SEO Randomizer: Save the Value of Your SEO'd Links

Search engines attribution link value is falling for SEOs and web designers.

Update: Now use the SEO WordSpinner plugin to implement this concept.
Use the get_seo_spin() PHP function in your theme’s footer.php file.

Footer links are dropping in SEO value

How to stay relevant while getting great links

As a web designer and SEO, I place links in the footers of most of my designs. Clients don’t mind (I always request the link), and it’s a high-quality link. Most small web design and SEO companies do.  Footer links have become very spammy, however, and sites try to stuff as many links there as possible.

SEOmoz has an article about footer link optimization and claims that

Footer links may be devalued by search engines automatically
Check out the evidence – Yahoo! says they may devalue footer links, Bill Slawski uncovers patents suggesting the same and anecdotal evidence suggests Google might do this (or go further) as well. Needless to say, if you want to make sure your links are passing maximum value, it’s wise to avoid the footer (particularly the footer class itself).

The era of the PageRank-passing footer links are coming to an end. The search engines have a good reason for devaluing the links — but how can we get the juice back?

Let’s consider the following issues:

  • Footer links are being devalued by search engines
  • Footer links have a low click-through rate
  • Having the same link on every page makes the link less valuable
  • Google doesn’t like spam

Stop footer link extinction by understanding the cause.

Why footer links are being devalued

The problem search engines have with attribute links is that they’re on every page in the same place, are off-topic, and exist solely to build links.

The irrelevant links at the bottom of a page, which will not be as valuable for a user, don’t add to the quality of the user experience, so we don’t account for those in our ranking.
Priyank Garg, Yahoo! Search Technology

Links that are not seen as valuable for a user or add to the quality of the user experience will be ignored. The key, then, is to provide users with value. Value = unique and relevant content.

  1. Placement & Structure: Links are on the bottom of the page. Many footer DIVs are named something like #footer, so are easily identifiable.
  2. Anchor Text & Outbound Links
    1. Not Unique: Attribute links are often the same on every page, obviously not unique content. Links often go to the same URL.
    2. Not Relevant: How often do you see a relevant and unique-seeming attribution link? Never.

a) Placement & Structure: Randomize link location

Step 1: Let’s randomize!

It’s well known that having the same code on every page isn’t as valuable as having different code in different places. So, instead of having a link always at the bottom, randomize the placement.

Step 2: Change up the tag

Now that your link and text is in a different place, you want to also make sure that there’s another variable to add an additional layer of uniqueness.

  • <h2><a href=
  • <h3><a href=
  • <h4><a href=
  • <h5><a href=
  • <strong><a href=
  • <em><a href=
  • <span><a href=

b) Anchor Text & Outbound Links: Be unique and relevant

If you’re pushing the same, highly-targeted keywords on all the affiliate links, that is a problem.  Or, rather, it will be a problem when search engines really start coming down hard on this issue.

Step 1: Randomizing the anchor text and link provides variety

Instead of having one message, mixing up the text will make each link unique.

  • Denver SEO
  • SEO Denver
  • Denver SEO Company
  • WordPress SEO
  • Blog SEO
  • Etc…

You see the value in that? Yeah, well the algorithm will, too.  Unfortunately, it’s a little spammy, and the humans doing quality control might not like it as much.

Step 2: Making the links and anchor text relevant

If you’re working on a Widget site, then the obvious way to make the link more on-topic is to have your links go to a Widget SEO post on your blog, a Widget Site Portfolio page on your website, or even perform a search on your blog for widgets.  Even if it turns up an empty result, the links will be more on topic.

Each of the unique anchor text options now go to a relevant, targeted page, and most important: the links are not spammy.  Of course, if you want to stick with the Step 1 version and use “spammy”-seeming links, that is fine, too. Until your site gets banned.  For a less spammy tactic, you can add another variable: the title attribute. Hover over the links above. Not spam, but a good link that has value to the user AND is chock full of SEO awesomeness.

Check out the SEO Randomizer code

Based on the concepts in this article, I have been working on a PHP script that could be added to a WordPress functions.php file.

Check out the SEO Randomizer demo and here’s the SEO Randomizer source code. Use the SEO WordSpinner plugin to implement this concept.

WordPress ‘User Value SEO Plugin’ to come

Katz Web Design is going to be developing a plugin for WordPress that will incorporate all of these features into a wonderful SEO plugin.  Stay tuned.

Update: Katz Web Services has released the SEO WordSpinner plugin that allows you to put this concept into practice today. Try it out, and leave a comment with what you think of the plugin!

What do you think? Leave comments, improvements, criticism, etc. below.

  • http://www.ebaspace.com Knox

    Thanks for getting this developed! I think this as a plugin will be viral among seo’s.

  • http://gentledove.wordpress.com The Totton linnet

    very informative thanks

  • daishz

    does this SEO works?
    by the way i’ve just bumped you from alphainventions.

    thanks

  • http://www.seodenver.com Zack Katz

    Right now, in the form it’s in, I wouldn’t say this would provide a great benefit; when the search engines see that the links are random and change each time they crawl the same page, they won’t be thrilled.

    That’s why it’s important to save the settings per-page. That’s what the WP plugin will do.

  • dave simpson

    very informative – I have bookmarked this and will visit agin – thank you

  • http://jaysontcote.com Jayson T Cote

    another zack attack! great concept, you have addressed the issue about yet another seo slap and identified a solution that is unique and in demand. thanks zack.

  • GaB

    Good article, the plugin is still on the way or is it dead?

    • http://www.seodenver.com Zack Katz

      It’s in the final stages of development actually!

  • Pingback: SEO WordSpinner Plugin - Kill Duplicate Content in WordPress | Denver SEO Blog

  • Guneet

    Absolutely Right, I agree with you, because seo links is helpful for navigate our site… and its very important that’s why we place
    it on our website…

  • Fred

    In the article above it was mentioned that ”
    Footer links have a low click-through rate ” Are search engines able to know if a link has a high click through rate in order to decide how to rank the link? 

    Freddy
    http://www.iomegaone.com

    • http://www.seodenver.com Zack Katz

      Google’s able to analyze click-through using their Analytics tracking. Whether they do or not is their secret, but there is an option to anonymously share data, so I imagine that happens.