How to Get Sitelinks to Appear in Google Search Results

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Google uses site links to help users navigate your site. Google’s system analyzes the link structure of a site to find shortcuts that will save users time and allow them to quickly find the information they’re looking for. Sitelinks appear below the main link for a “navigational” query, or “one in which the user is looking for a specific website, rather than information from a web page.” In this video, I’ll show you what you can do to influence them.



Video Transcript:

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All right. So let’s take a look at how we can influence or get site links to appear within the Google search results. So what are site links? Site links are links that actually show up underneath your main URL. As you can see here to the right, we’ve got a few examples here in two different ways that they can be shown. The first is from HubSpot. You can see they’ve got the site link search, which is part of structured data. You can add structured data to add that. But the links below that, like the free CRM software, careers, those portal links are called site links. These are things that Google actually analyzes the structure of your website to find shortcuts that they believe will help save users time and allow them to find the information they’re looking for more quickly. Now, these typically only show on navigational queries, where somebody is looking for a specific brand rather than information on the web. Right now about 18% of all queries will qualify as navigational queries and most of them will be specifically just for brand names themselves.

How Does Google Choose?

How does Google choose these? These are actually generated algorithmically. Bill Slawski is a leader in breaking down search patents and he summarized the likely factors to be the following: How many times a page has been accessed? How long people stayed on those pages? Do they scroll down and click a link so they engage with those pages? What type of information is retrieved from those pages? Is it a good match? Are people finding what they’re looking for? The likelihood that someone might make a purchase? If it’s e-commerce, that could have an influence. Other information that might indicate user engagement. These are typically pages that Google, again, like they’ve said themselves, are going to be pages that will move users to the content they’re looking for as soon as possible.

Other Potential Factors

There are also some other potential factors that could be at play. This, again, comes from Bill Slawski. One could be the anchor text pointing to that page from internal or external links. The search queries could also play a role in two separate ways. One, it could play a role from what was returned, especially if it’s the first result. Right? And then the search queries could also play a role when it comes to what page was clicked on within the search results. We can also look at some things like key phrases being extracted from other social sites online, again, that indicate the popularity of a page. These are all things that in reading, some of the patents Bill Slawski had found could be contributing factors when it comes to site links.

What to Do About It

So what can you do? Since this is algorithmic, there’s a lot that we don’t really have influence over, but what can we influence? And that’s an important thing to understand in SEO or marketing in general, is focus on the things you actually can impact and the things that you can do, as opposed to just hoping that Google or somebody is going to make an action you want them to make. Since there’s no guaranteed optimization that you can make, there are some things that we can do to help improve that, that follow SEO best practices.

The first one is you need to have a clear structure to your website. You need to use relevant internal linkings with good, informative anchor text that makes sense for the user. Now we talked a little bit about internal linkings in a previous video; it’s extremely important and it plays a role here. You also want to make sure that you allow Google to crawl and index important pages. Use fetch and render to check to make sure that your pages are being rendered and make sure that Google can access all of those pages. If you’ve got pages that are not really that important, maybe your privacy policy page or something like that, it’s from a search standpoint not important, use no index. Those don’t necessarily need to show up. While they may get visited a lot, they could show up in your site search links, but they’re not really going to be ones that are going to be super important as far as moving users through your content.

To help wrap this all up, here are five ways that we can really look at how to improve our site links. We’re talking a little bit about what we talked about in the last slide and adding a few more things as well. Number one, you want to own your brand name. You want to make sure that Google can identify your brand, that it understands it’s a brand. That way it knows it’s a navigational query and in return, can show site links. The second thing is to make sure that your relevant pages are set to no index. Think privacy policy page, which like we talked about. This doesn’t need to be indexed. It doesn’t need to be in the search results. So it doesn’t have a lot of value, set it to no index.

Three, develop a robust internal linking structure. Internal links reinforce your site structure, but they also reinforce certain concepts and popularity of certain concepts. Make sure you’re linking back from parent pages and child pages and really creating that deep linking structure.

Four, use semantically related anchor texts. We’ve talked a lot on this channel about semantics and entities. All of those are playing a role here. Using the right anchor text to link back and forth to related concepts and terms is extremely important. You want to use a diversity of semantically related texts, synonyms throughout your site when you’re doing your internal linking.

Last is building links or making sure that you have backlinks to deep pages. Now, backlinks are still important. They may not be as big of a ranking factor as they were a few years ago, but it doesn’t mean they’re irrelevant. When you’ve got deeper pages in your site that might have some decent content on there, but most or all of your links are pointing to your homepage, a lot of times, those other pages are seen as authoritative. Make sure that you’re writing good content that’s going to earn links, that’s going to get links from quality sources. Make sure that those deep pages, those pages that are really adding value from a content standpoint and a context standpoint, are also getting some backlink love.

Those are five ways that you can be proactive to really help influence your site links to improve the search navigation and improve the click-through rate of your site. I just want to give a shout out. There’s a couple of resources here. blog on site links, they were a main resource for a lot of this information. It’s a really good blog on site links. I also took stuff from SEO by the Sea, which was Bill Slawski’s site. Lots of good in-depth information there. And then also the Google web answer on site links. You can find some stuff there as well. I hope you guys learned something in this video today. If you’ve got any questions about site links, internal links, or other things related to SEO, please comment below. We’d love to hear your thoughts. And until next time, happy marketing.


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