Search engine ranking is vital for digital marketing strategies, but were you aware that sitelinks are a great way to drive extra traffic to your site and business? With SEO strategies, you optimize your content for specific keywords with the intention of attracting relevant and consistent traffic for your website and business growth. However, the strategy will not be effective if you are ranking high on the search engine results page (SERP), but no one is actually clicking through your website.
That is precisely where sitelinks come in. Sitelinks make up a large “real estate” on Google and drive high click-through rates. This helps bring more traffic to your website and strengthens your overall SEO strategies. So, what are Google sitelinks?
What are Google Sitelinks?
Sitelinks appear on the SERP, immediately under the first result. Typically, sitelinks are internal links to some of the pages on your website, coupled with short descriptions of what each page is about. They are often displayed when someone performs a brand search and helps the visitor to navigate through your site with ease.
You may have come across top results on Google SERP with several links listed underneath the title tag. Those are what we refer to as sitelinks. When performing a brand search, the home page may not be the relevant page that the searcher intends to reach. A search on Taji Clothing would display sitelinks for the user’s navigation to pages such as “menswear,” “hoodies,” or “T-shirts.” The user can head directly to the sitelinks, bypassing the homepage.
Sitelinks are a great way to improve user experience (UX). They allow searchers to access the page of choice directly without extra links.
Did you know? URLs that include a relevant keyword have the potential to generate an up to 45% higher CTR
Why Are Sitelinks Important?
There are numerous reasons why sitelinks are vital and beneficial to your site and visitors. Here are some of the benefits:
Improving Your Site’s Click-Through Rate (CTR)
A high CTR shows the popularity of that particular URL, revealing how relevant the URL is to the search query. When a user performs a brand search, the generated sitelinks provide the most relevant web pages that the user may have intended to explore.
Why is the CTR that important? According to a study by AWR, the top three results on Google SERP get the majority of the clicks for the keyword used in the search query.
Links falling below the top three receive fewer links. Granting the searcher direct access to the intended pages results entices them to click on them directly. The more searchers click on your web pages on SERP, Google recognizes it and rewards your site with a higher ranking, subsequently increasing your organic traffic.
Sitelinks increase the Click-through rate by 64%. This means that investing in a sitelinks optimization strategy has a high return on investment (ROI).
(Example of a sitemap in code, Search Engine Journal)
Building Trust and Credibility
Not all websites have sitelinks displayed for their respective brand searches. Google is less likely to display Sitelinks on SERP for poorly optimized websites. In Google’s words,
“We only display sitelinks for SERP when we are certain they will be helpful to the searcher. If your website architecture does not allow Google algorithms to spot relevant sitelinks, we will not display them.”
Whenever Google algorithms display sitelinks for a brand search, it shows that the website is well structured and optimized such that it becomes easy to extract the relevant sitelinks for the search query. Google’s main objective is to offer the most relevant answers to user’s search queries. With sitelinks taking up significant space on SERP, Google would not give this space to a poorly optimized, poorly structured, and untrustworthy site.
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A website that is well optimized for sitelinks is viewed as being trustworthy, and since not all sites have sitelinks, it gives the optimized ones some sense of exclusivity. You will even come across a website that has been assigned a search box inside the sitelinks. This will allow the user to search for pages within the website from the SERP. Having a search box in the sitelinks section helps in boosting your site’s CTR and UX.
Increasing Your Product and Brand Awareness
The main role of sitelinks is the presentation of your site’s most relevant pages to Google searchers to enhance their overall experience. The displayed links lead to pages that Google believes contain information relevant to the search query. They are selected based on your site’s architecture, the search query, and the page content.
Some of the pages that Google algorithms choose for sitelinks include product pages, about pages, blogs, or pricing pages. These are web pages that help the visitor find out more about your brand. When a user performs a brand search, the sitelinks may be shown for a specific product or a range of products and services.
Sitelinks help in educating visitors on what your business or brand offers, without them having to visit your website. It will also speed up the process of drawing potential clients to your relevant product pages.
(Example of a sitelink in Google Ads, Google Support)
Allowing Visitors To Browse Deeper Pages
Most of the visitors who frequent your website do not explore in great depth. In most cases, the visitors only browse through your homepage, service pages, and product pages without going deeper into the content.
Since sitelinks display your website’s most popular pages, your top blogs, frequently visited guide pages, and best selling product pages will be displayed on the sitelinks. This will drive more traffic to your best ranking pages, which then boosts leads such as subscriptions and inquiries hence bypassing the homepage. Therefore, along with CTR and SEO strategies, sitelinks will help increase your conversion rates.
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Sitelinks Best Practices
You cannot just activate, opt-in for, enable, or add sitelinks to Google. Google assigns sitelinks automatically to websites that are well optimized for them. In other words, they are given to the site that Google thinks is more authoritative for the search query used. Even though sitelinks are not something you can just enable, implementing effective SEO strategies will significantly improve the chances of your website having sitelinks.
(Sitelink extensions to additional pages on your website, peakdemand.co.uk
How To Make Sitelinks Appear in Google
It is unfortunate that you cannot set up sitelinks by yourself. Whether sitelinks appear at all and which links are displayed completely depends on the assessment of Google algorithms. But the good news is that just like any other SEO strategy, there are best practices that you can implement to optimize your site for sitelinks. Some of these practices include:
Having a Unique Site Name
Sitelinks are specifically designed for brand searches. Having a unique brand name, therefore, helps your site rank in the top position. Using a generic name such as “The Marketing Agency” makes it hard for you to rank for sitelinks because the algorithm will have a hard time trying to figure out whether the searcher was generally looking for a marketing agency or this particular company.
Under the right conditions, ambiguous brand names will rank well. For instance, searching “Apple” will display results for the tech company and not the fruit because Google algorithms understand the intent of the searcher. However, it will be challenging for this to happen without a strong brand presence.
Important: If your brand name is already well established, you should not change it for better SEO results because doing so could pose many risks and challenges. But if you are in the pre-start-up stage, choosing a unique brand name will help you rank well for brand searches and sitelinks.
Optimize to rank as #1 for your Company Name
Google only assigns sitelinks to the top result in the SERP. It, therefore, goes without saying that you must rank as the first result for your brand search for you to get sitelinks. Besides making sure that your brand name is unique, you should take up SEO strategies that improve your business’s online presence.
One way of achieving these results is by auditing all your site’s backlinks, making sure that online citations have the correct address, name, URL, and phone number. You should also make sure that all your brand’s social media accounts are active. Taking advantage of effective content marketing techniques such as blogging also helps in strengthening your online presence.
Using Structured Data
This strategy is also referred to as schema or rich snippets. Structured data helps search engines understand your site better. There are various ways in which structured data will help boost your brand’s appearance on SERP. Displaying reviews on snippets, for example, can help in attracting sitelinks to your website.
(Structuring your data helps Google to better recognize the important aspects of your site, weeblr.com)
In your structure data, you can direct Google on which links to consider when generating sitelinks. Specify your content pages or about page, and enable sitelink search box or breadcrumbs. To change sitelinks, Google relies on what you feed into your schema.
Although using schema does not guarantee that your site will have sitelinks or that the links you specified are the ones that Google will always display, having structured data is a strategy that pushes things towards the appropriate direction.
Have a Clear Website Navigation Structure
Sites with poor architecture give the web crawler a hard time trying to understand them. Visitors will also have a hard time trying to navigate through the website, hence poor UX. If Google crawler cannot find all your web pages and tell how they are all related, it will not assign it sitelinks.
Your homepage should always be the main web page of your site, and all other pages should branch from it. Always use an intuitive structure and clear headings to organize your web pages. It is also recommended that you split-up content into subcategories where possible.
Another best practice is having the standard pages such as Contact, About, Service, and Product Pages covered. These pages are easily understood by visitors and Google crawlers alike and are great landing pages from the search engine results page.
(Good vs. Bad website navigation, orbitmedia.com)
Adding XML Sitemaps to Google Search Console
A sitemap is a great tool that helps search engines crawl and comprehend your website, determining the most significant pages. With a clear website architecture and a sitemap attached to your Google Search Console, Google will have an easy time when crawling and analyzing your website.
When selecting which webpages to display in the sitelinks, Google assesses each page’s traffic and priority to determine its relevance to the user’s intent. Adding a sitemap to Google Search Console helps Google select the sitelinks that are most relevant. One can also decide which pages will be eligible for Sitelinks search box. To change sitelinks, Google will look at changes in our website’s sitemap.
Building Internal Links
Internal linking is a very important aspect of any SEO campaign. You should understand that the more you link to pages within your website when creating content for, the more the linked pages appear important to Google.
If most of your web pages link to a specific product page, service page, about us page, or contact page, these pages will be prime candidates for sitelinks. You should, therefore, use internal links to direct Google and Users around your website. These links also help in proving your site’s user experience as visitors can easily transition to pages with related information that might be useful to them.
(Internal linking helps boost your SEO, and increases your chances of receiving sitelinks, databox.com)
You can easily integrate internal linking into your website by adding internal links to your content. However, you should only link to pages with information relevant to the content. This will not only help Google understand how your webpages are related, but it will also help visitors maneuver through your website with ease.
You can use Google Search Console to monitor your internal linking. This tool shows you how many times your site links to specific pages within it. If you want a particular page to appear in the sitelinks, you should make sure you have linked to it throughout your site.
Using Relevant Page Titles
Page titles are another crucial aspect of SEO. For a higher ranking of your webpages, you should make sure that every page has a relevant title. This not only helps in boosting your SEO, but also helps Google algorithms select relevant sitelinks.
Sitelinks are typically generated from the page titles. It is, therefore, important that the titles are in alignment with what the page is about.
Page titles should be a brief, logical description of the content contained on the page. Having page titles that are misaligned with the page’s content gives Google a hard time when picking sitelinks. Unusual page titles will negatively impact your SEO efforts and lower the chances of sitelinks allocation. For instance, an “About Us” page titled “Find out What Makes Us the Best” will not be very clear to Google algorithms.
Increasing Brand Awareness
This isn’t a one-time thing but an ongoing process. Increasing the presence and awareness of your brand online helps boost its popularity and authority, both of which are Google ranking factors.
Building a positive reputation for your brand and making sure that most internet users recognize it increases brand awareness. Some of the methods you can use to increase your brand’s awareness include:
- Giving interviews
- Participation in Online discussions
- Guest blogging on well-known websites
- Receiving positive testimonials and reviews
- Featuring in Online News Outlets
The more people get to know about your brand, you begin to attract more brand searches, and this increases the chance of being awarded sitelinks.
We hope that you found this article useful.
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Adding Pages That Appear in the Sitelinks in your Sidebar
Some sites have sidebars for internal pages. Sidebars are used to redirect Google and visitors to the pages of your liking. You can include your website’s most popular and important pages in the sidebar.
The magic is that the sidebar appears on each page, hence sending a signal to Google Crawler that “these are the most important pages on my website.” When generating sitelinks for your website, Google will pick the pages in the sidebar.
Did you know? Web pages that include meta descriptions experience a 5.8% higher CTR.
Google Ads Sitelinks
Google Ads sitelinks are different from Google search sitelinks. You can add sitelinks to your ad when setting up your AdWords campaign to direct users to specific web pages. You are also presented with the option of manually adding brief descriptions to your select sitelinks, rendering your Google ads more useful and relevant to users who view them.
Although they achieve the same goal and look similar, you can manually add sitelinks to Google Ads as the ad campaign manager, but Google sitelinks are randomly generated by Google algorithms.
Now that you know how to make sitelinks appear in Google, you should begin optimizing for them when implementing your SEO strategies. It is not guaranteed that your website will get sitelinks or that they will always appear, but the benefits that come with it are worth the effort.
By following the above-mentioned sitelinks best practices, the chances of having sitelinks assigned to your website are significantly increased. As a result, you also increase your chances for high organic search traffic, brand awareness, and leads.
Just like all other organic SEO practices, optimizing for sitelinks does not occur overnight. But by following the best practices, you will gradually see results, and in the long-term, you might have sitelinks assigned to your website. This strategy calls for some patience.
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This is done through Google Search Console on the “sitelinks” tab.
Using the correct anchor text and using the internal linking strategy.
Enter into Google search panel
Select layout you want to use
Click “get code” and paste it into your website’s code
Keep your sitelinks short
Ensure you are monitoring your CTR
Try advanced sitelinks
Yes, adding sitelinks to your helps Google crawl your website.