What’s New with Google’s Sitelinks?

In case you missed the news, Google launched a new version of website sitelinks on August 18th this year. The new sitelinks are bigger and better than their predecessor. Here's what it looks like in the SERPs (search engine results page): New GOOG Sitelinks Example Here's a quick primer of what sitelinks are, how they work and how they can benefit your company:

Can I Ask Google to Display Them?

Unfortunately you can't. There is no letter you can write, no form you can fill out, and no phone call you can make. Per Google Webmaster Tools Blog, Google will analyze your website, specifically its internal link structure, and based on the analysis will automatically generate sitelinks for your website. Google's new sitelinks create a better user-experience which drives users to what Google feels are the most relevant areas of your website.

Can I Control My Site's Sitelinks?

You most certainly can. But, you'll need another Google tool called Webmaster Tools. Through Webmaster Tools, you can demote a sitelink for your website. So if you see a sitelink that you don't think is appropriate to show up, you can use Webmaster Tools to tell Google. Google will take that request for demotion into consideration but it's not guaranteed. Also, note that it may take a few days for this request to be honored and processed in the SERPs, which is not instantaneous.

What Do Website Sitelinks Mean to Me?

A couple of things:

  1. Limited organic space in the SERPs
  2. As you see in the image above, the sitelinks, in combination with the paid search ad on the top, users can only view a single organic result above the fold. In some cases, there have been as many as three organic listings, which are all very dependent. If the result is your brand, great! This pretty much secures your place at the top of the list and blocks potential competitors from visibility. However, if it's your competitor, it largely decreases your visibility on SERPs.
  3. More attention to the descriptions
  4. The new sitelinks include a description whereas the old ones did not, thus making the meta-description a much more important factor. Google will still create its own meta-description, of course. But this should signal you that crafting a brief, clear and impressive meta-description is more crucial and essential than before.

If there's anything related to sitelinks I missed - or if you have questions about what I've provided here - please share.

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