Link Juice is an important factor for ranking your website within Google search results, but what exactly is it, and how can you effectively manage it to improve your page authority?
Link juice is known in the SEO world as the authority passed to a site via internal and external links.
In order to better understand what link juice is, picture a bucket of water. The bucket represents your web page and hoses filling them represent the inbound links. Consider the following scenarios for ranking based on inbound links:
- Scenario 1: The more inbound links a site has the more link juice it receives. If you increase the amount of hoses filling a bucket, the fuller the bucket is. The same goes for link juice. A site with more strong inbound links will rank higher than another site with fewer equally strong inbound links.
- Scenario 2: The page with stronger inbound links will rank higher if the pages have the same amount of links. Both buckets have a hose filling them. The difference is that one hose is turned up higher and filling the bucket more. In this scenario, the page with the stronger source of link juice will end up with a higher rank in the search engine.
- Scenario 3: The page with stronger inbound links can rank higher than those with more links.
One bucket has eight hoses filling it up, while the other only has two. Based on the previous examples, we would assume that the first bucket is fuller. The exception with this is that these eight hoses are barely turned on, while the two filling the second bucket are in full force. If a page that is linking to your page also links to a lot of other pages, the amount of link juice that passes to your site is minimal. In this case the stronger links gave the other site more link juice to rank them higher.
The other end of this scenario deals with passing your link juice on thorough the external links on your page and using the no follow attribute (rel=”nofollow”). For this example, we will add to the scenarios that there are holes in the buckets representing outbound links.
- Old Method: Adding a no follow attribute to outbound links to prevent passing link juice.
If you had a bucket of water with two holes, the amount of water would pour out of both holes evenly. If you blocked up one hole, the water would all flow out of the other hole. By adding the no follow attribute, it would stop the link juice from pouring into that link and gaining authority from that page. Only pages without the tag would get authority from your page.
- New Method: Adding the no follow attribute is no longer effective in controlling amount of link juice passed to each link
Now there is no way to block a hole in the bucket. The only difference is that the water spills out even without anywhere to go. The no follow tag now prevents link juice from being transferred to that link but the link is still included in calculating the even distribution between the outbound links. This causes the extra link juice to leak out of your page but not into that outbound link. This leak only happens with links that you add no follow to, so it is now better to remove unnecessary links than to add the no follow attribute.
From these scenarios, here are 5 key takeaways for creating your link building strategy:
- The authority, relevance, popularity and strength of the page with an inbound link are more important than the link itself.
- Articles, blogs, and good shareable content are the best ways to create inbound links to your web site and improve ranking indirectly.
- Pages that link to many different pages won’t pass a lot of link juice along to your page.
- Remove unnecessary links rather than adding the no follow attribute to prevent leaking link juice.
- It is ineffective to link to someone else’s page in exchange for a link on your own page because it essentially cancels each other out or causes little impact.
Therefore, when you create your SEO strategy, consider what the most effective way is to build up your link juice, gain page authority, and move up your search rank. Whether you use direct or indirect methods to increase popularity of your web page, it is important to understand how Google considers link juice as a factor for ranking.