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The First Link Counts Rule and the Hash Sign - Does it Change PR Sculpting?

Posted by Marta Gryszko

This post was originally in YOUmoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.

Last year Rand Fishkin wrote about Link Consolidation as the new PageRank sculpting.

He said:

"Put simply, consolidation is the practice of minimizing the number of pages that are linked to by consolidating content onto fewer pages."

and showed us this scheme:

Link consolidation

Using this method helps you to reduce the number of pages you link to from 6 to 1. It is based on the assumption that Google will treat all of these urls as if they referred to the same page. For example, if you link to domain.com/about.html#contact, Google will index domain.com/about.html and will ignore other signs in url starting from #.


OK, so now you have 6 urls referring to the same page. Remember the "first link counts" rule? It says that it such a situation Google will follow the anchor text of only the first link. Since now there have been at least 2 exceptions from this rule:

  • if you place 2 links to the same page and one of them is the text link but the other - the graphic one, Google will count the anchor text of the text link regardless of their order;

  • if you place 2 text links to the same page and the first one is nofollowed link, there may occur some problems with indexation of such a page.

How do you think will Google behave this time?

I decided to check whether the "first link counts" rule reffers to links with the hash sign or not. I placed 2 links with # on http://www.lexy.com.pl/blog/first-link-counts/ (test no. 7) and waited for Google to find them. To be honest, I was sure it would count only the first one, as usual, so the results of this test surprised me a bit - Google is showing the page for both anchor texts.


To be sure about the results of the test, I repeated it on another website but this time there were 3 links:

  • the first one was a standard link to domain.com/page1;

  • the second and the third one directed to different sections of domain.com/page1 with the use of #.

The results were the same and now Google is showing the page for 3 different anchor texts. It means there's another exception of the "first link counts" rule and you can put multiple links on document A to document B and Google will count all of their anchor texts.


So, if Google doesn't treat such urls as 1 link, can it influence the PR sculpting by Link Consolidation?

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