Preserving Link Juice

[icopyright horizontal toolbar]Text links are those hypertext links that allow you to jump from one Internet page to another with a single click. Text links that point to your website are valuable in two regards:

1)    They help to drive traffic from another website to yours. The stronger the topical relationship between the two sites, the more likely it will be for traffic at Site A to click on the text link to visit Site B. If you own Site B, you’d like Site A to be tremendously popular so that you will get a torrent of directed traffic. Once visitors arrive at your site, it’s up to you to keep them there – that’s where Content is King and you can profit from the use of a freelance writer.

2)    Certain text links can actually enhance your search engine performance. If you think of the text links as votes for your site, the more votes you get, the more impressed the search engine will be, and will give you a better placement in the search engine results pages (SERP). Not all votes are equal – there is this metric called Page Rank that codifies how “authoritative” a website is. It’s a number from zero (for new sites) to ten (for Google’s home page) that can change over time as your website’s content evolves. A good way to increase your Page Rank is to get some “link juice” from an authoritative website that links to yours.

In either case, those text links are valuable commodities. You would hate for them to go to waste. But that’s exactly what happens if the link points to a non-existent page on your website. This kind of thing happens frequently – address schemes are changed and/or pages are retired. When a visitor to Site A clicks on a bad link, they don’t get Site B, they get a “404 Page Not Found” error. Goodbye link juice!

I found a nifty free tool that circumvents this problem and preserves your link juice. It’s a plugin for WordPress called 404 Redirection, and it works automatically to preserve Page Rank by redirecting bad link addresses to your main blog page. It uses a 301 permanent redirection scheme as follows:

Because WordPress is database driven, WordPress will search the database for the requested page/post. Traditionally, if the page/post doesn’t exist, then WordPress will return the 404. However, the WordPress 404 Redirection plugin will check to see if WordPress has identified a missing page, and will instead create a 301 to the main blog URL. So, a 404 never actually occurs because the plugin prevents it before WordPress has a chance to create one. Link juice preserved!


Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 Eric Bank, Freelance Writer

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