Link Equity

What Is Link Equity?

Link equity, aka link juice, is a search engine ranking factor that determines how much value a web page gets from an incoming link. It affects search engine rankings by sharing some of the linking page’s authority and relevance. The exact value a web page can get from a website is difficult to assess, but we know which factors are at play.

Link equity is an evolution of Google’s concept of PageRank, an algorithm that used to be prevalent back in the early days of search algorithms. In fact, PageRank was the first algorithm that Google put to use.

This article will explain the basics of link equity, the factors that comprise it, and solve some of the common issues associated with link equity.

Is PageRank Still in Use?

PageRank is still in use to this day, however, it’s not the only search algorithm in action. Moreover, it’s far from being the same algorithm that it used to be.

The concept of PageRank has advanced from its early stages when it was all about the number of links that point to a page. PageRank assumed that a web page with more links to it must be better. It encouraged webmasters to focus on quantity instead of quality and spawned numerous link farming strategies that are all in the domain of black hat SEO today.

Much has changed since then, and now the quality of links is a far superior metric than the number of links you have pointing to a single page. We refer to this metric as link equity.

The Flow of Link Equity – Contributing Factors

When we discuss the flow of link equity, we’re really talking about the transfer of link value from external sites to the target website. While internal links do contribute to link equity as well, it’s not nearly as valuable as that of external links.

How much link equity will flow depends on a series of contributing factors:

  • Topical relevance.
  • Crawling.
  • Nofollow links.
  • Page’s authority.
  • Quantity of links.
  • HTTP status.
  • Link placement.

Core Principles of Link Equity

By core principles of link equity, we are referring to two ground rules of passing link value. The two basic principles of link equity are:

  1. External links pass more equity than internal links. It goes without saying that internal links are pretty valuable on their own, especially if your domain has a high authority rating or if the linking page has plenty of inbound links of its own (more about this below). However, in the long run, external links are going to pass more link equity, thus adding more value to your page.
  2. Pages with plenty of inbound links offer higher-quality outgoing links. Pages that no one is linking to won’t share much of their link equity when they link to you. It’s always better to get links from high-authority pages that many other websites link to.

Common Link Equity Flow Issues

There are two common link equity flow issues that you should be aware of.

First, large websites often find themselves in a situation where only a relatively small number of web pages get any link equity at all. It’s possible that they aren’t the most important web pages on the site that you hope would get link equity instead. In that case, a better internal linking structure might help you direct the flow of link equity where you really want it. Rewriting content that’s not attracting any backlinks is also a good idea.

Second, small websites often face the issue of only the homepage getting link equity. The best way to solve this issue is to have your homepage serve content that’s most relevant to you. You don’t have to build separate pages for every focus keyword on your mind. Use the traction your homepage is getting to your advantage.

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