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Understanding Google Sitelinks

March 26th, 2008 posted by · No Comments

GoogleYou have probably noticed the collection of additional links found under some sites within the Google search results. These links are referred to as sitelinks and they appear under the #1 positioned site for a targeted keyword.

Having these links underneath your listing is completely out of the control of the webmaster related to the site. Google decides and chooses which parts of your site to highlight and add, thus creating sitelinks. Many popular websites like CNN, MSNBC and for example, all contain sitelinks in their Google listing. Many webmasters try to perform certain SEO tactics to get Google to give their site some special attention and add sitelinks to their listing. This is very hard to do and maybe even impossible. Take a look at an example…

Google Sitelinks

Google operates in a very mysterious way and understanding the sitelinks algorithm isn’t any easier to make sense of. Some things are very clear though, such as all the sites with sitelinks have many things in common. Upon analyzing a few of them I’ve found that all the sites which appear for high traffic keywords are in the #1 spot (and have maintained that position for many months), they all have been online for at least two years and all have significant back links.

According to Google

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.

Which links become sitelinks?

Basically any top-level link, such as those found in your navigation menu. However, I’ve seen some sitelinks which lead to popular posts on blogs with a lot of comments. It’s also not uncommon to see an entire blog category added as well; usually with a substantial amount of archived posts. Image links can also be turned into sitelinks, so make sure you have the appropriate ‘alt’ text when inserting images. Flash and JavaScript links aren’t popular choices to use on your site if you’re trying to get sitelinks.

How can sitelinks benefit me?

Sitelinks can do many things for you…

  • They can make your site more trusted and viewed as an authoritative source of information.
  • Assist in helping visitors find what they’re looking for quicker.
  • Increase your CTR for targeted keywords.
  • Increase the value of your site.

If you’re fortunate enough to get sitelinks added to your listing, look out for the significant boost in traffic you’ll receive.

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