Is duplicate footer content penalized by Google?

Does Google penalize for footer copy?

04 April 2016

Is duplicate footer content penalized by Google?

Your footer as well as your navigation (your theme template and layout) is seen as part of your page content. But it is not seen as part of your primary content and carries very little weight in comparison to your main content.

John Mueller has confirmed that duplicate footer content (boilerplate content) and links carry very little weight and are not seen as relevant content to the page due to it been copied throughout the website.

John Mueller had the following to say in a Hangout vidio

I think the main thing to kind of consider, is if you are linking side wide in the footer for the example, or if you have text side wide in the footer. Then that is probably not the same weight as if you had that on some many different pages that are completely separate.

So it is not so much the issue that it is in the footer, it is just well; we see this across so many other pages on this web site that we think it is probably not the most relevant thing on the whole web site.

So for example, if you have to put a legal disclaimer on your footer of your website for legal reasons. That doesn't mean the rest of the content on that page will be devalued. But rather, we will try to figure out, oh this is a disclaimer that is across the site, so that if someone is specifically looking for this disclaimer, fine, we will show one of the pages from the site, but otherwise we wont treat it as primary content for that page

Interesting comment by Mueller. Coincidently he was not referring to footer spam (you will still be penalized for footer spam and follow outbound links) He was referring to legitimate side wide duplicate footer content (big difference between the two)

Google's Quality Guidelines address widely distributed links in the footer or template, stating they should carry the rel='nofollow' attribute.

And here is another thing to remember. If you spam your footer with keywords throughout your site they will filter those keywords from your entire site.

So it is not so much the issue that it is in the footer, it is just well; we see this across so many other pages on this web site that we think it is probably not the most relevant thing on the whole web site.

In other words - regardless whether in the footer or not, if repeated throughout the site they devalue the repetitive content, and do the same with excessive use of keywords in ALT, title attributes, titles, descriptions, header tags, navigation, etc...

The more you repeat keywords inside and outside the conversation (the primary content) the more they filter them, regardless whether they in the footer or in the primary content. ​

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