How to Get Google Sitelinks on Your SERP Listing

How to get Google Sitelinks in your SERP

Do you have your Google Gold?

So what exactly are Google Sitelinks and why are they so important in the SEO world?  Sitelinks are basically small links placed under the SERP (search engine results page) listing of a website that provide a user with useful shortcuts on the site listing.  As an example, if a particular website has the following pages within their site; About Us, Sign-Up, FAQ’s, Terms and Conditions (you get the idea) and the website is properly formatted, aged and trusted, then Google may decide to add Sitelinks to that SERP in order to make it easier for a visitor to get to a particular page on your site without having to go the main page and try and find it.  Therefore Sitelinks in general, offer the user of Google a much better experience and user interface, theoretically. 

The thing about Sitelinks that most people do not understand, is that you cannot set them up yourself, you cannot buy them, you cannot make them…website owners are completely at the mercy of Google and the Google algorithm to determine if your site is Sitelink worthy.  An example of what Sitelinks looks like is shown here:

 

How to get Google Sitelinks - click-finders.com exampleclick-finders.com – Google Sitelinks Example

 “There has been much speculation in the SEO community about what it takes to garner the coveted Sitelinks from Google.  Many an SEO have searched hi and low for that magic trigger to pull that evokes the awesome and powerful SITELINK to appear!”

Why, you might ask, is having Sitelinks so important to your site?  Well, for starters, Sitelinks are considered an automatic indicator of the trust factor.  Google’s algorithm will only pick up sites that are well established, trusted sources of verified information.  In other words, if your website rates Google Sitelinks, it a fair assumption that you a trusted site in the eyes of a Google.  That means a lot in SEO terms.  In fact, it’s everything!

So you might now be asking, “that’s great Mike, but how can I get my hands on some Sitelinks?”.  Here’s where unfortunately it turns into a bit of a gray area.  Google controls the Sitelinks via their proprietary algorithm.  They have not revealed what it takes to acquire the links nor how long it might take.  They simply confirm that they exist and that it is part of the algorithm, nothing more.  You can read more about Googles position on Sitelinks here at the Google Webmaster Tools site.  Also, Google Search engineer Jeremy explains them a bit more here in this video;

 

 

Based on these indicators (and lot more research on the matter, I have compiled a list of the best practices to try and get Google to activate Sitelinks on your SERP.  These are just my suggestions, there is no guarantee that they will work for your site or how long it would take to get the Sitelinks triggered.  They have however, worked for me on several sites.  Here is what I believe you should look at in order to acquire Sitelinks:

  • The Keyword that returns your SERP needs to be ranked #1 with Google and it needs to be there for some time.  Exactly how long is anybody’s guess, but I would venture to say 3-6 months at a miniumum.
  • Your site needs to 100% coded properly, allow complete (or almost complete) access by the search engine spiders, a complete and structured navigation system that includes useful and valid internal and external links.
  • Good use of anchor text on your internal links.  Anchor text that properly describes your sub pages is paramount.
  • A high percentage of click-through rates & traffic  from the search engines.
  • High quality inbound links (important in any good SEO program)
  • An aged domain.  By that I mean a domain that has proven stability both in time active and years of purchased domain security.  Google dislikes brand new domains (no trust) and domains that only register for 1 year at a time.  Those seem to be tricks of the trade for spammers.

So having site links is important for several reasons.  It displays a high level of trust from the search engines, it gives the website owner more real estate on at the top of Google (always a big PLUS!) and it provides a level of comfort and security in even the most novice of web surfers who may stumble across a listing.  The benefits are more than worth the investment.  Furthermore, each of the above listed action items are just good web design and SEO practices so you would never be hurting yourself by performing them.

What are your thoughts on Sitelinks?  Does your site have them?  How long did it take to get them?  Do you feel any one particular item triggered the Sitelinks or was it a concerted effort with several factors being deployed at the same time?  Tell us your Sitelink story in the comments sections below!

If you enjoyed this article or learned something from it, please share it!  There are a host of social media bookmarking and sharing tools both for this blog and each article.  Google+, Facebook, Digg, Delicious and Twitter…just to name a few!


 

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28 Comments

  1. This is fantastic information, Mike. Although you offer-up the fact there is no guaranteed way of garnering sitelinks, you also offer-up some very valuable, practical suggestions based on your experience and profession; suggestions that will likely help somebody’s website get sitelinks, but will definitely help their overall SEO, no matter what.

    I’m glad you mentioned the fact (and reminded me) that the length for which a domain name is registered has an impact on SEO. I’m off to do a multi-year renewal now – thanks!

    What role do you think having a WordPress-based website has?

    I’m bookmarking this post so I can keep getting inspired!

    • Hi Scott. Thanks for the post!

      The thing I like about WordPress is that you have so many effecitve and efficient plug-ins that do a lot of this work for you. I wrote an earlier post (Top 8 WordPress Plugins You Must Have) that really lays out the best SEO plugins and URL lpugins to help with this portion of website development. I think that if the owner of the site keeps SEO in mind on every decision from the very beginning, things will go their way very soon.

      • Mike. Would you mind posting a link to your “Top 8 WordPress Plugins You Must Have” post?

  2. Hello Mike, very interesting info on what seems to be difficult task for all us SEOs. By the way, the title of this page is “Oraganic Search Engine Optimisation”, is that a typing mistake (“Oraganic” instead of “Organic”) or a very subtle SEO ploy :-)

    • Hi Lisa – Thanks for the kind words and pointing out the error. Took some digging, but as you can see…it’s fixed! The error was buried in a plug-in.

  3. Superb information Mike. Sitelinks are the holy grail of SEO and your comprehensive input will enable me to go away and investigate. Like Scott, I’m also going to bookmark this post. Thanks for sharing :-)

    • Thanks so much for the kind words Tony! And also, thanks for the bookmark!

  4. Google site links are nice and hot topic. Well explained and easily understandable. Thanks for sharing this well updated information.

  5. Hey…thanks for reading and commenting Iternet Marketing!

    Always nice to have another PRO comment on your work ;) !

  6. Hey great article, I have paid attention to those site links and wondered if the Google Tags was a way to get those on the SERP’s. At one time this was a way to produce those site links and other desired extra goodies. Google has discontinued their Tags program after a final analysis. If you would like to know more about tags and what they produced and why Google discontinued the use of these paid for Tags, read:
    http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?answer=1252642

    • Hi Link Worx – Thanks for the kind words and added informaiton. It is greatly appreciated!

      Mike

  7. David Maher

    Very nice post Mike. Retweeted, liked, followed and bookmarked!

    People like you make life do much easier for people new to the industry like me, thanks heaps!

  8. Hi David – Thanks so much for the kind words! They are much appreciated!

  9. Really useful and to the point. Thanks for the information.

    BTW: The regular Commentators plugin you use looks great as well as the rest of the social media tools. I’ve learned a lot here ;-)

  10. Diego – Thanks for reading and the great compliments! Always nice to have another internet PRO comment like this on your work!

  11. Hi mike, you can have sitelinks with out having a perfect website. Look at this site here
    http://www.authorsteam.com/ This site tons 404 errors doesn’t rank for any anchor text and still has it. I think it is because the site has been around since 2002.

    • @andrew – Yep…TIME it seems can heal a lot with Google. However, by having a solid website and link structure, you can greatly accelerate your site link activation. The hardest part for most people to understand is that Google decides when and if a particular site recieves sitleinks, not the web site owner. And some owners don’t like that so much.

      Thanks for reading and thank you for the comment!

  12. Hi Mike,

    Great post and stimulating ideas as to what will activate sitelinks.

    Do you think the category/tag structure has anything to do with helping get sitelinks?
    The only site I’ve worked on so far that had them implemented categories really well and it seemed like the links used this same structure!

  13. Hi SEO Coach!

    I am sure Google handles blogs much differently then Static HTML pages, however, my expereince has been that they rank/grade/reward good linking structures. Therefore, if the Category/Tags are properly configured and structed well, then I would think that they would indeed trigger Sitelinks.

    Great question! Thanks for reading and for commenting!

  14. Considerably well written blog post!!

  15. Hey, How to setting in webmaster tools? because confused with tutor google sitelink. but thanks for sharing your article
    Toko Online recently posted..Kata Kucing Jualan di FacebookMy Profile

  16. Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

  17. Hi Mike

    I’ve been wondering about sitelinks for a while and your information is extremely useful and, I suspect very accurate! Liked and bookmarked!
    Andrew Riedel recently posted..The Benefits Of Looking After Your CustomersMy Profile

    • Hi Andrew!

      Thanks for reading and the comment! Stay tuned for more great posts coming soon !

  18. Harry

    Nice topic related to site link information and loved to read it.
    Our site also got the site link but we need to change the description showing in the google site link that is showing for our page
    Can you advice us for that?
    Thanks again for the post

  19. Thanks Mike this is very useful ive been trying to get a handle
    on how google sitelinks work and this has helped no end!

    Mike Frensham

  20. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my blog
    so i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things to enhance
    my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!
    mobile games recently posted..mobile gamesMy Profile

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