What are Google sitelinks, should you want them and how can you get them? Find out everything you need to know about sitelinks in our guide.
What Are Sitelinks & How to Get Them
Author: Paulina Piaskowska, Content Writer
Sitelinks are one of the navigational tools Google has implemented in order to enhance user experience. They were first introduced in 2005 and officially announced in 2006, so it’s hardly a new invention. You’re likely using them in your day-to-day life without even noticing.
With such a long history, sitelinks underwent some changes since we first were able to use them. If you’re a site owner, it might be beneficial to learn about what exactly sitelinks are, what types of sitelinks there are and how to get them.
All of this you can learn from this article. Ready to start?
What Are Sitelinks?
Sitelinks are additional links that appear below the main URL of a site, and their role is to direct visitors to other pages on the website. In the shortest terms, sitelinks simplify the navigation, allowing users to go directly to the pages they wish to visit without the requirement to click on the home page first.
Here’s a great example of what it looks like for SUSO:
Google sitelinks are utilised by different publishers with significant emphasis on brands as well as informational sites. The reason for that is the fact that searchers are using navigational keywords to find specific brands, companies, and websites. This makes the sitelinks a very helpful feature that shortens the time required for visitors to access the information they need.
We can encounter both paid sitelinks and organic sitelinks, with the latter being selected by Google automatically, without any interference from the publisher. This has its drawbacks, as sometimes the SERP (search engine results page) will feature sitelinks that are irrelevant to your website.
Now that we know what sitelinks are, it’s time to learn about different sitelinks types and how to get sitelinks in Google search.
Types of Sitelinks
The way sitelinks have been displayed in the search engine evolved over time. It’s not surprising, considering their long history and the numerous changes Google has implemented over the years to better user experience.
Today we can encounter sitelinks with images or in a carousel format, amongst other types. Here are the general types of sitelinks you will likely see in the SERP.
Like the name suggests, paid sitelinks, or sitelink extensions, as they are also called, are sitelinks that appear on ads. This is the only type of sitelinks you, as an advertiser or owner of the site, can control.
They look pretty much exactly the same as organic sitelinks, but the only difference is that you have total control over the text and URL on the ads, which cannot be said about organic sitelinks. With new updates implemented in March 2022, the dynamic sitelink extensions may be featured next to the manually created sitelink extensions in situations when it is predicted to improve the performance of a site.
Find out more about these changes on Google Ads Help.
Organic sitelinks appear primarily on the highest-ranking search results. In the majority of cases, they are used for branded terms and can have up to six sitelinks to other pages on your site.
The significant difference between organic sitelinks and paid ones is that organic sitelinks are generated by Google’s algorithms. If Google deems sitelinks irrelevant for your site or is unable to locate any good sitelinks due to the internal obstacles within the site, it won’t feature any.
One-line sitelinks differentiate from other types in the way they are presented on the SERP. These sitelinks are displayed in one line below the main URL and the meta description.
They can lead to other pages on your site or directly to content within pages (using fragment (#) links).
Usually, we can see up to four sitelinks being featured. One-line sitelinks can appear on many types of queries – they are not limited to branded or informational queries.
Sitelinks Search Box
A sitelinks search box is a very handy tool, allowing visitors to search the results of a website without clicking on it. It only appears for the branded terms, and again, it can only be applied if Google considers it valuable for your website.
Theoretically, you can try acquiring a sitelinks search box by adding the structured data to your sitelinks search box on your homepage, but it doesn’t guarantee success.
Why Are Sitelinks Good for SEO?
Sitelinks are very beneficial for SEO as they enhance the user experience, generating traffic for your website that could otherwise be hard to acquire. They may also encourage users to explore pages on your site they didn’t know existed.
Sitelinks give you more SERP real estate. Usually, you can get up to six sitelinks and, in the best-case scenario, a search box. This adds up to even four or five times as much SERP space given to your site than normally (we’re talking about the desktop view).
For mobile users, sitelinks can take up the whole space on the screen.
This kind of exposure is priceless, as the statistics suggest that the first three positions in the SERP earn more than 50% of the total click-throughs.
Sitelinks can help you direct traffic to pages that are less visible and beat the competition all at once. You can also use them to promote the content you care about by structuring your site in a clear and logical way.
It’s worth mentioning that because of the way sitelinks work, you can expect most of the pages that are featured as sitelinks to become your landing pages. This may create potential issues, as many people will form their opinions about your website and brand based on the impressions these sitelink pages will give them.
It’s still undeniable, though, that sitelinks have a positive impact on your site’s SEO. In the next portion of this article, you will learn what to do in order to increase the chances of getting sitelinks on your domain.
How to Get Sitelinks in Google Search: Best Practices
As we’ve already mentioned, sitelinks can only appear for your site if Google’s algorithms can locate and select pages within your website that have the potential to be good for your ranking. And to do that, Google has to be able to easily crawl and understand your site.
The best practice to get sitelinks is to build a high-quality website with a logical structure that Google can quickly crawl. There are a few things you can do to ensure that. We explain them in length below, but you can also check what Google says about this here.
Create a Logical Site Structure
Your website’s architecture is imperative, not only for the sitelinks but for SEO as well. Building a site that is easy to navigate by Google’s crawlers and your visitors is crucial. Stick to the proper hierarchy, with your homepage having the dominant position, as this is most likely the first page crawlers will visit.
Make sure your internal linking strategy supports this hierarchy, as well as allows crawlers to index all the pages on your website.
Use Concise & Relevant Anchor Texts for Internal Links
The choice of anchor texts for your links shouldn’t be random, as this is information Google uses to understand your site and the content of the linked pages. For sitelinks, you want to make sure the visitors and Google know immediately to which page they will be directed after clicking on the link.
It’s best to stay on the safe side and use concise and relevant anchors, like Homepage, Categories, or Log In.
Write Engaging Page Titles & Headings
Writing unique page titles and headings is also crucial, as this helps crawlers navigate and understand your site. Page titles and headings are both laid out in HTML code, and Google uses them to differentiate between pages and understand their content.
Optimise your page titles to describe the content of the pages best.
Avoid Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is often an unwelcome sight; worst case, it can lead to penalties from Google.
If you want to optimise your website to get sitelinks, it’s best to stay away from duplicate content, as this might let Google know your pages don’t offer unique and valuable information, therefore, there is no need for featuring sitelinks for your URL.
FAQs About Sitelinks
How Can I Remove A Sitelink Search Box?
To remove a sitelink search box from your site, add this meta tag to your homepage.
<meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox”>
How Are Sitelinks Generated?
Organic sitelinks are automatically generated by Google by using your site’s structure, site menu, and other relevant information to decide whether your website would benefit from this feature and which pages should become sitelinks.
Sitelinks are a great tool that helps visitors access information quickly. Google sitelinks are beneficial from the SEO perspective, as they help your website get noticed and generate more traffic to less visible pages. They enhance user experience, which may influence the reception of your brand.
Although you don’t have much control over whether or not your website will receive sitelinks, you can improve the prospects by creating a logical site structure, choosing concise and relevant internal links’ anchor text as well as avoiding duplicate content.
If you’re looking for a team to handle all of your SEO needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
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