Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sitelinks revisited

Sitelinks can be well defined as the links or sub-listings that some times appear below some websites in Google search results. These are additional links that Google sometimes generate from website contents so as to help users navigate the website. Sitelinks are generated periodically and subject to change dynamically. This is important to note that sitelinks appear only under the first listing on the first page in the Google search results. I have noticed that sitelinks for a website will be shown only if search is being made with it’s domain name (do not use domain name extensions like .com, .net, .info etc.) or the particular keyword which very much specific and refers only to that website and not for any other website.

You can view the links that are intended under the main listings. These are Google Sitelinks. Sitelinks give a good overview of the Google understanding of the website structure.

Remember that, sitelinks will appear only if website has minimum of four sitelinks and it has been noted that Google shows maximum of eight sitelinks. Google analyze the website structure and create shortcuts to save users time and allow them to find the content they are looking for. Sitelinks are completely automated and will not appear if the website structure do not allow Google algorithm to find good sitelinks or if the sitelinks for the website is irrelevant to the user’s query.

Besides website architecture, domain age is also seems to influence the sitelinks appearance as very few websites that are 6-8 months older have got the sitelinks. Only the best sites get sitelinks and help to enhance the website’s visibility and reputation.

Although the algorithms of Google like any search engines are kept secret to discourage people from manipulating the rankings, but we can still try to understand the concept of sitelinks with keen observation of the examples. I have taken some websites with sitelinks under consideration and observed some of basic similarities among them which can, in my view, might have influence over the sitelinks. These are:

1. 1.The website ranks first for the keyword(S) that generate the sitelinks listing.

2.Easily spiderable and structured navigation.

3. 3.Fairly good natural search traffic.

4. 4.Good CTR from the search results page.

5. 5.Useful outbound links.

6. 6.Quality inbound links.

7. 7.Website age (older websites seems to get sitelinks).

These factors may or may not be exactly what Google trigger to generate the sitelinks for a website but they are sure to have the website in a better reputation over the search world.

One more thing that must be refer here is that although there is no any specific criteria to generate sitelinks but Google allows us to block the sitelinks, if we think the displayed sitelinks is inappropriate or incorrect for the website.

To block a sitelink, first we have to ensure that we have verified ownership of the site. Then:

  1. On the Webmaster Tools Dashboard, click the site you want.
  2. Under Links, click Sitelinks. If we have sitelinks information for your site, we'll display a list of sitelinks.
  3. Click Block next to the sitelink you want to remove. Please let us know why you want to block the sitelink - it will help us improve the way we generate and display sitelinks.

Once you've blocked or unblocked a sitelink, it can take some time for your changes to be visible.

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