Link Juice: The Lifeblood of off-page SEO and Why Your Website Needs it

A link is only as valuable as the “link juice” it imparts, so knowing how to evaluate it and where to find it is key
Published on 
April 30, 2024
Updated on 
April 30, 2024
Posted in 

A lot goes into how well your website ranks and the amount of organic traffic you receive. Backlinks are, without a doubt, one of the top two or three most important ranking factors because they act as trust signals, and Google is much more apt to show trustworthy websites near the top of the search engine results page. 

The shorthand for that trust and authority is often referred to as “link juice” by link builders and SEOs. 

In the below article, we will break down what, exactly, link juice is and how it works, how to maximize your link juice and how to determine what kind of link juice your content offers to other websites. 

What is “link juice,” how does link juice work and how does it factor into search engine optimization?

Link juice (or link equity) is the idea that a given link passes on SEO value in the form of trust and authority from one page or domain to another. Page authority and the quality and relevance of a referring page all contribute to how much “juice” a link will pass on. 

The more authoritative, relevant and high quality a referring domain is, the more link juice it’s going to provide. 

Link juice and PageRank

PageRank, Google’s (allegedly) 200-factor-strong ranking algorithm, takes a lot of things into consideration when deciding where to rank your website on the search engine results page, but one of the most important considerations is how many high-quality links you have pointing to your website. 

In theory, the more links a page has, the more trustworthy and high quality it is, by virtue of the fact that a lot of other domains have seen fit to send their visitors and readers to it. Think of it as a vote of confidence. 

That confidence (i.e., link juice) lets Google know that your site is high quality and worthy of visibility in the search results.

Google only wants to show its users the best, highest quality content, and links help them decide which pages to showcase. 

When SEOs and link builders talk about “juice”, what they are really talking about is “how much SEO value does a particular link provide a page or website.”

Determining link juice/link equity

Even if you haven’t been link building all that long, you are likely aware that not all links are created the same. 

Backlinks run the gamut from great to awful, and the SEO value they confer ranges from a lot to negative. Too many of the wrong kind of link and Google can end up hitting you with a manual action penalty that tanks your ranking and organic traffic. 

It is hard to quantify link equity, though. The amount of link juice you will get from a given link depends on a variety of factors, including things like: 

  • Site authority
  • Relevance
  • Crawlability
  • Link frequency 
  • Link location

Site authority

Websites with a higher domain authority (a proprietary metric developed by SEO analytics tool MOZ) tend to pass on more link juice.

New websites that haven’t established themselves as reputable sources of information are not going to pass on as much link juice, in theory, as much older and more authoritative websites. 

A link from a new site that is contextually relevant can still pass on some link equity, but usually it is minimal. A link from a big news site that gets millions of unique monthly visitors, provided it is relevant to your niche and content, is going to pass on a lot more link juice. 


The way that the Google algorithm factors backlinks into its evaluation of a website’s rankability has changed a lot in recent years. 

A succession of link spam updates has continuously refined Google’s ability to suss out low quality, low-effort backlinks that are just meant to game the ranking algorithm. 

Google values quality over quantity. 

This wasn’t always the case. 

Back in the earlier days of search engine optimization, you could get away with easy black hat link building tactics that would point a large number of cheap, low quality links to a site and Google would simply focus on the number. 

Search engines are much better a spotting, ignoring and sometimes even penalizing such links. 

Links have to be relevant (at the page and domain level), and the anchor text used to place a link has to be contextually appropriate–not a naked advertising ploy. 

That is why any link builder or link building agency worth their salt nowadays have a strong editorial policy in place with well-thought-out anchor text policies in place. 


Crawlability refers to a search engine’s ability to discover, understand and index a piece of content so that it will appear in the search results. 

A link is only crawlable if the destination page can be indexed. If a site links to a page of yours that can’t be indexed–for a variety of reasons–Google is going to ignore that link and you won’t get any link juice from it.

Link frequency

Link juice is distributed across all the links on a page. If someone links to one of your pages and it contains three internal links pointing elsewhere on our website, the link juice will be distributed across those three pages. 

If you have too many links on a page, it dilutes the potency of the link juice passed on. We will delve into internal linking best practics a bit later on in the article, but how effectively you take advantage of link juice depends a lot on your internal linking strategy. 

Link location

Google has indicated that a referring page will pass on link juice, regardless of where a link is located on that page. 

It could be in the main body or it could be header or footer links.

Location does, however, impact how much link juice is passed on. A link in the main body of a blog article, for instance, is likely going to pass on much more link equity that a link placed in the header. 

How to build your link equity

If you want more link juice or link equity, you need to attract it. That’s really the long and short of it. 

Yes, you need to be proactive about prospecting for and building links, but before anyone will link to you, you need to have link-worthy content. 

Link juice, therefore, is as much about finding the right types of websites from which to acquire backlinks as it is about producing high quality content and linkable assets. 

At dofollow, our role as a link building service is to find and maximize link juice opportunities for our clients. 

In order for us to be able to do our job as link builders, a client needs to have both the content in place and, as we will go into in the following section, an internal linking strategy in place. 

How to distribute your link juice and maximize its impact?

There are a few considerations when it comes to distributing link juice. One pertains to your internal linking structure (the most important for your own SEO, ranking and organic traffic) the other to how you pass out link juice to other websites. 

Link juice and internal linking 

Because of how strict Google has become with its linking guidelines, meaning how it evaluates the referring domains that are actually doing the linking, it is hard to get backlinks that point directly to the most important pages in your sales funnel. 

Let’s face it, if you are running an online business and rely on organic traffic, you want your commercial pages to be as visible as possible in the search results. 

The only problem is, sites (especially high-domain authority sites with brand images to think of) don’t want to link to these kinds of pages. 

Webmasters want to link to informational content that helps provide context and value for their readers, not send them to someone’s service or product pages. 

You, as the person trying to pass on link juice to your pages so that they rank higher in the SERP, need a way around that. 

The workaround

The way to pass on link juice to the pages that you ultimately want to have it is via an internal linking strategy. 

Basically, what you want to do is acquire backlinks to your informational content and linkable assets (typically things that you would host on your blog) and then, using internal linking, spread link juice towards your high ROI, high converting pages. 

You can either already have a link placed somewhere in the content directing your link equity to the target page, or you can wait until the information page gains some traction in the SERP and starts to rank higher and then add the page. 

The latter is the strategy that we carried out for a former client that ended up seeing an enormous jump in their search engine ranking, organic traffic and conversions. You can check out that case study here. 

How you give out link equity to other websites

So far, we have mainly been talking about internal links. 

But there are also link equity considerations to have in mind when you hand out external links to an external site.

When you link to other websites while writing content, you essentially have two options. You can use nofollow links or dofollow links. 

Dofollow backlinks

Dofollow backlinks are what you (really everyone) want because they have no conditions attached to them. A dofollow link is a website saying, “I approve of this link’s target page.” This is the ultimate trust signal. 

Nofollow backlinks

Nofollow links, on the other hand, send traffic to the target page, but the referring page is telling Google “I don’t want to pass my trust and authority onto this page.” Websites have dofollow and nofollow linking policies for a wide range of reasons.

But Google and other search engines put a lot of stock in whether something is a dofollow or nofollow link. 

In short, dofollow links pass link equity. Nofollow links do not. Nofollow links can still be a good source of referral traffic, and they are part of a diversified and healthy backlink profile. But they are not a search engine ranking factor like dofollow links are.

Whether an external site linking to you or you linking to an external site, the dofollow or nofollow tag is highly important. 

How to determine where your internal backlinks should point

Ultimately, you want to pass link equity on to those pages that have the best chance of converting visitors and making you money. Knowing what those pages are and then directing traffic to them is part of a sound SEO strategy.

A great tool for this is Google Search Console.

And particularly the search results, which will show you the pages that are receiving the most clicks, along with your conversion rate. 

Of course, you want to pass link juice onto your most important pages–whether that be a signup page, a particular product or service page, a demo landing page. 

But you also want to be responsive to the pages on your site that are getting the most clicks. This is especially the case if you are running an eCommerce site with a large number of product pages. 

Link juice and SEO

At the end of the day, how you generate link equity and keep the link juice flowing and how you distribute it have a major impact on your online business success. 

You need the content to be able to attract the link equity in the first place, and you need the link equity so that search engines will show your site to people (who hopefully will then click on it). 

You need to know how to look for the link opportunities and to what pages those links should be pointing. 

It’s a lot of effort and strategizing, but it pays off. 

If you are interested in working with a full-service link building agency–no contracts, performance-based—that will take your link building and organic traffic to the next level, reach out to dofollow today and let’s find out if we’re a good fit. 

Why Trust Us On SEO

Eric Carrell & Sebastian Schaffer have been working in SEO for over a decade, building their own projects - understanding and testing SEO strategy, along with building hundreds of white hat links per month for our projects. They take their learnings and experience and apply them to the strategy that drives our link building strategy for our clients.

Eric & Seb have always believed in quality over quantity, doing things the right way so we future proof our client’s websites against future Google updates and the evolving industry of search.

While Seb handles the company strategy around culture, processes and structure, Eric is constantly working to improve our service offering, customer experience, and following the industry in parallel with Google’s Quality Guidelines so that we are always one step ahead of our competition and aligned with what Google wants to see for your site to rank higher.

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