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Who's Drinking All Your Link Juice?

Who's Drinking All Your Link Juice?

You may have heard the term "link juice" before in the discussion of search engine optimization and traffic generation. Link juice is actually a loosely defined term, but it generally refers to the combination of link relevancy, page importance and anchor text. If we can assume that each web page is awarded points and these points were distributed to the links on that page according to the importance of those links, that points distribution would be the link juice. And just to set things straight, no I did not make up that term, and I do not have the foggiest idea where it came from. If you have any insight into where the phrase originated, drop me a line, I'd love to hear about it.

As you may imagine, link juice is a precious resource that you want to cultivate and protect. One great way to preserve your juice is to pay attention to your page architecture. You may be committing a very common mistake that is poking holes in the bottom of your cup and letting your juice pour right out. (Yeah, I hear you moaning over that terrible play on words! I guess I'll leave the comedy to the experts.)

When a particular link appears over and over again in a website, the spiders assume it's an extremely important link, and so it is awarded a hefty portion of the juice. But take a look at your website … Go ahead, take a peek way down at the bottom of the page. Now take a look at your next page, way down there at the bottom. And the next page, and the next. Are you seeing repetitive links to your privacy policy page? Your terms of service page, your sitemap, your affiliate pages?

Your footer navigation can be a serious source of link juice leak. Since those links appear over and over again, the spiders will assume they are important, so you want to protect them from being awarded any of your juice.

The easiest way to protect yourself against this link juice loss is to use NoFollow in your footer, sidebar, or any repetitive navigation. If you want to get really serious about generating traffic, it's time to get proactive. Decide which pages on your site YOU consider the most important (do not leave this critical issue up to the spiders!) And create an information architecture strategy to ensure that your pages are ranked accordingly.

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