Optimizing the new Google sitelinks (and controlling your brand’s Google SERPs)

Control of your brands Google’s SERPs with sitelinks - from Wordtracker, the leading keyword research tool

From today you have a new opportunity to get more visits and response to your site from searches with your brand name. This is because Google has changed how ‘sitelinks’ are shown on its results pages. Mark Nunney explains and shows you how to optimize this opportunity.

Site links are those links to your site that sometimes appear on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) below your regular listing. They used to look like this:

old sitelinks

Sitelinks appear for brand searches, ie searches with a brand name.

On 16th August 2011, Google changed how sitelinks work and appear.

Here’s a new collection of sitelinks for the same search:

new sitelinks

What does this mean for you?

More pages will be visited directly from a brand search on Google.

That’s more opportunities to succeed and fail.

Let’s make it succeed …

Take control of these landing pages

Follow the links that show for your site’s brand searches.

Imagine you are a new visitor to your site.

What do you see without scrolling?

These are deep pages on your site. They are often neglected. Dull and offering little as an entrance page.

Many sites are still designed for users to enter the site by the home page. But as the new sitelinks remind us – this is not so.

Will visitors find what they want?

Will they find the best of what you offer?

Will they stay?

Will they return?

Answer the above questions and make any changes necessary to get the answers you want.

Take control of what pages appear in your sitelinks

Use your Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) account to influence (control would be too strong a word) what pages appear in your site link.

You’ll find sitelinks on the Site configuration sub menu. See image:

gwt sitelinks menu

On that page you can ask Google to ‘demote’ (ie, not show) a particular URL on sitelinks. See the simple form below:

gwt sitelinks menu

But you must specify which ‘search result’ you want to demote a URL for.

‘Search result’ means the page that is shown in the regular listing.

You can demote 100 URLs. They are demoted for 90 days.

Google makes no promises they will demote the page.

I’ve used this to stop Christmas pages appearing in sitelinks after Christmas. You can use it to stop pages appearing that are not responsive or very useful.

Use the comments below to share any interesting results you see for sitelinks.

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