In 2012 the Google Panda and Pengiun updates were on many of our minds with Google releasing updates almost weekly. Well, it doesn’t look like this is going to stop in 2013. Google has recently announced that they have updated their algorithm to try and target websites that are abusing their footers. For years many websites have included loads of keyword stuffed links in their footers just for the benefit of search engines. More likely than not, a visitor to a website are never going to see the page content which is way down at the bottom. Especially when there is some form of indication that the page has ended (i.e. a copyright notice, company address and phone number etc.).
You may probably have seen it, a website that has a load of stuffed content or links below where the page finishes, this is quite obviously for the benefit of the search engines. In fact, the webmaster probably doesn’t want their visitors to notice what’s down at the bottom. Let’s face it, most of the time it doesn’t look good! Back in the early days of the web, the way to do this was to hide keyword stuffing or just make the text the same colour as the background. But things have evolved and now such practices would be asking for trouble. So if you think about it, even adding visible links and/or text so far down the page people will not see it is not that much different, the intent is exactly the same.
How can the footer be abused?
So the bottom line here is, Google and other search engines don’t like spam. So if you are cramming a whole bunch of content or keyword targeted links in your footer, this is obviously not for the benefit of the visitor and could therefore cause your website to be penalised by search engines. The whole reason behind the Penguin and Panda updates are to punish websites that are using “dodgy” techniques and that have poor content. So bare this in mind and try and make your website as natural as possible with as much quality content as you can.