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Footer links are a hot topic in SEO.
There is much debate about:
- How many footer links you should have
- Whether you can include external footer links
- If footer affects SEO or not
- What pages you should link to
The truth is linking is an important part of SEO. But when it comes to footer links, you need to be more strategic about the types of links you place.
In this blog, I will teach you everything you need to know about footer links and show you how to use them wisely.
What Will I Learn?
Footer links are sitewide links placed at the bottom of your website in the footer.
These links will appear on every page of your website because the footer is usually automatically placed at the bottom of every page.
Most footer links are internal links to other pages of your site, but in some cases, you may link out to another website from the footer.
In the past, Google has used footer links to better understand the important pages of your website. But footer links aren’t all about Google.
They also help visitors find the information they are looking for quickly.
This means you need to consider what footer links will help provide the best user experience for your site visitors.
Do Footer Links Still Matter In 2022?
Short answer – Yes.
But as search engines have become smarter, footer links have become less important over time.
Here’s what I mean:
Google closely examines every link that you place in the footer.
They want to know whether you have placed links just to improve your SEO or whether they are there to help your site visitors:
If they determine that those links help improve your website user experience, the footer links will be a positive signal to Google.
Getting the balance right can be tricky. At the end of this blog, I have included 3 good examples of footer links that you can replicate.
What Are The Most Used Footer Links?
The truth is that footer links should help your visitors navigate your website faster.
Most people place footer links only to the important pages of their site.
Here’s a comprehensive list of links that you can safely place in your footer:
- Business contact
- Location information
- CTA or Opt-in forms
- Category pages
- Main navigation pages
- Copyright information
- Social media widgets
- Mini photo gallery
- Upcoming events
- Latest articles
The key to adding the right footer links is knowing what will be most important to your site visitors. Think of it like this…
That way you can be confident your links are valuable and improve your user experience.
What about external footer links?
There are very few times when you should have external links in the footer. And in most cases, these links won’t boost your SEO or the site you are linking to.
Google devalues external footer links to almost nothing. Too many external footer links can even attract a Google penalty.
If you need to put an external link in the footer, add a “nofollow” tag. This will keep you safe from potential penalties or any negative effects on your SEO.
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What links do you put in your site footer?
Keep these 4 guidelines when using SEO footer links in the future.
1. External Footer Links May Get Devalued By Google
Footers have been around almost since the beginning of web design.
That means search engines like Google or Bing are good at identifying website footers and what’s included in them.
After tons of testing, SEOs and web design companies generally agree that external links in footers are devalued by Google.
Simply put – External links in your footer will not provide nearly as much SEO value as an external link within a body of content.
In most cases, Google will devalue them to the point where they offer no value to the other site. Use your footer to place internal links to important pages on your website.
The only time you should be using external links in your footer is to either list other connected businesses or linking out to social profiles or trust pilot.
This will keep you on the right side of Google and bring the most benefit to your site users.
2. Footer Links Usually Get Very Low CTRs
Footer links don’t get many clicks.
Most people only scroll to the footer when they can’t find what they are looking for. Think of it as a last resort to find specific pages on your site.
This means that generally, footer links get very low click-thru rates.
Why does this matter?
Cramming your footer full of links is not an efficient way to drive traffic to different pages on your website. The truth is that people just won’t use them that often.
It’s not worth the risk of potentially lowering the page’s quality for a couple of clicks.
3. Footer Links Can Take Your Pages Beyond A “Healthy” Link Total
Too many links on a page can lower the page quality.
Here’s the problem:
Your footer will appear on almost every page of your website. So, if you add too many links in the footer you will be adding all of those links to every page on your site. This could put you over a “healthy page link total” in Google’s eyes.
This is especially true if the links are external links.
Google uses the number of links as a factor when assessing page quality. If there are tons of links and not enough content, Google will classify the page as spammy.
And we all know that spammy pages don’t rank.
Keep your website footer concise and don’t cram it full of unnecessary links. This will stop your website pages from exceeding a healthy link total.
4. Organising Footer Links Can Be A Time Suck
It takes time to create a solid footer structure. For most website owners, it’s just not worth the time.
As you have already seen footer links-
- Can be devalued by search engines for SEO purposes
- Get very low click-thru rates from site visitors
- Can damage your page quality
The truth is spending tons of time organising your footer links isn’t worth it. You just don’t get enough benefits for the time you put in.
The old saying rings true even for footer links…
“Just keep it simple”.
Now you know what kinds of footers you should add and what types you should avoid.
The key to getting the most SEO value out of your footer links is being intelligent with the links you add to your footer. The following 3 websites have excellent footer link placement.
Follow their examples for your own website footer.
Footer Links Example #1: Amazon
Amazon is a huge website.
They have millions of pages and listings of almost any product you think of. Amazon gets an average of 2.45 billion monthly site visitors.
The number of links they could add to their footer is overwhelming.
But Amazon has done a great job with their footer links by only adding the most important pages for customers.
Each footer link is neatly placed under the heading to quickly help site visitors find what they need-
- Get to Know Us – Includes links to the important company pages
- Make Money with Us – These links are for sellers on Amazon
- Amazon Payment Products – The links are for popular payment products Amazon offers
- Let Us Help You – Links for customer service and support
It’s a simple footer link layout, making it easy to find only what you need.
This is impressive for a huge site like Amazon.
Footer Links Example #2: Apple
When most people think of Apple they just think of:
But Apple actually now has over 50+ popular products and services. That doesn’t even include all of the variations of products and services they offer.
Apple also runs its entire support and service features from the website. That means that people visit the Apple website for lots of different reasons.
Apple has cleverly divided all of the footer links into each website department. You can easily find what you are looking for.
The other thing that Apple does well is to include links to each product and service group.
This can help get people to the right products quickly while increasing sales.
Even though Apple uses lots of links in the footer, the layout is simple. It improves the user experience by helping customers find the correct pages quickly.
Footer Links Example #3: WebFX
WebFX is a full-service digital marketing agency.
Their website isn’t nearly as big as Amazon or Apple. They have done a great job of creating a footer that is easy to understand and efficient.
Here’s what I mean:
WebFX lists all of the important pages under four headings:
- Services – All the services they offer
- Knowledge Base – Improve your digital marketing and SEO knowledge
- Company – Each department of WebFx
- Resources – Important pages about WebFX
The footer is optimised for SEO by using good keyword-rich anchor text to describe the important pages.
Site visitors can also easily find the services they are interested in and even learn more about marketing before buying.
In the bottom left, you will notice that WebFX includes the amount of revenue they have made for clients through their services.
This is cleverly positioned under the Service footer links.
The social icons are also displayed nicely so people can check them out and connect with them on social media.
The WebFX footer layout is simplified and contains links to important pages they want their customers to visit.
They’ve also optimised the footer links to drive leads and sales. Most of the linked pages lead directly to sales pages for the services that WebFX offers.
This is an excellent example of being clever with your footer links.
Wrapping It Up
There you have it:
Everything you need to know about creating a footer that contains the right links.
The key to good footer links is only placing links that help your visitors find what they are looking for quickly and easily.
If you are clever… You can even optimise your footer to drive more leads and sales.
Just don’t go overboard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are footer links bad for SEO?
External footer links are generally bad for SEO, while internal footer links can benefit SEO. Search engines devalue external links in the footer and too many external footer links can impact your rankings. Strategically placed internal footer links improve user experience and help with internal linking for SEO.
Can you put a link in a footer?
Yes, putting internal links in the footer is encouraged and recommended by professional SEOs. You should only put links in the footer to improve the user experience and help visitors quickly find what they need.
What should be included in a footer?