18 Aug 2011

Update to Google Sitelinks

Design Practices No Comments

Google SitelinksMonday morning, Google announced changes to Google sitelinks in search results. If you’ve never heard of sitelinks, you’ve almost certainly seen them. Run a search for a specific brand or organization (like this one for Marketplace Earth). You’ll see that underneath the top search result, there are further nested links to sections within the site. Those are sitelinks.

Sitelinks have been around for quite a while. However, now they’re taking up a lot more real estate and are a lot more visible. Take a look at the Google announcement to see some screenshots of the evolution of sitelinks. Today’s launch involves not only doubling the number of sitelinks possible under one search result, but also making those sitelinks look more like regular search results, including a full-size link, URL and a snippet of description text.

What does this mean for site owners? As with any Google changes, it’s next to impossible to guess at all the implications. But to begin with, it’s now even more important to own the top search result spot for your brand, since sitelinks under the first site can knock even the #2 ranked site practically off the browser screen.

Second, it means that you’ll want to search for your brand and find out what Google generates for sitelinks under your URL. These are generated automatically, and there’s no way currently to tell Google what to list, but if you don’t like your sitelinks, you may want to discuss changing the navigational structure of your site with your website designer.

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