15 Jan SEO: What are Sitelinks and how do you get them?
How many times have you entered a search term into Google, and the first result that comes up has some predefined sublinks underneath? For example putting Ozcart into your browser reveals the sitelinks currently defined for our website:
You can see we currently have links to our Shopping Cart, Features and Layouts/Themes page for our ecommerce shopping carts as well as some other pages that Google considers relevant to users. These are some of the most frequently visited pages on our website as well as the pages that we refer to ourselves as relevant in terms of the way links are set up on our site.
Once you have sitelinks, they are updated on a weekly basis and can frequently change. You can’t control what pages do come up, but if a page comes up that you don’t want indexed with a sitelink, you can block that page from having sitelinks by blocking it in Google Search Console.
How Google determines which pages have sitelinks and whether your site has them or not is a closely guarded secret by Google. But here are some things we have observed about sitelinks:
- You usually have to rank #1 on the term where the sitelinks appear, so in most cases you will first notice them when you search for your business name.
- Your domain usually must be two years or more old.
- The pages you link to frequently in your site you are designating as important. These pages have a higher chance of coming up as sitelinks. For example, the ecommerce features page on the Ozcart site is frequently linked to by Google.
- Ensure you have a very clear page navigation structure and you don’t have too many navigation links. Put your key categories in your sideboxes and use subcategories where appropriate. If you use too many navigation links, then Google (and your visitors) will have trouble working out what the most important pages in your site are.
- Make sure your site has lots of links from relevant sites back to you. This ensures that your site is considered relevant as a whole (and therefore worthy of sitelinks).
The point of sitelinks is for Google to provide quick access to pages on your site that are frequently accessed and considered important by you and Google. So make sure that your most important pages have useful and relevant content on them, and that you link to them from your own site and from external sites where you list your website (e.g., business directories).