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.
Defining 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.
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.