homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.242.231.109
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member
Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: Robert Charlton & aakk9999 & brotherhood of lan & goodroi

Google SEO News and Discussion Forum

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >     
Are Footer Links Now a Problem for Google?
asusplay




msg:3354334
 8:43 am on May 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

In the last few days one of my sites lost quite a few ranking spots ongoogle despite no changes being made to it.

Now, I'm looking at different aspects and thinking whether footer links could have been the problem with Google seeing them as paid links and giving the site a penalty. The links aren't paid for (I don't sell or buy links, simply exchange if that), but I was wondering whether Google think they are paid links and penalises as a result.

Any ideas?

 

TheSeoDude




msg:3355267
 1:10 am on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

If they are exchanges you might have problems as they might have been devalued. 1-way links work only (from others to you ;) is the best direction ).

skipfactor




msg:3355269
 1:14 am on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Are they sitewide links?

trinorthlighting




msg:3355278
 1:35 am on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

That might fall under the boilerplate type of links. I would wait and see, there was talk today of some serp changes. Wait a week and see how it all shakes out. If it does not for you, then you might want to experiment in removing the links.

BillyS




msg:3355307
 2:26 am on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I hope they aren't a problem - I've got lots of them (not paid).

walkman




msg:3355357
 4:13 am on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would limit them as much as possible. Google is going after those types and you (may) risk getting hit at some time. Is it worth the risk? You decide

MLHmptn




msg:3355374
 4:52 am on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Content links are KING! Shy away from footer links ASAP! ....

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:21 am (utc) on June 1, 2007]

roodle




msg:3355820
 2:50 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have footer links on various pages of one site, most of which are exchanges but each only features on a single page. Haven't noticed any ill effects from these. Site is rock solid.

asusplay




msg:3355971
 6:01 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

They are not site wide links. Only on-page.

The thing is that there seems to have been a penalty imposed on this site - 15-20 positions on many terms, and there seems to have been a disappearance of the tail end.

I have got rid of them for now: I first noticed a problem on the 29th and traffic has been dwindling ever since. I'll monitor for the next few days until the serps stabilise.

decaff




msg:3356026
 6:41 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

The thing is that there seems to have been a penalty imposed on this site - 15-20 positions on many terms...

Are the terms you lost directly related (as in exact phrases) or even part of the stemming extensions per each term for the anchor text in your footer links..?

asusplay




msg:3356037
 6:51 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Are the terms you lost directly related (as in exact phrases) or even part of the stemming extensions per each term for the anchor text in your footer links..?

One was part of the stemming extensions of the main terms the site targets. Some of the other links shared only one word (so I guess it is in part then).

Do you think that could be a factor? All links were from the same sector, but not necessarily the same niche, but they were relevant.


soapystar




msg:3356086
 7:38 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

what exactly do you define as footer links?...just links viewable at the bottom of a page? Or also navigation that is specified within css last bit of code on the page but appears top of the page to a user....?

asusplay




msg:3356090
 7:44 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I define it as viewable at the bottom under the copyright statement. In my site's case it was also at the bottom of the html code.

tedster




msg:3356126
 8:00 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have long suspected that Google was taking a close look at footer links -- this is one place where a multitude of "sins" often occur, and also a place where Matt Cutts frequently points to problems on the sites he reviews publicly.

The challenge for an algorithm would be that many, or even most sites with footer links are using them in a very legitimate fashion for the benefit of their visitors. Many sites I work with fall into this category.

If I were Google, this is a place where I would put the human editorial input patent [webmasterworld.com] to work. There's a subjective judgement required here that would be quite difficult to program - are the links clearly visible and intended to be of value to the visitor?

The algo could build a list of supsects for their human editors to check - that would be a relatively quick job, I think, for human judgement.

I'm not saying that Google definitely does it this way - but it is one approach that they might take. Over time the data they collect this way might allow them to build a more sophisticated algorithmic check.

matrix_neo




msg:3356144
 8:15 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

also a place where Matt Cutts frequently points to problems on the sites he reviews publicly.

I just thought of pointing it out.

asusplay




msg:3356166
 8:30 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

So is the answer then to remove footer links altogether and refrain from linking to other websites in this way?

And if it is done by human editors then are they the only ones that would lift the penalty? Or would it get lifted by itself once the links were removed?

tedster




msg:3356199
 8:55 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

That's a heck of a good question, asusplay. In many cases of manual penalties (the minus thirty penalty, for example) the prevailing thought has been manually applied means it must be manually removed. But that is not the kind of thing Google likes to do long-term, because it doesn't scale.

I know from discussions with Googlers going back many years that they would prefer to see penalties both applied and removed by algo, and that the algo will remove several kinds of penalties automatically (and do that in gradual steps as well.)

Recently there was a report here of a minus thirty penalty being removed without a reinclusion request. So who knows for sure, except the folks in Mountain View.

suggy




msg:3356238
 9:30 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's been long suspected that google downgrades links at the foot of the page. They aren't blind to the practices we all see on plenty of websites: a footer stuffed with keyword laden links, so as not to clutter the user experience. Perhaps google has decided to trust them even less these days?

austtr




msg:3356363
 12:46 am on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

What exactly is a "footer link"? I suspect the poster and others are referring to the practice of stuffing a set of linked words along with a copyright statement...or variations on that scenario. In short, a set of carefully crafted anchor text links that add no value to the page or the user experience. Purely an exercise in manipulative SEO.

But to consider ALL links at the bottom of a page to be "bad footer links" simply because of the location on the page would be a nonsense and cause considerable collateral damage.

In my own case (vested self interest statement follows) I became sick and tired of the traditional links pages (links1, links2, links3 etc) and decided to introduce a "Reference Sites" box on each page. This is where I can add links, both outbounds that don't fit logically into the content plus quality reciprocals that are on-topic for the actual page content. To the best of my knowledge, that is exactly what Google promotes... on-topic linking.

Guess what.... the box sits at the bottom of the page because of format and presentation considerations.

I wonder if all the links in the "See Also" section on a Wiki page are considered suspicious because they occur at the bottom of the page?

Marcia




msg:3356402
 1:55 am on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've seen some one-way outbound links mixed in subtly with the site's own footer links, and whether they were paid for or not, it looked to me like those were paid for. But that was partly because of the other linking practices of the site being linked to, which had been enough to get the linked_to site a very obvious penalty. It didn't seem to affect the site linking out, though, which retained the PR and the #1 position.

Those are different from links to the owner's own other sites, but I'm not sure if that difference could be distinguished algorithmically.

MLHmptn




msg:3356459
 3:13 am on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

I honestly believe footer links are given little weight anymore and I also believe this last update took a hit on SPONSORED boxes that have high link churn to the text link brokers selling such links. I also believe directories (as they are now in masses) are being devalued except for Yahoo, DMOZ, BOTW, etc.

I believe the best link juice your going to find is content(body) links but take my advice like a grain of salt, I'm here like all of you, learning.......

lakr




msg:3356508
 5:03 am on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sorry for stupid question: What are you talking about Footer link:
it is internal or external links?

I wonder if all the links in the "See Also" section on a Wiki page are considered suspicious because they occur at the bottom of the page?

"See also" on Wikipedia is internal linking, DOES internal linking pose problems on Google?

Please help.

Thanks,

Lkr

tedster




msg:3356512
 5:14 am on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

The only time I've seen internal inlinking in footer links that also seemed to be a problem is when the anchor text was keyword stuffed.

lakr




msg:3356525
 5:54 am on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thks Tedster for that.

Keywords stuffed: Anchor text contains more than 2 or three words?

For example:

Keyword 1 keyword 2

Hereunder are my "See also" section:

If the page is about "Hotel in ABC"

See also:

Tour in ABC
Hotel in "country"
Tour in "country"
Hotel in ABCD

This See also is the same for all pages

Will it cause me problems?

Thank you for your great help

Lkr

ogletree




msg:3356529
 6:10 am on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

nofollow those links and see what happens.

lakr




msg:3356565
 7:27 am on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

nofollow those links and see what happens.

Is it an advice? please help.

Lkr

roodle




msg:3356622
 12:05 pm on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Can someone define exactly what we're talking about here with "footer links"?

Do you mean external links right at the end of the page done in an "adsense" style with some visible text around them, or internal links at the end of the main page content linking to related information within the site?

claimsweb




msg:3356694
 2:45 pm on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

My father in law runs a hobby site which until recently he was ranking no 1 for in his (very niche) niche and had done for years. Then 6 weeks ago he lost all his rankings - banished to no. 300 or in some cases worse. Thought initially it might be something similar to the 950 penalty and looked closely at his site for the usual indicators.

Couldnt find a single issue that would lead (in my eyes anyway) to a penalty of this kind. Its just a dead straight hobby site with a few adwords on each page.

Then I spotted three random links at the foot of the page to a few completely unrelated sites belonging to me. He'd linked to me a few years ago from just a handful of top level pages and - as you do - we forgot all about them.

These links are totally off topic so theres no confusion - they dont belong on this site.

Now Im starting to think that these links might be the problem. If Im right then this is an easy fix. But its frightening that Google might pick up on something like this on a site that is no more than an old mans potting shed where he spends a little bit of time talking about a hobby he enjoys.

If the fix works - I'll report back.

ogletree




msg:3356714
 3:10 pm on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

lakr yes that is advice. If you think this is your problem your only choice is to remove them or nofollow them.

annej




msg:3356812
 5:52 pm on Jun 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

seemed to be a problem is when the anchor text was keyword stuffed.

It may not be so much that the links are in the footer but that key words are repeated a lot in the anchor text. In terms of recovering from -950 I've had some luck decreasing the number of navigation links on a page along with varying the anchor text. In my case it was side navigation.

You can keyword stuff without realizing it. For example I had navigation anchor text like:

red widgets
yellow widgets
blue widgets

and so on. The words were more meaningful than colors but the word widgets occurred way to often.

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved