Site-wide footer links

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I maintain about a dozen web sites at the current time.

Most of my web sites contain site-wide footer links to my other web

For a long time, I have believed that Google discounts the weight of
site-wide footer links down to almost zero.  However, I never
actually removed the site-wide footer links.

These links brought me cross-traffic between my sites and brought
rapid attention to my newest web sites.

Yesterday, I removed the site-wide footer links from most (but not
all) of my web sites.  

I implemented a single page on each site which cross-links with my
other web sites.

I still have the site-wide footer links on a few of my least desirable
(from a CPM standpoint) properties.

I am now waiting to see the results of this change.  I am nervous as
can be -- but of course I can reverse the change as easily as I
implemented it.

My SERP are down pretty hard today, but that happens at least once a
week, so it is not a trustworthy sign.

I will have to observe a trend over several weeks, or possible months,
to attempt to discern the results of this particular change.

Also, of course, my other SEO activities are not standing still.  That
will make it impossible to determine the exact results of this
specific change with reasonable scientific validity.

My belief is that no noticeable change will occur.

Stay tuned for the results of my real-world production test of the
effectiveness of site-wide footer links...

re:Site-wide footer links

A few additional notes:

These links to my other sites caused some inappropriate, but
high-paying, Google AdSense ads to appear on a number of my pages.

These ads were triggered by keywords in the anchor text of some of my
high CPM sites.  The ads would appear in pages on some of my low CPM

I am sure that although these ads had a high CPC, they also had a low

These ads will disappear over the course of the next month as AdSense
MediaBot rescans these pages and replaces the ads with either more
relevant but lower paying ads or with no ads at all.

Only time will tell.

Also, the removal of a dozen links from each of my pages will increase
the value of the remaining links.

Additionally, I will save a very minor amount on bandwidth and all of
my pages will load just slightly more quickly.

Re: Site-wide footer links

On 27 Feb 2005 17:56:28 GMT,
(Will.Spencer) wrote:

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I've had a similar setup in the past, I now try to avoid this. I used
to have multiple links (usually 3) to the same site in the footer (or
other area) of every page of a site. Used to work really well, but no

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I removed a bunch of site wide links recently for two reasons. 1. site
wide links can cause problems with PR transfer (I'm talking about
sites with 10,000 pages not run of the mill 50 page sites) and 2. they
degrade specific on page optimization (this in my experience is the
worst problem with them).

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I removed the majority of the site wide links and linked every page
instead to a couple of key pages (so from over a dozen site wide links
to two). These two pages then linked to the sites the site wide links
used to link to. Didn't go into the maths, but the PR transfer should
be at least in the same sort of order as before with a small drop (PR
not dropped on the toolbar so far, but it's early days only one update
and like you my SEO activities haven't stood still).

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I saw drops at first (more than day), but couldn't be sure why either.
I left it as it was and the traffic recovered, but with different

What I think happened was the removal of the site wide links took out
a lot of anchor text benefit to those important pages temporarily
while the new link structure was indexed. If you have 10,000+ pages
linking to one page with the same anchor text AND the search engines
don't discount this you will see significant benefit. I've seen some
site wide transfer benefit and others do nothing, so believe Google
some how measures/filters links it thinks are there for SEO reasons.

The original setup had lots of not so related site wide links, linking
out (same theme, but not similar keywords/anchor text) and this had a
negative impact on each pages SERPs (not the right anchor text to help
the pages they are on).

Put another way, consider an entire site with 10 site wide links (even
to the same domain) if the anchor text isn't highly related to the
pages they are on (as in the anchor text is the same or similar to
pages keywords) this has to cause a negative effect (lower keyword
density and all that).

How many times have you seen a page high in a easy SERP because it had
a link off the page to another site, I've seen loads. This shows the
importance of anchor text to the page it is on.

When the links were removed the 'main' SERPs for the linked too pages
dropped quite a bit. After giving the site time to be re indexed
etc... I'm now seeing a significant increase in traffic, different
traffic (very relevant though).

Problem is this coincided with the latest Google update, so can't be
100% sure how much is due to the change in links and how much is due
to the algo. I can say sites with similar types of optimization I'm
tracking that I haven't changed didn't increase in traffic as much as
the ones I removed the site wide's from.

So seems the removal of the site wide's resulted in an increase in
traffic since the deep content pages are now more relevant to their
SERPs (no unrelated links/anchor text from them).

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My experience was like this in traffic terms for one site.

Average number of visitors per day.
Feb 2005 - ~1200
Jan 2005 - 878
Dec 2004 - 701
Nov 2004 - 799
Oct 2004 - 657

It was around late Nov/early Dec I made the change on this site.

Another site that I made the change a month later has the following

Feb 2005 - 1500
Jan 2005 - 762
Dec 2004 - 780
Nov 2004 - 512
Oct 2004 - 460

This site has about 12,000 pages (the deep ones are PR2/PR3) all with
the same theme, but relatively low on content (~500 characters is a
lot for these pages). By removing the site wide's it's had a
significant impact on deep traffic. With a small number of words on
the pages removing 10+ links has removed a lot of the content (content
that wasn't about the SERPs of the page). Now each page is better

Looking at the last week or two traffic for this site there are days
with over 3000 visitors and above 2000 isn't rare. So think an average
of around 2,500 visitors a day for next month.

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Actually if you are right about your site wide's aren't helping, you
should see an overall improvement as the PR/anchor text benefit is
better used on each site (as I'm seeing).

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My early conclusion to this is site wide's sometimes work (wouldn't of
seen an initial decrease in traffic otherwise), but think long and
hard about what your goal is. Mine's targeted traffic not specific
SERPs, so other than making sure PR gets spread to the right pages I
shy away from site wide links.

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