The footer can be a resource for visitors who cannot immediately find what they are looking for. But what does the ideal footer look like, and which links should you place and which not in the footer?
For years, we have seen a website’s footer as a receptacle for placing pages as a disclaimer, privacy statement, or copyright rule.
Then they discovered the power of links concerning search engines, and footers were mainly used as an SEO tool. Hence the term ‘fat’ footers. The footers kept getting more significant and more and more links.
Usability experts fiercely opposed these fat and obese footers because they didn’t benefit the visitors.
Google itself saw this too, and the influence of these footers has now decreased. For example, Google looks at the number of links on a page concerning the amount of content. This quickly ensures that websites with fat or obese footer do not benefit from the many links.
“It’s likely that Google starts ignoring links after a certain point.”
The notion that visitors do not scroll and that relatively few people view a page’s bottom has been debunked by more and more studies in recent years.
This prompted designers and website builders to give the footer more attention, and footers were created that added value for the visitors.
“Fat footers can greatly increase usability for people who arrive at the end of a page without finding what they want.”
The right elements
With the knowledge in mind that the footer improves the findability and serves as a safety net for your visitor, you would almost tend to place all your website pages in the footer. But then you run the risk that both Google and the visitor will ignore your footer. You have to make a choice and ensure the right balance in your footer.
A trick here is to divide your footer into different parts:
- Subjects that people often look for. To determine this, you can look at various statistics. The most used keywords in your search functionality are apparent. But also think of the navigation paths in Google Analytics. And don’t forget the feedback from visitors in your response, comment, and contact forms.
- Goals you would like your visitor to go to. Think of: A newsletter registration form, a contact form, a brochure download from, or your social media platforms.
- Practical information. Of course, you can use the well-known disclaimer or privacy statement here. However, think of your visitor; they do not search much for this, but they may look for your general conditions, opening hours, downloads, or directions.
Unfortunately, it is not that easy to measure whether your footer is doing well or not. You cannot easily see in Google Analytics, whether someone clicks on the contact link in your main menu or in your footer menu. For this, you could use the event tracking function of Google Analytics. For example, this allows you to label all links in your footer so that you can see them in Google Analytics as events or events. However, this is quite technical and not for everyone.
It is easier to look at your most used keywords, for example. For example, there are ‘vacancies’ in the top ten. Then the question is whether this is still in the top ten when you place a clear link in your footer menu. If the number of searches with ‘vacancies’ decreases, the footer menu’s link has had an effect. If not, you could check if the design of your footer is clear enough.
Another option is to compare the period with the time when you still had a non-optimized footer. When the bounce percentage or exit percentage is lower, you can assume that this has to do with the improved footer. The tricky thing here is that if you change even more elements within your design or content, they will affect your statistics. So don’t just try to keep the rest of your website the same, also look at the same period and at the largest possible volume.
Do you have questions about what to put in your footer? I would love to read your comment or question below in the comment section.