How does Google handle multiple links on one page to another?

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How does Google handle multiple links on one page to another?

It is good to know that there is someone in Google helping out website designers and optimizers with their problems. If you have not already heard, Matt Cutts, Google's Head Of Spam, has over 700 YouTube videos answering day to day questions that people ask. These range from how authorship affects search engine ranking to manual action on web spam.

He's been at it again and the latest one is about having one page linking to another page with more than one link.

Initially the person who asked this question was concerned about the flow of Page Rank. Does 2 links mean twice as much Page Rank flowing from one page to another? Technically, the answer is yes. For example, if page A has 4 external links, and 2 of them are going to the page B, then page B will have half of the available Page Rank, while the other 2 links will split the half and have a quarter each. On paper this sounds like a great idea, unfortunately in practice he goes on to mention many other factors that play a part in the ranking, so this multiple linking is unlikely to have a major effect. However, he does mention that this is the case in the 'original' page rank paper, which is a good few years old now.

Because of this, it is likely that this information is slightly out of date now, with some SEO professionals believing that either the second link has a greatly reduced effect or possibly even no effect at all. Essentially Google will take the first link that it sees and pass the page rank through that link.

This 'first seen' idea also ties into the second part where Matt then goes on to discuss how Google views multiple links that use different text to link to the other page (anchor text). Most people know that anchor text plays a huge part in the back-linking process, so what happens if the multiple links all have different anchor text?

In Google's eyes, they take the link that was first encountered as the anchor text it will use for that page. If the links are added at the same time, then it will be the link that is nearest the top of the page that will be used.

Keep in mind that this information that he has given is 5 years old and things may have changed, especially considering the Panda and Penguin updates over the last year or two.

So, although it is not really recommended to have multiple links from page A to page B, if there is a good reason for it, make sure the anchor text of the first link is the one that you would want to be used.

Understand how multiple links work on a page helps optimizers in knowing which anchor text to prioritize, instead of building the links blindly in hope of sowing more seeds. It is no longer the era of beating the air, but educating yourself on how it works.