Google was busy with new announcements yesterday. In addition to its launch of Google Related , the search engine giant announced on its Webmaster Central Blog that new sitelinks are now available on Google's search results page. Let's break it down to the most important things marketers should know about this new feature.
What Are Google Sitelinks?
Sitelinks are the short links that often appear beneath a website's first listing on a search results page. They vary depending on what you searched for and what Google thinks is most relevant to you and your search term, and they enable searchers to click directly to a deeper page on the website listed in the results (other than the base page). Generally, sitelinks only appear on brand-related terms like a company's name, but they can sometimes appear for other keywords or phrases when relevant.
For example, a Google search for " HubSpot " on Monday returned something like this as the first result. Those items right under the website listing are HubSpot's sitelinks.
It's important to emphasize that you can't influence sitelinks, make certain ones appear, or force them to appear if you don't have any showing up for your website. Google chooses them entirely on its own and only when it wants to. You can, however, request that Google not show specific deeper pages on your website in your sitelinks via the Google Webmaster Tools for your website.
That said, beginning yesterday, Google is rolling out its new and improved full sitelinks for these listings. Take a look at the new " HubSpot " search result:
Google's new changes make improvements to sitelinks' visibility (now with full-sized text and a highlighted URL); flexibility (now more optimized depending on the search terms); clarity (if a domain is the top result, results from the same domain won't appear again on the same results page); and quality (a better ranking algorithm on Google's backend).
In summary, Google is now displaying part of the meta description and the address of each page returned in the sitelinks. The links generally appear to be the same ones as before, although Google says they might vary depend on search terms used, and they now include more detail. It's also important to note that Google clearly states in its announcement that this will not impact the sitelinks being used in PPC AdWords ads or other placements. Only organic search results are using these new and enhanced sitelinks.
What Marketers Should Do
If you're a marketer, check to see if any branded searches for your company or products are returning the new sitelinks yet. If there are pages that you don't want appearing in the search results or that don't look right in this setting, consider logging into your Webmaster Tools account and request that your sitelinks be changed.
If there are important pages that you do want Google to consider, think about where they are placed on your site. It's not an exact science, but it appears that Google looks for particular things when determining sitelinks, like a 'Products' page, a 'Contact Us' page, blogs, and other keywords that indicate popular or frequently requested pages by searchers. Make sure that your page titles, addresses, and meta descriptions are sharp and informative and that they speak well to both humans and search engines .
Have you seen these new sitelinks yet for your site? Have you had luck with crafting them to try and get more specific links to your site's pages? Let us know in the comments.