How to Know if a Link (or Redirect) Passes PageRank/Reputation/Authority

Due to the rough scale of PageRank, outdated toolbar PageRank scores, hand editing of toolbar PageRank, and a variety of other factors, it is somewhat hard to get confirmation from Google if a link source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.

Published: October 21, 2008 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


October 21, 2008 - 4:32pm

Nice tips Aaron. I would also recommend checking the source pages to see if the link uses "nofollow", if yes then you know juice is not being passed.

October 21, 2008 - 4:48pm

Seems like a simple and effective way to test the passing of link juice. I probably wouldn't bother doing this unless I was going to build multiple links from one source to another. Seems like a waste of time for only one link unless it looks to be of exceptional value.

But I think there may be alot of applications for using the misspelled anchor text... not just link testing.

yet another ben
October 21, 2008 - 4:54pm

I've been building a site's credibility online lately (you might have noticed it's taking me a while) and been really intrigued by this. I typically use this domain that is currently under construction as my domain of choice when commenting on other websites as I know that this is the site I will be working to in the future. Interestingly, going through my links I see that only one is nofollow (as I've only been commenting on people's blogs) but getting a PageRank of 2.

I've checked the one site that is no follow and their is no PageRank for that page, but the domain has a good deal of authority (blogstorm). This makes me believe that there is a trickle-through affect around nofollow if the domain is an authority...??

Am I right in thinking this?

Does anyone else have any other ideas?

October 21, 2008 - 4:57pm

I might hunt around to verify you do not have any other inlinks.

October 22, 2008 - 8:04am

@yet another ben,

I've also thought this to be true. Mainly links coming from comments on PR4 and PR5 pages on high quality content sites. Incoming links were themed around web design, development, typography, etc. and the site had substantially less junk links than the norm and ranked really well. Maybe there is something to white hat....naaa.

October 22, 2008 - 10:02am

I been using a similar technique for a while, but instead of checking to see if your blog ranks for keyword plus modifier, you can check the site from which you want a link to see if they are already linking out to a site that with unique text.

So, if the site i wanted a link from linked to you with unique anchor text like 'some great tips from Aaron'. If SEO book ranked for that then I would assume the link was passing juice.

It is not the most scientific of methods, but it is quite quick.

yet another ben
October 24, 2008 - 10:30am

@aaron, yeah done that using backlink watch and also manually (as I've got so few right now) via site explorer, and there's nothing to suggest that any of these are passing PR...I realise PR isn't something I should care about, but it just seems very peculiar...

Also, it seems like backlink watch doesn't pick up on rel='external nofollow'...are there any better tools for such checks?

@Kevin312 & tuftey, cheers for the comments too. Even if this was true (and I'm not sure yet that it is), I can't imagine that people would ever want to advocate it considering the amount of spammy comments they would receive. ;)

October 24, 2008 - 11:57am

when you visit a particular page Seo for Firefox should highlight links using rel="external nofollow"

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