We are in the process of having our site redeveloped (almost complete). The site is very established and has always had a side bar on the right which has been used for 1. the user experience (so users can find everything they might be looking for) and 2. promoting important / new pages with anchor text.
We have worked very hard on the user journey of the site and giving people what they want (going by analysing the user journey in Analytics).
Anyway, I wanted to keep any important links that are currently in the side bar, mostly for the SEO of the linked pages but also to an extent so people still have access to those pages if they want to have a good study of the page. What we decided was to create a mega nav where the main sections from the old sidebar would still be there, and I would keep the important links in. So the menu bar which is across the top of the page (and always has been) now has mega nav options with various anchor text links in them that were previously in the side bar (and have done their job of pushing various pages up Google's listing very well).
The web design company that are doing our site told us that they have been in touch with their SEO contact and he has said that we need to keep the links that we had before in order to maintain the SEO for those pages, so they designed a footer that literally relocated those actual links on the front end. However in terms of the website user experience I don't believe we need this footer because we have the mega nav.
Was it necessary to relocate the actual links that were there before, or is creating the same anchor text to the same pages, in the mega nav instead of the side bar enough? Does Google actually say, wait a second, that new link on the page, which has the same word and leads to the same page, is not the same actual link as the link that was there before so it will be treated as if it is a new link. Or will they just see that the old link is not there anymore but it the same link is still there on the page in a different location, and transfer the value of the link to the new link.
Hope what I am saying is clear (I'm not a technical person).