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  • How to Optimize Your Website Footer

    How to Optimize Your Website Footer

    If you’re like most of us with a website, you’ve got all the content optimized to be relevant and rank well in the search engines, except, the last thing you probably think about is your website’s footer.

    After all, it’s just the same text, navigation links, and other basic information that appears on every page of your website.

    Your website footer can’t possibly be as important as your homepage, right?

    Think again.

    It’s easy not to think about the footer since it’s usually just links to other parts of the site or information about your business. However, like everything else on the page, the website footer counts towards your SEO too.

    If you optimize this website footer, not only will you provide information and links that your customers will find useful, you’ll also help improve your overall ranking in search engines.

    Here are some tips to help you optimize your website footer so that it helps your overall ranking and sales.

    Remember: A Fat Footer is a Bad Footer

    A Fat Footer is a Bad Footer

    Even though you’re trying to optimize your footer for search engines, it’s important not to cram it with so much information and so many keywords that it becomes a big block of text that isn’t useful to users.

    Website footers are typically fairly light on long sentences. Instead, they are mostly short, easy to read, and understand links and other information. This is one area where too much is worse than too little.

    Your footer Should not Stand Out

    Another thing to consider before getting into specific elements of your footer is its color and overall look. You want it to blend in with the rest of your page—no one should scroll down to find a footer that’s a shockingly different color from the rest of the page or uses an obnoxious font.

    Let’s be real here, aesthetics matter even in business, and the design of your website footer is no exception. If you’re going for calm and respectable colors and then your footer is bright orange or hot pink, users are likely to be put off by this footer design choice.

    Imagine scrolling to the bottom of a page for the “contact us” button and having your senses assaulted by something down right ugly.

    That said, many web designers do use a simple line to split the website footer from the rest of the page. Another option is to invert your footer’s color scheme. If your page uses black text on a cream-colored background, the website footer would be black with cream-colored text. This helps set it apart from the page, but by using the same colors, it still feels cohesive.

    Include Quick Navigation Links

    Include Quick Navigation Links

    Your footer does not necessarily need to include a link to every page of your website, but it should link to the major sites. This gives users a quick shortcut to your main pages. For example, you might link to your main products/services page, your blog, your about us page, and a few others, but there’s no need to link to specific product pages unless you really want to drive traffic to them.

    One way of determining what pages to link to here is to look at your site statistics. What pages do users tend to visit? Those are the pages that you may want to consider including as footer links. You do not need to include every page unless your website is small.

    One of the tricks you can use to simplify things in your footer is to group together page links in columns. Contact information, services, and other relevant pages can be grouped so that users can scroll through and click what they need.

    It’s a good idea to avoid sitewide external links though, as they tend to mess with the Google search algorithm and if ranking your site is important you don’t want this.

    Include Your Contact Information

    Yes, you likely have a page on your website that is dedicated to your contact information. It probably includes your address, phone number, email information, an online submission form, and maybe even a map with directions to your location.

    There are two major reasons to include your contact information in the footer though. Firstly, it helps your website rank for relevant searches if the information is included on every page.

    Secondly, users typically don’t want to navigate off the page they are on to find your contact information. Having it readily accessible from anywhere on the site is a big convenience to users.

    Here are the key pieces of information to include:

    • Company name
    • Address
    • Phone Number
    • General email address (one that is monitored but is not directed to a specific person).

    Your phone number and email address should open the appropriate app when clicked, so users do not have to copy your email address over into a new email. You may also include a small Google Maps image if you expect many of your customers will come to your business in person.

    Social Media Links

    Social Media Links

    Social media has become a vital part of online marketing, so you want to make certain that you provide visitors a way of getting to your profiles. You do not need to do any more than include the easily recognizable social media site icons and link them to the appropriate profile.

    For example, most people recognize the Facebook F icon, so you do not even need to mention the site name. Just visit Facebook’s online image library (the icons are all there for you to use, and they are free), add it to the footer, and link it. Do the same for Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and whatever other social media icons you use.

    One other note about linking to social media is to keep relevant information for your business on these pages. If someone decides to check you out on Facebook, you at least want to have up to date info for your business on the page, even if you don’t maintain much of a presence.

    Include Your Logo

    Branding is everything, even at the bottom of a webpage. Your logo should be included in your footer, but it should not be the main focus. Look for a place to put it that is still obvious but is also out of the way. Placing it just to the left of your contact information is a good place, as is putting it on the left side of the footer.

    The Fine Print

    There are four different “fine print” statements you may want to include in your footer, these are mostly to inform users about you and to provide up-front protections in regards to legal issues.

    • Your mission statement. If part of your digital marketing is to appeal to those who have specific values or goals, including a very short (one line) mission statement in your footer can help. If you don’t have a short mission statement but do have a motto or tag line that is a part of your branding, you could include those.
    • Your terms of use. What are your users agreeing to when they use your website? This can include information such as how you are not responsible for content posted on linked websites or posted by users.
    • Your Privacy policy. If you collect any data, how will you use it? Remember, this includes information gathered from cookies, not just what your users provide. This policy is legally required, so you want it to be clear and cover all the bases. Often, it is in smaller text at the very bottom of the footer.
    • A copyright statement. The content you create on your website is yours, and no one should be using it without your express permission. This statement needs to include the year the content was last changed. Most website software lets you set the date to automatically update whenever you make changes. This statement isn’t completely necessary since all content is copyrighted when you create it, but it can help you in court if you do have to pursue legal action over copyright infringement.

    A Call to Action

    A Call to Action in the footer

    We all know what a call to action is, we’ve seen them thousands of times on every website we visit. The purpose is to tell people what to do next, “click here to view products”, “click here to sign up for our newsletter” etc.

    The trick to doing it right however, is making it noticeable and interesting to the user. Putting it right before the footer and including a “why” in your call to action will help give that little extra push to get users to click, such as “subscribe to our newsletter to hear about upcoming events”. This gives users a built in incentive to click, not just a blind order to follow.

    If you have a secondary call to action, such as signing up for an email newsletter, you can put that in the footer. This is what many eCommerce sites do. They have a small sign-up box in the footer. Users type in their email and hit the submit button to automatically be added to your email list. It is quick, easy, takes up very little space, and is on every page, so it’s hard to miss.

    A Search Bar

    Most people think about putting search bars at the top of a webpage or on the side navigation, but you can include one in the footer, too. It’s not always necessary, but if you have a large site, you may want to provide users with another place to enter a search. Having it at the bottom makes it quick and easy to find, especially if someone has read the entire page but hasn’t found what they were looking for.

    If you have a fairly simple website, it may be better not to crowd the footer with a search bar. Decide if you really need it before including it.

    Boost Your Reputation

    Finally, you can include brief mentions of awards, honors, or professional affiliations in your footer. This will help to boost your reputation online and show users that you are trustworthy. Some of these awards or professional organizations have created icons specifically for using on websites, so adding one of those icons is often all you need to do.

    Pick and Choose What Works for You

    The best advice we can give is to tailor your footer to your business and the type of customers that come to your site. If they need directions to a physical store, add a map to your footer. If there are a lot of questions, add a link to an FAQ.

    While you may be trying to optimize for search engines, always keep the customer in mind first and foremost and make the footer useful to them. You can work on SEO after the fact.

    Once you know what you need, you are ready to work with a design company to create the ideal footer for your webpages. Contact us today to discuss all of your website needs.

    VP of Business Development at SEO Company
    Ryan Nead is the Vice President of Business Development at search engine optimization services company, SEO.co. Ryan has spent the last 10 years as a digital marketing consultant working with enterprise clients and top brands on digital marketing initiatives that drive digital results. He has worked with brands like Smashburger, Fatburger, PHH Mortgage and Con-Way (now XPO Logistics). He resides in Texas with his wife and three children.
    Ryan Nead