SEO

Google Unleashes Expanded Sitelinks: How You Should Cope

The search engine results page has evolved dramatically over the last few years, and now includes media items, quick-info widgets, local listings, and a variety of different formats for websites. One feature on Google is known as “sitelinks.” For those unfamiliar with the term, sitelinks are the navigation links nested under the top entry of the search page. Google has just announced a dramatic expansion of the sitelinks feature.

The New Sitelinks

Here’s what the new sitelinks look like:

SEJ expanded sitelinks 300x231 Google Unleashes Expanded Sitelinks: How You Should Cope

This format takes up about 8 times as much pixel space, pushing non-sitelink results further down the page. The additional space is taken up by expanded versions of the meta title for pages, the destination URL for each page, and a snippet of the page’s text or meta description. Additionally, on some pages, Google is experimenting with a search widget that lets people quickly search within the site.

Google will only display the expanded sitelinks if you enter a query that very specifically targets a single website; for example, you can see SEJ’s sitelinks with the query “SEJ” or “Search Engine Journal,” but a hunt for “search engine news” doesn’t give any one outlet a larger chunk of real estate. Google will also sometimes provide a smaller selection of sitelinks, providing only 4 to 10 instead of the default 12 if they are “less certain” you want a specific site.

What You Need to Change

The expanded sitelink means that users who are heading to your site through Google will have easy access to a variety of target pages. To ensure that you make the most of this, you need to:

  • Take a look at your current sitelinks for major issues.
  • Improve the meta title and description to give an enticing pitch as quickly as possible.
  • Refine and re-optimize the pages that are sitelinked for user experience.
If Google is giving you sitelinks, it’s a sure bet that users will be heading to your site. By optimizing your sitelinks, you can ensure that your visitors make it to the right page and that your page performs as well as is possible.
[Sources include: The Official Google Blog]
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Rob has been insatiably obsessed with Google, search engine technology, and the trends of the web-based world since he began life as a webmaster in 2002. His work as an SEO consultant since 2006, and subsequently to content writing for technology and internet-focused publications, has done nothing but fuel this passion.
aeb8c9ad553480aa0a551ceaa5bc5a72 64 Google Unleashes Expanded Sitelinks: How You Should Cope

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4 thoughts on “Google Unleashes Expanded Sitelinks: How You Should Cope

  1. I know what sitelinks are and I’ve also seen the sitelinks section in googles webmaster tool section. Is there an option to define your own sitelinks or does google only determine them for you?

  2. So it looks like either you’re #1 or you’re invisible. I bet everyone has noticed that amazon product listings are taking up the prime eye-level listing above the #1 SERP for the majority of “product search queries” – and that has a major implication on those who rely primarily on organic traffic.

    The search engine has INDEED evolved!

    Yan

  3. “Google will only display the expanded sitelinks if you enter a query that very specifically targets a single website; for example, you can see SEJ’s sitelinks with the query “SEJ” or “Search Engine Journal,” but a hunt for “search engine news” doesn’t give any one outlet a larger chunk of real estate.”

    Makes sense. Imagine the scroll fatigue that would result in every result getting sitelinks.

    I like the new look better, but I think with the brief descriptions under each links, visitors are more likely to spend less time on the site as they’ll get what they want and leave. An unfortunate consequence.