In this article I want to talk about the link juice, since it is something that all SEO’s mention, but what we do not talk about in depth, we do not talk about how it works, its value and how to really take advantage of it.
What is the link juice?
The link juice is a very simple term to explain with the classic example of the glass of orange juice.
Imagine that we have a glass of orange juice, which has been filled from other glasses or jars, therefore, those glasses or jars have passed part of their juice to our glass, or what is the same, we They have linked from those glasses or jars to our glass. In turn, from our glass we will pass that juice to other glasses, or what is the same, we will be linking to other websites to pass part of our juice.
But what does this juice step really apply to links mean? This passage of juice from one vessel to another, symbolizes that linked from one website to another, and thanks to this linked, it passes part of the authority of the websites that link to the linked websites. In this way there is a continuous transfer of authority from one website to another through the links.
How does the link juice flow work?
-Pass of Authority to internal areas
The transfer of link juice is not always done from a web A, to a web B, but it is also done within the same web. There are parts of our page that will have greater authority than others, sections that will really be much more powerful in terms of positioning in search engines.
Thanks to the internal linking, we can pass part of the strength of our most powerful areas to other areas of the web that we are interested in strengthening and positioning in the search engines.
The biggest advantage we can get from this, is that the internal linkage is totally controlled by us, in this way we can manage to transfer authority from one area to another in a relatively simple way.
-Step of link juice to other websites
Although we have the transfer of this internal flow in our own web, it is necessary to get link juice from other external websites.
Why? Why this internal flow that we are passing from one area to another of our website has to come originally from somewhere, has not been generated spontaneously.
Where does it come from? External links that other websites place on our website. In this way, when they link us to a section of our website, they will be passing link juice to this section, and if we in turn link this area to another internal area of our own web, we will move part of that flow, that force towards that internal area of our web.
How is Link Juice diluted?
– Normal Flow of Force Flow
To clearly see how the link juice is transferred, I will use a clear and simple example. From a section of our website A, we link to 4 websites externally. In this way, we will be distributing the external flow of our website in an equitable manner, so that we pass a 25% link juice to each of the websites that we link.
However, this is not as simple as that, if you link to 4 websites, it is distributed among four websites equally. Other factors come into play, such as the area from where you link to these websites.
It is not the same to link them from the footer, which is the end of the web, to link them from the beginning of the page and also go between texts. The higher the link is and the more natural it seems, the more strength that link will pass us.
Now, does this mean that the link juice is not shared equally? One theory could be that it is not evenly distributed, but also another hypothesis could be that depending on which zones the link is in, that flow of force that passes, even if it is the same, has less effectiveness when it is less natural or placed in a less favored situation.
-Transfer of link juice with nofollow
The rel nofollow attribute in the links is used to tell Googlebot not to follow this link. Therefore, when we use the nofollow attribute for a link, Google will not give importance to this link and that is why no force will be transferred or almost nothing will be transferred in the link.
Does this mean that links with nofollow are useless?
On the contrary, in fact they serve many more things than we can think at first. A very simple example of something for which they can serve, is for example to improve our natural anchor text percentage, since, even if they do not pass or pass very little link juice, they do count as one more link, and therefore, your anchor text itself will have a more natural diversity of links.
In addition to this, many websites like Wikipedia, only link with nofollow links, however, no one rejects a link in Wikipedia or sites of such high authority. Perhaps a link, even if nofollow, if it comes from a site of such a large authority, no matter how little authority we have, will always be greater than that of a dofollow link in a site with practically no authority.
In what situations is the link juice step more effective?
- Relevant websites for our site
When a website is our same theme, that step of strength will be much more valuable than a link in a web of another topic that has nothing to do with ours. It is much more natural that a web of our same theme makes a reference to our page to make us a site with a totally different theme.
- Webs with few outgoing links (less link juice distribution)
The fewer outbound links the page from which they link us, the less force will be distributed among those links, therefore, there will be more link juice available for us.
- Well-positioned websites on Google
If a website that is well positioned in Google links us and passes us some of its strength, we will be receiving it from a website that Google likes, we are receiving quality link juice, and if it is also positioned by the keywords for which we are fighting, much better.
- Webs with high user response
The websites with high user response, in general tend to be websites with high CTR in Google and with little abandonment rate, therefore they are websites that are beginning to be very well valued by Google. Receive a certain flow of strength of one of these websites is very positive because they are alive and fully active websites.
- Webs with high number of visits
It is true that there are times when we can receive links from websites with few visitors and that they pass us a very important link juice. However, as a general rule, websites that have a large number of visits, are usually quality websites, websites that are linked from many sites and therefore are pages that can pass us a good ration of strength.
In what situations is the flow of this SEO force less effective?
- Links with the nofollow attribute
As we have commented previously, the nofollow attribute does not pass link juice or if it is passed, it is very little.
- Sites of irrelevant themes for our sites.
That any web link of an irrelevant theme for ours may be understandable, but as a general rule, most of the links we receive should be from websites of our same theme, since what we intend is that they be natural and that we spend all the strength possible for that subject.
- Webs with many outgoing links.
If we share the flow of links with many other websites, the amount of force that reaches us to our link will be very small, especially when it comes to links on websites that do not have too much authority.
- Penalized websites
A link in a penalized web, instead of using force to improve your positions in Google or the strength of your website, what can give you is part of that penalty.
It can happen that even if a penalized website links you, this does not affect you negatively if you have a good profile of links, but if we abuse these links on penalized websites, the most likely thing is that it ends up becoming a real disaster.
- Webs not positioned
The link juice that a non-positioned web can pass on to you will be much less effective than that of a well-positioned website. It is not the same as linking us to a website that is very dear to Google and that appears in good posts for different keywords, to which we link from a website that does not appear for practically no search.
Is it bad to link to other sites for our own internal link juice?
So far we have been talking about the fact that the flow of strength of links is diluted as we link to other sites. Therefore, it would not be unreasonable to say that we should not link anywhere to lose any of our own strength.
However, this is a totally false claim. Linking to other websites does not mean losing strength or anything negative. On the contrary, Google likes to refer to high quality sites in our articles.
Link to a site that is TOP for a theme, is to give our article an added value, is to give more quality information to our users and therefore can be said that it is something positive. Obviously, we do not have to go crazy and start linking to all types of websites right and left, we must do it moderately and with a head, and above all, only in cases where we really need it.
The passage of the internal flow of links
Internal structure of the web
One of the most important things to get a good flow of link juice on our website is having a good base, having a good internal structure on our website. One of the structures that I like the most is the mixed structure.
In this type of mixed structure, parts of the tree structure, which goes from the index linking to the categories, from the categories to the subcategories and these subcategories linking to the internal zones, until reaching the posts. That is, it is a structure that is very reminiscent of a family tree.
In addition to this, the interesting thing about the mixed structure is that it links between posts of different categories and even among the same categories. In this way we could control the whole flow of force of our entire web, sending it to where it interests us the most.
From which areas do we link?
When we want to give greater relevance to a specific area, what we have to do is inspect our entire website. See which areas and posts are the ones that have the most authority, those that are best positioned, and so on. It is from those areas from which we must remove the links to the posts that we want to give them greater strength.
What is the purpose of the nofollow attribute?
The nofollow attribute can be very useful to us. For example on our website we will have areas that we do not want to give relevance to, but that we must have in a mandatory way. This is the case of legal notices, notices of cookies, and so on. These links are links with which on the one hand we lose link juice and on the other hand we lose time to the Google robot by scanning them when we do not want to position them or give them importance.
With the nofollow attribute in this type of sections, we will not send link juice to these areas and, in the process, guide Google’s robot so that it does not lose scan time in something that does not interest us, and so we can use that time and resources in others that we are more interested in positioning.
The link juice of the broken links
When we have a website of a considerable size, and also takes a lot of time online, we have to keep in mind that we will have broken links for sure. Broken links are links that do not go anywhere, that generate 404 errors or go to websites that no longer exist. Therefore, we can have both broken links that point to other websites, and internal broken links of sections or posts that no longer exist.
How can we solve this loss of strength?
It is very simple, we will have to scan our website in search of those errors. The easiest way is to do it with a screaming frog or xenu type program. With them we can get the list of broken links on our website to eliminate them and solve the problem.
What to do with the link juice of the deleted zones?
As I said before, on our website we can find areas that we have eliminated and that now no longer exist. Apart from losing internal force flow to link these areas, we are also losing part of that external force because there will surely be webs that will have linked to this content that does not exist now.
If we leave these contents totally eliminated, we will lose that flow we were talking about, that’s why we have to take solutions such as using redirects 301.
Many people, in these cases redirects 301 automatically all the content that generates 404 error to the index of the web. That is, redirect all these deleted contents to the main page and generate that error.
This can be a solution if you redirect one or two contents that are really relevant to the main page, however, if you do it in such a beastly manner, it is most likely that the alarms go off in Google, because it is not normal to make a redirection of many pages to just the index of the web (besides not all will be able to be of a content similar to the index).
The solution is to study in particular each deleted area and redirect it to a part of the web that is closely related to that content. It is something much more laborious, but at the same time, more effective.
Transfer of force and authority in domain changes
When we make a domain change, it is very important to perform a 301 redirect, since it is the only redirection that will pass the force and full authority of our old domain to our new domain.
- 404 errors
Another important thing to take into account when making redirects 301, are 404 errors. In the beginning they can be generated because, with the change of domain, we want to make a change of structure of the web and we do not do well the relevant redirections from the old structure to the new one. This is a serious problem because on the one hand we lose strength, and on the other we generate a large amount of 404 errors.
- Loss of link juice
On many occasions there has been talk of loss of authority in domain changes. It is true that part of that force can be lost in some occasions.
For example, if we redirect from one domain to another and the old web addresses a topic and the new one we want to try a different one. Obviously in cases like this, the link juice will not be completely passed or it will not be really effective, since we had strength for a specific theme and now we want to focus on a very different one.
Obviating this type of case in particular and in a general way, it usually happens almost all the autuoridad when we make a redirection 301.
- Time to pass the link juice
It begins to be transferred from the first moment in which we do the redirection 301, however, in the vast majority of cases, we will have to wait three months until it completely passes its full force.