Before we even begin, let me stop you right there. You know what link juice really is? It’s dead. Consider link juice like a magical power that’s transferred like an STD… Eugh right? That’s the face you should pull next time someone tries to lecture you on the value of link juice.
We’ve covered our stance on backlinks in-depth before and link juice is just a continuation of other outdated & potentially harmful techniques. There’s often a disjoint between backlinks and link juice, particularly in the blogging world.
But we’re here to educate, not sweep under the rug. In this post, we cover what link juice actually is and why it exists, why people just won’t stop talking about it, what it promises, and how it fails to deliver.
The Theory Behind Link Juice
Link juice (and offending backlinks) are thought of as being the final decider in the all-out battle for rankings. If you had two sites that were entirely equal in all aspects, Google needed a tiebreaker to decide just who was going to take out the #1 spot. So, backlinks and the ‘link juice’ they passed on determined which site was ‘stronger’ – who was being talked about more, and which site was preferred by humans?
The main problem with this idea behind link juice is that no site ever is equal – there are over 200 factors Google analyses on each and every site & post to determine the perfect ranking position, and ending up in a situation where links would be the final factor is (nearly) impossible. The main difference between a competitors site and yours? The content. No two posts are ever the same, even if they deal with the same topic. This is exactly why Google’s ranking system works – and will continue to despite any strategies that try to cheat the system.
How Does Link Juice Work?
If Site A has 10 links and Site B has 100 links of equal power, Site B would come out the ‘winner’ in search results. However, if Site A has 10 high-quality links (like the New York Times, Government sites, or an endorsement by Kim Kardashian) while Site B only has 100 links from ‘link farms’ (junk sites that exist purely to build backlinks), Site A would take the top spot.
The idea of the ‘power’ of each link instead of just sheer numbers is where link juice branches away from general backlinking. Think of it like a sub-niche! If you were going to choose a backlinking strategy (whichwe highly recommend you don’t), you would have two basic options: you could go for sheer numbers and pay a low amount for thousands of backlinks from a Link Farm, or you could go the power approach, seeking out links from influential sites and going for quality over quantity.
The issue with the ‘power’ approach is that Google ranks individual posts (not domains) for how relevant they are to a particular search term – and if you were to apply this to the theory of link juice, you could very quickly be dudded. If you were to get a link from the New York Times, you might get swept up in a wave of excitement – such an authoritative source with an incredible amount of traffic each and every day – just imagine the potential!
Let’s assume their homepage is the highest ranking & most authoritative page on their site – a link here could do you wonders, exposing you to thousands of new readers each and every day and in theory, passing on some serious link juice power. But what if your link was on a post buried deep in the cob-webbed corners of their site, freshly created and un-optimised? That page would have minimal link juice, if any at all.
This idea applies to all networking too, whether you’re aiming for link juice or simply reaching new readers – Google looks at each post & page individually, so don’t expect all opportunities and their outcomes to be created equal.
How Do You Get Link Juice?
To ‘get’ Link Juice, you simply need to get your link on someone else’s site, then the ‘power’ of their content will magically flow on to your site. There are lots of ways this can be done, and we don’t endorse any that exist purely for the sake of backlinks or link juice. Each technique can be done properly, or poorly. Below are the right ways to get your content out there, without the Link Juice focus. And if you believe in link juice, they might just bring you some good vibes without the negative side effects of spammy techniques.
– Getting someone else to link to your site within their post because they love what you have to offer. Do they have a list of ‘The best XYZ’? Let them know why your content should be on that list. Have they mentioned a topic that could be elaborated on? Your post could help educate their own audience, at no extra work to them!
– Guest posting and linking back to your own site within the post. This one kind of makes sense – if you’re guest posting as the authority on a subject, it could be highly beneficial to link back to your own related content to help build an audience’s understanding on a topic. You could also link to your homepage in your author bio/post footer, should they want to find out what else you have to offer.
– Dropping your link in a blog’s comment section. Who hasn’t gotten a spammy, self-promotional comment before? I delete heaps every day! They’re usually spam, and feed into the idea of link farms – they’re just bots trying to find new, vaguely related places to share a link. Those links SUCK when they appear on your own blog, so don’t seek out a strategy that sees YOU being the perpetrator! If you’re reading a post and you truly think your content gives added value, if you simply must drop a link make sure to elaborate & give context – readers need a reason to click through anyway!
– Get listed on relevant directories. This applies to nearly all industries – think of it like a plumber in the yellow pages. Are you a certified Vegan makeup brand? Get listed on PETA’s suppliers’ list. Are you a fashion brand that accepts AfterPay? Make sure you’re included on their Our Partners page! Even without link juice, this is a great passive way to seek out new readers.
Any of the strategies above can be done well, or horribly and end up not only affecting your reputation & audience opinion, but also your SEO & rankings! If you simply must do any of the techniques listed above, make sure each & every decision is done with the reader in mind – and no one else. Will your content help them solve a problem, or teach them something new? If you can’t say yes to either of those questions, don’t do it!!!
You shouldn’t be approaching someone to promote your content just because you think they’ve got ‘good juice’ – you should be approaching them because you have something valuable to contribute to their site. Something that either fills a hole in or compliments their existing content and directly solves a problem for their audience. You should be providing not only the reader with added value but the blog owner too. These are things you should be doing anyway, to both naturally grow your audience and expand your own networks.
Remember: networking & outreach to build your blog isn’t about pleasing Google – it’s about reaching new readers and actively helping others.
Before trying out experimental theories, work on improving & growing your blog with proven techniques first. There are a whole range of ways you can actively influence and improve your blog’s performance, with things like keyword research, SEO site audits or perfecting your content.
Sick of constantly being given the wrong advice? Learn the best way to grow your blog.