This is a question that many bloggers and webmasters ask. Sitelinks are often touted as a useful tool for increasing a website’s search engine visibility while subsequently attracting more visitors to it.
But what exactly are sitelinks and how do they work?
Sitelinks are essentially nothing more than internal links that are displayed underneath a Google search listing. If you search for the keyword “Amazon,” for instance, you’ll notice several different sitelinks, including “Books,” “Your Account,” “Amazon Prime,” etc. Each of these sitelinks takes the user to its respective page when clicked.
It’s important to note, however, that not all websites and blogs are given sitelinks. According to SearchEngineWatch, only “branded” search terms are given sitelinks in Google’s search results. But this isn’t entirely true, either. You’ll often see listings with sitelinks that aren’t triggered by branded terms. The difference, however, is that branded search terms feature larger and more descriptive sitelinks, as opposed to non-branded terms which feature basic links with no descriptions.
The greatest benefit of using sitelinks is the simple fact that your website’s listing will look larger and more prominent in Google’s search results. Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that a larger listing will yield more traffic, which is true 99% of the time. This is why it’s important that webmasters and bloggers embrace sitelinks rather than try to hide them. Furthermore, having sitelinks displayed in your Google listing will guide visitors to specific internal pages within your website, promoting a positive user experience in the process.
How Sitelinks Are Created
As noted by Google, webmasters have little-to-no control over their sitelinks. Ever since Google introduced this feature several years back, webmasters have not been able to specify which links they would like to appear as sitelinks. The Mountain View company goes on to say, however, that webmasters can encourage Google to display sitelinks by using the appropriate anchor text and alt text.
“At the moment, sitelinks are automated. We’re always working to improve our sitelinks algorithms, and we may incorporate webmaster input in the future. There are best practices you can follow, however, to improve the quality of your sitelinks. For example, for your site’s internal links, make sure you use anchor text and alt text that’s informative, compact, and avoids repetition,” wrote Google.
You may not be able to specify which links you want displayed as sitelinks, but you can tell Google which links you don’t want displayed as sitelinks via your Google Webmaster Tools account. After logging into your account, choose the “Sitelinks” option under the “Search Appearance” menu on the left-hand side. Next, enter the URL of specific links that you don’t want displayed as sitelinks in the “For this search result” field. Now enter the complete URL of the sitelink in the “Demote this sitelink URL” field.
Have any other tips for managing sitelinks that you would like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!
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