Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Dave Elliott on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, September 26, 2013).

Should I use "site designed by" links?

i`m sure this has been asked before. But, what are people opinions on chucking a "site designed by ......" or something on the bottom of a client site.
We only do it if it is a charity/free site but quite frankly I`m sick of getting beaten in SERPs by competitors whose only obviously advantage is that they undertake this practise.

So what do you say? Does it work? Should it work? Will google ever actually get round to working out that this is common place and devalue sites because of this? Is it fine to do as long as you vary the anchor text a bit?

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OUR ANSWERS

Answers from the Dumb SEO Questions Panelists.

  • Tim Capper: Interestingly an agency gave me a call after May penguin (they did not realise about Penguin). Anyway they wondered why they werer steadily dropping. All the sites they designed had a link back to them but this was non optimised as in xyz dot com. But they had recently finished a site and added web design in town name by xyz dot com. That was the only anomily in an otherwise sparkling link profile. So i will say add the link but NOT optimised. If G ever announces that they are looking at these more closely then you can just add rel=nofollow ... job done
  • Micah Fisher Kirshner: http://www.advancedwebranking.com/
YOUR ANSWERS

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Simon Fryer: Hi Dave, ;<br /><br />I&#39;d certainly add a link to a client&#39;s site, provided they are happy with our work. In the same way a painter would sign a portrait I think it&#39;s perfectly acceptable to have a small link in the footer. ;<br /><br />When doing so, I&#39;d always recommend you use your brand name as the anchor text (there&#39;s no need to vary this). ;<br /><br />I have never had a client disagree with us crediting ourselves on their site, with the exception of major blue chip companies or other agencies who don&#39;t want people to know they didn&#39;t deliver the build. ;<br /><br />The added benefit for us is that when we build a site, we normally run search marketing campaigns too, so every link we develop for a client site also benefits us eventually. It&#39;s an added incentive for us to find awesome links for them :)<br /><br />Hope this helps!
  • Brent Wildman: I agree with , as long as all of your links are not sitewides like that I don&#39;t see a huge problem. But I do think that Google will start cracking down in the future on over optimized site links so it&#39;s better to use brand rather than keyword.
  • Simon Fryer: You&#39;re right . Whilst branded sitewides won&#39;t cause any problems, using commercial keywords in them could as it massively inflates the # of referring pages with that anchor text. In my opinion best practice moving forward is to use branded links on the homepage only, although there&#39;s not need to go back and remove old branded sitewides. ;<br /><br />Just been having a chat about it here actually:<br />
  • Brent Wildman: Couldn&#39;t agree more!  ;
  • John Pitcher: We always put a link in the footer (in the past we have put 2 links, one to the home page and one to an internal page). We have sometimes got business because of these links. Certainly in the past this has helped us in the SERPS; whether it still does I do not know.<br /><br />I see some local companies including company name + ;1 keyword (eg &quot;Designed by Company Name County&quot; or &quot;Designed by Company Name Town&quot;) in the hope that this will help them for the county/town without triggering a penalty. At the moment, these companies are still doing well.<br /><br />I have just read comments in another thread that suggest that you should have a link on your home page and just text on other pages; I think we may well follow this in future.<br /><br />Whether to have (on the home page only of a client&#39;s site) a link to our home page AND AN ;ADDITIONAL link to an inner page - for example, our Charity Web Design Page or our Wordpress Web Design page - I&#39;m not sure about? We&#39;ve don&#39;t ;this in the past but I&#39;m not sure about the future.  ;I don&#39;t know if anyone else has a view on this.
  • Tim Capper: Interestingly an agency gave me a call after May penguin (they did not realise about Penguin).<br /><br />Anyway they wondered why they werer steadily dropping. All the sites they designed had a link back to them but this was non optimised as in xyz dot com.<br /><br />But they had recently finished a site and added  ;web design in town name by xyz dot com.<br /><br />That was the only anomily in an otherwise sparkling link profile.<br /><br />So i will say add the link but <b>NOT</b> optimised.<br /><br />If G ever announces that they are looking at these more closely then you can just add rel=nofollow ... job done
  • Dave Elliott: We also host all the sites (shared ip) we make. Will this alter peoples advice?
  • John Pitcher:  ;Would you say the drop was due to the links in the footer? Or were other factors involved? ;<br /><br />PS This is a genuine interest question (we have a small web design company) rather than a confrontational one.
  • Simon Fryer: <br /><br />I&#39;m didn&#39;t think one set of optimised sitewides could cause a penguin penalty per se. <br /><br />If the drop was on May 22nd it&#39;s possible that it was the result of link devaluation. The links which had provided rankings were effectively removed, and thus the rankings inflated by them dropped.<br /><br />Did you make any changes to the sitewides? Did anything happen?
  • Justin Y: I add my links when I can and only follow on the index, all deep pages are nofollow. <br />If is_home follow else : nofollow<br /><br />Signature:<br />Website design and development by xyz<br />I only link xyz.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, September 26, 2013).