Google’s “First Link Counts” Rule: Why Your eCommerce Category Pages Aren’t Linking to Products Optimally

  1. Thanks Giuseppe,

    It would be interesting to see this on link title attributes too. Either way, I guess the way Gaiam is handling the situation is acceptable given your experiments, but Forever21 and Petsmart (along with most other major retailers) could use some work.

    Further, it might be a good idea to use different anchor text in the alt attribute of the image than the product title, which is the text link below the image. In this way you can have two different anchor text phrases pointing to the product page instead of just one.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • No problems, Everett.
      Regarding the link title attribute, all the test I’ve seen in the past showed you can’t rank for a keyword just used as link title, so imho it’s just topical context but not a direct ranking factor: better to optimize it but not great impact.
      In all the situations you include in the post, you have suboptimal HTML anyway (links on divs not recommended in any case), so there’s surely room for improvement 😉

  2. Thanks for the reminder… There are so many signals these days that it’s easy to overlook the basics.

    • No problem Dave. To be honest, I’d like to test this theory out again just to make sure it is a confirmed issue that Google hasn’t addressed. It could be that they’re counting multiple anchors now, or at least image anchors and text anchors separately. Either way, I don’t think putting an image link without title and alt attributes above a good text link is ideal.

  3. Almost forgot about hash BANG!

    Valid point made on using the CSS technique. Google might think it is manipulative further down the track.

    Just started following your blog, should have discovered it earlier. Looking forward to reading more posts from you.


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A photograph of Everett Sizemore sitting on a rooftop in Denver.

Everett Sizemore (Alumni)

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