There has been a lot of talk over the last couple of years about sitewide links or links in footers. Many experienced SEO’s and internet marketers have openly slammed them as being spammy and carrying little in terms of link juice and authority; however the truth is they are very effective links in terms of both ranking and building up your overall website authority.
Now from what we can see at Branded3 Search there has definitely been an update in terms of sitewide link profiles with many major players losing rankings because of their “sitewide” heavy profile. You only have to look at the SERPS for ‘SEO’ and ‘search engine optimisation’, the top ten are 60% different from what they were 3 months ago, in the UK at least.
Despite what seems to be an obvious attack on sitewide links they still remain effective if used properly and in moderation. SEO wizz has around 600 domains linking in and I can honestly say only 5 or 6 are sitewide links, if I was advising a client I would never want more than 1 in 30 links being a sitewide, this is just my opinion, SEO has never been an exact science, all I would say is use sitewide links intelligently.
So now we have the introduction out of the way, what is the best way to use these types of links for maximum impact?
Your homepage is always going to be the strongest page of your website, however overloading it with sitewide links isn’t going to help your rankings or traffic in the long run. Everyone knows anchor text is key to high rankings but what they don’t realise is the rules that apply to anchor text don’t apply to link profiles.
Your link profile needs to be diverse with lots of unique domains pointing back to your pages.
Anchor text does not need to be diverse – If you had 400 links pointing to your homepage passing massive juice but with the anchor text as your domain name, the chances are you’re not going to rank, however throw a couple of anchor optimised sitewide links into the mix and you could well see yourself in the top 5.
I demonstrated this a month ago, I haven’t really targeted the keyword ‘SEO consultant’ in my anchor text, my site has good authority so I switched my title tag to include it, this got me to the second page with very little anchor text links, however when I placed just 1 sitewide link optimised for the keyword, this was enough to push me into the top 3.
So…. Concentrate on building a diverse link profile and use sitewide links smartly to boost your anchor text.
Many do not realise yet or understand the power of strong links to deep pages. Many of the posts we write or guides we put together are filled with longtail search queries, low hanging fruit that’s just waiting to be plucked.
I have blogged before on how to optimise our posts to target these but a healthy sitewide link can make all the difference.
Now these are very hard to achieve but let me explain a little, if you can get just 1 quality sitewide link to a deep page of your website you will rank in the top 5 for every longtail keyword on the page. I have been fortunate enough to work with clients who have huge amounts of traffic (6 million uniques a month) and something that is key to success is the sheer amount of external links they have pointing to the deep pages of their websites.
I had a client who built 2 sitewide links to all their ‘listing’ pages and in 1 year they were receiving 250,000 unique visitors from Google every month.
So if you can, go for it, hit those deep pages with a sitewide and your traffic will rocket on that particular post.
To round up then, sitewide links are not evil, they aren’t going to get you penalised, however if your link profile is made up of hundreds of them expect Google to devalue some. If you or your company are in the business of adding a footer link in your clients websites, optimised with the anchor text of your choice, expect that to stop working real soon, those days are over.