The footer of your page can contain links to internal and possibly even external pages. It is sometimes used to place large 728 x 90 or 468 x 60 pixel adverts and in the past has been a decent way of passing some ‘link juice’ from the anchor text link in the footer to the page it is pointing to. For example, if you owned www.widgets.com, you could place ‘blue widget’ as a text link in the footer and point it to the main ‘blue widget’ page for which you have optimised that key phrase for.
We are looking at the headers and footers for a client today and they still want a series of links in the footer of their website to send people to. So are footer links a good idea and do they benefit your site when it comes to SEO?
Well, many years ago websites were using them as a way of passing some link value to their internal pages. You see a footer is always there on every page and it is true that important pages linking from your main home page should be found in as few clicks as possible. Therefore, since 2000 a number of website owners, designers and SEO practitioners have stuffed loads of keywords in their footers in the hope it will improve their search engine positions for those keywords.
Unfortunately, what unfolded is now just another case of link abuse and those websites with 20 or 30 links in their footers have now devalued this technique. Remember, the search engines are now manually reviewing websites these days and a site with 30 links in the footer will probably be marked down and put in the ‘trying too hard’ or ‘using manipulative techniques’ folder.
In our opinion, it is best to have just a few links in your footer. We add the general contact and site map links and then maybe two to three other very high value pages which are also the most popular with visitors. This way, you can justify adding these anchor text links in your footer for the main purpose of improving user experience and for providing another route to these pages. Of course, it will also pass on some value to that page but it is debatable as to how much.
Also bear in mind that the location of the footer means a very low click through rate. It is our experience that people do go to the footer to locate a contact info link if the site does not make this clear any where else. But, you should have a contact page, about us, and telephone number in very clear view anyway!
The short of it is if you are going to use the footer as an SEO linking strategy, do so for just a few of your main keywords. Don’t create a footer with 20-30 links on it and also make sure that you create good internal anchor text links on related pages to your main SEO pages whenever you can to help your internal SEO effort.