Passing Link Juice yellow
10 min read

What Exactly Is Link Equity? (And How Best To Use It)

Stewart Dunlop


Chief Link Building Strategist

Link building is essential because each link you attract passes value from the referring page to your website.

This value is often called link equity. Pages with more link equity are more likely to rank on search engines.

While this is a relatively simple concept, there are complicating factors. For example, it’s hard to tell how much equity a particular link passes on.

This article will discuss link equity and the best strategies to increase your search engine rankings.

Key Takeaways

  • Link equity is the value a link passes from one page to another.

  • The link's value depends on multiple factors, including relevancy and the page’s authority.

  • You can increase your site’s link equity by generating high-quality links to your site.

  • Both internal and external links pass equity.

  • Use external links to build value, then pass it to other pages with internal linking.

What Is Link Equity?

Link equity (or link juice) is the value a link passes from one page to another. It makes link building an impactful search engine ranking factor because the more equity a page receives via links, the better its chances of ranking on Google.

The idea behind link equity is that every page on the internet has authority based on the links that point to it. When a page links to another, it passes the value to the site that receives the link.

The link's value depends on several factors, including the authority of the linking page and how relevant it is to the site being linked to.

Link Equity and PageRank

PageRank is a Google algorithm that counts the number and quality of links pointing to a page to estimate its importance.

This is based on the idea that people link to pages that provide value to their readers. A page with many links is likely to be a high-value page.

Google uses many factors in its algorithm, but PageRank is still thought to play a part.

Why Is Link Equity Important?

Link equity matters because links are an essential search engine ranking factor.

The more link equity a page receives, the more authoritative it becomes and the more likely it is to rank highly for its target search terms.

You can rank for some terms without links, but gaining links can help you rank for more competitive ones.

The other significant benefit is that link equity doesn’t just affect the page that receives the link. You can pass links between website pages using internal linking. Attracting links to a page can help your website raise search engine rankings.

Link Equity

What Determines Link Equity?

The amount of equity a link passes on depends on multiple factors. Some of the most important are:

1) The Linking Page’s Authority

The authority of the referring page is the most significant factor determining the equity a link passes on.

High authority pages pass on much more equity than lower authority ones. This is why links from high-authority websites are so sought-after—they are much more valuable than other links.

How to See Page Authority 🔍

Most SEO tools will estimate a page’s authority based on its backlinks. In Ahrefs, this is called URL Rating (UR), while in Moz, it is called Page Authority (PA).

This differs from domain authority, which estimates an entire domain's authority based on its backlinks.

The image below shows the domain authority of the BBC and the UR rating of a specific page on the website.

2) Link Relevancy

Google uses a page's relevancy to decide a link's value. Links from websites and pages with similar content to your page are thought to pass on more value than those from irrelevant websites.

3) The Number of Links on the Page

The number of links on the page can affect its value. A link from a resource page that links to hundreds of other sites is unlikely to be as valuable as a link from a page with just a handful of links.

4) The Link Position

The location of the link can also affect the authority it passes on. Editorial links placed within the page's content are typically the most valuable. On the other hand, links in the sidebars, headers, or footers aren’t given as much weight.

link position

5) The Link Tag

Sometimes links are tagged as either “nofollow” or “sponsored.” The Google algorithm ignores these links, meaning they don’t pass on any equity, even if they come from an authoritative website.

Because of this, when link building, you should always focus your efforts on generating links that don’t use these tags.

How to check whether a link is nofollow

It’s easy to check whether a link is nofollow. Most SEO tools will tell you in the link report, and you can even filter your links by whether they are nofollow or dofollow.

You'll have to check the link manually if you don’t have an SEO tool. Just head to the page, right-click the link, and click “inspect.” If the link is nofollow, you’ll see the tag “rel=nofollow” here.

So, What Should You Focus On? 🧐

While these factors are essential, you won’t typically have much control over them. The author or site owner will decide things like the number of other links they add to a page.

With this in mind, we recommend focusing your link building efforts on generating the highest authority links you can on sites that are relevant to your niche.

We believe this provides the biggest bang for your buck, and that is the best way for you to spend your time.

Internal Links Spread Link Equity Around Your Website

One problem facing link builders is that building links to specific pages is hard. The web pages that attract links aren’t always the ones you want to rank in the search engines.

For example, reports and studies often attract many links, but the keywords these pages rank for rarely have much business value. Meanwhile, product and sales pages typically attract few links but have incredible value.

There is a way around this: you can pass link juice between pages on your site. This typically means linking from your most linked-to pages to the pages you want to rank on Google.

Doing this increases the equity of these pages, so they have a better chance of competing for valuable keywords.


Which pages should you pass link equity to?

There are two basic ways to decide which pages to link: the page’s ranking potential and business value.

1) Ranking potential

Pages with ranking potential have a good chance of ranking highly for high-volume keywords.

An easy way to discover these pages is to use an SEO tool to find pages that rank in the second half of page one or on page two for relevant terms. Sending link juice to these pages could be all you need to push them up the rankings.

You should always check the competition of the sites that rank above yours. If the pages that rank above you are all from high-authority websites, you may have more success focusing on a different term.

Tip to Increase Your Ranking Chances 📈

Don’t stop sending links to these pages. Performing a content refresh will further boost your page’s rankings potential.

2) Business Value

The second thing to check is the business value of your pages. Ideally, you’ll send links to the pages with traffic that result in sales or leads.

If you are tracking conversions on your website, head to your analytics platform to see which pages convert best. Often these will be product pages, service pages, feature pages, or even blog posts about problems you help solve.

The aim is to find pages with high business value and good ranking potential.

Once you’ve identified these pages, you must point link juice toward them. Here are some popular strategies for doing this.

Internal Linking Strategies for Effective Link Equity Sharing

1) Check pages for links

Your first step should be to identify pages on your website with a lot of link juice.

You can easily do this by heading to an SEO tool and checking which pages on your website have the highest number of backlinks. You can also organize your pages by the authority to see those with the most equity.

By now, you should be able to see your most powerful pages. Remember that this is constantly changing, so keep checking your incoming backlinks.

Most SEO tools send a regular email that details changes to your backlink profile, so keep an eye out for this if you’ve signed up for a tool.

check links

2) Add links

The next step is simple: add links to the pages you want to rank as your most linked-to pages.

This will be easy to do in cases where the two articles are on similar topics. You could add the link to your exciting content or quickly add another paragraph or section.

If the content is unrelated, it will be harder to add the links. You can add more content to the page to make it more relevant or move onto a different page.

3) Create content clusters

A popular internal linking strategy is to create content clusters. This is when you publish multiple pages that cover a single topic from different angles and then interlink between each of these pages.

When you do this, you’ll share link equity among these pages. Typically, the content cluster will include a pillar page. You want to rank this page and all other pages linked to it.


Top Link Equity Takeaways

Link equity is essential for ranking. The best way to attract it is to build links to your website on the highest authority websites possible.

Check out our article on building authoritative backlinks to learn more about how to do this.

If you can choose which pages receive links, point them toward your highest-value pages with ranking potential.

Suppose you can’t identify which of your site’s pages has the most links. You can then build internal links from these pages to the ones you want to rank.

Doing this ensures your pages receive the link juice they need to perform on Google.

Or, Let Us Build Links for You

At Linkbuilder, we have a team of link building experts who can generate authoritative links for your website. We have a strong track record of success and work with leading brands in many industries. Find out more by checking our case studies or getting in touch.