Google’s Recent Site Link Update

- August 18, 2011

We have all probably viewed site links within Google’s organic search results before.   The site links that you have most commonly seen, until recently, have probably looked something like this:

Google’s Recent Site Link Update

The purpose of site links is to help searchers navigate your website more easily.   They are essentially shortcuts to help funnel searchers to the specific page they are in need of as quickly as possible. However, earlier this week when searching, I noticed something very different about how Google was showing site links. Instead of site links looking similar to the image above, they now are appearing more prominently on the search engine results page. Below is an example of how these site links are now being displayed:

Google’s Recent Site Link Update

These enhanced site links appear most frequently when a brand name or specific website name is searched.   As you will see, there are quite a few more links displayed (up to twelve) in the newer version of site links, versus eight in the older version. In addition, the URL and one line of text are displayed, making them stand out even more.

At this time, these site links are automated; marketers can’t specify which links they want to appear. These site links can also change from query to query leading to better results for the searcher, and hopefully for the marketer, too.   These changes are now reflected in Google Webmaster Tools where you can manage your site links. Although marketers can’t select specific site links to show, they can demote site links (removal is not guaranteed).

So how do you get site links like this to show for your organic listings?   The best tactic is to make sure that the search engines can easily crawl all of the pages on your website and that you have a proper website structure. If your site does not have an optimal structure, these site links may not appear.   In addition, optimizing your meta data for every page should help, as a portion of title tag appears within the site links.

Check to see if site links are displaying for your website.   If not, search engine optimization may be in order.


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