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First Link Prioritization: Is It a Google Ranking Factor?

Some people still question whether Google values ​​the first link that occurs when two links point to the same page.If you have two internal links on one page that both link to another page on your site, does Google give more weight to one or the other?

can you useInsideunitchainThe anchor text in the link signals to Google what keywords you want to rank for?

If an external link links to your page twice, does the second link have as much PageRank as the first?

These are all questions that are triggered in the conversation about the priority of the first link.

There's something to unravel here, so let's get right to it.

Claim: First Link Priority as a Ranking Factor

Over the years, here are two separate issues associated with the term "first link priority":

Internal first link priority

If page 1 on your site links twice with page 2 on your site, Google will only consider the anchor text of the first link when ranking page 2.

So if you want a specific page on your site to rank as [red hot banana], you need to make sure to use [red hot banana] as anchor text in the first-occurrence link from page 1 to page 2.

External first link priority

When points to a link to, Google counts the first link and ignores all other links after that.

(This is the theory that appears in the term's featured abstract today, so for anyone new to the industry, this will be their most likely understanding of the subject.

Evidence of first link priority as a ranking factor

Some articles and blog posts advocating first link prioritization as an internal strategy point to an article by Rand Fishkin who said he tested it, as evidence:

"...Suppose that on your website's home page, you have two links to your blog.

The first link is in the top-level navigation with the anchor text [blog].The second link is in the body of the home page and says [Celebrity News Blog].

The anchor text of the second link won't help the blog page rank for [celebrity news] because Google doesn't seem to count anchor text for multiple links to targets from a single URL.

The thing is, that was 2008.

Even so, he said,

"It's never a good idea to just listen to me (or anyone else) on something like this - run the test yourself and see what you get.Results may vary in six or six days as the engine is constantly evolving.

Or, you know, more than a decade later.

From an external backlink perspective, SEO professionals wonder and debate whether it makes any sense to get multiple links from a single domain.

In terms of memory, the general consensus around 2010-2012 was that there was still value in getting multiple links from a single domain, as long as they were links to different pages.However, some do say that each additional link has diminishing returns.

There was some evidence that both of the above strategies worked at the time, and I don't doubt the SEO professionals who said it worked for them.

But what about now?

Evidence against first link priority as a ranking factor

John Mueller spoke about this during the 2018 Google Webmaster Central Office Hours in response to user-submitted questions.他 说:

"It's not something we define, we say 'it's always like this -- it's always the first link, it's always the last link, it's always the average of the links, or something like that.

Rather, it's something our algorithm might choose to do in a certain way.

Check out this 2011 experiment.

Here's what Mueller has to say about these attempts to crack the "first link priority" code:

"I know people do SEO experiments and try to figure this out, try to figure out, 'Oh, that's what Google does at the moment.

But from our perspective, that can be changed, it's not something we define.So even if you manage to figure out how we do it today, it's not necessarily how we're going to do it tomorrow, or it's always going to be that way on all sites.

Some SEO professionals choose not to trust Google when they say these things.

But that's the way it is.

What he's saying about context makes more sense than having a hard and fast rule about it based on what we know about how Google works today.

Google has developed RankBrain, Knowledge Graph and other tools/techniques to help an algorithm better "understand" more about what it is evaluating.

Also, it no longer makes much sense to have a hard-and-fast rule that limits PageRank passing from one domain to another.This may have been a necessary spam-fighting tactic at one point.

But Google can now algorithmically discern more about the relationship between entities and pages.There are many other ways to tell if a link makes sense as an actual endorsement of a piece of content.

First link priority is not a ranking factor

You can't tell Google which search terms you want to rank for based on the anchor text you use first in your internal links.Google doesn't have some sort of regulator to limit the trust or authority that can be passed between entities (in various signals, including but not limited to PageRank).

This could prevent useful resources from being discovered, which goes against everything Google is trying to do.

In internal linking, your priority should always be to promote a seamless, intuitive user experience first.Internal links are used to help users get around and navigate your site.

Any utility they might have served as Google's secret keyword signal disappeared long ago.

As for your backlinking strategy, it's smarter to focus on creating content that people want to link to than worry about potentially wasting PageRank because of who links to you often.This approach will work more consistently over time.

Bottom line: Google does not use first link priority as a search ranking signal.

Extended reading:

Are .edu links a Google search ranking factor?

Are Domain Names a Google Ranking Factor?

Are Rejection Tools a Google Ranking Factor?

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