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Link Equity: What it is and What is for.

link equity guide for experts and beginners

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What is Link Equity and Why Does It Matter for SEO?

Link equity is one of the most important, yet often misunderstood concepts in search engine optimization (SEO). Put simply, link equity refers to the authority and ranking power that passes from one webpage to another through a backlink.

Just as academic papers gain credibility and influence by being cited more frequently, webpages accrue authority in the eyes of search engines based on the number and quality of other sites linking to them.

The Origin of Link Equity: PageRank Algorithm

This concept originated in the 1990s from Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

While developing the early versions of Google’s revolutionary search engine algorithm, they realized that academic papers and citations functioned much like a “popularity contest” in determining the most influential papers. The number of citations essentially acted as votes. Highly cited papers were deemed more authoritative, trustworthy sources of information.

Page and Brin applied this academic citation network model to their algorithm. They treated inbound links pointing to a webpage as equivalent to citations for a research paper. This formed the backbone of Google’s famous PageRank algorithm.

Pages with more backlinks and link equity passed by high-authority sites would rank higher in search results.

The Importance of Link Equity for SEO Today

Although PageRank is no longer used in isolation, link equity remains a vital ingredient in Google’s secret search ranking sauce. Links transmit equity and juice that flows from one page to another.

For digital marketers and SEO professionals, strategically acquiring backlinks to maximize link equity flowing to your important pages is crucial for earning higher search rankings. In turn, higher rankings beget more organic traffic, visibility, and sales revenue over the long term.

We’ll explore influential factors, metrics, impact, and strategies around wielding link equity later on.

How Google Defines Link Equity - Mechanics of Passing Link Equity

Google doesn’t use the term “link equity” in its official documentation, but it does use the concept of link authority to determine the ranking of web pages. Google’s PageRank algorithm, which was one of the first and most influential algorithms used by search engines, was based on the idea that links between web pages act as votes of confidence.

Meaning that the more votes a webpage has, the more authoritative it is considered to be.

While PageRank is no longer the sole factor that Google considers when ranking web pages, link authority is still an important factor. Google uses a variety of signals to assess the authority of a page, including the number and quality of links pointing to it, the authority of the linking pages, and the relevance of the links to the page’s content.

The flow of link equity from one page to another depends on several key factors:

Authority of Linking Page:

  1. The higher the authority of the site giving the backlink, the more link juice is passed on. Authority is determined by metrics like domain authority, PageRank, trust flow.
  2. Getting links from established publications, popular blogs, .edu and .gov sites will bolster your equity.

Relevance of Linking Content

  1. Search engines analyze the content giving the link for topical relevance.
  2. Links from pages relevant to your niche pass on more specific equity.

Type of Link

  1. Standard "dofollow" links pass full equity, while "nofollow" links pass none.
  2. Sponsored and affiliated links are usually "nofollow" so contribute no equity.

Anchor Text

  1. Anchor text indicates what the page linked to is about and impacts flow of link juice.
  2. Exact match anchor text conveys maximum weight for target keywords.

Link Location on Page

  1. Higher visibility locations like header and content pass more equity than sidebars and footers.

Strategic Link Building Approaches

Check this video below, because it is a good starting point to strategically build or earn vote links:

  1. Industry authorities with high trust metrics
  2. Relevant blogs, communities and journalism sites
  3. Location on page with contextual exact match anchor text

To maximize equity, focus link outreach on properties like:

Common Link Equity Challenges

Problems like low-quality links, over-optimized anchors, and artificial link networks can actually damage your equity:

  1. Avoid spammy networks and junk domains
  2. Vary anchor text rather than overuse target phrases
  3. Maintain a diversity of natural link sources

Measuring and Monitoring Link Equity

To determine whether your link building efforts are succeeding, you need to monitor key metrics over time:

Key Link Equity Metrics

  1. Number of backlinks - The total volume of backlinks to your domain and important pages
  2. Referring domains - The number of unique domains pointing links to your site
  3. Domain authority of referrers - The authority level of the sites linking to you
  4. Organic traffic - Traffic from search engines to analyze for impact
  5. Keyword rankings - Your position for important target phrases

Tracking Link Equity

Use both automated software and manual inspection:

  1. Link analysis tools like Ahrefs, Majestic, SEMRush to track link metrics over time
  2. Complete periodic manual link audits to assess new links
  3. Benchmark link profiles against competitors in your niche

Ideally organic search traffic and rankings for target keywords will improve over time as quality links are acquired. If metrics plateau or dip, further inspection and corrective action may be required.

Monitoring your link equity metrics provides vital intelligence on the health of the backlink profile powering your organic search visibility.

Leverage this data to strategize ongoing link building that enriches authority and drives more qualified traffic over the long-term.

Google algorithms evolution - guest posting - digital marketing - liverpool seo - organic traffic

Impact on Conversions and Revenue

At its core, the goal of ranking higher in organic search is to drive more revenue. The visibility and traffic enabled by rich link equity can deliver impressive ROI.

How are Rankings and Visibility Correlated?

The correlation between rankings and visibility in SEO is a complex topic that has been studied by many SEO experts and researchers. In general, there is a positive correlation between rankings and visibility, meaning that the higher a webpage or a website ranks in the SERPs, the more likely it is to get more clicks or impressions from the searchers.

However, the correlation is not linear, meaning that the difference in visibility between the first and the second position is much larger than the difference between the tenth and the eleventh position.

Higher rankings surface your content for more valuable keyword searches. 

What are Rankings?

Rankings refer to the organic positions of webpages in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords or queries. For example, if you search for “best pizza near me”, you will see a list of webpages that match your query. The webpage that appears at the top of the list has the highest ranking, and the one that appears at the bottom has the lowest ranking.

Search rankings are determined by search engines, such as Google or Bing, using complex formulas called algorithms. These algorithms look at many factors, such as how relevant, useful, and trustworthy your webpages are for the query, how many other websites link to your webpages, how fast and easy your webpages are to use, etc.

What are Rankings?

Visibility refers to the percentage of clicks or impressions that a webpage or a website receives from the SERPs for a set of keywords or queries your web page is ranking with.

For example, if you want to rank for “best pizza near me”, you need to see how can you provide better information that the sites already ranking for those keywords.

Search Visibility can be measured using a variety of tools, such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics. These tools can show you how many clicks or impressions your webpages get, how often they appear in the search results, what words or phrases they rank for, etc.

Is it a positive correlation between rankings and visibility? 

This is generally true. However, the correlation is not always strong, and it can be affected by a number of factors, such as the type and intent of the query, the layout and features of the SERPs, the competition and relevance of the results, the user behavior and preferences, the device and location of the search, etc.

The correlation between rankings and visibility is not a causal relationship. Ranking higher does not necessarily cause more visibility, and vice versa.

This correlation is not a direct indicator of SEO success. More visibility does not necessarily mean more conversions or revenue.

Illustration about how distributing link equity

Traffic & Leads From Organic Search

Ranking content for buyer keywords nets targeted traffic ready to engage. Recent studies indicate over half of site visitors from organic originate from page 1 rankings. Secure visibility through link equity.

53% of all web traffic comes from organic search. Only 15% comes from paid search.

Strategies to Convert Search Traffic

Optimize on-site experience for customer journey:

  1. Compelling title and meta descriptions so searchers click
  2. Easy navigation flows matching searcher intent
  3. Clear calls-to-action and conversion paths

Case Study: Link Building Fuels 192% Revenue Lift

A CFD broker firm put in place an 12-month link building campaign targeting relevant legal blogs and resources. Financials news sites now link to their extensive CFD Trading articles and guides. Read the case of study.

Legit Link Building Strategies

There are a number of sustainable white hat tactics to build legitimate links that transfer equity:

Create High-Quality, helpful, and Shareable Content

  1. Produce truly useful content like data studies, factual statistics, and comprehensive guides
  2. Detailed, thoroughly researched content earns more links
  3. Promote your content via social media to generate shares

Outreach to Earn Links from Authority Sites

  1. Identify authority publications, blogs, and resources to connect with
  2. Pitch contributors with relevant data, expert insights, guest posts
  3. Nurture relationships over time to earn high-quality links

Actively Participate in Industry communities & industry experts

  1. Engage with your industry colleague's blogs and contribute thoughts with them
  2. Share insights and data without overly self-promoting
  3. Influence anchors with your brand and offerings organically

Find Industry Related Partners and Guest Posting with Contributor Roles

  1. Reach out to respected blogs and niche sites for guest articles
  2. Earn backlinks within contributor in your industry guidelines
  3. Focus on strong author bio anchors driving traffic

Your Business should be in Directories, Aggregators & Roundups

  1. Achieve verified profile links from leading industry directories
  2. Feature in relevant niche aggregation roundups over time
  3. Stay top of mind with roundup/listicle curators

Employing a diversified organic link building approach over time will continually expand equity-passing links from authority sources. Monitor progress to double down on high-ROI tactics.

Harnessing the Power of Link Equity: Conclusion

We’ve explored what link equity is, how it flows, key metrics, business impact, and proven building tactics. To conclude, let’s connect the dots on wielding link juice to boost your website’s organic search presence.

First, approach link building with the customer in mind by producing valuable, relevant content. While links serve a technical SEO purpose, the content they embed must deliver value for visitors. Useful, original content and tools convert searchers into engaged users and backlinks will follow.

Next, focus on quality over quantity. As the case study demonstrated, a relatively small number of authoritative backlinks from trustworthy sites can make a massive impact over time. Be selective with outreach and networking to forge links that convey maximum trust and relevance signals.

Further, with on-page optimization ensure seamless user flows into contact forms, sales inquiries, downloads, and purchases. Solid page architecture, intuitive navigation, and crisp calls-to-action convert the SEO opportunity into revenue growth.

Finally, embrace link equity as an ongoing initiative with compounding gains over months and years. Consistently publish quality content, nurture networking contacts, and monitor analytics to expand organic visibility and traffic, enabling business growth.

The seeds of higher search rankings lie in strategic link building. And revenue growth sprouts from conversions nurtured through this organic channel. Link equity is no longer a mysterious concept but rather a framework to drive users, growth and ROI by advancing your authority with Google.

Jesus Guzman

M&G Speed Marketing LTD. CEO

Jesus Guzman is the CEO and founder of M&G Speed Marketing LTD, a digital marketing agency focused on rapidly growing businesses through strategies like SEO, PPC, social media, email campaigns, and website optimization. With an MBA and over 11 years of experience, Guzman combines his marketing expertise with web design skills to create captivating online experiences. His journey as an in-house SEO expert has given him insights into effective online marketing. Guzman is passionate about helping businesses achieve impressive growth through his honed skills. He has proud case studies to share and is eager to connect to take your business to the next level.