Home – New Forums Tech talk Client Website Footers – Including Your Link (bad SEO?)

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  • #978902
    DavidM
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    Hello,

    I’m interested in the SEO do’s/don’ts in relation to adding a ‘this website is by’ link in a clients website footer. I am a fan of this approach from a new client acquisition perspective, but I am nervous about it from an SEO perspective.

    From an SEO perspective, if you offer hosting (either reseller or VPS) and you sign your clients up to your hosting – does adding a ‘this site is created by’ link on a clients site negatively impact your primary website? …As the IPs would be very similar.

    Or perhaps this could be negated with a nofollow link?

    I also take it, it becomes less of an issue if the client hosts their site somewhere else.

    Interested in your thoughts.

    #1110470
    JohnW
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    Hi David,
    Forget SEO.

    If you are proud of the work and the client will accept it, insert a link credit in the web site footers.

    The client may receive squillions of visitors who may be impressed by your work.

    There is more to online promotion than SEO.

    Everything about links has changed in the last few months but very little is about link penalties. I don’t believe a footer link like this will hurt you from an SEO perspective. The worst case would be a low link value, not a penalty.

    To Google, they can’t be any more sinister than signature links on Flying Solo.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1110471
    Anonymous
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    Hi David,

    I can’t comment from an SEO perspective, but if you haven’t already seen it, you might like to factor some of the comments in this thread into your decision – it was a bit of a hot button when this topic came up a few months ago!

    Good luck with it,
    Jayne

    #1110472
    kathiemt
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    I have a client who has 14 websites with me and she insisted on my putting a link in the footer of all of her websites. She could see I had a reasonable GPR and she wanted to see if she would benefit from it. We have both seen improvements in our rankings since I’ve been doing her sites, so perhaps there is something in it. I’ve begun doing the same for other client’s sites and I have had enquiries for websites as a result. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to do at all and see lots of sites with their web designer’s link in the footer.

    #1110473
    NickMorris
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    It’s no wonder web developers get so defensive when challenged on this point (see thread posted by Jayne) because probably 90% of their rankings are a result of footer links on their client’s websites.

    However, you could also argue that its an ‘industry standard’ to include these links on all websites. I can imagine you might get a bit irked if you worked on a movie and they just decided not to include any credits… or maybe not.

    Anyway, to get back to your question… these types of links fall into the “attribution” category, along with bio links in guest posts, infographic attribution links, widget attribution links, WP theme links etc.

    Attribution links fall into a grey area as far as search engines are concerned because their ability to help G determine which websites should rank the best vary a lot depending on the circumstances of each link.

    For example, many SEO’s consider guest posting to be a very ‘white hat’ link building technique while some sites benefiting from WP theme links were penalised during the recent round of updates.

    IMO its unethical to just put the link there without asking your client first. If you have the OK from the client but you want to avoid any Google trouble you can simply put a no follow tag on the links.

    If you want to try and leverage those links for some juice then I’d suggest not getting greedy with anchor text and consider your ability to remove the links in the future if required.

    #1110474
    NickMorris
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    I just came across this article which is somewhat relevant: http://searchengineland.com/cutts-infographic-links-might-get-discounted-in-the-future-127192

    Apparently Matt Cutts has said that infographic links will probably be devalued sometime in the future. Now, while infographic links and client footer links aren’t the same thing, they are both types of attribution links.

    Specifically, he mentions the fact that infographic links are not true endorsements of the site, could the same be said about client footer links?

    #1110475
    websitedesigner
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    I was thinking about this recently. I’ve decided to just put my domain in the footer now – it helps that my domain has the words ‘website design’ in it but I think you have to be careful with too much exact anchor backlinking following penguin so I think this is better. You could also consider just having a link on the homepage and link it to an inner page on the site where you talk about the web design project and link back to your site from there.

    Here are 2 discussions on SEO moz about it.

    Post 1

    Post 2

    Anther one about WordPress themes

    Another thing I’d consider is not linking to your homepage, particularly if you are doing things like free WordPress themes where you lose the control of the link after you make it available. If the page gets penalised for over optimisation I’d rather it be
    an inner page than your homepage.

    #1110476
    kathiemt
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    I’ve been seeing a few mentions of ‘penguin’ here. What does that mean exactly? I did Google it but apart from the well known book publishers, the bird itself and some businesses with that branding I could not see anything relevant to the web design industry.

    #1110477
    Aidan
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    Penguin is the name given to a recent algo change at Google. It changes the way some backlinks to a site contribute to its rankings. Many sites with low quality backlinks suffered ranking drops as those backlinks were devalued.

    #1110478
    kathiemt
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    Aidan, post: 123414 wrote:
    Penguin is the name given to a recent algo change at Google. It changes the way some backlinks to a site contribute to its rankings. Many sites with low quality backlinks suffered ranking drops as those backlinks were devalued.

    So, is there a site with the report on this? I have a client who paid some company to do lots of links for him and I suspect they weren’t good quality ones. They got him locked into a monthly payment plan, which I’ve now got him out of. But I have no idea if they really helped or not, I’ve a suspicion they might not have been good quality links.

    #1110479
    Aidan
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    All the usual SEO sites have covered this, just search ‘google penguin update’ and you’ll find a plethora of them.

    #1110480
    JohnW
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    kathiemt, post: 123418 wrote:
    I have a client who paid some company to do lots of links for him and I suspect they weren’t good quality ones.
    Hi KathieMT,
    In my opinion, the vast majority of “penguin” changes do not impose a ranking “penalty” on Google for specific websites.

    The consequences of “penguin” are that many links provided by 3rd party services are dramatically devalued. The likely outcome is that many of the links your client has paid for may be useless.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1110481
    kathiemt
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    Exactly my thoughts John. I’ve already let him know of the possible bad news.

    #1110482
    JohnW
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    kathiemt, post: 123409 wrote:
    I’ve been seeing a few mentions of ‘penguin’ here. What does that mean exactly? I did Google it but apart from the well known book publishers, the bird itself and some businesses with that branding I could not see anything relevant to the web design industry.
    Hi Kathie,
    To find squillions of references, search for: SEO penguin

    Watch the predictive search for a bunch of other search phrases.

    You wanted some references for your client, I consider the following to be from reputable and informed sources:

    “Penguins, Pandas, and Panic at the Zoo”
    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/penguins-pandas-and-panic-at-the-zoo
    This attempts to show the magnitude of the impact relative to other Google algorithm changes.

    “Two Weeks In, Google Talks Penguin Update, Ways To Recover & Negative SEO”
    http://searchengineland.com/google-talks-penguin-update-recover-negative-seo-120463
    Matt Cutts (Google) and Danny Sullivan discuss Penguin issues. Also includes a couple of Matt Cutts videos. One talks about the difference between ranking drops as a consequence of an algorithm change vs a manual “penalty” imposed by Matt Cutt’s anti-spam team.

    “Google Penguin Update Recovery Tips & Advice”
    http://searchengineland.com/penguin-update-recovery-tips-advice-119650
    Sullivan has been assessing search engines from the early 90s. A good article with links to a number of related articles.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1110483
    kathiemt
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    Thanks John. I did the search Aidan suggested and found information. But thanks for the extra links.

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