SEO Best Practices: Website Optimization
What Shoe Shouldn’t Be Put in Your Footer?
You have your dream house built – do you allow your contractor (even though they were awesome) to construct a neon sign on the roof with their company name across it? No!
After you pay for your food in a restaurant – are you expected to announce to everyone on the street that your stomach is filled with their cuisine? I don’t think so!
When you walk your amazing dog – does his collar have to have the breeder’s name engraved in it? My dog would not approve!
If someone makes a new suit for you – is their label displayed on your back? No – that real estate belongs to you!
Who owns the refrigerator you bought? You or Sears? Can you take their name off of it if you want? You bet!
When you buy your new Subaru – are you contractually obligated to advertise the dealer by having their name on the license plate frame? They might send it out the door like that – but with a screw driver you can quickly replace it with anything you want – like “Let’s Go Mets!”
When you own something – it’s yours. You own your own website. The website designer might have done a tremendous, creative & beautiful job, and might be a great person. But they do not own your site and they should not stick their name at the bottom of every page with a link back to their own website! Why? First of all, it is presumptuous – they often do this without a discussion with their client. From your standpoint, it may seem like a nice righteous thing to do for your wonderful designer who you worked together with for months – but it is not within best SEO practices to do such a thing. It is recommended for website optimization that if you want to give credit to your designer, or if they request it – then a separate ‘Credits’ page should be created, and there you can give praise, a nice mention, and link to everyone that contributed to your website – the designer, the photographers, the copywriter, and hey – even your internet marketing company!
Search Engine Optimization Specialists say, “Don’t Spill Your Juice!”
But, as great as your web designer might be, and regardless of the fantastic discount you received for their services, it is not in your best SEO interests to give a link to the developer in the footer of every page! That link might look like an innocent little credit, and a nice prop – but it takes SEO juice away from each of YOUR website pages, and sends it to the website of a designer’s company. That is a link to an endeavor that is totally unrelated to what your website is all about, and totally unrelated to what you do. There is a benefit to the web designer – but a negative effect for you who paid for their services.
I have heard of web designers who, when asked to please remove their footer link, tell the website owner that they will – but it will cost a substantial additional fee! On what basis? Because of a previously signed agreement? No, there is no basis – they are just taking advantage of clients who don’t know any better.
Hey, tell them you will charge them thousands of dollars to leave it there!
Unless you have a contractual obligation with your developer to give them a footer link on every page – then insist that they remove it from the code. Or just remove it yourself!
In other professions it would be deemed a ‘work for hire.’ You paid for it, it’s yours, the person who did it received their agreed upon compensation (even if they gave you a fantastic price) – just like your new roof, your cool haircut, your logo & your Starbuck’s Espresso Macchiato! …’cause even though the girl behind the counter made it just like you like it, and she is friendly and helpful every day, and always really creative with the steamed milk and how she writes your name on the cup – you can pour it all into your own generic to-go cup and be on your way!