According to Google, a multitude of quality hyperlinks (or just “links”) are one of the most important factors for gaining top rankings in the Google search engine.
The term “link juice” is SEO industry jargon. It’s often talked about in relation to link building efforts such as guest posting, blogger outreach, linkbait and broken link building.
How Does Link Juice Work?
Link juice, link authority, and backlink authority are all different words that mean essentially the same thing. Google analyzes the links that point to a particular webpage to determine what ranking position the webpage should be placed in their search results for a particular keyword query.
If Page A links to Page B, then link juice “flows” from page A to page B and that generally helps page B rank higher on Google. The more pages (and the higher-quality the pages are) that links to page B, the more link juice page B has and the higher it will tend to rank on Google.
How Do Websites Get More Link Juice?
The smartest way to attract more links to a website is to:
- Create authoritative, useful and trustworthy content
- Improve the strength and popularity of the brand
- Continually advertise, promote and get PR
- Promote good website content and be sure it gets in front of the right audience
Other common practices that businesses use to improve their own link juice include:
- Contributing content to other websites
- Blogger outreach
- Expert quotes or brand mentions
- Product reviews on blogs
- Getting listed in industry-relevant directories
How Do You Calculate Link Juice?
There are different metrics available for measuring the link juice of your own site and others. Google PageRank is the algorithm that Google uses to measure link juice (but Google PageRank numbers are no longer publicly available). Several SEO tools publish their own link juice data and are valuable for getting accurate numbers, including Moz Domain Authority (DA), Majestic Citation Flow, Majestic Trust Flow (TF), and others.
Link Juice In Action
While link juice doesn’t directly drive sales, the more positive link juice your website has, the more authoritative it will be in Google’s eyes. As such, this allows you to show up higher in search, improving your chances of users clicking through to your website.
The Google Analytics screenshot below shows how building link juice improved Google rankings and subsequently website traffic for a locksmith website that decided to focus on improving their link juice.
The locksmith’s website was optimized for locksmith related keywords, but because the website was not yet authoritative in Google’s eyes, the website didn’t rank well or get much traffic.
They next focused on building relevant, editorial links to the website to drive much-needed link juice. The website started at 0 Moz Domain Authority but was built up to achieve a 24 Moz Domain Authority. As the graphic above shows, after a few months of building up link juice the website started getting more traffic from Google, eventually ranking at the top of Google.
This is a very typical pattern; websites with little link juice will rank poorly. As links are built, and more link juice flows to the website, it will gradually start ranking better.
About the Author: Adam Thompson is the senior strategist for all digital projects with 10x digital. He has specific expertise in search engine optimization (SEO), web analytics and conversion rate optimization. He’s also a Google Analytics Individual Qualified (GAIQ) consultant and a Top 50 SEOmoz community member. Adam is a contributor to Search Engine Journal, Web Pro News, SEOmoz, and other industry blogs.