What are Google Sitelinks, and what impact can they have on your website’s online reputation? Google Sitelinks have been appearing for quite some time in the search results. Basically, sitelinks are the small links found below the SERP listing of a given website. Sitelinks can also be part of your PPC campaign, but we’ll focus on those occurring naturally in the SERPs. These links are shortcuts that lead directly to high traffic pages within your website, bypassing the initial landing page. For example, a SERP listing that has been annotated with Google Sitelinks might consist of a master link, followed by shortcuts to the website’s blog, FAQ page, company info, and member log in page. These links allow users to directly access your website’s internal pages with greater ease.
The Impact of Google Sitelinks
Google Sitelinks appear below SERP listings that have been assessed by the search engine filters, and categorized as high traffic, high value, websites. When a website has been designated as a high value search result, the Google bots will crawl the site identifying the high traffic internal pages that it deems are of the most interest to potential visitors. Beyond simply returning a SERP result that allows a greater ease of access for internet users, Google Sitelinks confer a certain level of respectability and authority to the website in question. Sitelinks tell internet searchers that of all the SERP results returned for their search topic, this site has the most to offer. All SEO’s want their sites to get noticed, and Google Sitelinks do just that. They tell the user that this is a site with a substantial online reputation, that it is trustworthy, and that it is likely to offer the information they’re looking for.
Optimizing For Google Sitelinks
How can SEO’s optimize their websites for Google Sitelinks? Therein lies the rub. Google has never revealed the criteria it uses to generate these sitelinks. All Google has told us is that they exist, they are automatically generated, and they are here to stay. That being said, it is possible to look at the sites that are benefiting from Google Sitelinks, and draw some conclusions as to what made them eligible in the first place. No one can tell you how to develop sitelinks, or how to build a site to attract sitelinks. As with much of SEO optimization, there is never a guarantee. But the following points may help to illustrate what makes a website more likely to meet Google’s algorithm for sitelinks.
- First and foremost, the age of the site is definitely a factor. Sitelinks are appended to websites that have been categorized as trustworthy and informative. A freshly launched site is simply not going to have that cache. 18 to 24 months appears to be the minimum threshold.
- The keyword or phrase that returns your SERP has to rank extremely high with Google, and it needs to maintain the ranking for a good length of time.
- Your site needs to have a well structured navigation system with valid internal and external links.
- Anchor text and alt tags for internal pages should be precise and accurate.
- Your site should already have a solid history of positive traffic and should have a good percentage of click-through rates.
- Your site should have a good amount of high quality inbound links.
Again, while these factors would all appear to play a part in the allocating of Google Sitelinks, there are no guarantees. On the upside, all of the points mentioned above will serve your website well, regardless of Google’s Sitelink algorithm. Using these tips to better optimize your website may not bring sitelinks, but they will definitely improve the overall performance of your site. And that is always a positive result.
Google Sitelinks offer many benefits to the lucky websites that meet the criteria. They confer a high degree of trustworthiness to a site, and they give the website a greater piece of the SERP real estate by occupying a larger portion of the SERP results page. Web surfers are intuitively drawn to search results that contain sitelinks, and that translates to even more traffic for the website. When you optimize your website for sitelinks, you are unlikely to see immediate results. But Google Sitelinks are not going away, and whether or not your site passes the algorithms criteria, there is no better time to optimize your website for better performance