“Link Juice” – What the Heck is It?

“Link Juice” – What the Heck is It?

Farzad Rashidi

Farzad Rashidi

Lead Innovator at Respona

“Link Juice” – What the Heck is It?

Link juice is a term that gets thrown around in the SEO community a lot.

However, despite its common usage, the exact meaning behind it can seem a bit vague – especially to beginners and non-SEOs.

In this article, we’ll do our best to define link juice and address some common misconceptions that float around it.

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“Link juice” refers to the value that a backlink has for a site’s SEO.

It’s also known as link equity.

Naturally, the “juicer” a link is, the bigger its contribution to your SEO will be.

Let’s break it down.

Essentially, when a webpage links to another site, it shares some of its own ranking power with the linked site, which can help improve the linked site’s position in search engine results, its visibility, and overall domain authority.

The concept hinges on the idea that not all links are created equal; links from high-authority, relevant sites are more valuable and therefore pass more “juice.”

Link juice and Google PageRank are two terms that are often used interchangeably.

They are similar, yes, but not exactly the same.

To put it bluntly, PageRank is part of Google’s overall ranking algorithm.

pagerank scheme

PageRank is part of what makes a link “juicy” – but it’s not the only factor.

Even if a link does not pass on any PageRank, it can still be “juicy” – for example, when placed on a “top 10 X” article that gets thousands of visits per month.

What I’m trying to say is that link juice is the combination of all benefits a link may bring – while PageRank is just one of those benefits.

So, what are these benefits?

The most important aspects of a link are:

  • Linking page’s traffic
  • The link’s topical relevance and alignment with user intent
  • Linking domain’s authority
  • Whether the link is “dofollow” or “nofollow”
  • How many other outgoing links the page has

Let’s break each one down individually.

Traffic

First up – the obvious.

The more traffic a page gets, the more people will potentially click on your link, and some might even convert into customers.

Relevance and Intent

Now, let’s slowly start dipping our toes into the less obvious.

Topical relevance is also simple – for example, as a link building agency, you want links from articles that are about link building and SEO services – not cooking blogs.

But what often gets overlooked is the user intent.

When I’m working with other link builders, a mistake I see a lot is trying to get commercial links (homepage, landing page links etc.) into informational blog posts – “what is?” “how to’s”, and so on.

Sure, someone may click on the link, but they’ll expect to see another informational article.

So when they end up on your homepage, they immediately recognize it as content marketing and leave.

But, if you get your agency on a “top 10 link building agencies”-type blog post, the user intent is much different.

They’re already looking for agencies like yours, and are interested in checking you out.

Additionally, if you’re building links to your informational pages (blogs, courses, etc.), and proactively helping the user learn something, you’ll slowly start establishing yourself as the go-to guy for anything related to your niche.

Which is exactly what you want online.

Like linking to a blog on email outreach from a section on getting in touch with journalists:

juicy link example
Image source: Hubspot

The more external links a page has, the less juice each individual link can pass along.

As easy as that.

page with too many links example

Where your link is placed is also important – of course, the ideal scenario is to have it where everyone will see it.

This is different for every website and page, so there’s no set “rule” for it, but typically, the closer to the beginning of the article the link is (but not in the very intro!), the bigger its perceived value is.

Authority

Authority is also a bit vague of a term, because it’s not an official Google metric – and there are multiple tools that calculate their own versions of domain authority.

However, despite using slightly different values, the rough idea of DA/DR is roughly the same.

checking domain rating with ahrefs
Image source: Ahrefs

Site authority is a measure of a website’s overall trustworthiness, credibility, and relevance as evaluated by search engines.

High-authority sites are considered reliable sources of information and tend to rank higher in search engine results. Various factors contribute to a site’s authority, including:

  • Domain Age: Older domains often have more authority due to their established presence.
  • Backlink Profile: The number and quality of inbound links from other reputable sites.
  • Content Quality: Consistently high quality content that satisfies user intent.
  • User Engagement: Metrics such as time on site, bounce rate, and repeat visits.
  • Technical SEO: Proper site architecture, mobile-friendliness, fast loading speeds, and secure connections (HTTPS).

You can use different tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, and Moz to check the site authority of your prospective link partners.

You can’t check it with Google Search Console, unfortunately.

Dofollow vs Nofollow Tags

Not every link passes on PageRank. Obviously applies to broken links. What’s not as obvious is that links can have rel tags that you need to check the code of the page to see.

If a link has a “rel=nofollow” tag, it doesn’t pass on any SEO signals.

nofollow link example

But that doesn’t mean that a nofollow link can’t be “juicy”.

As I mentioned above, a placement on a listicle, even if the link is nofollow, has a much higher chance of translating into new customers than a dofollow link – but to a blog post.

And money is pretty juicy, if you ask me.

So, how do you get the good links?

Through link building outreach.

In this section, we’ll walk through an example link building campaign with Respona.

You can do link outreach without Respona.

However, if you choose to sign up, Respona will do the heavy lifting for you by:

  • Offering a range of campaign templates for the best link building/PR/partner recruitment strategies
  • Finding opportunities and their contact information
  • Automating personalization & sending with AI

In our example, let’s run through a guest posting campaign to get those author’s bio links, and a way to provide our link partners with indirect link placements in our guest articles in return for mentioning Respona.

respona guest posting campaign template

To get started, just fill in two fields: the topics you want to write about and a recent sample of your work.

The first field sets up your search strings, while the second goes straight into your outreach emails.

You can also use Respona’s AI keyword suggestions to greatly broaden the search.

Once you’re set, click “Use this template,” and you’ll be taken to the campaign editor.

respona email sequence builder

Respona has already prepped an email outreach sequence for you, but add your personal touch with spam checks, unsubscribe links, and fine-tuning your follow-up timing.

Another tip: include an AI variable like the Icebreaker for a unique touch for every sinle email in your campaign – on auto-pilot..

Here you’ll get personalizations beyond just “first_name”—an AI-powered variable that tailors each guest post opportunity in your campaign.

Respona comes with two default AI variables (Icebreaker and “P.S.”), but we encourage you to create your own and experiment.

When you’re ready, move on to finding guest blogging opportunities.

respona search engine

Respona will use search operators to target “write for us” pages with your keywords, running several Google queries at once.

Click “Continue,” set your SEO filters to refine your search, and you’re good to go.

adding seo filters

Respona will automatically find the right contacts and personalize your emails with AI, showing results in real-time.

Since we used a campaign template, the contact finder is already pre-set to find relevant decision-makers for guest posting – but you’re more than welcome to tweak it to your needs.

respona email finder

In the next setting, you can also choose the algorithm and provide additional instructions for the AI personalizer.

We recommend feeding it a couple of examples of your manual personalization for the AI to sound more like you.

ai personalization settings

Before we start the automation, let’s also make this search recurring – so that Respona automatically re-runs it and adds fresh opportunities to your campaign.

So, all you have to really do is log in every once in a while and launch new batches.

making a search recurring

The search runs in real-time – so you’ll see results as soon as they’re found.

No need to do much here besides inspect your results and remove the ones you don’t like.

launching the search automation

Once it’s done, feel free to move on to the next step – Review & Launch.

Here, you can review your AI personalizations and make manual edits.

Despite AI’s power, a personal brush-up can always seal the deal.

step 3 - review & launch

Respona also pulls LinkedIn profiles for extra connection points, enhancing your outreach success.

Pre-launch checks ensure you’re not contacting anyone on your unsubscribe list and verify that emails are complete.

From there, all that’s left is to monitor responses and start writing your guest posts!

Need to keep track of multiple inboxes?

Respona’s shared Inbox consolidates them, making it easy to manage without juggling tabs.

respona shared inbox

We recommend running campaigns from multiple sender emails with a low daily email limit (15-45/day) to maintain high email health while still reaching your targets.

Now, let’s take a look at some places to look out for and avoid when building your links.

Link farms are everywhere, and we all get offers to get links from them – but those links have zero value.

Any blog can be a link farm, so the main thing to keep an eye out for is how many links to other websites on average does a site have per post?

If more than 3-5, it’s likely a link farm.

Another tell-tale sign of a link farm is the ability to self-publish.

link farm example
Image source: ArticleCity

ABC exchanges are the name of the game, and it’s easy to use these sites for indirect exchanges.

Site A links to Site B that links to Site C, and so on.

Even if the domain rating and organic traffic numbers of a site are decent, Google knows it’s a link farm, so getting those links is a waste of time.

PBNs

A Private Blog Network (PBN) is a network of websites that are used to build backlinks to a primary website with the objective of improving its search engine rankings.

So, a link farm system – whether created to boost another of the owner’s websites, or to sell links.

The goal of a PBN is to look like a real site, both to the user and the search engine, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to spotting them.

pbn example
Image source: EBusiness Blog

Here are some general pointers to keep in mind:

  1. Domain History: Use tools like the Wayback Machine to check the history of a domain. Sudden changes in ownership and content can indicate that the domain has been repurposed as a part of a PBN.
  2. Content Quality and Relevance: PBN sites often have thin, low-quality content that is not particularly relevant to the niche. The content may also appear generic or spun (created by rephrasing existing content to seem unique).
  3. Link Patterns: Analyze the backlink profile using tools like Ahrefs or Moz. If a website has an unusual pattern of linking specifically to a few sites or there is an excessive number of outbound links, it’s a red flag.
  4. Website Design and Structure: Many PBNs have a generic, outdated design, and poor content writing. They often lack social media profiles, active engagement like comments, or any form of meaningful user interaction.
  5. Ownership Information: Check the WHOIS data. If the ownership details are masked or the privacy protection service is used, it might be worth further investigation.

General News Sites and Journals

These may be the worst offenders – as they can be both self-publishing link farms AND PBNs at the same time.

general news site example
Image source: Time Business News

Even if it’s a genuine news website, adding your links is both irrelevant topically and misaligned with the user’s search intent – since they’re just there to catch up on the latest.

Does It Work Internally?

Yes, link juice flow can be passed through internal links within the same website.

In fact, whenever you publish a new article, it’s recommended to add some internal links from already performing articles to give it a bit of an extra boost.

Link building cheat sheet

Link building cheat sheet

Gain access to the 3-step strategy we use to earn over 86 high-quality backlinks each month.

Download for free

Now Over to You

So, to sum it up, the juiciest links come from high-traffic, high authority websites and align with the linking content’s topic and user intent.

The best way to get them would be through cold email outreach – and by offering an indirect link from one of your guest posts in return.

Need help?

Don’t hesitate to start your 14-day free trial with Respona to see how we can help first-hand.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Link juice refers to the value or authority that is passed from one web page to another through hyperlinks.

When a webpage links to another, it’s effectively sharing its own ranking power, boosting the linked page’s position in search engine results.

Link juice plays a crucial role in SEO by transferring the ranking power of an authoritative website to the linked sites.

This can help improve the linked site’s visibility, search engine ranking, and overall domain authority.

Several factors determine the amount of link juice passed, including the linking site’s authority, the relevance of the content, the number of outbound links on the linking page, and whether the link is “dofollow” or “nofollow”.

Follow links pass on link juice, while nofollow links do not.

Yes, internal links can pass link juice within the same website, helping to improve the ranking of internal pages. Properly structured internal linking not only distributes link juice but also enhances user experience by enabling easier navigation.

How Can I Maximize the Link Juice to My Website?

To maximize link juice, focus on obtaining quality backlinks from high-authority, relevant websites.

Additionally, ensure that your own linking strategy is optimized by using dofollow links where appropriate and maintaining a sensible structure of internal linking to distribute link juice effectively across your own pages.

Farzad Rashidi

Article by

Farzad Rashidi

Farzad Rashidi is the lead innovator at Respona, the all-in-one digital PR and link-building software that combines personalization with productivity. He also runs the marketing efforts at Visme, where he helped the company gain over 12 million active users and pass 2M monthly organic traffic.

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