Sitelinks are a powerful way to dominate the SERP for brand terms. It will help increase the trust and drive targeted traffic to your site’s internal pages.
But the question that many SEOs ask is, how do you get them?
To Start: What are Sitelinks?
Sitelinks are little sub-listings that appear under the first result in the search result. Usually when searching for brands.
According to Google “The links are shown below some of Google's search results, called sitelinks, are meant to help users navigate your site. Our systems analyze the link structure of your site to find shortcuts that will save users time and allow them to quickly find the information they're looking for.”
You must have come across to them on a number of occasions. This is what they look like:
Why are Google Sitelinks Important?
Per Google, sitelinks help users navigate to your site, save users time, and allow them to quickly find the information they're looking for. In other words, sitelinks give users the best results in the shortest amount of time.
Besides trust and traffic to internal pages, Sitelinks will help improve CTR, established a brand reputation and cover more SERP space.
How to Generate Sitelinks for Your Website
As Google explains, “We only show sitelinks for results when we think they'll be 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 to the user's query, we won't show them.”
Unfortunately, there are no direct ways to get the sitelinks for your website, but you can follow a process to increase your chances of getting sitelinks.
Clear Website Structure and Site Navigation
Websites that have clear hierarchy and structure are easy to crawl and navigate for Google. If Google can’t find all the pages on your site and understand their position relative to each other, it won’t be able to show sitelinks.
Your homepage is the most visited page and a starting point for navigation. It will help visitors drill down to more internal pages.
For example, if you sell jewelry, you could organize your navigation like this:
Homepage – Jewelry – Bracelets – Diamond
Link placement within the main site navigation, sidebar navigation, and footer is an important factor. If you analyze the sitelinks of various sites, you’ll see that many of the sitelinks that appear are also very prominent within the site navigation. In our seoClarity example above, 3 of the 6 sitelinks appear in the main navigation.
Keep your XML sitemap up to date
Don’t have one? Create one. If you do already have one, you may use a system that updates it automatically. From there, you’ll need to submit your sitemap via Google Search Console.
Optimize your links
You will also notice in the example that I have provided earlier that Google shows the title and meta description of the sitelinks. Make sure you optimize your page title and meta description to help improve the CTR.
Site Navigation Structured Data Markup
It is still not proven that if you implement site navigation structured data markup, it will help you get the sitelinks that you want to show in the SERP. However, the SiteNavigationElement markup can help increase the search engines’ understanding of your site structure and navigation and can be used to influence organic sitelinks.
Examples of using Microdata
<ul itemscope itemtype="http://www.schema.org/SiteNavigationElement">
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url" href=" https://www.seoclarity.net/technology/">Solutions</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url" href=" https://www.seoclarity.net/resources/">resources</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url" href=" https://www.seoclarity.net/blog/">Blog</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url" href=" https://www.seoclarity.net/company/">Company</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url" href=" https://www.seoclarity.net/see-it-in-action/"> Contact Us</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url" href=" https://www.seoclarity.net/spark-content-optimizer">Spark</a></li>
<li itemprop="name"><a itemprop="url" href="http://www.travelstore.com/travel-guides">Travel Resources</a></li>
How to Demote Sitelinks for Your Website?
Up until October 2016, Google Search Console had the functionality to demote the sitelinks that you don’t want to show in the SERP. Since then that tool was removed from Google Search Console. If you want to remove a page from search completely, use a “noindex” robots meta tag on that page.
Webmasters always ignore the Sitelinks, but undoubtedly it will help improve traffic, CTR and brand reputation. Getting sitelinks isn’t a result of luck, but instead because of website and SEO best practices. Follow these steps, mix in a little patience, and you’ll start seeing sitelinks soon enough.