Google’s Newest Sitelinks

- April 30, 2009

Anyone participating in online marketing, particularly search engine optimization (SEO), knows how frequently the search engines make changes and tweak their algorithms in an effort to offer the best experience for the searcher.
One change that Google has made recently is with their sitelinks. Google states that sitelinks “are meant to help users navigate your site. Our systems analyze the link structure of your site to find shortcuts that will save users time and allow them to quickly find the information they’re looking for.
We only show sitelinks for results when we think they’ll be useful to the user. If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don’t think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them.”
Most likely you have seen sitelinks that look like something like this:


However, with the most recent update that occurred earlier this month, you may have also seen sitelinks that look like this:


These are known as one-line sitelinks.   These one-line sitelinks are located just above the URL of the page included in the search results. Up to four sitelinks can be listed and they serve a similar purpose, to help users navigate through the website, especially to interior pages.  
Prior to this update, only one result (the first result) could have the two-column sitelinks for any search query. However, with this recent update, many results displayed can have these one-line sitelinks.    
Sitelinks provide value for website owners by potentially bringing more traffic to the site. They are also great for the searcher by differentiating the results and assisting them to find interior pages.   If there are two results listed for a search query, and there are site links listed for both results, the searcher will have more information about both site’s interior pages and what they might be looking for, improving their overall search experience.
So now that you are aware of this update, you might be asking yourself, how do I get these sitelinks and how can I choose what pages I want to have as sitelinks?
Unfortunately Google won’t tell us exactly how they decide which websites have these sitelinks or how they go about selecting the links to show in the search results, however, it seems that having a good site structure that is easily crawlable by the search engines can help.

It is likely that we will all start to see these one-line sitelinks more frequently within the search results.   One-line sitelinks could potentially show up for more search queries other than first position results, site homepage results and brand name searches.
While I think this update is great news for all website owners, if for some reason you do not want a particular sitelink to show up with your listing, you can block a page from appearing as a site link for 90 days through Webmaster tools.

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