Link Juice! What's that taste like?
Link Juice is the fuel that helps power the SEO on your website (at least that's how Google sees it).
But what is it? Basically it boils down to a credibility or popularity indicator. It's all about how many people link to your content. But not only is the amount of people that like your content important, equally important is the amount of people that like the content of the people that like your content.
Confused yet? Let's look have a look at a visual.
Ok let's pretend that your site is site A. You have two sites pointing at your content, site C and Site D.
Compare this to site B which also has two sites pointing at it, site C and site E. Both initially appear to have the same number of sites pointing at them so in theory should be on a level playing field when jockeying for position within a search result. But if we look closer at site D, you will notice that it has 3 sites pointing to it. This is where the link juice steps in. Site D has far more clout, or popularity, or whatever you want to call it than site C or site E because it has sites that references its content. Because of this, any content that site D links to, will inherit site D's popularity. (Keep in mind that link juice is usually content related.)
There are short cuts to driving the popularity of your site. Link farms (or link farming) are groups of websites that link to other websites to help drive link juice and site traffic. Link farms work well when setting up a new website to help gain traction, but more and more these "farms" are being sniffed out by Google and other search engines and are producing less positive results. Social media is another way to spread your content out on the web that has proven to show positive results with driving traffic and generating more link juice for you site's content. This can be a time consuming process and always requires and active manager to maintaining the credibility of your content but also to ensure it is directed at the correct audiences.
It's important to remember that link juice though important is just one of the many aspects of good site SEO when setting up and maintaining your website. Content will always be king, and with good content link juice will occur organically all on its own.
Care to hear more about what makes great SEO? Read Tadd Mencer's two part blog series on Content and SEO.