Have you ever heard of “sitelinks?” Sitelinks are those extra list of links that you see below a main search result in the Google search engine. [See my example of sitelinks below where I searched for "maine popcorn"] Google’s secret algorithm determines whether sitelinks will appear under a particular search result or not. The idea behind sitelinks is to give the user an easier way to immediately navigate to interior pages of the site within that search result. Although they have been around for a while now they have changed, and continue to change announcing their most recent update this week.
Here’s what’s new with Google Sitelinks:
- Now, when you see sitelinks, you’ll notice that they are larger and resemble the main search result more.
- The maximum number of sitelinks possible to appear for a search result is now 12 (up from 8 previously).
- Sitelinks are being ranked now. Before, a site would be given a fixed set of sitelinks that would either appear in a search engine result or not show up at all. Now, the original query will influence the sitelinks that appear for a given result.
What does this mean and why should you care?
As a Google user– The goal of Google’s search engine is to make our lives easier by simplifying search results and saving us time. By delivering us the results with additional sitelinks that are relevant to our queries means we can find what we’re looking for quicker. Thanks Google, you rock!
As a marketer – Google does a great job of making continuous updates to their products that will improve the relevancy of their search results to the user. Our job is to follow suit – make the content that we provide to our users as relevant to them, their needs, and challenges as we possibly can. By creating consistent, informative, helpful, and relevant content to our users will boost our chances of benefiting from those associated sitelinks in Google’s search results for our website. Plus, with additional space required for sitelinks, that’s more real estate that we could possibly own on the search engine results page. And who doesn’t want more real estate there?
How do I get sitelinks for my website’s search results?
Since Google’s algorithm is under strict lock and key, there isn’t a handbook on how to get sitelinks for your website. However, sitelinks are based on your site’s linking structure and there are a few things you can do to make sure that’s good to go:
- Ensure your site can be crawled successfully
- Use informative anchor text
- Optimize your website with various on-page SEO elements
- Create content for your site that proves your are an authority on your subject matter
Even though we don’t get a particular say in which pages actually show up as sitelinks, we can request that Google demote certain sitelinks that we don’t want to appear, but even that isn’t guaranteed.
With this update that Google has made, and many in the past, for me it is just a reminder on who the focus is on – the user. Site rankings, Twitter followers, and Facebook Likes don’t mean much if I’m not getting traffic to my site and converting that traffic when they are there.