Google has introduced a new look to its AdWords Sitelinks by adding a small arrow on the left side of where the sitelinks begin.
A Google spokesperson confirmed that these new sitelinks are currently rolling out everywhere this week.
The screen shot below shows both the old and new look of Google Sitelinks.
Google Sitelinks appear with your ad on Google.com, and in some cases across the Google Display Network. Adding sitelinks is free, although you are still charged per click on your ad. They give potential customers more reasons to click on your ad by including additional information within your paid search ad.
Google has expanded ad extensions with Social extensions, Dynamic search ads, location extensions, product extensions, call extensions and seller ratings. In addition, Google may be introducing additional Ad Extensions in the future.
To enable Sitelinks in your Google AdWords ads, click on the “Ad Extensions” tab within your Campaigns tab.
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.
What are Google Sitelinks and how does a website get them? There is no cut and dry strategy for this, but one can ensure that their website is set up in a way that Google will want to display these internal links to your website underneath the snippet in the search results. Basically, keeping your website architecture as simple as possible and hoping for the best seems to be the general mantra of website owners hoping that Google will be kind enough to bestow them the honor of including sitelinks underneath their listing.
I have noticed how much more prevalent sitelinks are becoming. Many more sites seem to be getting them and it really can help in identifying a website’s important pages. For instance, the sitelinks for Ruth’s Chris Steak House has the helpful link of “Our Locations”. This, for me, is always useful when looking up my favorite restaurant or business and wanting to find out if there is one in my area.
One big disadvantage of sitelinks, however, is that not only does Google not give you any specifics on how to get them (just the ability block them in Webmaster tools), but sometimes the sitelinks can point to a site’s dead page if it has recently gone through a redesign. Obviously, you can take care of this in Webmaster tools or just make sure that your redirects are implemented correctly.
There is also some erroneous information out there on how to get sitelinks. Some people think that having a good PageRank is a factor. That would make sense if there weren’t some sites out there with a PageRank of “2” that had sitelinks. Another belief is that inbound links can influence Google, but, again there are many sites with few inbound links that have those precious sitelinks. The general consensus, however, is that the older the site and the more indexed pages the site has along with good site structure is the biggest influence.
There are multiple theories on how to get Google to display sitelinks and until we know algorithmically how they do it, most theories will probably be disproven one way or another. Matt Cutts himself stated that sitelinks are algorithmic and not human edited, so until there is major research on the issue, we’ll have to just go by that.