Google Counts First Link, Not Second, Says SEO

    July 7, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Got a couple of links on one page to another page? Google only has love for the first one, no matter what you do with it.

Swap its anchor text, nofollow it, Google doesn’t care, it seems. That first link on a page with multiple links to a second page receives Google’s notice. The rest, not so much.

Branko Rihtman at SEO Scientist noted the first link phenomenon isn’t a new concept. Rand Fishkin made that point at SEOMoz in March 2008.

Rihtman wanted to delve into the idea a little bit farther, resulting in his test of one page, two links, one destination page, to see if Google really did appear to index the first, and only the first, link:

So, in order to test the theory, I picked two sites that sometimes double as my furry lab animals and set them up so that site A links to site B with two links using different anchor texts. The phrases appeared only on a site A, they were not to be found anywhere on site B and if that site was to rank for any of those two phrases, it would be only due to the anchor text of the links pointing from the site A.

Based on his testing, Rihtman found Google only picked up on the first link. Then he dropped a nofollow attribute on the first link, to see if Google would skip it and rank the site for the second link. It didn’t happen.

“Besides the fact that nofollowing the top link will not get you around the Google ignoring the second link, it is interesting to see that Google will still count the top link even though it is nofollowed,” he said.