Some of you might’ve heard about the “first link priority” rule.
It goes something like this:
“Google will give the most weight to the very first anchor text link on each page, so it pays to make sure that that link includes your keywords.”
This is a simplified definition; for more information on the first link priority rule, read this post.
However, this post is about a slight variation of the rule, which could be affecting your link building through commenting, guest posting, and even your own internal linking structure.
What Is First Link Priority?
When a search engine spider crawls a web page and finds 2 links pointing to the same page, internal or external, it will count the first link and disregard the second.
This is Google’s way to ensure that the site owners don’t bombard the search engine bots with hundreds of similar links pointing to the same content.
First Link Priority When Commenting on Other Blogs
The simplest example of this is when you leave a comment on a blog, then the blog owner responds to your comment, and you come back to follow up with yet another comment.
Most bloggers will use the same value in their “Name” field and “Website” field when commenting the second time.
The same goes for CommentLuv links when you comment on CL-enabled blogs.
However, Google will count the link in your FIRST comment, but NOT your second one.
Of course, this is so simple to change that it’s a shame to miss out on an opportunity to build additional links to your blog through commenting.
So next time you leave more than one comment on a post, make sure you vary which pages/posts you are linking to.
For a good example of what it looks like in practice, take a look at my recent guest post at Kikolani.com:
Scroll down to the comment section (after reading the post, of course) to see how I responded to comments making sure I use different posts for my CommentLuv links, as well as my website field. Several times I actually chose not to link my name to my blog at all: how many links do I need with “Ana Hoffman” as anchor text, right?
You’ll also find some solid tips on how to properly use KeywordLuv – something that many bloggers are not very certain about, judging by commenting section on blogs, including mine.
First Link Priority When Guest Posting
Same goes for guest posting.
When you link to your blog from a guest post, make sure that you link to any give page on your blog (including your home page) only once.
If the post content calls for more than one such link, at least make sure that the first link includes your desirable anchor text.
For example, going back to the same guest post at Kikolani.com, my author box looks like this:
Both “Ana Hoffman” and “increase web traffic” are pointing to my home page.
That means that Google will count the first link, but skip the second – the one that contains the actual anchor text I’d like to point to my blog.
Solution: I need to ask Kristi to change the first link to point to my “About” page – much more fitted for my name as anchor text anyway.
First Link Priority on YOUR Site
If you could care less about link building, fine.
You are not off the hook just yet though; first link priority has a lot to do with your own blog structure as well.
Because of the way Google bots fetch your site, they “see” your navigation menu before your content, so all the links in your navigation menu become your “first priority links”.
Side note: if you are curious to see how Google reads your site, in your browser go under “View” ==> “Page Source”.
For Firefox 7.0.0 users and newer: they changed things around and I could barely find page source. It’s now under “Tools” ==> “Web Developer”.
Google Webmaster Tools: you can also “fetch as Googlebot” under “Diagnostics” ==> “Fetch as Googlebot”.
Since there’s virtually nothing you can do to change how Google works for dynamic websites, like blogs, here are some suggestions on how to make the most of your navigation bar for SEO purposes:
1. Use anchor text instead of “Home” tab in your navigation menu.
Since changing the word “Home” to your actual site name might not look too good visually, here’s the workaround.
“When linking to the home page many websites use the word “home” as a link to the homepage.
You can do that but, if you do, you are missing the opportunity to focus a little more internal anchor text.
Instead use an icon of a “home” and do an image replacement using the site name as anchor text. I have seen people use their primary keyword: use this with caution as it is a risky technique.
The more the anchor text differs from the site name, the greater the risk.” Source
2. Use your keywords for tabs.
For instance, my second-tier navigation bar contains links to my category/resource pages and they are also some of the keywords for my blog.
3. Don’t constantly link to your home page.
There’s absolutely no reason why we should link to our home page bazillion times from each post, yet that’s exactly what most bloggers do.
In your author box.
When responding to comments.
Possibly in the footer.
If you notice, my name is not hyperlinked in any of those places. If anyone wants to learn about me, they can go to my “About” me page.
If all this sounds like too much work to bother with, let me say this: you have a limited time for each Google bot visit and it’s best maximized by excluding all the useless links that won’t be counted for anything anyway.
To learn more about Google crawl budget, take a look at this post:
In order to “unlink” your name in your comment section, in your WP dashboard go to “Users” ==> “Your Profile” and remove your website URL under “Contact Info”. That simple.
Whether you care about link building or not, do me and your site a favor and implement these two quick takeaways:
- Link to different pages/posts when leaving more than one link on another blog, whether in comments or when guest posting.
- Unlink your name when responding to comments on your own blog.
Simple to do and you’ll benefit from it whether you care about your WordPress SEO or not.
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