Does Google Penalize Too Many Footer Links?

Jan 25, 2008 • 9:44 am | comments (19) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

What would you do if you saw hundreds of links on a website, with much of those being in the footer? Is that a natural surfing experience? Would Google penalize you for these links?

The penalty might not be the issue, actually. Tedster says that you should minimize the number of your links to preferably under 100. He also adds that it is probably not so much of a penalty but it's an issue of relevancy:

I don't think its really a penalty -- more like all that anchor text on a page sort of blurs or dulls the relevance signal, and too much internal linking can also make it difficult for the algo to tell which pages are most important.

Be careful with your linking in general. Ted adds:

Eliminating, or lowering the number of internal links in the footer is worth a try. Also note if there are many repetitions of an important keyword in the anchor text anywhere on the page. When that's done to excess, it does seem like it hurts rather than helps.

Not all folks agree (though I'm inclined to side with Ted on this one). One forum member has had luck with his 900 links:

I have ALL my links in the front page; 900 or so in a css menu that activates when they highlight a certain category. My traffic increased and all pages are in the index

Still, that could be due to other factors. Ultimately, what are you using your footer links for? A sitemap or not-so-relevant pages (like your privacy policy, etc.?)

Forum discussion continues at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Some Sites Need Usability Makeovers, Not SEO


Michael Martinez

01/25/2008 06:09 pm

Footer links are ugly and in my opinion most people abuse the footer by loading it up with links they are embarrassed to show to users elsewhere on the page. If I put a link in a footer, it's usually a link I'm willing to put elsewhere on the page. I don't like to put a lot of links in footers but I sometimes put a few. I usually only put attribution links in footers ("This software provided by X", "Page designed by X", etc.). If someone has more than 5 or 6 links in their page footers, they could probably improve their crawling and internal navigation considerably by changing their linking strategy.

Michael Martinez

01/25/2008 06:12 pm

Sorry. I wrote "I usually only put attribution links in footers" but what I meant to write (I was distracted) was something more like, "I would limit attribution links to footers...."


01/25/2008 10:09 pm

I'm not sure I agree with you guys. If you're doing topical navigation then your topics should be in your footer. If you're doing geographic navigation, then your primary locations should be in your footer. One thing I am interested in is having all of those links in a CSS navigation (which we haven't tried yet) but I am speaking from experience when I say that footer links work, at least for us.

Garrett Pierson

01/28/2008 06:12 am

I do not think Google penalizes for putting links in the footer in fact I have seen very good results in having good optimized links in my websites. Although with any area of optimizing for Google you have to be careful and you cannot put too many links in the footer.

Garrett Pierson

01/28/2008 06:14 am

I do not think Google will penalize you for having links in your footer although if you have too many that are not optimized then yes it could give you a problem.

myke black

01/28/2008 10:38 am

Many sites use footer links for accessibility - eg if the main site navigation is made using images or (god forbid) flash, and many screenreader users actually navigate to the footer of the page for navigation links since they are easier to find than picking through the content, so in terms of accessiblity, limited navigation links are recommended.


01/28/2008 11:15 pm

I need suggestion: I optimised my website for a month, after that i was first with a lot different key. In two weeks later my homepage have lost a lot position. Any suggestion? Sorry fo my engl...

Amie Etheridge

01/30/2008 01:23 am

I would suggest always having footer links on every page of a site as this can only be helpful for your viewers but I reccommend optimized pages only and not going crazy with listing every page. Imagine if google tried to put every link on the bottom of their pages....mmmm...could get pretty big I would think as well as being useless for the reader. So by usng selective footer links this can only be helpful for SEO's as well as the readers and I couldnt imagine the search engine penalizing any site for doing it in this way. <a href='' rel="nofollow">Butterflyfantasy</a>


02/21/2008 10:10 am

My site is being punished for footer links.


02/21/2008 10:16 am

I dont think this matters


03/25/2008 09:59 am

Hi It does matter and sites with lot of footer links dont do well

No Name

07/30/2008 05:47 pm

What we should avoid is excessive links in the footer. Up to ten footer links is acceptable, I believe. Google and Yahoo have human editors who visit websites and assess the quality of site structure and links.


08/16/2008 01:14 pm

Google will just ignore it if it's too many.

Patrice Albertus

12/01/2008 01:13 pm

Trend looks to move on helpfull and navigation links in footer : tools, topics, help and network links bring the best SEO results, and in the same time a good place for visitors to catch relevant links when looking your website. I didn't experience penality but I experience no increase rankings, so footer should be moderate for ultra-SEO I think.

No Name

07/05/2009 02:26 pm

I have a bunch of classified ads at the bottom of each of our pages. We rank pretty good in certain SERPS still.


07/07/2009 12:19 pm

Just in the process of purchasing some links at the moment and I stumbled on this blog when i was searching about the value of footer links. Cheers for the info.


12/16/2009 03:41 pm

I really believe that footer links can help a web site's indexing, while they can also be used a back up navigation especially when the primary navigation is graphical based.

Joomla development

04/29/2011 04:47 am

Footer links may not affect your website until it goes to some other outbound links. Footer internal linking will help su to get Good SERP. Thanks for sharing such a valuable information with us

wedding gowns

11/26/2011 10:12 am

 If Google doesn't think it's visitor-oriented, Google might penalize the sites with too many footer keyword links.

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