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Footer Links for SEO: Best Practices and Common Mistakes

Footer Links for SEO Best Practices and Common Mistakes

In the early days of SEO, when Google’s algorithm was much simpler, people often used footer links for spammy link-building.

Website owners and SEOs filled footers with links to other websites they controlled, using keyword-rich anchor text. This tricked search engines into improving their rankings but did not help users.

Now, Google’s algorithm is smarter. It quickly penalizes sites using these spammy methods. Smart SEO experts & best SEO agencies see the true potential of footer links.

Today, footer links are more than just extra links at the bottom of a page. They are powerful tools. When used correctly, they improve your site’s UX and navigation.

What are Footer Links?

Footer links are links found at the bottom of a webpage. They help users find important sections like contact info, privacy policies, or site maps. 

These links appear on every page of the site, making them sitewide. They are great for navigation and also help improve your site’s structure and authority, boosting SEO. 

If implemented correctly, footer links can enhance both user experience and SEO performance.

There are two types of footer links:

  • Internal Footer Links: These links point to other pages within the same website. They help users navigate your site and assist search engines in understanding your site’s structure.
  • External Footer Links: These links point to pages on other websites. They should be used sparingly and be relevant to your content to avoid penalties from search engines.

How Do Footer Links Impact SEO?

Footer links help your website in many ways. They make it easier for users to find important pages, improving their overall experience. With quick access to key information, visitors can navigate your site more efficiently.

Footer links also boost page authority and improve internal linking. By distributing link juice to key pages, footer links help search engines crawl and index your site more effectively. This can lead to better search rankings and more organic traffic.

Google’s Stance on Footer Links

Google doesn’t like spammy or excessive footer links. John Mueller from Google said, 

If you’re dropping links in other people’s websites and you’re using those to forward PageRank to your website then that’s kind of an unnatural link.”

– John Mueller

Moz also warns against this, saying,

“Site-wide, whether it’s a footer link or a top-level navigation link, you definitely don’t want to go after those. They can appear really, really spammy. Avoid those.”

– Moz

Using too many footer links or irrelevant links can make it look like you’re trying to trick search engines. This can lead to penalties. Instead, make sure your footer links are relevant and helpful to your users.

Common Types of Footer Links

Footer links can be divided into two main types: internal and external. Here are the key types and examples of each:

Internal Footer Links:

  • Navigation Links: Direct users to important sections like the homepage, about us, and contact pages. They make important information easy to find.
  • Contact Information: Include key details such as email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses. This ensures users can easily get in touch with you.
  • Legal Links: Links to privacy policies, terms of service, and disclaimers ensure your site complies with legal requirements and builds trust with users.
  • Sign-up Links: Allow users to subscribe to newsletters or updates, helping you grow your audience.

Sign-up footer Links examples

  • Sitemap Links: A structured list of all the pages on your site helps with navigation and SEO by making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your content.
  • Support Links: Direct users to help centers, FAQ sections, or customer service pages to improve user experience.
  • Testimonials: Share customer feedback to build trust and credibility.
  • Category Pages: Help users navigate to specific sections of the website.
  • Main Navigation Pages: Direct links to the main sections of the website.

External Footer Links:

  • Social Media Links: Connect visitors to your social media profiles. This fosters engagement and helps build your online presence.

social media footer example

  • Partner or Resource Links: Occasionally, you might link to partner sites or resources that add value to your content. Use these sparingly to avoid appearing spammy.
  • Affiliate Links: If you have affiliate partnerships, these links can be included but should be marked with “nofollow” to avoid penalties.

Additional Considerations:

  • Mini Photo Gallery: Displays small images, often linked to relevant content.
  • Upcoming Events: Information on future events that might interest your visitors.
  • Latest Articles: Links to recent blog posts or articles to keep users engaged with your content.

Good and Bad Usage of Footer Links

Here we will show you how to use footer links effectively, and what to avoid:

Good Examples:

  • Linking to Important Sections: Include links to privacy policies, contact information, and sitemaps. These are essential for both users and compliance.
  • Using Relevant Links: Make sure the links are useful and enhance the user experience. For example, a footer with links to “Privacy Policy,” “Contact Us,” and “Sitemap.”
  • Organized Layout: Arrange links in a clear, organized manner. For instance, group links into categories like “Customer Service,” “Company Information,” and “Resources.”

Example of Good Usage:

amazon footer example

Despite being a huge ecommerce website. Amazon’s entire menu is organized very neatly. That helps with a good user experience.

Bad Examples:

  • Overloading with Links: Having too many links in the footer can dilute their value. It makes the footer look cluttered and can confuse users.
  • Irrelevant or Spammy Links: Adding links that are only there for SEO purposes can harm your site’s credibility. For example, a footer with 100+ links pointing to different locations looks spammy.

Example of Bad Usage:

bad-footer-links-example-

This footer is cluttered with too many links under “Cities,” “Neighborhoods,” and “Zip Codes.” It overwhelms users and makes it hard to find important information quickly.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Keep It Simple: Only include links that are truly helpful to your users.
  • Stay Relevant: Ensure all links are related to your site’s content and user needs.
  • Avoid Clutter: Don’t overload the footer with too many links. Aim for clarity and ease of use.

How To Use External Footer Links

Okay, now we are clear that we should avoid external footer links, if possible. But sometimes, it is necessary to use them. Let’s check where and how we can use them:

When It’s Okay to Add External Footer Links:

  • Credit Sources: If you need to credit a source, adding an external link can be appropriate. Make sure the link is relevant and necessary.
  • Partner Sites: Linking to a trusted partner or affiliate website can be acceptable. Ensure the link adds value to your users.
  • Additional Resources: If an external resource significantly enhances your content, consider adding the link. This should be done sparingly and only when it naturally fits with your content.

Best Practices for External Footer Links:

  • Relevance: Only add external links that are directly related to your content. Avoid linking to unrelated sites.
  • Quality: Make sure the sites you link to are high-quality and trustworthy. Avoid low-quality or spammy sites.
  • Use Nofollow Tags: To avoid any potential SEO issues, use “nofollow” tags on external links. This tells search engines not to pass link authority to these sites.

Common Issues with Footer Links

Footer links can be very useful, but they must be used correctly. Misusing them can lead to several issues that harm your site’s usability and SEO. Here are some common problems to watch out for.

1. Google May Devalue External Footer Links

Google tends to ignore or penalize footer links that appear spammy or excessive. If you fill your footer with many external links, it can look like you are trying to manipulate search rankings. This can lead to penalties. To avoid this, only include external links when they are truly necessary and relevant.

2. Low Click-Through Rates (CTR)

Footer links often have low click-through rates. Users typically focus on the main content and navigation menus, rarely scrolling to the footer. Because of this, footer links are not very effective for driving traffic. Make sure that the links you include are important and likely to be used.

3. Overloading Footer with Links

Having too many links in your footer can create an unhealthy link profile. It dilutes the value of each link and can overwhelm users. A cluttered footer makes it hard for users to find the information they need, which can lead to a poor user experience. Keep your footer clean and only include the most essential links.

4. Time-Consuming Organization

Organizing and maintaining footer links can be time-consuming. It requires careful planning to ensure the links are relevant and useful. Regular updates and checks are needed to keep the links accurate and functional. Despite the effort, it’s important to manage your footer links efficiently to maintain a well-organized site.

5. Not Optimized for Mobile Devices

Many websites overlook the importance of optimizing footer links for mobile users. They might focus on using the footer for link building rather than enhancing navigation and user experience. If footer links are not optimized for mobile devices, users may find it difficult to navigate your site on their phones. This can lead to a frustrating user experience and high bounce rates. Ensure your footer links are well-spaced and large enough to tap, and use a responsive design to adjust the layout for different devices.

Practical Tips for Footer Optimization

Now you know, footer links can still be an important part of your website UX and navigation if done correctly. Let’s talk about some practical tips to make sure your footer links are helping, not hurting, your site.

1. Use Relevant Links

First, keep your footer links relevant. Think about what your users need. Links to contact information, privacy policies, and site maps are great choices. Avoid adding links that don’t add value. If a link doesn’t serve a purpose, it doesn’t belong in your footer.

2. Organize Links Clearly

Next, organize your footer links clearly. Group them into categories like “Customer Service,” “Company Information,” and “Resources.” This helps users find what they’re looking for without getting lost. A well-organized footer is like a roadmap for your site.

3. Limit the Number of Links

Less is more when it comes to footer links. A cluttered footer can be overwhelming. Stick to the most important links. Think quality over quantity. Users should be able to find key information without sifting through a mess of links.

4. Use Descriptive Anchor Text

Make your anchor text clear and descriptive. Users should know exactly what to expect when they click a link. For example, use “Privacy Policy” instead of just “Policy.” Clear anchor text improves user experience and helps search engines understand your site.

5. Optimize for Mobile Users

Many visitors will access your site from their phones, so make sure your footer links work well on mobile devices. Links should be well-spaced and easy to tap. A responsive design will adjust the layout for different screen sizes, making navigation smooth and easy.

6. Update Regularly

Keep your footer links up-to-date. Regularly check for broken links and outdated information. This shows users that your site is well-maintained and trustworthy. Plus, it helps search engines crawl your site more effectively.

Conclusion

Footer links might seem like a small detail, but they play a big role in your website’s user experience and SEO. When done right, they can guide visitors, improve navigation, and boost your site’s authority.

So, here’s the deal:

  • Keep your footer links relevant and organized.
  • Don’t overload your footer with too many links.
  • Make sure they work well on mobile devices.
  • Regularly update your links to keep them fresh and functional.

Need help with link building? At Outreach Monks, we specialize in ethical and effective link-building strategies for multiple industries. Contact us today to learn how our services can enhance your site’s visibility and authority.

Let’s make your links work harder for your digital success!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use images in my footer links for better engagement?

Yes, using icons or small images for links like social media can improve user engagement.

Is it okay to include promotional offers in footer links?

Yes, adding links to current promotions or special offers can be effective if they add value to your users.

Should footer links open in a new tab or the same tab?

For external links, it's best to open them in a new tab to keep users on your site.

Can I use footer links to highlight seasonal content?

Yes, updating footer links to feature seasonal content can keep your footer relevant and timely.

How can I track the effectiveness of my footer links?

Use analytics tools to monitor click rates and user interaction with your footer links.

Ekta Chauhan

Ekta Chauhan

Ekta is a seasoned link builder at Outreach Monks with six years in the digital marketing trenches, specializing in the SaaS niche. Professionally, she’s a wizard at navigating multiple niches with finesse. On the personal side, despite her calm and quiet nature, don't be fooled—Ekta's creativity means she’s probably plotting to take over the world.

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