Not all links are created equal.
Link equity, or ‘link juice’, refers to the authority passed from one webpage to another through a link. It can pass through internal and external links.
Search engines use link equity to determine the value of a page. When a high-authority, relevant website links to a page, it shares a portion of its influence.
This can improve a website’s overall link equity and boost visibility in search engine rankings.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- What link equity is
- How to calculate it
- How to check it
- Strategies to boost link equity
What Is Link Equity in SEO?
Link equity is an important ranking factor in search engine algorithms. It’s the authority and influence that flows from one page to another page through hyperlinks.
You can think of link equity, also known as link juice, as a digital vote of confidence. When an authoritative website links to your site, it’s essentially vouching for your content.
Google uses link equity to determine how valuable your content is and where it should rank in search engine results pages.
The more high-quality backlinks pointing to a page, the more link equity it has:
Link equity is not solely determined by the number of links pointing to your website.
Quality is more important than quantity.
A few links from authoritative sites can be more valuable than a bunch of links from low-quality, spammy websites.
How Is Link Equity Calculated?
Google and other search engines don’t reveal the exact formulas they use to calculate link juice.
But we do know some of the factors they take into account.
Quantity of Inbound Links
Generally, the more links pointing to a page, the higher its link equity will be. You have lots of pages all passing on link juice, boosting the authority of the receiving page.
In 2016, Google’s Search Quality Senior Strategist Andrey Lipattsev confirmed that links are among the top two ranking factors.
Authority of the Linking Domains
Not all links are equal.
If a highly reputable website with a strong track record of producing quality content links to your site, the link equity passed on is likely to be more valuable.
In SEO, links are important, but the right links are vital. It’s about quality, not quantity.
A few high quality, high authority backlinks can be more beneficial than hundreds of medicore ones.
— Charles Floate 📈 (@Charles_SEO) May 16, 2023
On the other hand, lots of links from very low-quality websites can have a detrimental impact on your link equity. Google could view the links as an attempt to manipulate search rankings and impose a penalty.
Dofollow vs. Nofollow
Dofollow links are more valuable than links that use the rel= “nofollow” attribute. This is because dofollow links pass on link juice, while nofollow links do not.
Google doesn’t completely ignore nofollow links, but they do not have the same value as a dofollow link.
The Anchor Text
The anchor text is the visible text in a link that users can click to navigate to another page.
Ideally, the anchor text should accurately describe the linked content and what users can expect when clicking the link.
Here’s how it’s described on Google Search Central:
Search engines analyze anchor text to determine the relevance and authority of the linked page.
For example, the anchor text “best coffee maker” tells Google that the linked page is relevant to the keyword “coffee maker.” If the anchor text was a generic “click here,” it wouldn’t pass on quite as much link juice.
The Link Location
The best place for a link is in the body of the content. Google uses the text surrounding a link to determine its context and relevance.
Google highlights the importance of link placement on the Search Central blog.
Links appearing higher up on pages is, naturally, typically held up as the best place for them to be. This is as much about user behavior as it is about Google’s preferences though – a user is simply more likely to still be engaged and clicking on additional links and resources early on.
Take a common sense approach when assessing where a link appears within the content. Even if it isn’t the first link, it will still provide good value as long as it isn’t completely buried away.
Where the link appears on the page also matters. Sidebar or footer links pass on less link equity than a contextual link in the main content of a page.
Your page won’t lose any link equity by linking to other pages. But the value of each outbound link is reduced if there are too many links on the page.
Google’s John Mueller explained why this happens in a Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on July 2, 2021.
There’s no set number on how many links you should use to pass link juice. It will depend on the type and the depth of the content on the linking page.
There isn’t a hard and fast rule on how many inks are too many, just consider it from a usability point of view.
Anywhere from 3 to 10 links across a typical 500 – 1000 words blog post would be pretty typical, depending on the depth of research in the article.
100 links in a 500-word article would, of course, be unnavigable. It’s all about a common-sense approach. Just because there are other links in an article, it doesn’t mean you won’t receive any value from that link.
How Can You Check Link Equity?
Checking link equity used to be easy.
Google PageRank was a publicly available SEO metric that you could use to check the authority of a web page. It measured the number and quality of internal and external links pointing to a page.
But Google removed PageRank from its Toolbar in 2016.
Now, you need to use different tools to measure link equity.
Moz’s Link Explorer
This is one of the best tools for link analysis.
Enter your page URL, and you’ll get a comprehensive analysis of your backlinks.
You can see the total number of backlinks, the domain authority of the linking sites, and the anchor text distribution. It even provides insights into your internal link structure.
This information gives you a snapshot of the overall quality of the page’s link equity.
Ahrefs and Semrush are good alternatives if you don’t have a Moz account.
Remember that these tools use different metrics and approaches to evaluate link equity. Using multiple tools can give you a more comprehensive view of your website’s link profile.
You can also use these tools to explore the backlinks of your competitors. This can help you identify potential opportunities for your link building efforts.
Google Search Console Links Report
You can also get insights into link equity in Google Search Console.
The “Links” report summarizes the external and internal links pointing to your web pages. It shows the pages that receive the most links and the anchor text used.
While the data might not be as comprehensive as Moz, it still gives you an overview of the links recognized by Google.
The value here is that you naturally know that these links have definitely been ‘found’ by Google and contribute to your link profile.
How Can I Get More Link Juice With My Links?
If you want your website to rank higher in search engine results, you need to get more link juice.
This typically comes from acquiring more links, but as you’ll see, you can also work to get more link juice from your existing links.
Create High-Quality Content
This is the most important factor in getting more link juice.
If you publish informative, high-quality content, you should naturally get more links. You’ll attract links from other websites seeking to share valuable resources with their audience.
Once you’ve published a page, promote your content so people can find it. Share it on social media and with influencers in your industry to boost your reach and attract more eyeballs.
Actively reach out to relevant blogs and publications in your industry and offer to contribute guest posts.
Guest blogging allows you to showcase your expertise and gain exposure to new audiences. It also gives you an opportunity to earn authoritative backlinks and boost your link equity.
Link building isn’t easy. But there’s no secret to it either.
1) Send a LOT of outreach emails & DMs
2) Build relationships with PR reps, editors, and freelance writers
3) Write high-quality guest posts
Stay consistent and you will earn links.
— Kai | eCommerce SEO (@KaiCromwell) February 18, 2023
FATJOE can help you get high-quality backlinks from relevant blogs in your niche.
Our experienced blogger outreach specialists will reach out to bloggers on your behalf and pitch your content. We can even write the content for you.
Optimize Internal Linking
Internal links pass link equity from page to page. Strategically placing relevant links in your content is a great way to boost the authority of individual pages.
Internal links can pass link juice along and, importantly, stop your pages being seen as orphan pages that have no links to them.
If you have a page on your site attracting quality links, internally link from that page the main pages you’re hoping to rank better.
Pass that juicy link equity to the right places.
— Will Coombe (@willcoombe) October 9, 2022
It can also influence another search engine ranking factor – topical authority.
Contextual internal links help search engines understand what your website is about and how authoritative it is on a particular topic.
The higher your topical authority, the more likely you are to rank high in search results for your target keywords.
Journalist And Media Links
There are many platforms that help journalists connect with experts for quotes and insights.
They can be a super effective way to attract backlinks from authority websites and boost the link juice flowing to your site.
Journalists post queries on the platform asking relevant experts to share their insights on particular topics.
If you’re an expert on the topic, you can respond with a quote and get featured in their article – with an expert quote backlink to your website.
News websites are well-regarded as sources for links and tend to have excellent link profiles and metrics themselves, so getting links from them naturally gives you a boost.
You can also look to secure media links along with your journalist outreach; the focus here is acquiring individual high-impact links rather than the more scattergun approach traditional outreach might yield.
Broken Link Building
You can boost link equity by replacing links to 404 pages with links to live pages on your website.
First, you need to find broken links on relevant third-party websites. The easiest way to do this is with a Chrome Extension like Check My Links.
Use the extension to analyze a webpage and find broken external links.
Then, reach out to the owner of the linking site, tell them about the broken link, and ask if they would like to link to your content instead.
Second Tier Link Building And Content Syndication
This is the only one of these tactics that increases the link juice and link equity of existing links.
With second-tier link building, you build links to pages that then link to you.
The idea is that the new links you build to that page will increase the authority of the page.
The value of any links coming from that page will therefore be boosted, including the one back to you.
It’s a way of securing more “bang for your buck” from existing links.
As well as conducting typical Blogger Outreach for these new links, you can submit the existing content to a Content Syndication service.
Content Syndication republishes the content across a network but, vitally, with credit links or canonical tags pointing back to the original content to let Google know that’s the piece that should be rewarded and valued.
Google sees that this content is being picked up and republished and that it, therefore, must be valuable.
It then rewards that page and content, increasing the value of the links from that page.
This can be a great strategy if you find you’ve gotten to a stage where new links provide diminishing returns. Instead, focus on maximising the link equity and link juice you get from your existing links!
Link Equity: Keep The Link Juice Flowing And Growing
Understanding the concept of link equity and how to get more link juice is integral to SEO strategy.
You can boost the authority of your target web pages and attract more organic traffic. Keep your SEO clients happy with authoritative and impactful links and achieve great results with fewer overall links needed.
For your own link building, you can focus on link equity to rise above tough competition, and for your clients, you can maximize link equity to secure the best results with the least hassle for them.
Head of Content
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