Many people have noticed the new links offered under Google’s top ranked listings. The links have been confirmed as permanent fixtures and are referred to as “Sitelinks” according to Google’s Webmaster Central blog.
The sub-category and sub-topic links give searchers access to pages deeper within the top ranking website. Certain trends for the Google Sitelinks were identified back in April this year as reported on Search Engine Watch.
According to Social Patterns, they are most “likely determined by traffic patterns.” Some early observations included:
Google snippet links do not return links outside of the home domain.
Google snippet link text can be determined from an image’s alt text.
Google snippet links can be subdomains of the home domain.
Google snippet links are not determined by PageRank.
Google snippet links are displayed for the top result for a “brand” search or “domain” search.
While Sitelinks aren’t available for all the top listings yet, it does reinforce the power of the top listing and high traffic volumes.
The new Sitelinks are automatically generated by Google’s algorithms and indexing process. According to the Google Webmaster Help center:
“Our systems analyze the link structure of your site to find shortcuts that will save users time and allow them to quickly find the information they’re looking for.
We only show Sitelinks for results when we think they’ll be useful to the user. If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good Sitelinks, or we don’t think that the Sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them.”
So while you’re striving to get the top ranking in Google’s results, there’s more incentive than ever to focus on ensuring your site structure is optimized for Google’s algorithms.