What are footprints in SEO?

When you upload your website, you’re sharing various information: text, rich content (videos, images…), as well as a whole bunch of other data that is more or less visible to your typical Internet users: the type of CMS, IP address, domain name owner… All of these are clues that can link various sites administered by the same person or entity together. This trace left by the administrator throughout their different sites is called a “footprint“. In this article, we will let you know how footprints can greatly impact your organic ranking.


The definition of a footprint

This “footprint” is a recognizable mark that can be found on different sites generated by the same person or entity. One of the most common examples given to understand the concept of footprints is the “powered by WordPress” mention, which is automatically generated on all WordPress sites. The fact that this mention can be found on all sites is in itself a footprint – that is, a specific identifier that helps target WordPress-generated blog pages with a single query.

In some cases, these footprints have no impact, but as we’ll see in this article, from an advanced SEO strategy perspective, footprints management is paramount.


What are footprints in SEO?

To put it briefly, they are elements that can be found identically on several sites. An SEO footprint can be one same IP address, host, email address, or even duplicate content between different sites… and bear in mind this list is not exhaustive!

When developing an artificial netlinking strategy that will help you save time and gain authority when it comes to your Google ranking, it is crucial to master the mechanisms of footprints. Indeed, search engines (Google in particular) can sanction overly aggressive black hat SEO strategies. To identify these impatient referers, SERPs seek to detect footprints that would confirm an artificial process trying to influence their results, and then penalize them.

Google can penalize Black Hat SEO strategies, that’s why understanding this issue and dealing with it effectively will allow you to develop a quality and sustainable SEO strategy.


Footprints that can harm the SEO of your PBN

Duplicate content

Of course, the duplicate content rule is especially true for your PBNs. Prohibit yourself from publishing duplicate content between the individual sites of your network.

The “Admin” author

The ghostwriter on WordPress. The default author of your posts will appear as “admin“. Make sure to diversify the names of your authors! By the way – it is always a good idea to add a photo for each author.

One single IP address for all your blogs

Remember to diversify your IPs with different providers. You should avoid associating your different blogs with the same IP address.

Having the same host for your entire network of sites

Another element to take into account is the diversification of hosting, both geographically and in terms of architecture.

Diversified or anonymized Whois

The Whois query makes it possible to trace the owner of the sites of a private blog network very easily.


This list is of course not exhaustive, which is why the best option is to work with SEO professionals, or services specialized in footprints management!


How can I avoid having footprints on my PBN?

When using Youdot’s services, you are guaranteed an anti-footprints charter with the creation of your PBN, including 15 quality control points, such as IP and hosting diversification, anonymized Whois and other crucial criterias to guarantee you a footprint-free network.