Web Designers & Developers – Should we add backlink in footer?

What I mean in this is:  “Design by NK Design” or “Developed by NK Design” backlinks..

This may seem like a silly thing for people to get worked up about. If you’re a designer, you probably have a firm opinion on this topic already – what’s left to debate? Personally, I found it interesting to see what people do and the reasons behind those decisions. I was also surprised to see how many differing opinions there were within the group




Google’s John Mueller said you can put the link but “definitely put a nofollow rule for those links.” That is even if the site owner wants the link there, you should still nofollow it.

Full transcript here of what John Mueller advised as follows

I guess this kind of looks at things like with regards to unnatural links, for example.

And from our point of view, these kind of links, by default, are things where the webmaster doesn’t really place the link explicitly on their own.

So this is something where I’d recommend, if you want to put your footer link there, make sure it has a nofollow link there, so that this is something that people could click on if they’re interested, but it’s seen as something that is not an editorial link by the webmaster. It’s not something that you’d have to worry about later on and say, “oh, my god. I put all these links on this website. Now Google will think I’m building an unnatural link pyramid or something crazy.”

So this is something where putting a nofollow there is definitely good practice. You don’t need to kind of not put these links there if you think that it makes sense. If that’s something that you’ve kind of decided on together with the people who are running this website in the end, then that’s something, certainly that you might want to do, but I definitely put a nofollow rule for those links.

Pros of Placing a Footer Link on Client Sites

Visibility. Clients will build up online visitors so Word of mouth is a great referral source for any designer or developer. If someone likes your work on a client site, it’s easy for them to click through the footer link to take a look at what you have to offer and possibly lead to future sales.

SEO (yours). Who doesn’t love backlinks? That can only help you in the long run, right?

It’s the least they can do. You just did a ton of work to create something beautiful and functional. Surely a tiny footer link isn’t too much to ask!

Cons of Placing a Footer Link on Client Sites

Reputation management. What happens if you complete a great design and someone else (the client or a new designer) dismantles it later? Do you really want your name associated with a site that looks like crap?

SEO (theirs). Having sitewide links of any kind could have disastrous effects on SEO. Not always, but it’s still a potential risk.

The client paid you for the work. Once the final invoice is paid, it’s safe to say all parties are satisfied. But does that mean the client is required to tell the world who designed his/her site?

In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I often placed a nofollow link in site footers when I did direct client work. If clients didn’t want one, I took it out – no problems. A few of them even specifically asked me to put in a link or logo (or, in one case, a whole page describing my services).

So what do you think?

Are designer footer links good or bad? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Bottom line, if you thought you were safe to include footer links to your web design company on all the sites you design, you probably want to start adding a no follow into those links.

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