An SEO professional asked John Mueller, during a recent hangout, about internal footer links.
They explained their situation:
The professional acquired a site that came with plenty of internal links in the footer section of each page. And some of these links are not as relevant.
So they wanted to ask if it is likely to be seen as problematic by Google because the links are not necessarily contextual.
They are just jumbled together in the footer.
And they are just selected by a plugin. They are scared that removing them from hundreds of pages might mess up the site structure. And they just wanted John’s opinion on this.
John said that he doesn’t think it would cause any problems. He would see this more as – “these are links on these particular pages. They are normal internal links and he would look at it from the perspective of: does this help to provide additional context to the rest of the pages of the site?”
And, if you have a larger website, and every page is linked with every other page, there’s no real context there. So it’s hard for them to understand what the overall structure is, and which of these pages are more important.
If you’re linking to everything, then it’s like – everything is not important. So that’s the element that he would watch out for.
Whether they are in the footer, from Google’s perspective, is irrelevant. If they’re generated by a plugin or added manually, then John doesn’t believe that matters, either.
He would just watch out from a structural perspective: “does it actually make sense to have these links?”
He also went on to explain that some amount of cross-linking definitely does make sense. Especially if you have a setup where you have related pages that are cross-linked, that, from his point of view, always makes sense.
However, extreme cross-linking, where you’re really cross-linking every page with every other page, from John’s perspective, does not really make all that much sense.
This happens at approximately the 9:11 mark in the video.