Using Google’s Organic Sitelinks to Improve Brand Visibility

example of organic sitelinksThe links shown below some of Google’s search results, called sitelinks, are meant to help users navigate your site. Google’s systems analyze the link structure of your site to find shortcuts.

These sitelinks appear for the majority of brand queries, but there are still some instances in which they do not appear. If there is ambiguity around whether the search query is a brand term or not, or if the term may apply to multiple brands, sitelinks generally will not show. For example, searches for “nike” and “nike shoes” generally display sitelinks for Nike.com. However, searches for “nike wing shoes” yield truncated sitelinks from Nike.com alongside pages devoted to other shoe brands and Greek mythology.

In addition, if the structure of your site doesn’t allow Google’s algorithms to find good sitelinks, organic sitelinks won’t be shown.

At the moment, sitelinks are automated. However, there are best practices you can follow to improve the quality of your sitelinks:

  • Evaluate Anchor Text Links: Google uses your internal linking to determine the names of sitelink results by reviewing the anchor text used to point to the sitelink-eligible pages. If a sitelink is appearing for a page you’d like to be featured but the title isn’t what you’d prefer, then review your anchor text links.
  • Review User Experience: If you’re satisfied with the sitelinks that are being shown for your brand, take some time to evaluate the user experience for those pages. Remember that users may bypass your homepage in favor of a sitelink page, looking for relevant information. A user clicking on a Customer Service sitelink is likely to be searching for a contact email address or information about billing. Do your featured pages serve your customers and prospects?
  • Demote URLs As Needed: If you don’t like a sitelink URL, you can demote it using Google Webmaster Tools. Demoting a URL for a sitelink tells Google that you don’t consider this URL a good sitelink candidate for a specific page on your site. Google doesn’t guarantee that demoted URLs will never appear as a sitelink, but it is considered a strong hint and factored into the alogirithm.

It’s important to remember that it can take time to see the changes live in search results, so we don’t recommend making drastic changes on a frequent basis.

To demote a sitelink in Google Webmaster Tools, follow these steps:

  1. On the Webmaster Tools home page, click the site you want.
  2. Under Site configuration, click Sitelinks.
  3. In the For this search result box, complete the URL for which you don’t want a specific sitelink URL to appear.
  4. In the Demote this sitelink URL box, complete the URL of the sitelink you want to demote.

You can demote up to 100 URLs, and demotions are effective for 90 days from your most recent visit to the Sitelinks page in Webmaster Tools.