The Advanced Guide to Link Building

Written by Neil Patel & Brian Dean

The Advanced Guide to Link Building Download PDF

Funneling PageRank

Sure, PageRank isn’t as important as it once was. But it’s still an integral part of the Google algorithm (and probably always will be). That means that backlinks that sit on low PR pages don’t pass much authority towards your site. Fortunately, you make your low PR backlinks significantly more powerful by funneling PageRank to your link’s page.

How PageRank Really Works

PageRank flows around the internet like water. And every link "leaks" PR to the page it links to:

The more PR a page has, the more flows to your site via your backlink. And the more PR your site has, the more authority it has in the eyes of Google.


Getting Ready for PR Funnels

PR Funnels are a great way to give submission links — like profile and portfolio links — a lot more juice.

Most submission links sit on pages with PR0 or PR n/a. In fact, some are so buried that they don’t even get indexed by search engines. These are known as “orphan pages” because they don’t have any internal or external links pointing to them. In general, links on low PR pages don’t have much value because they pass little authority to your site.

But you can boost their power by funneling a site’s PR towards the page that your link sits on. You'll accomplish this by building internal links on the domain to your link.

Check for Nofollow Tags Using the SEO Toolbar

In general, PR doesn't flow through links with a nofollow tag. If you try to funnel PR to your link's page using nofollow links, you're not going to get very far. That's why it's important to have the ability to quickly check for a nofollow attribute.

Fortunately, this is a breeze using the SEO Toolbar by SEOBook (you can download it from

Just scroll down to the links that you want to check:

Click on the red arrow icon.

Nofollow links will turn red:

Optional Step: Download MozBar

MozBar is a Chrome and Firefox compatible toolbar that displays SEOMoz's proprietary Page Authority. Page Authority is another metric that helps determine the potential ranking power of a linking page.

Head to Download and install the toolbar.

If you have a free account with SEOMoz (or no account at all), you'll only be able to see Domain Authority, Page Authority, and total links pointing to a page:

With a pro account, you can see how many root domains link to the page and domain.

Find High-PR Funnel Sites

While funneling PR doesn't take a lot of time, the hours can quickly add up if you have a lot of links to work on. That's why your first step is to find sites with the most funneling potential. That way you're spending time on sites that give you the most bang for your buck.

In general, sites with a higher DA have more authority to funnel.

Pop your homepage URL into Open Site Explorer:

Choose "followed + 301" from the drop down menu:

Sort your backlinks by Domain Authority:

Download this list as a CSV.

This list will show you the all of the URLs with followed links pointing to your site. Sites with the highest DA will be on top.

You can work directly from this list. But you may also want to find PageRank information, a metric straight from Google.

To see that, click on the linking domains tab:

Export the list as a .csv file.

And you'll get a list of the domains (not specific webpages) linking to you:

To find the PR of the domains in your list, head over to Copy up to 500 domains from your list:

And paste them into the tool:

Then export that list.

And copy the PR information from the .csv into the spreadsheet of your linking URLs:

Voila! You now have a list with your top links, DA and PR all in one place.

And you can always add links that you build along the way to this list.

Funneling With Likes

Now it's time to start funneling some authority to your site. One of the easiest ways to funnel PageRank is by the use of likes. You can literally like hundreds of high PR pages in a matter of minutes, which will funnel serious link juice to your profile page. Let's use the popular image-based social media site Pinterest as an example.

First, take note of your linking page:

And the URL your link is on:

Find cool content on the site and give it a "like":

Look to see if the like adds a link to your page. Sites usually have a list of people that have liked content somewhere on the bottom of the page. In the case of Pinterest, the site posts a hyperlinked profile picture.

Then see if the link is followed:

No red links. Looks good!

When you like piece of content some of the PR from that page will flow to your profile page... and onto your site.

Funneling PR With Comments

Most sites add the "rel=nofollow" attribute to blog comment links that point to somewhere other than their domain. However, they typically allow users to create followed links back to their own page on the site.

Let's use this time.

First, take note of your profile's URL:

Now find a page that allows comments and drop one. Make sure the comment is relevant and non-spammy.

Check to see if the commenter's name (aka your username) is a followed link to your page's URL:

Nice. Rinse and repeat for more PR funneling action!

Funneling PR By Following

Following other people is another way to create massive amount of links pointing to your profile links. Let's use the portfolio site to build a powerful backlink.

Find your profile's page:

Click on "Creatives to Follow":

Which will bring up a list of other members:

Follow as many people as you can.

Each time you follow, you'll build an internal link back to your profile from their profile page.

Funnel PR By Uploading Content

Certain sites -- especially audio sharing and artist portfolio sites -- encourage their users to submit original content. And when you do you're rewarded with links pointing to your profile.

We're going to use the document sharing site

While links within documents uploaded to Scribd are nofollow:

Links in the author profile area are followed:

To build links to this page, you can upload content that you own as a .pdf, .txt of Word Document.

The easiest way to upload content to Scribd and other document sharing sites is to upload blog posts that you've published on your site.

First, copy already-published blog post content:

And paste it into Microsoft Word (you can also use Google Docs and export as a .docx file).

Then save the file to your PC.

Go back to Scribd. Click the "Upload" button on the top right hand corner of a page:

Then click "Select Files to Publish.”

Upload your document:

Fill in details about your document:

Cick "Save and Continue."

Now your document links back to your profile:

The more content that you upload, the more links you'll build to your profile page. And if you upload epic stuff, your content might get featured on high PR pages, like category section homepages:

Funnel PageRank With Participation

A few years ago the popular Squidoo was a link funneler's dream. With a PR7 homepage and a ton of internal links, it was possible to make your Squidoo profile PR3 or even PR4 with a handful of high PR comments. Unfortunately, Squidoo made all comments (even those linking to internal pages) nofollow.

But that doesn't mean that you can't still take advantage of this PR powerhouse.

As you can see here, some lenses have questions that other Squidoo users chime in on. When you do, you get a nice dofollow link back to your profile page. (As a nice bonus, if you want to actually rank your Squidoo lenses in Google, the PR funneled to your profile page will flow to your lens pages as well.)

The key is finding other ways to get your link on high PR pages. Namely, participating in polls. The hardest part is finding lenses that have polls and user submitted content. However, as these lens features become more popular, they're found on most popular lenses. Once you find one, just submit your vote or response.

As an example, I found this lens about car wax:

Once you submit your answer, you'll find yourself with a nice dofollow link back to your profile.

Just make sure your comment makes sense for the topics of the lens so your links posts and sticks (if the lens is closely moderated).

There are a few other sites that have community activities like Squidoo that can be used for PR funneling, such as HubPages. It’s a good option if you’re not able to funnel PR using the other strategies mentioned in this chapter.

Use OSE to Find High Authority Funnel Pages

Now that you have a handle on the ins and outs of funneling PR, it's time to get the most from your efforts. You can boost your efficiency by funneling PR from the most authoritative pages on a domain.

First, put your funnel site's homepage into Open Site Explorer:

Click the Top Pages tab.

This will show you the pages with the most authority.

Check them out to see which you can funnel PR from. These two look like good targets:

Now when you like, comment or repin content from these pages, you'll be funneling a lot more PR to my profile page than if you targeted random pages.

Radical, dude!

Do you still have some juice left for final chapter in our Advanced Guide to Link Building adventure? Then head to Chapter 12: Grey Hat Link Building!