In his latest Webmaster Help video, Google's Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts discusses what happens to the flow of PageRank when Google crawls a page and finds two links on a page pointing to the same target, but each uses unique anchor text.
Why might you link to the same page twice with different anchor text? It could be a situation where you link to an article multiple times within a blog post, or perhaps you end up linking to the same URL via your site navigation and within your body text of a page on your site.
Before answering the question, Cutts said thinking about the amount of PageRank or the anchor text that will flow from multiple links on a page is the equivalent of "dancing on the head of a pin."
He emphasized that there are far more important things you should worry about when devising your SEO strategy, such as site architecture, user experience, site speed, homepage design, and how many people actually make it through your funnel.
"I understand people are curious about it, but ... this is sort of splitting hairs stuff," Cutts said. "This is the sort of thing where if you're really worried about this as a factor in SEO, I think it's probably worthwhile taking a step back and looking at high order bits, more important priorities," such as
Considering the impact of different anchor text of multiple links on a page going to the same destination page definitely is nitpicky. That said, webmasters are always looking for every little advantage they can find, so if there is the chance it could affect something on a minute scale, and they can hear it from Cutts himself, they want to know.
"Looking at the original PageRank paper, if you had two links from one page to another page, both links would flow PageRank," Cutts said. "The amount of PageRank gets divided evenly in the original paper between all the outgoing links, so it's the case that two links both go to the same page, then twice as much PageRank would go to that page."
But this question dealt with two very different things, the first being PageRank itself, and the use of different anchor text.
Cutts explained that PageRank flow is completely separate from anchor text.
"If they have different anchor text, that doesn't affect the flow of PageRank," he said, before explaining a bit about how Google's link extraction process.
"We look at all the links on a page and we extract those and then we annotate or fix them to the documents that they point to, and that link extraction process can select all the links or might select one of the links or might select some of the links, and that behavior changes over time," he said. "The last time I checked was 2009, and back then we might for example only have selected one of the links from a given page."
Bottom line: don't concern yourself with which link comes first and which anchor text those multiple links have, as there are many far more important things to focus on that will have a much higher benefit and impact on your site.
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