Footer Links: Do they still help with SEO?

Image from SXC.hu

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.

 

and finally…

Whilst the value of footer links has decreased, they are a great way to finish some designs and help with usability.

This post was written by , Dave is a digital marketer specialising in SEO and PPC, and can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

5 Responses to “Footer Links: Do they still help with SEO?”

  1. Good points Dave. Regardless of the SEO value, I think your “and finally…” point is always a good enough reason to use footer links — 1) to finish the design (many designs have little else in the footer) and 2) for usability. If we don’t include links in the footer, we should at least make sure the nav bar is in a position:fixed div so that our users can easily navigate to other pages :)

  2. We find footer links extremely useful for internal page indexing and I agree that it certainly helps finish a design off – whilst links in the footer appear to have less weighting these days – you’ll still find that most of the top SEO and online marketing companies still use anchor text signature links in theirs footer too [including ourselves] so they can’t be that harmful – unless any knows otherwise?

    • Dave Cain says:

      Hi Integrity SEO,

      Thanks for the comments and feedback. Back 5 years ago, using footer links for SEO really helped. But now from my own experience they have become less affective, especially if there is over 15+ links, and like I said, that’s just from my own experience! Plus Matt Cutts comments in the video are interesting as well.

      Thanks,
      Dave.

  3. Carly says:

    Great article Davey, I was just searching Google for this very answer and your site popped up (not sure if it’s cus we’re connected & I’m logged in, or cus you’re ranking for footer links seo!)

    Thanks for posting the Matt Cutts video too, just what I was after :)

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