A few weeks ago I wrote about how Google only assesses the first linktext if there are more than one link to a second site within a page. Back then I received a series of special cases by comments and email. Now I have taken these cases and tried them out, the result of which I do not want to keep to myself. All of the tests are still online so everyone who wishes to run their own tests are welcome to use them.
Test 1: standard procedure, just like the test a few weeks ago (1. Link / 2. Link)
The outcome is still the same: if more than one link directs to a second site, Google will onle assess the first linktext. The advice here would be to accommodate the most important keywords for the internal link within the first linktext.
Test 2: first link as a nofollow-link (1. Link / 2. Link)
Just like the first test, except that this time the nofollow-attribute was added to the first link. The result is surprising: Google assesses neither the first nor the second linktext. Added to this is that the linked page is not even crawled by Google or taken into the index. I patiently waited a few days and Googlebot-crawlings after the inclusion of the other pages to make sure this is not a one-time error on Googles side. Even after a few days nothing has changed and the result seems valid. Google’s fixation with the first link on a page seems to go to such lengths that all consequent links are discarded if the first link spots a linktext which is labeled with the nofollow-attribute.
Test 3: first link as a picture without title- or alt-attribute (2. Link)
The first link received a picture as linktext where the picture neither has a title- nor an alt- attribute.
Google uses the second linktext with this combination.
Test 4: first link as a picture without a title- but with an alt-attribute (1. Link / 2. Link)
Just as test 3 with the only difference that the alt-attribute of the picture has been set. Google again uses the second linktext and simply ignores the alt-attribute.
Test 5: first link as a picture with a title- but without an alt-attribute (1. Link / 2. Link)
Same as test 4, except that this time the title- and not the alt-attribute was set. The result is the same as in tests 3 and 4: Google chooses the second linktext.
To sum this exercise up we can say that Google’s handling of the nofollow-links will lead to some hectic activity for some website-operators/searchengine-optimizers. While many made the assumption that Google will take the second link and build their internal linking-structure around it, this test proves that exactly the opposite is the case.