Google SEO & Search Engine Marketing Services

Footer Links Suck!

I had a big smile on my face last night whilst doing a bit of reading, catching up on industry news etc… but first let me expand a little.

For around a year now I have been banging on in forums about link positioning, where a link is on a page, and how it is embedded in the content. My opinion was firmly that links higher up the page hold more weight and links naturally occurring within the content hold more ranking punch.

This is the reason I advise all my clients against wasting links in the footer. Of course put links in the footer but don’t if you want some real juice to pass through them.

My logic for that opinion was this, footer links are commonly used to create huge quantities of spam links, I’m sure you’ve come across the site with a paragraph in the footer and every word is a link. So Google are already a little suspicious about footer links, however on top of this Google tries hard to place maximum emphasis on the user. Users are more likely to click a link at the top of your page over the ones in the footer, therefore is it not only natural that Google should pass more weight through them?

Likewise links within the content of your site are more likely to be clicked by the visitor than ones in the footer.

Anyway this was firmly my opinion and you may have noticed before I often link back to my homepage within my blog posts, anchoring the text appropriately.

I posed a question to Matt Cutts using the Google Moderator asking about this very issue.

My question was not picked but a very similar question was answered. Matt Cutt’s answer made me smile because it’s one I absolutely expected to hear. Links in content are given more weight because they are more likely to be editorial links, therefore Google treats them differently.

Anyway enough of me watch the video:

Just to make this clear, footer links do count and will still pass some link juice, however links in content pass much more value as they are more likely to be editorial. Makes sense right?

A couple of things to remember;

1) Internal links pass weight – Use them wisely
2) Try and get external links that are in content rather than simply at the bottom of a page.

I can understand why Google differentiate like this, they are trying to counteract site wide blogrolls, link lists, link farms and spam directories. Remember directory links still kind of work, proven here – Directories work.

There are loads of great ways to get links form external sites within content:-

Articles, press releases, carnivals, guest blogging – Just to name a few

Use your imagination and reap the rewards :)

A quick weekend post but one I think we all can benefit from. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Author: Tim (254 Articles)

is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 9 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Director of Search at Branded3, a Digital Marketing & SEO Agency based in the UK.

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{ 9 comments }

PotatoChef August 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Useful information…thanks for the weekend post!!

Tim August 23, 2009 at 10:09 am

@Pchef,

Not a problem thanks for dropping in :)

searchbrat August 24, 2009 at 5:54 am

I am interested if there is a such thing as first link priority. What Matt says would suggest they are already doing something of the sort. I have read lots from Stompernet, SEOMoz about this rule but over on webmasterworld not many people seem to think it exists.

Tim August 24, 2009 at 6:09 am

@searchbrat,

There has always been rumours of a first link priority rule, however I don’t know how valid it is. Matt is never going to give anything away so specific and I am not aware of any research being carried out. I think it makes sense that the higher a link is up a page the more weight it should carry, users are more likely to follow it therefore Google should give it a little extra attention. A link in the footer buried in text is hardly the sort of link Google want to be giving any real weight to. I have attempteed to run a few tests now on link position but as yet the results have not shown anything significant, it might have to be one of those research projects that goes on for months.

Seo London September 1, 2009 at 4:31 am

Good post, i am agree with you as top links have always more value and visibility as comparison to footer links.

Tim September 1, 2009 at 11:34 am

@seolondoon,

Thanks for the comments.

seo nottingham December 4, 2010 at 11:54 am

It’s always good to hear things from the horses mouth (as they say)

Thanks for the post, very informative.

nottingham seo May 2, 2011 at 2:32 am

I’ve run a few tests and for me links higher up in the CODE do make more of a difference. This is apposed to footer and sitewide links.
Maybe for SEO we should start putting sitewide links at the top of the page.

Tim May 4, 2011 at 1:51 am

Anything the user is more likely to click on is probably a safe option, using text around your site wide also seems to have a positive effect as well from the tests we have run.

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