In addition to the string of improvements Google has been making changes to its search results recently, we now hear news that sitelinks in the SERPs have now been expanded.
As per this update, some organic search results will include full-size links, display URL and a one line description below their listing on the search result pages.
For those who do not know what sitelinks are, when a website becomes popular enough Google adds additional links from the site (contact us page, terms & conditions page etc) below the website’s main listing to help users easily navigate through the site and quickly locate the information they are looking for.
So what has changed for sitelinks?
- Text size of the sitelinks, a green colored url and a one line description of the page has been added to make the sitelinks more visible and noticeable.
- Number and ranking of sitelinks has been improved from 8 to 12 depending on the type of query so that users have more choice while navigation. This is in total contrast to the earlier sitelinks settings that either showed all or none of the links listed in the websites sitelinks.
- The recent update has brought a clear distinction between the top domain and its sitelinks and the remaining results that are displayed from other domains.
- At the back end a combination of signals used for sitelink generation & ranking with the conventional ranking system has made the search algorithm more robust that will now serve out better and unified results for users on the front end.
Here is an example on what sitelinks looked before and after the update.
BEFORE THE UPDATE
AFTER THE UPDATE
Site administrators can manage their sitelinks from Google’s Webmaster Tools. Google is also giving webmasters the freedom to suggest a demotion to a sitelink if it’s inappropriate or incorrect, and the algorithms will take these demotions into account when showing and ranking the links. Google has also taken into consideration the fact that since sitelinks can vary over time and by query, webmasters can now suggest a demotion (up to 100 demotions allowed per site) of any URL for any parent page.
This update is great news for businesses. So only with a few minor changes in the meta-tag descriptions and optimization of pages added in their sitelinks list, businesses can now expect to see an increase to their organic click through rate (CTR).