are only a few other links on the page that the link is coming from. For example, a link from a page with only five links on it is worth more than a link from a page with 100 links on it.
- Links pass more link juice when they have relevant, keyword-optimized anchor text.
- Link juice has more power when it passes between pages that are relevant to each other.
- Links from unpaid sources tend to be worth more than paid ones.
- In most cases, don’t bother with a link exchange. A link from an external site isn’t worth that much if you have to send out link juice from your own site to get it.
- Links from sites recognized as having high authority by search engines are worth much more than links from low authority sites. Remember—quality over quantity!