Google Sitelinks? The term may be unfamiliar, but it is actually referring to the sub-links that are below the first result on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) (Figure 1).
Usually, Google Sitelinks appear when users are searching for brands. The purpose of it is to facilitate the navigation of the site from the SERP itself. By placing the more important/popular links on the SERP, it helps users by reducing the time needed to find those pages.
However, they are not displayed for all sites. 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.”
“…structure of your site…”
This means that you can improve the structure of your site to help Google find good sitelinks. But before we touch on how to do so, let’s address why they are important!
Why should you get sitelinks?
For users, sitelinks save time by allowing them to quickly find the relevant information. While it benefits users, it brings even more benefits to site owners like you.
1) Increase click-through rate (CTR)
By having sitelinks, it increases the chances of the links being relevant to users. This means that more people will be compelled to click, leading to a higher CTR. Remember, together with search rankings, CTR plays a huge part in generating organic traffic.
2) Build brand and product awareness
Typically, Google selects your most important pages to list as sitelinks. Often, these pages are related to your brand or product/services. In this way, they aid in informing people about your brand and the products/services you offer. For example, the sitelinks for Simply Blooms (one of our clients), includes the “About us” page. You can also spot product category pages such as “Bloom in da Box” , “Gifts” and “Hand Bouquets”. Notice “Ambrosia” and “Sheer Blush”, which are description pages for individual products which are probably popular (Figure 2).
3) Shortens the conversion process
When a user clicks on your homepage, they might visit a few pages before arriving at a page that drives sign-ups or sales. With sitelinks, users skip the homepage and are brought directly to the pages that generate conversions.
Now that you know the benefits that they provide, the next question is:
How to get sitelinks?
The answer is you cannot get them, at least not directly. Sitelinks are automated, which means their existence relies on Google’s algorithms. However, don’t be too disappointed yet! Like we mentioned above, there are some steps that you can take to increase the possibility and help Google find good sitelinks.
1) Choose a unique brand name in order to rank first for branded terms
Generally, sitelinks are displayed when users search for brands. Choose a unique brand name that differentiates itself in order to rank well for searches. Avoid generic terms as your site will simply be drowned among countless other irrelevant sites. Assuming you have a unique brand name, it will be easy to rank first for branded terms (brand name, URL etc). That is important as sitelinks only appear for the site holding the first position on the SERP.
2) Have a clear, logical website structure
Websites with a clear, logical structure are easier to crawl and navigate by Google. In order to display the appropriate sitelinks, Google must be able to find all your pages and understand their positions relative to one another.
Here are a few tips!
a) Keep your homepage as the “root” page
b) Include standard pages such as “About Us”, “Contact Us”, “Products” and “News”.
c) Organize your pages in a logical format – For example: Home Page > Books > Fiction > Classics
3) Add a sitemap to Google Search Console
Adding a sitemap to Google Search Console will help Google to understand your site structure more completely. In a sitemap, you can use the “priority” attribute to tell Google how important each page is. Google will consider both the priority assigned and the traffic received by each page to determine the appropriate sitelinks. For example, setting your product page to be of higher priority conveys to Google that the product page is more important.
You can build a sitemap using online generators such as XML-sitemaps.com
4) Build internal links to important pages
Similar to the priority assigned and traffic received, the number of internal links also acts as a signal of importance. This means, the more internal links you have pointing to a particular page, the more important it is in Google’s “eyes”. You can keep track of your internal links by using Google Search Console. Select Search Traffic > Internal Links.
Sitelinks are a great way to increase CTR and shorten your conversion process. Although you cannot control them on your own, you can try directing Google to your desired pages through the steps above.
Need more help to navigate the complicated world of sitelinks and other SEO-related issues? Look no further, our group of experts can help you with that! Feel free to reach out to us anytime!