Whatever determines link juice, it sure as hell ain’t PageRank.
This comes as no new news to most SEO’s, but the myth of PageRank being the dominant factor in link juice is still quite popular amongst the forum posting crowd.
We here at v7n place a lot of links. (Matt doesn’t read this, does he?) Our Contextual Links Program has paid out over $140,000 to thousands of bloggers. So, yeah, we know links.
In the link building business, no matter how indifferent one is, sooner or later you’ll take a good look at what links are passing link juice and what links aren’t. So we do tests. We place links on blogs, using keywords in the anchor texts that do not appear on the linked-to pages. We track these links, and sometimes we place them on pages blogs that we wouldn’t usually use in the program. We place them on brand spanking new PR0 websites. We place others on old crummy PR0 websites. In most cases, the links do pass link juice.
Yes, links on PR0 websites – websites that have never had PR – still pass link juice. Amazingly enough, they pass enough link juice to put the linked-to website in the top ten for search terms that do not even appear on the linked-to page.
But sometimes links do not pass ranking juice. Why is that? When we find sites that do not pass link juice – and they are not as common as you might think – the one thing they all have in common is a lot of links to not-so-nice neighborhoods. And that doesn’t mean “paid links”. Paid links, even when they are marked as such, do not automatically result in a website losing its link juice. It appears to be an issue of number, frequency and percentage. If a good portion of the outbound links are to penalized websites, you can expect to lose your link juice. If, on the other hand, you slip in an occasional link or two to a bad neighborhood, chances are that you will not suffer any link juice loss.