How to Determine if a Link Passes Reputation / Authority / Equity / Juice / etc...

Jul 21st

Question: I have been buying many links but it is hard to know which ones count and which ones do not. Is there any way to test if a link is clean and passes link authority?

Answer: If you are in a small market you can build links slowly and check your rankings as you build links, but there are two big problems with this:

  • testing is slow, search algorithms frequently change, and ranking changes may occur outside of the effect of any individual link

  • any market worth being in typically requires many links or at least a few high quality links that are hard to obtain

Here are a couple ways to test a link source to see if it passes trust.

Check the Pages it Links to

If all the pages that the page links to rank well for their target terms then that is a sign of trust, though it may help to analyze the link profile of those pages to see if those pages are also trusted from other links and anchor text.

If a page is a high authority page and has linked to other pages for over 6 months it should be passing PageRank. You can use the Wayback Machine to see what a page looked like in the past. If you see a PR8 page linking out to a dozen pages and one of the target pages has been linked to for 6 months, yet remains only a PR2, then odds are that page is not passing authority.

You can also look at advertiser turnover as a sign of not passing authority. You may also want to ask current advertisers if the page helped them at all. And, as a general rule of thumb, the more off topic the link ads are, the more that are sold on each page, and the more tightly they are grouped, the more likely it is that the page does not pass PageRank.

Bogus Anchor Text

You can add a word to your link anchor text and see if your target page ends up ranking for a phrase it already ranks for + that additional word.

For example, I could put info in a link pointing to www.SeoBook.com and see if this site starts ranking for things like seo book info or seo info. I could also point a bogus link at a mainstream media site using the same technique to see how the site's rankings react.

Link to an Orphan Page

Point your link at a page that is not indexed and see if search engines index that page. If that link passes trust you can 301 redirect the target page to the page you want to rank. If the link source hurts your rankings you can 301 redirect that link equity to a competitor's site (if you wanted to be dirty).

Speeding Up Your Tests

It helps to have a network of your own sites so you can point links at the link sources to help them get indexed quickly. Be aware though that if the link source's archived pages typically are not indexed in Google then it is not likely that the page will continue to pass link equity unless you help keep that page indexed by pointing a decent link or two at it.

Warnings

Each search engine evaluates links differently. Some sites that are banned in Google do well in Yahoo while other pages that are banned in Yahoo do well in Google.

Some links that may help in moderation may hurt your site if you are too aggressive with them (i.e. building too many links too quickly from low trust sources). Also, links that help a high authority site may not help a smaller and newer site as much as they helped the older and more trusted site. As a site ages its link profile can get a bit dirtier without as much potential risk.

Published: July 21, 2007

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Comments

Alastair Hayward
July 30, 2007 - 2:33am

Great article, very useful information.

Thanks
Alastair

David eaves
July 22, 2007 - 3:51pm

Great read, I like to use the bogus anchor text method, main search phrase plus an extra word, like say the phrase was targeting was MP4 Player I would add something like deals so MP4 Player Deals, check where the site ranks before you add the link and then check a week or so after, if the position has not increased on a minor phrase like MP4 Player Deals then you know it has little if any link value.

July 22, 2007 - 4:32pm

If the link source hurts your rankings you can 301 redirect that link equity to a competitor's site (if you wanted to be dirty).

I really liked this tip :-)

Brandon
July 22, 2007 - 5:30pm

I had an important page from my site that was in Googles supplemental index. So I found a website that ranked high for a certain keyword that was relevant to that page and requested a link from the website. After about 2 weeks the web page was out of the Google supplemental results and is showing up in the searches. That is the first time I've ever seen linking have a direct effect on the search rankings of my site.

July 23, 2007 - 5:20am

Great article, Aaron!

Ashish Roy
July 23, 2007 - 9:23am

Great article Aaron. I am writing down these tips under the "Gold from Aaron" section.

One point for determining the importance of a link could be to check the pricing of links. BOTW liting was $150 then $200 and now $240 one time review. Seems it is working!!

Ashish

Ed
July 23, 2007 - 11:18pm

"Link to an Orphan Page
Point your link at a page that is not indexed and see if search engines index that page. If that link passes trust you can 301 redirect the target page to the page you want to rank. If the link source hurts your rankings you can 301 redirect that link equity to a competitor's site (if you wanted to be dirty)."

Someone over at seochat had conducted an experiment a few years back and nothing showed that it is possible by simply linking to a site to sabotage rankings.

http://forums.seochat.com/google-optimization-7/google-bombing-update-39...

Do you have some sort of substance to back this up? As in a former experiment you may have conducted?

I'm very curious about this Aaron?

Thanks!

411
July 24, 2007 - 1:10pm

Hi, Aaron, I love you site. Out of the 125 RSS feeds in my reader, SEOBook is ALWAYS where I go first. Thanks for the excellent writing and posting so frequently.

Do short term links pass equity?I have a local newspaper that has offered to sell me an ad on their PR5 homepage for a 13-week run at $125 per month.

Do you think it would it be valuable to purchase a short term link like that?

July 24, 2007 - 7:22pm

Do you have some sort of substance to back this up? As in a former experiment you may have conducted?

Hi Ed
I have seen some of my friends burn their own sites, have heard of people burning competitive sites, and at one point in time Google even banned the official AdSense blog.

Do you think it would it be valuable to purchase a short term link like that?

Hi 411
It is hard to know without seeing the site, but you can probably test it using the above tips.

July 25, 2007 - 12:29am

Great post, I am in the process of building links to my site and have been researching each link individually. Links are a great way to push your site up and out of the sandbox, but this is a huge task, could you recommend a good company who can build reputable links?

January 30, 2008 - 6:22am

Lots of site use the trick of Javascript links. So she If a page which is giving a link to our site is a cached in Google or not?

If not, It will not pass any value.

If yes, does the text version of cache of the page contains link to my site or not, If not, it does not pass value to your site.

Regards
imBuntu
Directory Maximizer

September 29, 2008 - 1:35pm

i am having site bhartiaxa-im.com which is having PR5 and we have set 301 redirection to bhartiaxa-im.com/bhartiaxa/index.aspx around a month back but it is not passing any value.

bhartiaxa-im.com/bhartiaxa/index.aspx is not cached also.

Could this be a reason?

Please provide me solution of this.

thanks,

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