Link Juice: Improving Google Ranking with Links

Any discussion of using links to improve your search engine rankings starts with link juice. What is link juice? Link juice is the term used in the SEO world to refer to the value or equity passed from one page or site to another. This value is passed through hyperlinks. Search engines see links as votes by other websites that your page is valuable and worth promoting. The quantity and quality of links pointing to your page are important factors when a search engine is deciding where to rank your page in search results.
So how does link juice work? Basically, the value of a page is divided equally by the number of outbound links on the page, and then passed to the URLs in the links. If your page has links from five sites pointing to it, it’ll have more link juice than a different page with four backlinks (assuming all pages have equal authority). The more authority a page has, the more link juice it will pass.

Note: You used to be able to use rel=”nofollow” tags to direct the flow of link juice to certain links on your page, a tactic known as PageRank sculpting. This is no longer the case. While rel=”nofollow” still blocks link juice from flowing to the linked page, it will not increase the value passed by the page’s other links. The value that would normally go to those links is simply lost to the Internet.
What does this mean for your page? It means finding opportunities to get your site link juice will likely end up being a major part of your SEO. In this piece we’ll go over a couple of ways you can make the most out of the link juice you may have already, as well as how to attract as many links as possible.
Low Hanging Fruit
Internal Linking
One often-overlooked source of potential link juice is your site. In a relentless pursuit of high-value backlinks, many marketers miss pools of link juice concentrated on their most popular pages. Chances are, you’ve got a reservoir of value you can pass on to your internal pages, waiting for you to tap into through internal linking.
As with most on-page SEO elements, internal linking starts with your keyword research (if you need help, there are plenty of free tools out there). Come up with a list of a few keywords you want to target for your page. Find pages on your site that feature those keywords using the site: and intext: operators to get the pages that have the most value to pass. For example, search site: http://www.example.com intext:”target keyword”. Narrow this list down to a few high priority pages with high authority. There are a few tools you can use:
SEO Review Tools: This is a robust tool that finds both domain and page authority for a URL. It will also tell you the total number of external links pointing at your page. Use the Link Checker tool to find the URL, anchor text and authority information for your external links. They also have a bulk authority checker that lets you look up ten pages at a time.
Small SEO Tools: A free tool that scores domain and page authority of submitted URLs out of 100.
Open Site Explorer: This is a free tool by SEOmoz. You can get Moz’s Domain Authority, Page Authority and inbound links for your page.
When you’ve assembled your lists of target keywords and high authority pages, it’s time to drain the link juice. Place links to your target page using your keywords as anchor text. Be careful to avoid hyperlinking only your keyword exact matches as this could end up looking spammy to a search engine. Use synonyms or latent semantic keywords (LSI keywords) when possible.
Finally, you need to remove any unnecessary outbound links from your pages. As we mentioned above, the amount of value a page can pass is divided equally among the total number of links on a page. You can use the rel=”nofollow” tag to avoid passing link juice, but you can’t use it to increase the amount of equity passed by other links on the page. You can find the number of internal links on a page in Google Search Console under Search Traffic.
Link Reclamation
Link reclamation is the process of finding and, hopefully, fixing broken links pointing to your website. Use Google Search Console to find 404 errors. Click the URL and then on the Linked From tab to see your internal links to this page. From there, it’s pretty easy to fix the links on your site. For external links, you can use a tool like Screaming Frog or Ahrefs to find broken backlinks. Hopefully, the reclamation process is as easy as sending the backlinking site’s owner an email with the fixed URL. If not, use redirects to send users and link juice to the right page.
Check out this short video for a more detailed look at link reclamation:

Note: While the video states that 302 redirects don’t pass link juice, that is no longer the case. Temporary 302 redirects now pass link juice and authority to the destination URL.
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via Reme Le Hane

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