Understanding Link Equity &
Backlink Strategies for SEO

Learn what link equity is.
Learn why link equity is important for developing organic traffic growth to your website.

Why websites rank in search engines

What is Link Equity?

Link equity
Link equity is the value that a site provides another site with a follow backlink to that site to increase organic rankings on Google.

The challenge of link equity is determining the value of a target website’s follow link since there are various metrics and algorithms used in efforts to define this value. Ultimately, Google is the final authority to determine the value of that link. Without understanding link equity, link building is a wasted effort. In non-technical terms, link juice is a frequently used term that minimizes the sophistication of this analysis.

Google started with PageRank (PR) which is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank web pages in their search engine results. PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages.

According to Google: PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.

Currently, PageRank is not the only algorithm used by Google to order search results, but it is the first algorithm that was used by the company.

Measuring Link Equity

There are several tools that provide insights on valuing the number and quality of links - here are two leading sources:


SEMrush offers Authority Score – a metric in Backlink Analytics that will assess a particular referring domain’s overall quality and show how beneficial a backlink from this source would be. This value is measured on a scale from 0 to 100, with the latter being the strongest, and is based on the following compound data provided by SEMrush:

  • Backlink data (including Domain Score, Trust Score, referring domains, follow and no follow links, and more)
  • Website traffic data
  • Organic search data (including organic search traffic and positions)

Authority Score is used to indicate not only the amount or quality of backlinks but also the strength and popularity of the domain.


Ahrefs offers Ahrefs Rank (AR) which ranks all the websites in their database by the size and quality of their backlink profiles — basically, by their DR. The more and higher-quality backlinks a website has, the higher its DR is, and the closer its AR is to #1. Ahrefs Rank #1 belongs to the website with the strongest backlink profile (Facebook.com), #2 belongs to the second strongest (Twitter.com),#3 belongs to the third strongest (YouTube.com), and so on for over 200 million websites.

Domain Rating

Domain Rating (DR) shows the strength of a website's backlink profile compared to the others in our database on a 100-point logarithmic scale. It's essentially a less granular version of Ahrefs Rank (AR). When a domain's DR is higher, more "link juice" is transferred to linked domains. The source domain splits its rating equally amongst the domains it links to. So: a DR-10 domain which links to three other domains can influence your DR more than a DR-80 domain which links to a million other domains. After repeating these calculations, there is a rating for each domain. The final DR value is then obtained by scaling a computed, absolute value into the 0-100 range.

Both SEMRush and Ahrefs provide valuable follow backlink analysis, however, there is an important metric that is missing for obvious calculations of the value of the follow link. It is the number of follow links that a site provides other sites.

Link Equity Evaluation

Assuming any of the values provided by the discussed companies, it is essential to determine the number of follow links going to other sites. A simple example makes the point:

If one follow link is given to only one site, this site gets 100% of the link equity.
If one follow link is given to ten sites, this site gets 10% of the link equity.
If one follow link is given to 100 sites, this site gets 1% of the link equity.
If one follow link is given to 1,000 sites, this site gets 10% of 1% the link equity.
If one follow link is given to 10,000 sites, this site gets 1% of 1% of the link equity.
If one follow link is given to 100,000 sites, this site gets 10% of 1% of the 1% of the link equity.

The failure to calculate the number of outbound follow backlinks from a target site will waste resources and prolong one of the critical aspects of improving a site’s performance.

The chart below demonstrates the link equity between several different sites with the Ahrefs rank roughly being the same, there is a dramatic difference between the link equity from iqsdirectory.com compared to thomasnet.com --- one link from iqsdirectory.com would have 261 times more value.

link equity
The websites above have relatively similar Ahrefs rank considering the total of 1.8+ billion websites registered today, however the value of their links are weakened as they give dofollow links to more websites.

Let us know a good time to discuss our SEO programs and we will get you the link equity your site needs!