Optimising the way your website show’s up in the search results helps you get more business.
It’s simple, the more real estate you’ve got on Google, the more visitors you get, which can turn into enquiries or sales.
One way you can enhance the opportunities available for your website is by getting sitelinks into organic search results.
We’ve listed everything you need to know about sitelinks and how to encourage these to to show up in search results to improve the visits from SERPs to your website.
What Are Sitelinks?
Google sitelinks are additional links from your website that sit below your main website listing in search results. They help users navigate your site.
In the example below we’ve searched for Apple products, and here you can see Apple’s sitelinks sitting below their main homepage.
Sitelinks have in fact been around since about 2006 and appear in around 1.5% of search results.
These links are often internal pages from your website and can include such things as your blog, podcast, service pages or any other specific pages potential visitors may find useful.
Google’s sitelinks are displayed when you search for a specific brand, product or service.
The sitelinks aim to help you quickly navigate to other useful pages within the same site. After all, it may not be the homepage of Apple you want, it might be their Watch or iPhone, however you still may have just searched for ‘Apple’ but Google is predicting the other sitelinks you may find useful.
To help us users, sitelinks remove one step from the navigation process by putting useful links within the search results. This is incredibly helpful if you have a large site and offer an array of products such as Apple. You can help a visitor get straight to that page and reduce the time they spend searching.
As well as the ease and speed to get to pages within your site the sitelinks make your website pages really stand out in the search results which provides a more targeted user experience.
How Are Sitelinks Chosen?
Google sitelinks are automated and selected by Google to provide good quality user experience. They are however considering manual input from webmasters in the future.
There are still ways we can influence what is chosen, but much of the final selection will still be up to Google.
If your website is new and does not get a lot of traffic, then Google may not display any sitelinks at all for your keywords or brand name.
Websites will need to have a clear structure and navigation so that the Google crawlers can find suitable links.
The page links in your site will need clear anchor text and alt tags that are informative, compact and try and avoid repetition.
If you want a chance to get more Google real estate you’ve got to put the effort in to make your place look great!
Why Are Sitelinks Important?
Aside from giving you some extra space in the search results, they really make your brand stand out in the search results. After all, the more space you take up, the bigger you look, and the more trusted your brand will appear.
To give you a better idea of why you should be putting in time and effort into nurturing some sitelinks from Google here are the top reasons you should want them;
Increase Click-Through Rates
A number of studies have shown that the top 3 spots in Google’s search listings get the most clicks; in fact, the latest data tells us they earn 55% of all clicks.
Let’s be honest; you knew this; because how many of us really move past the first five results and certainly even less past the first page.
But with Google sitelinks things get interesting.
When sitelinks are shown under your website, they can take up the same amount of space as three regular search listings – meaning you’ve just earned yourself more visibility on page one.
Having sitelinks can dramatically increase your click-through-rate from SERP’s!
Gain Visits to Internal Pages
The internal pages of your website are most probably full of useful and informative content that could be of great value to a user. But getting visitors to these pages can be a challenge.
The opportunity for visitors landing on internal pages is increased via organic sitelinks.
When Google sitelinks are displayed, users can go directly to the page or product that best suits their search intentions. Therefore, this supports the user in getting to their search faster, reducing navigation
A better navigation experience only supports you in gaining more visitors to your website, as they will see the ease of use using your brand.
A Sign of Trust
As we detailed earlier, Google sitelinks don’t get handed out like free sweets; they are earned not bought or given away freely.
With this in mind, having Google sitelinks increase trust for your website. After all, not everyone is getting them. So to be issued with sitelinks is a big nod from Google that your brand is trusted and reputable.
When Google displays sitelinks for a website, it means the website is popular for that particular query, well-optimised and Google believes the results are useful for the visitor.
If you were to search for a brand or product that is untrusted by Google, it’s rare you’ll see them with sitelinks.
Websites with sitelinks generally sit above the fold in the Google search results; this means all other results are pushed further down the page.
Enhance Brand Awareness
The sitelinks that are issued to your website by Google are the pages that Google sees as the most important, or those that the user may benefit from the most.
Therefore, sitelinks are an incredible way to educate new visitors about your products or services, increasing your brand awareness.
More often than not, Google sitelinks include the most important pages on your website. For your website this may include specific service pages, product pages or the blog or contact page.
For any business this is amazing brand awareness, as it lets users see quickly the products or services you provide, as well as your knowledge.
A new user may not be aware of your range of products, or that you have a podcast for example, but as this information is displayed in Google sitelinks they’re more likely to click on your website.
Sitelinks can also be crucial for eCommerce websites or online stores, as the sitelinks may show personalised results to help the user quickly find the product they are searching for.
A Few Things to Note About Sitelinks
Sitelinks are automated by Google and selected for search queries that it feels meet the personalised need of the visitor.
In general, sitelinks are created through website best practices, and having a website that is well optimised and designed with users in mind.
There are some key areas you should put time and effort into if you want your website to be considered for sitelinks by Google.
Follow these steps and you should be on your path to some epic Google real estate.
How to Influence Sitelinks
Step 1) You Must Have a Unique Brand Name
If we haven’t made this clear already, Google sitelinks are primarily displayed when people are searching for brands. In most instances, sitelinks are added to the site that ranks number one for their brand term.
Unfortunately, if you have an extremely generic brand name like “expert consulting” or “the cake shop”, then you will struggle to rank number one. This is because Google will struggle to understand if the user is searching for the brand, or for the product in general. This can change if a search query is used with a location then it becomes a local search query with local intent.
As most businesses don’t have the brand awareness or kudos of the likes of Apple, it’s best practice to choose a unique brand name that people can instantly identify with.
- Ensure your brand name is unique
- You must do the SEO groundwork to rank no.1 for your brand name
Step 2 ) Add Structured Data
Google uses automated bots to crawl your website and understand what it is that your website does and what your business provides.
To help these bots it’s best to have structured data on your website that outlines clearly how your website is laid out, and what each specific page is about.
Structured data is commonly referred to as rich snippets or schema.
Essentially, what you’re doing is adding code onto your website that tells Google which menu or internal pages it should consider for sitelinks.
The bonus of adding structured data to your website is that you will also have the potential of gaining more visibility, as structured data can help get your website as a featured snippet and even appear in the answers box.
The second part of this data led approach is to create an XML sitemap for your website.
Google relies on XML sitemaps to discover and index all the pages from your website.
Once you’ve created a sitemap add this to Google search console and it will make it much easier and quicker for Google to understand your website, and begin to consider pages for sitelinks.
Just to reiterate, structured data doesn’t guarantee that you will gain sitelinks neither does a sitemap, but it may improve your chances.
- Add schema mark-up
- Create a site map
- Add site map to Google search console
Step 3 ) Interlink Important Pages
From blogs to service pages, it’s critical that across your website you are naturally linking to your other pages or blog posts.
If you weren’t aware, internal linking is one of the most important parts of on-page SEO and its easy to do with a big impact.
You need to ensure that you are frequently linking to your internal pages on your website, as Google will see these pages as important on your site.
When writing blog posts, link to your key product or service pages where applicable and relevant, and ensure they are also prominent on your websites menu and footer.
Step 4) Improve Meta-Data
The titles and descriptions of your pages will signify to Google what these pages are about and how important they are.
Page titles in particular are yet another critical on-page SEO element that must be done well in order for your website to be well-optimised.
You would be surprised the amount of websites we see with no meta-data for their internal pages.
For each page you must ensure there is a relevant title related to the topic you are trying to rank for.
Google uses page titles to build sitelinks, so it is essential that you ensure your page titles are relevant and unique to that page.