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Many Footer Links
Can a site be penalized for putting a lot of internal links into the footer

 9:22 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)


I have a site that is about to launch with a lot of links in the footer (it's at the bottom of the page, not technically the footer bbut close enough). They are all internal links; it's basically a repeat of the main navigation. These links are not site-wide, only on the homepage. Zappos has something similar...

Any insight would be extremely useful and appreciated!



 10:06 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

No you should be fine as these are internal links and will be seen as navigation to Google, just keep to a minimum and not too many.


 10:24 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

@bekyed..appreciate the response.

That's the problem, actually, I know there's going to be a lot which in turn would make the link count on the page well over 100. I guess my follow-up question would be, is that (over 100 links) going to drastically hurt the page?

I figure since it's the homepage, which holds the majority of the site's authority, the search engines would sort of ignore that rule or at least not devalue the page as much...

Also, another concern, would this mess up the way the search engines crawl and eventually index the site?

Thanks again!


 10:29 pm on Sep 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think the 100 links rule has been expanded some time ago by Google, too many sites with mega drop down menus and the like surpass that mark already. I would still work on putting up the minimum possible.


 5:49 am on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I guess it depends where the links are. A useful dropdown menu of navigational links in the header is different to a load of links positioned in or near the bottom footer.


 2:30 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

While you probably won't be penalized for having duplicate navigational links in the footer, I am not sure that makes any sense to have them (if they are just duplicating the main navigation).

I don't know what the exact effect will be on page rank, but it COULD have a negative effect on the ability to flow page rank to other pages.

Zappos has something similar...

And Zappos probably has hundreds of thousands of inbound links from external sites, so what they can get away with when distributing page rank is probably a lot different from what you can get away with.

Unless you have that massive amount of Page Rank equity that Zappos has, it would be best to find a better suited way of setting up internal links, and I would suggest that better way would NOT be duplicating navigational links.

Similarly, many people have tried to replicate the way that wikipedia links internally, with dozens, if not hundreds, of internal links on a single long page. The reports I have heard is that they almost invariably lead to POORER rankings.

I hope this helps. To be honest, this is really a question for the google thread instead of the link development thread. You would probably get more lively debate if it were moved to that thread.


 6:52 pm on Sep 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Much appreciated...thanks guys!


 9:12 am on Sep 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think this isn't a problem. I know a website "brainy quote" and they have large number of links on the homepage and they are still ranking well for large number of keywords.

@beerSEO what you say?


 3:51 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

What you guys have said totally makes sense...

We've moved forward with this and decided to put nofollow on links like "contact us," etc. and basically talked them into simply reducing the number of links. I haven't seen any negative effects...yet.

Thanks again!


 9:31 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Putting no-follow on the contact page links will stop that page from receiving PageRank but it won't stop it from ranking, nor will it eliminate that link from reducing the amount of PageRank flowing to the other pages linked from that web page. For instance, if you have 100 links on the page and that the PageRank is split 100 equal parts (which it isn't, but for the sake of example let's discuss as if it were), putting the no-follow on the contact page isn't going to split an additional 1/100th of the total pagerank across the remaining 99 links. The PageRank is still split in 100 (hypothetical) directions.

I'm not a fan of using no-follow on the link to the contact page because the contact page might be a positive sign of quality. In my opinion the lack of a contact page may be a signal that a website is low quality. How much that could negatively impact a quality score (if it's a part of the scoring), is not known.

This is my opinion, not something I heard Matt Cutts say. I'm not one to wait for Matt to state something before refraining from an activity that could be harmful to a site's ability to rank, either now or in the future. For example, like the issue with paid links where some well known SEOs openly praised paid links [text-link-ads.com] and vigorously defended the practice in blog posts [seomoz.org] until Matt openly attacked the practice and Google flipped the switch on the Hurt Machine, causing those same SEOs to flip flop [seomoz.org]. The point is, it's good to use common sense instead of waiting for Google to tell you what to do (or what not to do). Which is why I'm willing to take a leap and say that a contact page is probably a sign of quality and it might not be a good thing to no-follow links to the contact page.


 12:16 pm on Oct 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Internal linking & using nofollow only makes sense to pages you REALLY do not want indexed. E.g. login pages or overly dynamic URL's. In all other cases: do not use


 6:57 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

The footer links won't hurt you unless you have a link in the footer that also has a link in the main nav and you use different keyword text for the same url (or alt text if the main nav is an image).

The major issue is the way you are flowing your page rank across the pages. Nofollow doesn't stop the page rank leakage, but it doesn't leak as much as a dofollow link either, it's something like half as much.

The best practice would be to just footer index pages that are key pages that you want to have the best SERPs. From those pages link out to a second tier of important pages. The footer should not become a site map.


 10:24 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ sundaridevi

Nofollow doesn't stop the page rank leakage, but it doesn't leak as much as a dofollow link either, it's something like half as much.

do you have any reference for this. I can honestly say that I have never heard the 50% figure before.

The best practice would be to just footer index pages that are key pages that you want to have the best SERPs.

While that is the best practice for preserving page rank, it might harm sales. I think that a lot of people have come to expect SOME customer-service oriented links in the footer of a site.


 2:14 am on Dec 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just ran across a reference although this says that since 2008 nofollow leaks an equal amount to dofollow links:
[mattcutts.com...] He also says here that nofollow links *definitely* don't pass PR unless there is a bug. But this post is 2 years old, and as he points out things can change. But I wonder if *That* might change.

While that is the best practice for preserving page rank, it might harm sales. I think that a lot of people have come to expect SOME customer-service oriented links in the footer of a site.

It would be the optimal method for allocating page rank across the site. Of course depending on the site there may be other objectives that must be considered as well.


 2:12 am on Dec 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I had a customer that was worried about the internal footer links. They were removed, and nothing changed as far as search engine positions.

However, I have always worried about having to much repetitive content on every page of a site, especially if some of the pages are light of content.

Not really sure if this matters anymore, but it is still a nagging concern in the back of my mind.


 8:38 am on Dec 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

There is no bad effect in keeping the internal links in the footer but make sure that you donít overdo it and keep it in a limit.


 7:36 pm on Dec 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

If the home page is significant in length, two scroll or more, then nav links in the footer make sense for the human user. However, I generally lump those nav options in smaller chunks which lead to secondary nav pages (with content!), ie. group info. This suggests (reminds) the visitor that there are MORE pages to visit instead of coming to the end then either having to scroll back to the top, or hitting the back button. I do want those links followed...


 6:24 pm on Jan 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

I had a client once put about 70-80 internal footer links to top pages which were also spread out on 100+ landing pages. They were obliterated in the SERPs. I gave them fair warning =/


 11:53 am on Jan 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

How about links-to-self like on the home page or other major pages included in the "standard footer" installed on them all? Good, bad, ignored?

So what is this about multiple links on one page to the same other page? Did I miss that one somewhere? Assumed that it was perfectly fine that if I had two links to my own site and one to another on the same page, that I would get 2/3 blow-back and the other page = 1/3 (assuming all is otherwise equal and forgetting about the "location-and-other-factors" thing). Was there an official memo I missed on this?

Last I heard too, was that nofollow links (recommended by G in the same post as primarily for links to advertisers) sucked the SAME proportional amount of juice as other links. Seems ok and only perfectly fitting to me. It is the price one pays for selling (non-PR, nofollow, of course) links on your pages. PR juice therefore IS a consumable commodity.

One thing that bothers me is this "linking through sites/pages which are noindex" as being equivalent to nofollow. Has anyone actually successfully proven this works in practice?

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