From a Google point of view, you want your content above the fold (before users need to scroll):
As we’ve mentioned previously, we’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change.
Although this Google update was targeting sites with adds above the fold, the wording above seems to give the impression that any sites with any content not appearing before a scroll may be affected.
If having just a h1 and a bunch of links pushed any content below the fold, I would go for the first option.
You could also do A/B testing with different layoutd to see which results in the best UX