April
19
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Improve Your Odds of Getting Google’s Mysterious Sitelinks and Why it Matters

Header image of laptop with Google screen, for a post on how to get Google sitelinks

 

Wondering how you can get sitelinks in search results for your site? If you don’t know what sitelinks are, they’re those search results that show several different links to different parts of a site under the main site listed for the search (See image below). Sometimes there will also be a search box to search that site right in the search results.

Google says:

“The links shown below some of Google’s search results, called 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.”

But not everyone is lucky enough to be awarded those coveted sitelinks, let alone the search box.

 

Screenshot of Hostwinds search results with sitelinks

 

Every site owner should care about getting sitelinks listed in the search results. PPC Hero’s study shows that sites with sitelinks have more than a 60% increase in CTR. They show up in the paid ads area too.

 

Bonus: Taking up more screenspace at the top of the search results means fewer competitor sites showing up, but another plus? If there are negative mentions, articles or reviews about your business on the front page then there’s a decent chance you’ll be pushing them off of the first page.

 

Google, however, doesn’t reveal exactly how they choose who gets sitelinks and who doesn’t, there’s no definitive way of getting them. So what do you do?

 

Google doesn’t reveal exactly how they choose who gets sitelinks so what do you do to get them? Use these tips! Click To Tweet

 

How do I get sitelinks in Google?

The first thing to consider, is what do the sites that have sitelinks have in common? There are several things that most of them have in common, so it’s a pretty good idea to pay attention to them. Also note that most of these things are pretty much just part of good SEO. Some of the biggest things are they:

 

  • Have easy to crawl navigation that’s clearly structured
  • Usually already rank on the first page for the given search term
  • Provide unique titles for each page, as well as meta descriptions
  • Have multiple pages with helpful content (not thin or poorly written content)
  • Use plenty of internal links
  • Are branded sites, not generic informational sites with exact match domains or keyworded domains

 

So of these are obviously things that you should make sure you’re doing, too. Let’s look at some of them in a little more detail…

 

Make sure you have a clean and clear structure

Your site’s structure and hierarchy are one of the main foundations of any site, so it’s not surprising that it’s critical for obtaining sitelinks (not to mention, your SEO).
Using clean, clear and easy to use navigation with text links in your menu goes hand in hand with this. Important or popular pages should be easy and quick to find, but don’t overwhelm users with too many links in your navigation.

 

Note: Make sure you have a sitemap XML file to tell search engines exactly what’s on your site and where!

 

For your navigational links, it’s better to use text than images or buttons. Custom styles and looks can easily be created with CSS. If you’d like more in-depth insight into developing good site structure, you can use this guide on Yoast by Joost de Valk.

 

Unique, correct page titles and meta descriptions

Each page should have a title in title tags that directly relate to the content of that page. But every single page should have a unique meta description, too. Meta descriptions are often what’s shown in search results under your site or company name. It’s also what’s shown under each sitelink when sitelinks are present. It’s important to have a different, unique description for each page.

 

Unique, correct page titles and meta descriptions

Each page should have a title in title tags that directly relate to the content of that page. But every single page should have a unique meta description, too. Meta descriptions are often what’s shown in search results under your site or company name. It’s also what users see under each sitelink when sitelinks are present. It’s important to have a different, unique description for each page.

 

Use internal linking

Internal linking is also important. When done properly, it helps visitors move smoothly from one part of your site to the next. Pages that are linked to more often throughout your site are seen as more important pages than those that aren’t and Google will often use these pages as the pages that show for sitelinks. It’s also good SEO practice to use internal links.

 

Build out your brand

You’ll rarely find sitelinks for general informational sites that simply use keyworded domain names. Having a brand name is important. If you sell cookies, you don’t want your name to be something like “The Cookie Company”. If someone searches for cookie company, even if you’re on the first page, you probably won’t get sitelinks as you can see below.

 

Screenshot showing how generic search terms don't usually get sitelinks

 

But if someone searches for your branded cookie company name, sitelinks are much more likely…

 

Screenshot showing brand searches are easier to get sitelinks for

 

So if you don’t have one, now’s the time to decide on one and start using it. Get a domain with your brand name, build social profiles for it and start getting your name out there.

 

Plenty of helpful content

Sites with very little content or thin content are rarely  awarded sitelinks. Flesh out your basic pages like your about page and contact page. Create content that will provide your customers with everything they need in regards to what they’re searching for. Don’t be afraid to link out where needed to guide them, but of course if you can provide it within your site, do so.

What you definitely don’t want is for them to hit the back button to right back to the search results. Google sees this and it’s not good for your site or your brand – period.

 

High quality content that provides value helps your visitors, keeps them around longer, will be shared more often and help build your brand authority. And your brand authority is important for getting sitelinks. Click To Tweet

 

If you’re rewarded with sitelinks, it’s worth noting that you won’t have a say in which pages are displayed. In the past, you could tell Google you don’t want specific pages to be shown. They changed this last year though. You can no longer do that.

Have you had success in getting sitelinks or even the search box in search results?

If you’ve found this helpful, please share!

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