BusinessOnLine recently conducted in-depth SEO testing to understand how Google reads and weighs internal links. Through this process, we have verified that Google only considers the “first links” and ignores the rest. Despite the name, a “first link” is not necessarily the first link appearing on a web page. In fact, it could be the fourth or fifth. Moreover there can be multiple “first links” on any given page. So, what qualifies as a first link? Any link directing to a destination page for the first time within the source code. Let me give you two examples.
If your “home page” has 3 links, each pointing to your “resources page”, only the first link within the source code will be recognized by Google. If your home page has 7 links, each pointing to different destination pages, all 7 are considered first links and will be recognized by Google.
So why is this important? This concept of first links is changing the way SEO experts think about, and approach, internal link optimization. It goes without saying, if you don’t optimize the anchor text for your first links, you are missing an opportunity. Still, there are bigger implications in terms of best-practices and linking strategies.
Evaluating your site page-by-page and link-by-link would be a tedious process. However, we’ve made it simple with “First Link Checker”. This complimentary new tool allows users to evaluate any desired URL, identify all the first links, compare associated anchor text, and optimize accordingly.