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Why We Never Put Our Brand on The Websites We Build


You see it all the time. Browse a company’s website, and you’ll see “Designed by Random Marketing Company” or something similar. This links back to the marketing agency’s website. It’s usually in the footer or somewhere inconspicuous.

Seems harmless enough, right?

We don’t do that on the websites we build. Why not?

Simple: it’s bad for your business.

Our main goal is to help your business succeed

By adding a link to the footer of your site, marketing companies help themselves at your expense. and are acting naively, greedily, or simply short-sighted.

That link impacts your Google ranking

One of the best things we do for our clients is to help them rank well in Google searches. One of the influences on search rank is a lack of unnecessary links on your site to leak your “link juice”.

Pretend your home page has 12 units of “link juice” (which we’ll use to show the imaginary level of value Google has placed on your site). You can use those 12 units any way you want. If you have two links on your home page, each link would get 6 units and those pages would benefit from that by ranking well in Google for their own search terms.

If GreenMellen adds our link in the footer, suddenly your 12 units are split three ways, and your other pages only get 4 units each.

That’s not a big deal for a single page, but think about that happening on every page of your site. By the time Google works its way through your dozens of pages, you’ll have lost so much juice to our silly footer link that it’ll make for a noticeable hit on your bottom line.

It’s a little thing that makes a difference

Again, this is just a small piece of the big picture. We also work hard to build your navigation in such a way that Google likes it, make sure your title and header tags are in place, and many other tiny tweaks.

Added up, those things will help put you at the top of Google and bring extra customers to your business.

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Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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  1. We’ve gained a number of clients because they fell in love with a site we built. They followed the footer link and then contacted us. Wouldn’t a good compromise be to include the link but add the rel=”nofollow”?

    • No, not really. When the concept of nofollow first came out in 2005, it was a great solution for this. Nofollowing the links would keep the link juice on that site and all would be good. Around 2007, largely thanks to people “PageRank sculpting”, Google changed things so that nofollowed links still don’t pass link juice, but they DO take away link juice from the site as if they were normal followed links. Essentially they turned nofollow links into link juice black holes. This post from WooRank explains it well, with the three charts starting with “Normal Link Juice Transfer” in the middle of this post:

      With that in mind, it seems like you should just leave them as followed links since it hurts the client (a tiny bit) either way. However, Google has come out and explicitly stated that those kinds of links should be nofollowed:

      Ultimately, a better solution might be to include a “designed by” reference at the bottom with no link. If people think the design was great, they can Google your name and find you.

      For us, it comes down to what we see elsewhere on the web. Look at any impressive site (major brand, public figure, etc) and you’ll virtually never see something like that in the footer. Either you do EVERYTHING you can to help your clients, or you do “almost everything you can to help them as long as you still can still get some credit through their site”.

      It’s not an easy decision, as I’m sure it has cost us some potential clients, but if I can do something to help one of our existing clients rank 1% higher, I’m going to do it.


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