This weeks question is “Do footer links still help with SEO?”
What are footer links?
Footer links are typically a collection of internal or external links at the end of a web page.
These can consist of general information about the company, products, categories, sitemaps, legal information and more.
Here are some example footers from well known sources:
What’s the purpose of footer links?
Links in the footer to pages on the site can really help with the internal linking structures. I have found that if you add a link in the footer to an internal page, usefully on the next Google crawl it is found and indexed.
Also, having good anchor text within the footer link to a page can really help Google identify what the page is about – especially if you have all the other on-page factors in place on the linked page.
Do they still help with SEO?
When I first started using footer links 5 years ago, they helped a lot. But as time has gone by, I would say the value of these has decreased. Back in 2006, I found adding a link in the footer from every page on the site to an internal page would then rank really well because of these links.
As time as moved forward, links in the footer help less and less. I tested the theory recently and whilst it helped with the internal linking structure, it had very little SEO benefit.
I have now got to the point when I’m designing a website, I will only include a line of text and vital information like legal pages and sitemaps.
Check out this video from Matt Cutts who talks about footer links.
Whilst the value of footer links has decreased, they are a great way to finish some designs and help with usability.