Exploring The First Link Priority SEO Philosophy

In recent years there has been some debate about first link priority in search engines and whether or not this phenomenon truly occurs. Let’s take a look inside the philosophy of first link priority – what it is and why it should concern you and your internet marketing efforts.

First Link PriorityDefining First Link Priority

The first thing to be aware of is that first link priority usually refers to blogs instead of website pages – because of the large amount of links made through commenting and such. When there is more than one link, the theory goes that the Googlebot places the highest priority on the first link it encounters.

This theory was first put forth in 2007 with appropriate backup, then debunked, then “rebunked”. Depending on whose blog you read, there is evidence to show its veracity or its fraudulence.

How Does First Link Priority Affect SEO

The reason this is important is that if you place the wrong link at the top of the page, where the bot begins its crawl, you are not getting maximum SEO (the top of the page referring to the links in anchor text). So if your site is structured with navigational buttons along the top bar and the first one is “home”, indexing occurs on the URL for the home page. If you have a blog with a header across the top, chances are that header is clickable and then the main URL for your blog would be the first link.

Another way that first link priority affects your blog is that dofollow comments and sponsored advertisement links aren’t getting any value. The theory goes that navigation links are given higher priority than internal links but that is not necessarily the case. Every link on a page dilutes the value of each – if there are 100 links, that link juice is being spread across all 100, although probably not equally. Deciding which are prioritised will determine how you set up your pages.

Best Practices

Perhaps the easiest way to get around this potential problem is to reorganise the pages. Consider placing the navigation bar in the right side column. In fact, some SEO experts suggest that all internal linking be moved to the right side of the page, where the search engine bot crawls last.

Consider blog commenting. If you are placing comments on other people’s blogs to create inbound links to your site, are you getting any value out of it? According to the theory of first link priority, probably not; especially if there are a large number of comments. Whether the theory is correct or not, I am a big fan of blog commenting regardless of the link juice factor as it is a fantastic way to drive traffic and there is always some value in any type of backlink in my opinion.

If you have a website, getting around first link priority issues can be achieved by creating tables in HTML. With a blog, the CSS code can be rewritten to place the link you want indexed at the top of the page.

It is hard to speculate whether or not first link priority really does occur, but it may be worthwhile to play it on the safe side and do some page reorganisation.

About Sean Rasmussen

I am a passionate blogger and have been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When I'm not with my family, you will find me doing SEO, building websites for many of my clients, and creating products out of thin air! This is a cool gig and I love it!

Comments

  1. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the awesome work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    • Glad you enjoyed it Sandy. Hopefully you can apply some of the SEO and internet marketing tips to achieve huge success.

    • If first link priority is a reality and the earlier a bot encounters a link the more weight it gets then if getting the first comment gets more weight than the rest of the comments then getting the second or third would still be better than 4th down. So I am putting this comment here :)

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  3. Good to see this outlined correctly thanks very much Dan

  4. Sean, very interesting post, this is the first I’ve heard about link priority, thanks for the tip! So, logically (with link priority in consideration) … being the first comment on a post is always best (depending on whether things are sorted ascending or descending of course …

    • As mentioned in the article, it is still not clear whether first link priority is fact or fiction. If it is fact, getting the first comment in could certainly have more weight.

  5. I wonder how many people know the Google’s algorithm, and whether they take separate planes when flying? :)

  6. Thanks for all this information. I am afraid that first link and worrying about googlebots are really beyond me. I tend to try to follow whatever rules I have been given and hope that the information and advice I have is correct.

    I think that worrying about such things as first link rather than concentrating on content and such things is more that I am capable of doing.

    I am glad to read what you have to say and hope that I don’t misrepresent you by thinking that you really aren’t convinced that all this is as important as it could be made out to be.

    So, I am going to take what I think is your subtext and just continue doing the best I can in the way of content and intent.

    • I would tend to be with you.
      It’s all a bit too technical for me. For example how do you arrange your tabs to the sidebar? Can it be done within the theme optins or does it require going into the code? Scary stuff. Although I am ok with some coding stuff I need a step by step plan and even better with videos. Until I can find that I think I will just leave it alone

    • It is mainly just something to consider Dobbs. As the article says, no one really knows exactly how Google works, but everyone likes to speculate ;-)

      • Glad other people were thinking the same thing… I didn’t really get a lot of that. But always good to learn something new, even if it’s just to raise awareness.

        • No I don’t either Lina,
          First link priority, would that mean the first link that the google bot see is the only one that really counts.
          I didn’t know there is good and not so good spots on the page for links either, Google just wants to keep everyone guessing.

      • Glad other people were thinking the same thing… I didn’t really get a lot of that. But always good to learn something new, even if it’s just to raise awareness.

        Sean, was there a reason why you haven’t included CommentLuv in this blog?

  7. So which link would be the best to have as the first link? One pointing to my own URL, the one the bot is crawling at that moment? And how much a techy do I have to be to change the code without creating any damage???

  8. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    I’ve never heard of first link priority before. Is this something you think we should do to err on the side of caution? So, we should remove the top navigational bar?

    Also, if our header is not clickable does that mean the first link will still be our URL? Or, will it be the first link in the post on our homepage? I have no idea how to write tables in HTML or re-write the CSS code. Any suggestions on where I can find reliable information to do this?

  9. I haven’t heard of first link priority before. Sounds like a good question for somebody to ask Max Cutts. If it is confirmed one way or the other no doubt we will hear about it first through YOTA.

  10. Hi Sean

    This is the first time I have heard of this term. I really like Renee’s comment about which link would be the best to have as a first link. What do you think Sean?

    • As mentioned in the article, it is unclear whether or not the first link priority really does occur or not. If it does occur, it would be well worthwhile to have links to what you feel are the most important pages on your website up at the top of the page (in your navigation bar for example) ;-)

  11. I’m already got interested in SEO Theory after reading this articles. This is hard to think what is google spider robot habit. Only the creator of this popular robot know the reality is.

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