Footer Links and SEO – what is the best practice for including internal links in your footer?

It’s a question that has been asked and debated at length by SEOs and developers.

If you haven’t given too much thought to the content in your footer, you are not alone. For many, it is a grey area that some are afraid to approach. As a result, often leave it blank – at the detriment of on-site experience and potential SEO benefits.

So, let’s take a look at some of the considerations that must be made when adding an internal link in your footer. As an SEO company, we see all sorts of practices; we are here to debunk a few of the myths and give some best practice advice for SEO and footer links. 

Do Internal Footer Links Matter for SEO?

Yes.

Internal links play an important role in how Google understands the hierarchy and value of content on your website.

Think about it; websites will generally only link to their most important informational resources from their website footer. Search bots use these signals to understand how much weight should be placed on different web pages.

Google will then try to decipher whether you are adding these links for the exclusive purpose of search engine optimisation. Or whether these links have been added to your website because they are critical to the on-site user experience.

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Best Practice for Internal Footer Links for SEO

Don’t go crazy with your internal footer links.

Adding your top 20 pages to your footer may seem like a good move for SEO. But there are a couple of reasons why this might not be the best idea.

Adding many Footer links for SEO may send mixed signals to search bots about what content is actually most important on your website.

Adding a large number of internal links in your website footer can disrupt the flow of link equity throughout your site. Websites that overload their footer with links at the detriment of user experience may find that their internal links lose power.

Distributing internal links in your footer too liberally may send mixed signals to search engine bots. In some cases, they may disregard the links if they believe that they have been placed there for the benefit of SEO, not the user.

Let’s take a step back; let’s look at footer links to external sites.

Sure, footer links to external links have been covered to death. Sitewide links that point from a client site, back to your own. No good for SEO, we know that.

In fact, many SEOs and webmasters have been caught out over the years when adding sitewide footer links to client sites.

Namely, the penguin 2.0 update that swept through the SEO community like the grim reaper.

In the months that followed the Penguin 2.0 updates, it became clear that Google would not tolerate external footer links as a link building tool.

In 2021, it’s bad practice, and it would take a pretty questionable SEO provider even to consider adding their own link to a client site.

Not only are you rolling the dice with Google, but it’s also a little bit sneaky. Your client is giving you free advertising. In most cases, they have no idea that they are bleeding link juice you’re the benefit of their SEO or web services provider.

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Are External Footer Links Still Bad for SEO?

The jury is still out on that one.

The latest evidence suggests that Google may no longer be directly penalising webmasters that place links in another site as a way of link building. Instead, Google is likely just ignoring these links and will not count them towards your overall rankings.

That being said, we have seen conflicting evidence. We have seen some digital agencies ranking very well by spamming client sites with links back to their own websites. When it comes to boosting SEO metrics like domain rating and domain authority, footer links also provide a nice little boost.

However, in 2021, there is one thing that we can say for certain – it is not worth the risk. Google is just as likely to roll out another update that penalises websites with a high number of links coming from footers.

Which Links Can I Safely Place in My Footer?

Looking to stay on the right side of Google? Here are a few of the links that you can feel safe adding to your website footer:

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  • Privacy Policy
  • Contact Information
  • Click to Call Phone Number
  • Click to Email
  • Sitemap
  • Social Media Links or Widgets
  • Important Navigations Pages
  • Top Level Category Pages
  • External Links to Certifications
  • External Links to Google Reviews
  • Your Latest Blog Articles
  • Link to About Us Page
  • Link to Contact Page
  • Link to FAQ Page

Closing Thoughts on Links in Footer SEO Practices

Before making any changes to your footer links, consider the user experience. At Safari Digital, we put users at the forefront of each decision that we make. When adding internal or external links in your footer for SEO, think about the implications that these actions will have on the user. If you believe that the user will get something valuable out of these links, then it may be worth keeping them in there. If you do not believe that the links are going to enhance the user experience, it may be worth leaving them out.

Not sure where to start with footer links SEO? Get in touch with the SEO team at Safari Digital for a customised SEO plan for your website. Our SEO consultants will work with you to determine an SEO Plan (including links in Footer) that works for your business and your unique industry requirements.