Link juice... mmmm, doesn't sound very tasty!
Fortunately, link juice is not a beverage.
Instead, it's an important SEO term to understand if you want to rank your website.
In this short article, we explain what link juice is and how to use it to dominate in the SERPs.
Let's get juicy!
A Guide to Link Juice
What is Link Juice?
Link juice is a term used to describe the value or authority of a link.
The "juice" part of the term refers to how the value of a link flows from page to page.
A link can come from an external website, this is called an external backlink, or a link can be placed internally on a website to connect one page to another. This is called an internal link.
The more relevant and authoritative a web page, the more power it will have to pass on link juice.
Link Juice vs Link Equity
Link juice and link equity are often used interchangeably as they mean the same thing.
Link equity is an older term and is closely related to Google's original PageRank algorithm, which determined how a site would rank based on its backlink profile.
Link juice is used more frequently by SEOs as it helps capture the idea of authority flowing, like a liquid (or juice), from one page to another and so on.
Link juice also captures the idea that both external and internal links can carry authority.
And just like a liquid, the juice diminishes as it passes from one page to another.
Sculpting Link Juice
To control the flow of link equity a webmaster could practice the art of sculpting.
Link juice sculpting uses a combination of followed and nofollowed links to direct the authority of a link in the most powerful way.
As you probably know, a link can be tagged as followed or nofollowed.
The latter instructs Google not to count or pass the authority of the link to the referring page.
For example, a followed link from a highly relevant and authoritative web page will carry good link value, whereas a nofollowed link from the same page technically carries little to no value.
Sculpting can also be applied by varying the number of links on a page.
The more links on a page, the greater the link value is diminished as the juice is spread across all links.
To control the flow of links, one can limit the number of links on a page.
How to get more link juice?
More high-quality links mean more link equity.
But getting high-quality links can be challenging and costly.
So doing more with less is key to managing your link juice effectively.
Here are a few factors to consider when trying to squeeze as much juice out of a link as possible.
Just like external links, internal links also carry value. And they are a lot easier to place.
Make sure you think carefully about how you interlink your website.
Link internally to the most important pages from your most important pages.
Use your homepage as a hub that helps connect your site with other key pages.
Imagine how the juice flows through your website.
Make sure the flow is as logical and silo'ed as possible. No page on your site should be an island unto itself.
Links from relevant pages carry more value.
For example, if you have a web page on online marketing tactics and you get a link from a page talking about digital marketing, the relevance of the link is high, and therefore its value is more likely to be high.
Contrast that with a link to your digital marketing tactics page from a webpage on Margherita recipes. The latter doesn't meet the relevance criteria and will not carry as much link juice.
Site and Page Authority
Sites and more specifically web pages with high authority metrics carry more link juice.
Authority is a nebulous term but the major SEO software companies, like Ahrefs, Moz, Majestic and Semrush, have tried to tie this term down using proxies like Domain Rating (DR), Domain Authority (DA), and Trust Flow (TF).
These are relatively good proxies but they can be manipulated so it is always worth looking at the referring backlink profile of a targeted page to get a true sense of it's authority.
For example, a link from a very high domain authority site link Facebook is seemingly amazing, but most pages on Facebook carry no authority at all (and most are nofollowed, which brings me to my next point).
As discussed earlier, it is always worth checking if a link is marked as followed vs nofollowed. The latter passes very little to no link equity.
Top tip: to check if a link is nofollowed, right-click on a page and click "View Page Source". Use the Control-F function and search for your link. If you see the tag rel="nofollow" then I'm afraid the link is set to nofollow. Don't confuse the tag with rel="noopener" which means something entirely different.
Where your link is placed on the page also affects the link juice.
Links placed in the footer or sidebar are less valuable than links placed in the body of a page.
Some even think links placed higher up a page near the introduction count more than links placed near the conclusion of an article. I'm not so sure.
Links on pages that have been blocked from crawlers using the robots.txt file are not counted by Google. So if you're looking to get more link juice, targeting pages that aren't indexable is a terrible strategy.
Finally, the more links on a page, the greater the link value is diminished as the juice is spread across all links.
This is especially relevant for internal links where the tendency can be to place as many internal links as possible.
Try to limit the number of links on a page to no more than 10, and if getting a link from an external site, try to keep that number even lower.