A couple of weeks ago, Google announced an update to their site links feature in search results. Site links have historically shown up in the first result of a search query, such as what you can see in this image, 2 columns of links vertically.
In Google’s One-Line Sitelinks announcement, they are modifying how Site links are shown, by displaying them all on one line and not necessarily for only the first search result.
Until now, sitelinks have only ever appeared on the first search result, and so at most one site could have sitelinks per query. We're now launching an expansion of sitelinks: a single row of links can now appear for results that didn't show sitelinks before, even for results that aren't in the first position. This means multiple results on one query can now have sitelinks. Up to four sitelinks can show up right above the page URL, instead of the usual two columns below the URL of the first result.
The New View For Sitelinks
In the images below, you will see how they will show to users
In Google’s announcement they use the search term nutrition, to reference the changes, so I will do the same.
What you will notice, is that the Sitelinks result is different depending on Google Country, using the same key term.
In Google.com only the first result has the horizontal sitelinks.
In Canada’s Google.ca the fourth result contains horizontal sitelinks.
In Google UK google.co.uk the first and third result has the horizontal sitelinks.
As of today, it’s clear this new update is still a work in progress, and hasn’t been fully implemented, as noted in this search showing the 2-column vertical links.
Benefits of Google Sitelinks
The obvious benefit for the searcher is more options on which pages to click for the given web site, and also gives the searcher a better idea of what the site is about before clicking. This means better website usability!
Sites that have gained reputation and history with Google seem to have these sitelinks, and those businesses that have them listed benefit from an enhanced listing, as well as greater visibility and reputation.
Customizing & Optimizing Google Sitelinks
Currently, there is no way to customize Google Sitelinks, with exception to Google’s Webmaster Tools which lists current sitelinks, where you can state which of those you would like to block.
Google won’t say for certain how you can get them or how it exactly works however, in my experience here is a list of things that can influence visible sitelink navigation under your search listing:
- The age of the website is at least 2-3 years
- Inbound links from high quality, relevant web sites to that given page
- An easy to spider and well structured navigation
- Useful outbound links that navigate to relevant web properties
You’ll notice that these suggestions are basically the same as to what you should be doing to optimize your web site for SEO. Quality content, an established domain and a well structured web site is the key to performing well in Search Engine Results. Go figure.