First or more, it doesn’t matter
The question of what Google anchor text counts when you have the same link multiple times on your page, pointing to the same location, is not a new question. We’ve been covering it since before 2008 and even Matt Cutts made a video of it in 2009. Google’s John Mueller just touched on it again in his SEO video.
First, Matt Cutts said in 2009 that Google doesn’t always take the first anchor text used on your page for this URL, but it often does. It depends on things like navigation and so on.
Go forward to 2021 and Google’s John Mueller was asked this question. The question asked is Google using the first or the longest anchor text (never heard the “longest” theory before). John said it was more about trying to “understand the structure of the site the same way a user might understand it and take it into account.” So Google might not just look at the length or location of the anchor text, but instead try to determine which anchor text is best suited for the user. John also said that Google can / has changed the way it works over the years.
He was asked at mark 44:11 in the video “Question about two different anchor texts, to a single URL. Which anchor link does Google value? Does Google estimate text size anchor or the size the anchor text takes on the screen. “
I don’t think we’ve defined that at all, so that’s the sort of thing where from our systems as it may happen that we pick one and try to figure out which one is more relevant, but I do. I would kind of guess we naively take the first of a page and only use it. Or just take the one with the longest anchor text and ignore the others. We are basically trying to understand the structure of the site as a user could understand it and take it into account. And the way that kind of ambiguous situation is handled. which can also vary over time.
Here’s John’s video response, so you can listen:
Compare this to the Cutts 2009 version:
YouTube community discussion forum.