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Google’s John Mueller was asked if Google counts the first link on a page at the same level as the second link on a page. This is a topic that goes back over ten years in the SEO debate space. In any event, John ignored that question and then went on to explain it is more about primary vs boilerplate content.
The question came up in a Reddit thread:
Two links on the same page will pass PR to the first link but none to the second, but that doesn’t mean the second link still doesn’t get any benefit. (May be misremembering this bit)
John Mueller responded:
We mostly differentiate between the primary content & boilerplate (things like header, sidebar, menu, etc), but for the most part, that’s with regards to the content on pages. Mostly people overthink this: if you’re linking within your own site, just link naturally, use clear navigation, use good cross-linking; if you’re “dropping” links on other people’s sites, well, maybe just don’t.
Now on that topic, we had a different Googler tell us that links in boilerplate content is weighted less than links in primary content. John also touched on this topic previously before saying something simialr.
But again, this first link vs second link topic really brought me back about a dozen years in SEO.
Forum discussion at Reddit.