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But what is the best approach to getting the most from these links? The problem with this question is that it raises so many more questions for me!
Referrals & SEO
In my opinion there are 2 main points to consider when creating these links; do I create the link to my web design website in order to attract referral traffic? Or am I creating link/s from my client's website in order to increase my own website's search rankings? Ideally both! but one may have to take priority.
Placing Links in Footers
The aim is to try to obtain a link which looks as natural as possible. A link in the footer of every page on the website does not look as if it's naturally a part of the site, however it is helpful for people who like a website and are looking for someone to create them a new website. So it makes sense for Google to see some value in a sitewide footer link, but just not as much as a link that sits naturally in the body of an article.
Matt Cutts says Footer = Less Value
Matt Cutts unsurprisingly confirmed this week that Google nowadays judges the value of links within a footer less than those within a body of an article. So if you want to put a 'Web Design by #*$!x' link on your client's website then how should you do it to get the most from it from an SEO perspective? Anyone want to suggest their ideas?
Realistically it's hard to find a logical professional reason for putting a web design link in the body of a client's irrelevant website, which is probably why so many of us put such links in the footer.
If you do put a link in the footer, should you just put it on the homepage? Would that give more value than a sitewide link would? But then you'll be missing out on a lot of referral traffic. This could be a 'free ad' on every page of your client's website!
C Class and Domains
Then there's the fact that I add a link to the footer of every page of every site I design - all these sites are hosted on the same C Class. I also personally register all the domain names, although they are registered to my client. Do you link builders out there strictly make sure that such links are from different C classes? How much does it matter? Likewise with the domain name. I'm surprised how little plausible discussion I see around the web on C Class and domains.
What's the best way!?
There are so many websites that get high rankings partly as a result of such links, but what is the best was to do a 'Web Design by #*$!xx' link today? How can I get maximum value? Would love to hear your opinion! Is it merely a sitewide footer link? And what about C Classes?
Oh, and there is a school of thought that says that these credits should be nofollowed.
(Aside: I must admit that I don't do a lot of client work - they are too hard to find and there is more money and less work in my own sites, so it isn't a question I address very often.)
I think a footer link on every page is unfair to the client, both for Page Rank reasons and also for muddying their "signals of relevance".
That's exactly what I wondered after I posted. Good to see your thoughts on this.
I hadn't actually thought about having an About the Site page before. Having looked at many examples from well known websites, it seems to make complete sense to have one.
It also makes sense to include just the one link and that it's from this page. I think this will be the route I'll follow in the future. Thanks!
Has anyone got any opinions on the C Class part of my question?
As far as the C-block goes, in my opinion if you host your clients then their links will not count for as much.
My impression is that freelancers who have a varied portfolio and do charity work are able to compete with far less links than big agencies who handle everything and have lots of (smaller) clients that they host.