Google: Is Amazon Spamming Google With Footer Links?

Dec 23, 2013 • 8:44 am | comments (43) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Amazon LogoRemember, the warning from Google's Matt Cutts on linking too many sites together using footer links and keyword rich anchor text?

Former Cre8asite moderator, posted in Cre8asite Forums that this is exactly what Amazon does. He said, yes, Amazon deploys a "Massive, Insane Crosslinking Scheme." Well, at least based on how Google's Matt Cutts makes it feel.

Where? Right on their home page:

Amazon Footer Links

Oh, maybe Amazon nofollows the links? Nope.

amazon footer links

The thing is, the anchor text for all the links are incredibly keyword rich. Here are some examples:

  • - Everything - But The Baby
  • - Books For Children Of All Ages
  • DPReview - Digital Photography

Those are just a few, as you can see.

EGOL asks, "So, I wonder how Matt would have answered the question if the person was asking about fifty followed links in his footer was J. Bezos?"

I bet he would say, Google knows about them and doesn't count them?

Forum discussion at Cre8asite Forums.

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12/23/2013 02:00 pm

Speaking of a fair playing field. The fact that they are so hidden that no one ever noticed them (until now) shows that it's pure spam.

Alexander Hemedinger

12/23/2013 02:27 pm

Yikes, this is gonna be a blown up topic soon!

Yair Spolter

12/23/2013 02:47 pm

I always wondered how that could possibly benefit Amazon (how Google could allow it to benefit Amazon). It will be interesting to see if this develops, or just fades away. Barry, do you think mega-internet kings like Amazon get preferential treatment from the big G? Keep us posted on this one!

Chris Gedge

12/23/2013 02:56 pm

Skynet is already aware of Amazon and is planning to assimilate it to its neural net very soon.


12/23/2013 02:57 pm

Amazon: "Hello Google. We invest over $55 Million per year in AdWords! Can you please push us 'a little' up in SERPS and please don't care what we do on our sites?" Google: "Sure."


12/23/2013 03:34 pm

Amazon are far too big to notice any algo penalty. All the positive links far far far far out-way any spammy crap they do. Unless google gives them a MANUAL penalty which they won´t because of course Amazon are WHITE LISTED!!!!!!!! Get it!!!!! For the sake of your own sanity, you should never point out the exception to the rule.


12/23/2013 03:36 pm

This shouldn't be surprising. Amazon and other TBTF corporations were given top-of-Google rankings for every short and long-tail product query result under the sun after the evolution of Panda. Amazon doesn't have to follow Google's SEO guidelines, everything is simply given to them. It doesn't matter if you're an affiliate marketer with the greatest product reviews on earth, you'll still lose to an Amazon product page that has scraped content from a manufacturer's site that's crowded with nearly a hundred internal links to other products, footer links and other network links.


12/23/2013 03:50 pm

Amazon pages are gold to Google. The worst crap Amazon pages you could ever imagine rank like diamonds in Google. I've found that I can create a page in Amazon (as a merchant), using duplicate content taken directly from the manufacturer (and already used by dozens of other people) and that page will be ranking number one or two in a matter of a week.


12/23/2013 04:39 pm

I believe the rel=canonical tag Google announced support for some time ago was to help Amazon benefit from all the affiliate links. Google and Amazon are partners in the Internet Association lobbying group, and it makes sense that they work together in other capacities too. Amazon and Google are joined at the hip now, but a possible merger in the future has been speculated by a number of people. It would not surprise me if Google ignored complaints related to this story. Amazon can do no wrong.

Durant Imboden

12/23/2013 04:51 pm

As long ago as 2009, Matt Cutts was saying that Google reserved the right to treat footer links differently from what he called "paragraph links": I wonder how much weight footer links carry these days? Not much, I'd guess. One can only hope that, in cases such as the Amazon example, Google would be smart enough to devalue the footer links completely.

Nick Ker

12/23/2013 05:35 pm

Let's all use this:


12/23/2013 06:16 pm

And what is the question about ? Why Amazon doesn't listen to Matt Cutts ? Or why Matt Cutts doesn't penalize Amazon ? Or why Jeff Bezos didn't ask the question on Webmasters Central before doing something like this ? Or how is it possible, that Jeff Bezos never followed Matt Cutts aka GoogleGuy recommendations, but built Amazon and now doesn't care about possible penalties by Google ? Or what ?


12/23/2013 06:31 pm

Font size: 10px Font color: #999 Location: Footer Type: Site-wide Rich Keywords: Positive ... this is so 2005.


12/23/2013 07:38 pm

Big Brands= untouchable. We forget so easily.


12/23/2013 08:53 pm

Big brands have different rules. See Amazon, Ebay etc. See the subdomain and keyword spam made by etc


12/23/2013 11:19 pm

Think if Google penalized Amazon or any other big brand that had many footer links. They'd be the laughing stock of the search engine world. Recently, Cutts said there is no more rule of 100 links max per page. So Google caters to whatever the big brands want.

PM Fiorini

12/24/2013 12:14 am

Hey Barry - Trying to get us all riled up I see? LOL!


12/24/2013 01:21 am

Do we have a constitution right to bear Links in our sites? We need to form the NLA to put some pressure on Google. National LInk Association, GLAD Grand Links and Domains. Nobody watches google but the NSA.


12/24/2013 04:02 am

come on guys be realistic - this is the real world! No matter what Google will always look after the big paying customers. Thats life

Soni Sharma

12/24/2013 04:39 am

So Simple People love these sites. Users type these sites with their name in Google. These sites not going to hurt at all.

Fede Einhorn

12/24/2013 05:28 am

Good luck with that form. Over several reports I made, turned out those infringing sites ended up even higher... Google doesn't care, I guess they don't even read those reports.

Srikanth Gattu

12/24/2013 05:44 am

Different set of rules for big brands.


12/24/2013 10:35 am

So would this be a example of overuse of footer links?


12/24/2013 12:37 pm

Footer links still plays role in ranking. There are many businesses' keywords related to website design industry whether in NY or Dallas or DC and one will get to know most of the top 10 sites are using footer links on their clients' site as a vote. And Google is giving much more value to those footer links in ranking. Regarding Amazon footer links, if Google is treating those links differently than that of small sites, then Google is manually tweaking its algorithm which is against to what Google say. How could an algorithm treat differently for same thing for two different sites? This was also raised by an user 5 months ago PS:Some experts here know so much by guessing that they think themselves as that of Matt. They are in this industry for longer time and want to represent themselves as ethical SEO but they themselves have done the same old methods. When you go deep into their profile you can get the shadow and traces of their grey hat SEO techniques.


12/24/2013 02:30 pm



12/24/2013 03:01 pm

They're even more brazen on the smaller sites themselves. Check out the top nav intralinking and those are site wide!


12/24/2013 03:06 pm

In my opinion if you haven't done all forms of SEO you can't be an SEO expert. You need to understand what works no matter what Google says works. If you are a good SEO you should always be testing. (not on clients) As far as the Amazon links go. I think Google does devalue them and does treat sites differently. To say Google treats all sites the same is nuts. You know that is not true by the algorithms targeting different types of sites. There is no saying Google doesn't have an algorithm for the top 100 sites on the internet.


12/24/2013 03:08 pm

Those are internal links. They might be fine but that doesn't mean the site would be.


12/24/2013 03:09 pm

That was never a rule. It was a best practice and there is a difference between in internal and external links.


12/24/2013 05:06 pm

You think that's bad? Take a look at's footer - there are links to online dating and mortgage lending sites!

osman musa

12/24/2013 11:06 pm

That Hongkiat dude appears to be doing massive cross linking through 2 sections of his posts that have nothing but related posts. All the related posts keep linking to each other over and over until they link to all posts in the site.


12/25/2013 04:27 am

Want to see Google & Matt Cutts reaction on this. There are many big eCommerce platform violating Google Guidelines but surprise thing is Google never take the action on those money generating machines. I just tweeting to Matt Cutts on same let's see what he replying.

Sean Murray

12/25/2013 05:47 am

Wow. Big double standard

Yo Mamma

12/25/2013 04:16 pm

Wishing Google management and Mutt Merry Christmas. I hope you choke on your oven-roasted turkey.


12/25/2013 11:58 pm

google cares only about killing small websites. they can get into so big problems with big sites. so rules is only for small webmasters.


12/26/2013 12:01 am

peoples working to promote own sites, and no any google can change it. even with their power.


12/26/2013 12:02 am

and google cheat.


12/26/2013 12:04 am

they already. just check their serp or try to find anything. in health niche there is only 5-10 sites everywhere on any keyword. same for detailed queries like programming or by error messages. i tired to say what their search results is complete joke now.


12/26/2013 12:05 am

yes. can google show us the rules for big brands? or we not deserve it?


12/26/2013 12:06 am

they will give us again some "pandalized answer", thin and hollow in nature.


12/26/2013 12:07 am

xoxo. we talking not about link weight here. about different rules for big brands and small and medium sites. and about rules which we even don't know, except written at google site and thin and hollow in nature - "not do, not create, not make". but what we can do? not everybody love social things & peoples not need to listen anybody now (about any commercial site). i think what google just killing web now and creating LOT of peoples who will hate it for future.


12/26/2013 12:08 am

yes, and google love to display amazon "product not available pages". this pages looks like very rich in content and have only quality links from their ppc program.


12/26/2013 12:40 am

hope answer from matt cutts can survive panda, penguin and short-time manual penalty,

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