Ways to Optimize for Google’s Sitelinks Update

Google announced launching an update to the way Google presents Sitelinks, the links shown below some of Google’s search results. In a nutshell, ”Sitelinks will now be full-size links with a URL and one line of snippet text—similar to regular results—making it even easier to find the section of the site you want.” Google also ”increasing the maximum number of sitelinks per query from eight to 12.”

What Changed?

The way Google displays search results for strongly branded websites changed dramatically. The display moved from the traditional title tag, meta description and up to 12 individual links – aka sitelinks – to a mega display that results in the same title tag and meta description of the homepage plus the expanded site links in which the site links now include the title tag and meta description of the sub-pages.

The Impact

By adding more descriptive information to the site links, the brand results take over much more real estate on the SERP. This does several things:

  • Increase the information available for sub-pages on a major site. This will lead brand searches to deeper pages than the homepage with the first click. This could result in better matches of the pages to the search
  • Depending on how well the brand site is organized and optimized – traffic to the site may increase or decrease. We’ve seen both so far
  • Competitors or information sites that were living above the fold or on the first page for a brand search will lose visibility in both organic and paid search results

Four Ways to Optimize for the Sitelink Update

Have a good, clean top level navigationwith descriptive anchor text. You might want to think again about navigation anchor text like “Services” or “Products”

Take another look at your meta descriptions. Putting descriptive text at the very beginning is important for these listings, since the blurbs are even shorter

Sculpt your sitelinks by removing urls from Google webmaster tools. In the webmaster tools account ( https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/sitelinks), you can ask to remove specific pages from the site links by demoting it. Google will take your request into account when generating sitelinks. You can demote up to 100 URLs.

Make sure your website extensions (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) are optimizedand appear on the first SERP for your brand. This update “reduces link duplication and creates a better organized search results page.” Now, “all results from the top-ranked site will be nested within the first result as sitelinks, and all results from other sites will appear below them.” This means that in order to “own” the SERP of your brand, you need to optimize other sites and not just your own.

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