Due to the rough scale of PageRank, outdated toolbar PageRank scores, hand editing of toolbar PageRank, and a variety of other factors, it is somewhat hard to get confirmation from Google if a link source passes PageRank. The slow way to test is to make 1 link be the only link you point at a site and then let it age for a few months. Then, if a toolbar PageRank score appears it probably passed PageRank.
If you are competing on the competitive parts of the web, building only one link and waiting around for a few months is likely an ineffective SEO strategy. So then what else can be done? How can we speed things up and get the show on the road?
If you control the linking source it is quite easy to tell if that site passes reputation. Simply link to another site with slightly misspelled anchor text, and if the target shows up you know that the link is passing some reputation and authority. For example, someone could link to this site using seoq book, and then if this site started ranking for that then I would assume that the link is passing some amount of reputation and authority. Then you could later go back and fix that spelling error.
If you *do not* control the linking source, then it gets a bit harder to test it. What you could do is add a modifier to the anchor text. For example, if this site did not yet rank in Google for best SEO book you could use that as the anchor text, and see if it shows up in the search results after the linking source is indexed.
You can also use this sort of technique to test 301 redirects & see if they pass link authority. Please note that when using redirects it is best to keep the topic fairly well aligned to minimize the risk that the PageRank might go away.
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