I’ve seen several discussions about this concept over the years and I think they’re based on an incorrect assumption.  The PR Leakage theory says that since every link contributes to the PR of the page you are linking to, that this effectively lowers your PR by the same ammount that it increases the PR of the destination page.  Essentially, this theory treats PR like a bucket of water and says that the PR you give out means you have less.

Fortunately, PR doesn’t work like a bucket of water.  Each link on a page represents a fraction of a PR point that will be added to the PR of the page you are linking to.  The higher the PR of the page, the higher that will be.  The number of outbound links on a page does affect the value of individual links.  A page with 10 links will have more value per link than a page with 100 links on it.

There are other things involved as well.  Who are you linking to?  Is the text on the site you’re linking to relevant to the text on the page you’re linking from?  How about the anchor text? Is that relevant to the page you’re linking to?  Using “Click Here” isn’t relevant to anything.  Something like “Joe’s Widget Shop” is a lot more relevant.

If I wrote a page about widgets and in it used “Joe’s Widget Shop” as the anchortext to www.joeswidgets.com then that would be considered very relevant and probably carry more weight in calculating the PR for the widget site.

Another think about when linking to other sites is whether or not it’s a “bad neighborhood”.  It’s generally considred a bad idea to link to things like FFA pages, link farms, spam or gambling sites and basically any site that has questionable content.  If you absolutely MUST link to such a site, it’s a good idea to put a rel=”nofollow” in the link to keep search engine crawlers from associating your site with the questionable one.  The code for such a link would look like this:

<a href=”http://www.questionablesite.com” rel=”nofollow”>anchortext</a>

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