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I have noticed that lots of new site use a gigantic footer with columns that represent their navigation? What is the philosophy behind them? Are they for SEO, semantic layout, or is that information just required but not important.


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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Usability and SEO.

Much of the information in footers is the standard contact us, faq, location, etc. This makes it easy for a visitor to find this information rather than hunt down some hidden link.

Also SEO. It places their Facebook, Tweets, etc. in the footer so that Google can pick up on what keywords they want to feature.

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The concept of the "SEO Footer" is a pretty lame and old technique, but not all SEO Footers are created equal.

The mint.com footer, many tiny links, almost the same color as the template, is lame and verging on grey hat.

The arstechnica footer is totally logical / ethical / usable / whatever.

You can tell that mint.com is pretty aggressively SEO'd - 90 character, no stop-word titles, perfect canonicalization, perfect image alts.

They're probably primarily doing the SEO footer for site-wide keyword rich internal anchor text.

Maybe they're also worried that search engines wont crawl the drop-down menus.

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You can consider it as new layout designing trend. Big footer with multiple columns are created to provide enough space to display contents . So that visiters would be less confused while reading your article. It is sometimes needful when your site is visited on low resolution screens.

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