A Guide to Googles Organic Sitelinks

Last week we looked at different parts of the search result, with a short description of each part. In this post we will go over what sitelinks are, why they are valuable, and some helpful hints to improve your search result.

What are Sitelinks?

Google sitelinks are additional links that display in main search result. Typically a user will see sitelinks for brand names that Google recognizes. You can distinguish sitelinks when there are two or more links indented below the main search result.

The image shown below is a screenshot from Google's search results.

google organic sitelinks

To see it in action perform a Google search for the keyword "Anything Digital." Beneath the main url you will see relevant links to various areas of the Anything Digital website.

Why are sitelinks important?

Sitelinks are valuable for brand reputation, and a strategy to control a greater area of the search results page. They also help users navigate to the appropriate section of your website without having to click the homepage. Your website can become more visible to your potential customers. Sitelinks push other listings lower on the page including your competitors, or in our case torrents. Most importantly displaying 6-8 links in the organic search results, will easily increase your CTR (Click Through Rate).

How do you get sites links to display?

Currently sitelinks are automated by Google's Algorithm. Google only shows sitelinks for results when Google feels they are 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.” - Google

Unfortunately Google does not provide specific instructions on how to display sitelinks—however by following Webmaster Guidelines, and the few tips below you can increase your chances.

  • Make a site with a clear hierarchy that Google's crawler can easily navigate
  • Offer a sitemap to your users with links that point to the important parts of your website
  • Create a useful, information-rich, quality content
  • Use text instead of images to display links
  • Make sure that your title tags and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate
  • Check for broken links
  • Use anchor text and alt text that is informative and relevant on internal links
  • Include your most important pages in main menus

What if i want to change a sitelink?

Google provides an option to delete a sitelink called sitelink demotion. A sitelink demotion should be used when you think one of your URL is inappropriate or incorrect. Demoting a URL for a sitelink hints to Google that you don’t think your users will find the link useful.

Google doesn't guarantee that demoted URLs will never appear as a sitelink, but we do consider a demotion a strong hint that we'll try to honor when generating sitelinks.

How to Demote a sitelink

Here is how a website owner can request to have sitelinks demoted:

sitelinks demotion

  1. Log into Google webmaster tools
  2. Choose the appropriate website site you want
  3. Under Search Appearance, click Sitelinks.
  4. In the For this search result field, complete the URL for which you don't want a specific sitelink URL to appear
  5. In the Demote this sitelink URL field, complete the URL of the sitelink you want to demote.

Once you've demoted or a sitelink, it may take some time for search results to update so check back frequently.

Pro Tip: You can demote up to 100 URLs, and demotions are effective for 90 days from your most recent visit to the Sitelinks page in Webmaster Tools.

This overview should give you a good understanding of Googles sitelink feature. We are interested in your experience as well. Please comment below and let us know if your site is displaying sitelinks or if you have used the demotion tool.

Last modified on Oct082013
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