Sitelinks are the extra set of links that appear beneath the usual website block in the Google results when somebody does a search for which Google thinks you might have a lot to offer. Typically this appears, even for the smallest site, when somebody searches for your business name. It an area that few people optimise!
We helped a client the other day with some SEO because they weren’t happy with their sitelinks. Google had picked mostly sensible links but missed one important one and the words it had selected to put on the links were totally confusing.
NOTE – you don’t get to pick sitelinks, Google does that based on what it thinks are the strongest pages on your website. However, you can ask Google to NOT include a link it you’d prefer it not showing.
In this particular case we went to a lot of effort:
- We made far more links to the page that we wanted to appear in the sitelinks to emphasise its importance – it was a special offers page as it happened, so linking to that from sidebars and within text saw it appearing in the sitelinks within just a few days. This optimisation worked because we were emphasising to Google how important this page was on our site (AND to our customers).
- We spent a lot of time looking at where Google was grabbing the text that it displayed in each sitelink block. It brought it in from all over the place – from the description tags, from the title tags, from the heading and text on the page, and on a couple of sitelinks from the Alt text for the header graphic on that page (which is utterly crazy – if you followed the rules strictly and described the image then one sitelink would have said “pie on a plate” not “restaurant”!)
- We looked at how much text was being displayed in the sitelinks and then carefully updated all the relevant tags etc. so that they presented well where they should (e.g. in titles, as Alt tags etc.) AND within the space where the sitelinks appeared in the Google results.
This took some intensive work but we were rewarded surprisingly quickly with much better text in the sitelinks. Quite an advanced technique but a good result. I always think carefully when doing SEO whether what we are doing is fair or just gaming the system (if the latter don’t do it – it isn’t fair and Google WILL punish you – eventually – maybe). In this case we were just presenting our content in the best possible light to Google and helping it by making the text in the sitelinks far more understandable and relevant – so I’m very happy to recommend looking at this.
So, good ahead, Google yourself and see what sitelinks come up and have a go at improving them!