How’d you like your Web site’s listing on Google’s search pages to be twice as big as your competition’s? Read on.
I’m often asked “When a homeowner searches my company’s name on Google, how can I get my Web site get one of those ‘big’ listings right at the top?”
Type “Silver Line Windows” into Google, and you’ll see what those questions refer to:
Nice, huh? Google calls them sitelinks, and I want to tell you about them.
When does Google award sitelinks? Typically for brand names that Google recognizes. And they are one way that Google tries to improve its users’ experience with the search engine. For instance, when I typed in “Silver Line Windows”, Google recognized that I was probably looking for the Silver Line Windows Web site. Google of course displayed the link to the home page of the Silver Line Web site. But it also displayed links to other pages on that Web site I might be interested in.
Sitelinks are twice as tall as “normal” listings and display a primary link, as well as eight additional links to pages within that Web site. That makes them more visible to your potential customers…and has the added benefit that they push other listings, including those of your competitors, down the page. That reduces the chance that homeowners will click on you competition.
Sitelinks help homeowners jump right to the Web site pages in which they’re most interested, in essence “pre-navigating” those Web sites. Rather entering the target Web site from its home page, the user can immediately jump right to the “Products” or “Contact Us” pages. Sitelinks are one of Google’s ways of making its users’ lives easier.
Let’s look at a different example. I searched Google for “Preservation Windows”:
In this case, Google has chosen not to award sitelinks to the Preservation Windows listing. Luckily, the Preservation Web site pops up to the top of the search, along with a second listing from the Web site’s Glossary page.
Why didn’t Google award sitelinks to the Preservation Windows Web site? According to SEO expert Jonathan Hochman, Google tends to award sitelinks when the Web site:
- Ranks first for the keyword searched on
- Is easily scanned by Google’s Web site crawlers, i.e. has structured navigation
- Has fairly high Web traffic from Google searches
- High click-through rates from the links on Google’s search results page
- Has useful out-bound links
- Has in-bound links from numerous high-quality Web sites
- Has been live for at least several years
Does your Web site have to have all of these characteristics for Google to award it sitelinks? No. But it will certainly need some of them. As an example, many great home improvement Websites don’t have “useful out-bound links”, but still get the coveted extra space on Google’s pages.
In my opinion, easy navigation is the number one way to secure sitelinks. If you can make your Web site simple enough for Google’s algorithms to understand, you’ll be well on your way to getting Google sitelinks.