Optimizing Webmaster Credits

Most web designers and webmasters like to have a sitewide footer link on each site they build. But more often than not, these webmaster credits aren't optimized, and won't provide as much link value as they could. The process of optimizing webmaster credits is simple, easy to script and will get these credits working for you. This article covers the details of optimizing webmaster credits.

About Webmaster Credits

As a webmaster, placing a sitewide footer link on each site you design is common practice in the industry. This practice was around long before search engine optimization or link value was important. When you do good work, the webmaster link is a good way to capture enquiries from people who like your work.
When search engines started ranking websites based on incoming links, these footer links became even more important. I think most SEO's would agree that an instant sitewide link from every site you have developed is beneficial to your ranking to one degree or another.

A Typical Footer link

The following credits are commonly found in the footers of websites...

These links are not optimized.

Back to SEO 101

The links above aren't optimized, they are breaking basic rules regarding anchor text. The first link will help my page rank well for "harvey kane", because this is the anchor text. The problem is, I'm already number 1 for "harvey kane". I don't see the need to keep hammering a phrase that I already have, and nobody searches for anyway.
The second example uses "Website Designed by Harvey Kane" as the anchor. An even more obscure phrase that is certainly useless to target. If we break the anchor text into individual components, and look at "website designed", we have a phrase with 900 million competitors and also seems like an unlikely phrase to search for (proper keyword research may disprove this theory).

We need to target a relevant phrase in our anchor text.

Some better examples

These examples would be more useful...
Website Design by Harvey Kane
Auckland Website Design by Harvey Kane

The first example uses "website design" as the anchor text. This will help my ranking for "website design". While this is certainly better than targeting "harvey kane" it's still a very competetive term that I'm unlikely to nail.
The second example is much more realistic. By adding the word "auckland", I have narrowed the competetion from 1.2 billion sites to 5.2 million. A New Zealand only search on google.co.nz brings this down to 1.2 million, we are now looking at something that is achievable.

These links point to the homepage of our site. On a large site, a sitewide footer link is unlikely to appear natural - it's likely to appear as a sitewide footer link. We should now vary the link text and vary the page that we link to.

Varied Credit links

The secret to optimizing webmaster credits lies in using a different credit link on every page, which points to a subpage of your site. Consider the following examples of footer links...
Web Development by Harvey Kane
NZ Web Design by Harvey Kane

With the first example, we are linking to our Web Development page, which is optimised for the phrase "web development". With the second example, we arelinking to the web design page, which is optimised for "nz web design".

Instead of a sitewide footer link to our homepage with the same anchor text, we should instead opt for a greater spread of links. Instead of 100 links to the same place, 10 links each to 10 different subpages would be more beneficial. It helps promote your sub-phrases, and will appear slightly more natural. Most visitors will not notice the slight change.

Random Static Links

If the first thought that occurs to you is to randomize the footer link, you would be wrong. Random links look, well, random. It's more natural for a link to remain static - a different link on each page, but a link that does not change. So we are talking about a random static link (ugh).

Automating Footer Links

You could place a static link on every page of your site, but that's not in the programming spirit, and we have better things to do with our time. Instead, we need to come up with a script that will place the same link on the same page each time.

The logic behind this is simple (if you are a programmer). Take a MD5 hash of the URL (which will not change). This will return a 32 character Hex string. Using only the first character of the hash, we have 16 different possibilities. That's enough for me - I'm happy to promote 16 different pages in my footer links instead of just one.
This isn't random - for each URL, we are always going to get the same link every time the page is refreshed (unlike a random number generator). But across the site, there should be a reasonably even spread between the 16 different links we have selected.

The Script

I'm still testing this concept, so revisions to the script are likely to happen. Please contact me if you would like the latest copy of this PHP script. The logic is simple, so it would be easy to create one yourself and integrate into your sites.

If you check this site, you will see a spread of footer links across the site. There are a total of 16 different links, which are placed randomly on each page. If you refresh a page, you will always see the same link, so as far as the search engines see it, it's static.
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Tags: phpseophp seo