Should you Have Backlinks in the Footer Section to Your Website?

Whether you are an SEO expert, novice or someone who is simply trying to learn more about online marketing I am sure you have heard about the importance of backlinks. Every once in a while you will come across a situation where you have control over a website that differs from your main site. This most commonly occurs for web designers, developers or search engine professionals. The temptation here is to put a backlink to your main website in the footer of these websites you manage. The question, of course, is this a good idea?


The answer, probably not. Before I explain further I think it is best to state that SEO is ideally handled on an individual basis. If you are keeping track of your rankings, inbound links and site ratings and you don’t see an issue with your current backlinking strategy then, by all means, don’t fix something that is not broken. However, it is possible to get penalized by Google if you have link spamming or unnatural linking as part of your strategy.


From what we have seen as a company Google addresses footer backlinks in a couple of ways. One situation is that they simply add a no-follow attribute to the links automatically. This makes it so that the links are there for users to see and use without giving any SEO juice to the linking site. The second way is that Google will only count all the site-wide links as one link. Usually, the homepage link with having some positive SERP benefit, with all subpages having a neutral or in some case slightly negative effects.


search-engine-backlinksAfter a month of trying to get site-wide backlinks from the footer of other websites here are the results Google credited. As you can see, the total number of backlinks totals 27. Now if Google has actually given credit for each page we would see a total of 500+ backlinks from these sites. Our thought on the matter is that if Google won’t give us credit for the links then why would we keep them, especially if they could potentially be harmful? To find the perfect solution we looked at our continued SEO plan and did further research from credible sources like Moz for the answer.


In all reality, it comes down to what your goal of having the backlink is. If you want to brand the site because you made it, then add a no-follow attribute to the link so that search engines know you are not trying to manipulate their results. If you want some SEO benefit then it would be best to keep the backlink out of the footer and somewhere naturally on the homepage. The problem is that footer links have been so abused throughout the years they no longer hold that much weight in terms of positive SEO progress. To avoid hurting your site’s success you need your links to come in naturally. Avoid keyword anchor text links like “Utah web design” if you are going to put a link on someone’s site to yours. Keep your backlinks branded like “” for anchor text. Lastly, mix things up as much as possible especially if your company name has keywords in it.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Please share with the rest of the class.

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