5 Things to Determine From Your Google Sitelinks
Google sitelinks are listed after a main search result, in which it is followed by multiple indented sitelink results. Most webmasters believe that sitelinks are a reputation enhancer while also allowing a webpage to control a greater area of the search results page. For example, if you search “Apple,” the main homepage for Apple appears in search results followed by indented sitelinks for “Apple Store,” “iPhone,” “iPad,” “Support,” “iTunes” and “Mac.” Google tells you more about sitelinks within Webmaster Tools. There are also things that you can determine from looking at the sitelinks that Google chooses for your site.
1. Your Title Doesn’t Display What You Want
If the text for your sitelinks isn’t displaying the right title, there are a few different reasons. For one, your title may not be unique to the page. Google may have chosen to ignore the title that you write if the title is used on multiple pages. In addition, if the title isn’t relevant to the content on the page, Google may choose to ignore it. Titles have to be of suitable length, which is about six to seven words. If it’s too short or too long, it might also display differently than what you want.
It’s important to check your title tags and content to maintain relevance. You should also look for other parts of your description for errors and see if the text is the appropriate amount of characters. Most content management systems allow you to do this fairly easily. For instance, you can change all of these titles and descriptions in WordPress with very little effort.
2. Your Description isn’t Displaying Correctly
The description for your site is the black text underneath the sitelinks. Usually you want the description to talk about what your site is offering to the audience. These descriptions may also include keywords as long as they are relevant to the content of the page. It’s also frustrating to find that the black text beneath the sitelinks are not accurate or not showing up.
To maintain the value of your site, you should have a relevant and clear meta description that describes your site as efficiently as possible while also providing unique information that will attract visitors. You can typically edit the description for the page within your content management system. If you don’t have any black text, the description could be missing from this field. In addition, your site’s description may be automatically filled in from the Open Directory Project. If so, include a meta tag containing the NOODP that allows you to opt out of this type of description. The description also must be the right length of 250 characters, unique and relevant to the content or else Google will ignore it.
3. Why Google Chose These Sitelinks
It’s unclear how sitelinks are chosen for certain pages. However, most believe that it is because of prominence and quantity of links to certain pages that makes these sitelinks appear beneath a main page sitelink. If your site doesn’t have a lot of navigation, then you’ll likely only see these navigation links for your sitelinks if you include them as part of your campaign. Sitelinks are also chosen based on URL structure and relevance to the search term.
In some cases, Google will select sitelinks that are outdated or don’t pertain to the main focus of your site. It can be frustrating to see this as many users may click on these links only to be disappointed by what they find. In this scenario, there are options to getting rid of sitelinks that you don’t want and making sure that the sitelinks you do want take its place.
If you don’t like the sitelinks for your site, you can demote site links and suggest one in its place or allow Google to show another sitelink in place of the one that you demoted. To do this, log in to Google Webmaster Tools and under “Site Configuration,” click “Sitelinks.” Now you can click on the search result that you want to demote a link for.
4. Sitelinks Aren’t Showing For Your Site
You’ve probably noticed that not all sites in Google are blessed with sitelinks. If you look in the Webmaster Help Center, Google provides the following information:
“We only show sitelinks for results when we think they’ll be useful to the user. If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don’t think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them.”
You shouldn’t be insulted by this lingo though it can be hard to understand why Google would pick a sitelink that doesn’t really benefit the overall focus of your site. However, if your site isn’t showing site links, there are a number of reasons.
For one, your site doesn’t have a lot of choices to pick from. If all the traffic is going to just one page, you won’t get sitelinks.
If all of your pages have the same title and meta description, your site also won’t have sitelinks because it’s showing up in Google as the same page.
Google also won’t show sitelinks for pages that have little content, no text or useless information.
In addition, sitelinks come from high natural search traffic, strong click through rates and popular internal pages will also appear as sitelinks. If you have unique titles and meta descriptions, these will also show underneath a main page. While this is all speculative, Google typically wants sites to display this type of information when it chooses sitelinks.
5. How to Improve Your Sitelinks Entirely
First, you want to create structured navigation using HTML5 and CSS as a way to create menus to have the best appearance.
Secondly, you should organize your navigation to give logical destinations that visitors will choose frequently. However, you don’t want to overwhelm users and show off too many links. The main navigation items are things that users want to see. To get sitelinks in Google, you should have a number of different pages that they will actually want to visit.
Websites should also have a unique name. If the name is too generic, then click through rates won’t be very good for natural search. The user may also have too many decisions and too many similarly named sites. Google isn’t likely to provide sitelinks for a site that has average results for a particular search term.
As stated earlier, unique meta descriptions and title tags go a long way especially for home pages and the pages that are linked on the main page. If you want to improve readership and get more popular pages turned into sitelinks, then you need to avoid misleading or generic information.
Sites also have to be useful and provide interesting information to users. If the information isn’t what the user is looking for, that’s all right, but you have to provide outbound links for the site or the visitor may jump to another site rather than going back to the site results. Remember Google is able to tell if a search bounces back to the search results. If you do have a high bounce rate, then your site’s reputation won’t be good enough to get sitelinks as well.
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