Google is at it again. In the world of search engine optimization, we are constantly working to increase qualified traffic to our and client sites amidst changing technology and algorithms. In late 2010, Google, the Internet’s foremost search engine made a major change to its algorithm changing how local businesses would be placed on its results pages. In addition to their self-promotion of Google Places and business profiles that companies can claim in order to enhance their online presence*, Google made major algorithm adjustments affecting countless sites. The changes were named The Panda Update by Google and The Farmer Update by the SEO world because of how Google punished sites it deemed to have poor quality content. Now, Google has integrated their Sitelinks feature on their results pages.
Sitelinks, navigation links to a website listed for the site when it is specifically searched for by a user, is Google’s way of grouping site information together in a way that helps users go directly to the page they’re searching for. The new search feature is only available when a user searches for a site specifically. Google then lists the links and descriptions to other pages on that site. Here is an example:
The changes take eight times as much pixel space than its predecessor, forcing non-site related links further down the page. The folks at Google are also working on a site search widget which would provide users with the possibility to search the site directly. You may come across on some pages that already feature the widget. For site searches, users will get up to 12 site links displayed. If Google is uncertain whether you are seeking a specific sie or not, they can list 4-10 links for a given site.
These modified search results impact a site’s ability to influence a user towards their site. Here are some suggestions we make in order to improve your expanded sitelinks results:
1. Review your site thoroughly and ensure there aren’t any major issues. Some specifically important issues to look for are dead links, no follow links, and pages without or with poor content.
2. Review site content to ensure that not only your home page provides accurate, updated information. Update any deeper pages on your site that require updating.
3. Revise your page titles and meta descriptions to ensure that they are written in a way to get your target market’s attention.
4. Integrate Google Analytics and site map into your site. Since these Google tools provide the search engine with information about your site, it certainly cannot hurt your expanded sitelinks results. On the contrary, have a tracked site that is well indexed will ensure that your pages are listed.
Expanded Sitelinks has added more work to the search engine optimizers out there and more possibilities of websites receiving qualified traffic. The most important fact of this update to small businesses is that they continue to promote their website by all other mediums including print, television and social media. Because, of course, your site will be searched for if people already know you exist!