Have you ever searched for a big brand and noticed they have a neat list of subpages you can click on right there on the results page? Those are Google sitelinks, and they’re more important than you think.
They make the difference between a click-through and a user heading off elsewhere to find what they’re looking for. The bad news? You don’t have direct control:
Google determines what websites get sitelinks.
But don’t despair yet – there’s a trick to goading Google to display sitelinks in your search engine results.
Read on to find out what it is.
What Are Google Sitelinks?
When a user performs a Google search, the search engine displays a snippet. The snippet is a summary of what’s behind the link. It’s generated automatically by Google’s algorithms and the URL’s meta description.
If your business makes use of the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, you’ll be more likely to get rich results. Rich results include digital business cards, image carousels, ratings, Q&As – and your sitelinks.
The sitelinks are subpages within your domain. Your “about us”, “contact us”, “services”, “blog, and “news” pages are all examples.
Unlike your URL, page descriptions, and page titles, your sitelinks aren’t only under your control: Google decides based on search query whether or not to show sitelinks.
When its algorithms conclude that sitelinks are useful to a search, it will display them.
What Sitelinks Do for You
Websites that make the most of these SEO tips reliably have their sitelinks on display in search engine results.
And although they’re outside your control, sitelinks offer your business numerous benefits:
- Higher click-through rates
- Brand awareness
- Improved user satisfaction
Every search has an intention behind it. If a user spots a solution to their query directly from a Google search, they’re more likely to click on it. It satisfies their intent, and the user’s time isn’t wasted.
For instance, search for “CNN” in Google and you’ll find sitelinks straight to “US Politics”, “Business”, and “World” news sections. For a user interested in business news, they can jump the queue and get what they want right away.
Your sitelinks improve your brand awareness, too. If your brand is known for offering a specific service, a sitelink to that service will pull more users in.
How To Get Sitelinks in Search Results
Google and its obscure algorithms are the final arbiters of sitelinks. But luck favours the prepared. So, to get those all-important sitelinks featured in search engines, you’ll need to do three things:
- Rank in search
- Optimize your site layout
- Link to important pages from your homepage
Rank as High for Your Brand
Ranking in search engines is the holy grail of SEO: The vast majority of users don’t go to page 2 of a search. Ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs) heightens your chances of getting sitelinks for your domain.
What’s important here is to rank for your brand. This is because Google displays sitelinks only for the top few search results. If you’re further down the list, you’re missing out on the opportunity.
Streamline Your Domain Structure
Your domain structure needs to be organised and efficient. That allows Google’s domain robots to crawl your website more easily and create a clear picture of how your website works.
Remember: Google’s algorithms use deep learning techniques to improve. This means using well-established domain layouts will make your website easy to navigate – its programs have come across it before.
Streamlining your domain structure can be broken down into a handful of steps:
- The main menu bar should display crucial pages
- Main menu bar is the same as your site structure
- Domain has an up-to-date XML sitemap
- Domain should use no more than 3 levels
Link to Vital Pages From Your Landing Page
Another way that Google’s robots.txt (the algorithmic website crawlers) understands your pages is from your homepage.
These links should be text-based, and the anchor text (the text with the hyperlink) should read the same as the name of the page. Google won’t understand fancy image links – avoid them.
By setting up your links from your homepage, Google will match the link with the page and add it to your sitelinks.
For instance, if you have a page called “What We Do”, then create a link to it on your homepage with the same text.
Removing an Unwanted Sitelink
There’s not much direct action you can take in addressing sitelink issues – it’s mostly out of your hands. However, if an existing sitelink isn’t to your liking, you can “demote” it via Google’s Search Console.
To demote a sitelink, copy its exact URL and navigate to the “sitelinks” panel in the Search Console. From there you can paste the URL in, which will nudge Google away from using it.
There’s no guarantee it won’t show up – but it will be less likely to do so. And if you’re still not happy, understand that Google only shows a handful of sitelinks.
Make use of the steps above to prioritize the sitelinks you want, demote those you don’t want, and you will be on your way to your optimal search engine snippet.
Improve Your Snippets With Sitelinks
Google sitelinks improve your website’s traffic, click-through rates, and brand awareness. You may not have direct control over when they’re displayed, but you can put your best foot forward and let Google do the rest.
If you’re a small business owner looking to improve your web presence, we know search engine optimisation from the inside out. Reach out for a free, comprehensive, simple guide to the digital marketing landscape.