A Guide on How to get Google Sitelinks

First of all for those of you that are new here or do not know me, my name is Adeel. This blog post is part of a series I’ve created called “Built from Scratch to Legacy”. I’m currently on a journey to build a Shopify store from scratch and documenting everything I learn in the series.

I’m going to be making blog posts on what we did to start, what kind of things we did research on, what tools we used, and so on. Literally everything. You will be able to follow along these series and see the full picture on what it really takes to build a store from zero.

The mission of the series is to motivate and inspire you to start something of your own. Something to show you that it can be done and how it all came together. Because if I can do it, that means 100% you can do it too.

All I ask in return is that if you gain value or knowledge from these posts, is to share it with somebody you know it will help. That’s it. Now let’s get into the good stuff!

Have you always wondered how websites structure their SEO and how their website shows up on Google? While building our SEO strategy, we came across Google Sitelinks and this is something that cannot be overlooked.

Moz’s google search listing (sitelinks)

While rankings are important, you also need more people to click on your sites in search engine results to actually convert them.

One way to increase your CTR is with Google Sitelinks.

But what exactly are Google Sitelinks? How can they help your site? And most importantly, how do you get them? This guide will answers these questions for you.

What are Sitelinks?

You see the links under Moz’s search listing including? Those are called Sitelinks.

The purpose of Sitelinks is to help users navigate around your website. A user searching for “Moz” might not necessarily want to see the homepage. Instead, they might be interested in heading directly to the blog page or the about page.

Sitelinks remove one step from the navigation process by placing important links right within the search results.

In a nutshell, sitelinks direct users to the best results in the shortest amount of time. And they make your site more prominent in search results, which is important for branding purposes.

They first made an appearance around 2005. By 2007, they were a regular feature in search results.

Sitelinks aren’t displayed for every website.

If you search for a poorly optimized site, there is a good chance Google won’t show Sitelinks for it.

In Google’s own words:

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.

From the above, we can say that Google might not show Sitelinks due to two reasons:

  • The site structure doesn’t allow algorithms to find good Sitelinks
  • The Sitelinks aren’t relevant to the user’s query

While we can’t control what users search for, but we can design our site in a way to improve Sitelink discovery.

Which is what this guide will focus on.

But first: why are google site links important?

Let’s find out:

For searchers, Sitelinks save time and provide relevant results.

What benefit are they to you?

1) Sitelinks improve CTR (click-through rates)

Besides rankings, your CTR is one of the biggest factors in successfully generating organic traffic.

On average, the first three results account for nearly 55% of all clicks.

These numbers do fluctuate over time. But, let’s use them as an example:

If a keyword gets 10,000 searches each month, this means that the first result gets 3,124 clicks.

Now imagine that the first result also gets Sitelinks. Since the Sitelinks now dominate the top half of the page (i.e. above the fold), the first result gets 20% extra clicks.

This translates into an additional 2,000 clicks each month.

The lesson: If you want more people to click on your site in search results or ads, get Sitelinks.

2) Sitelinks build more trust and credibility

Sitelinks are an important metric to determine the trustworthiness of a website.

When you see Sitelinks, it usually gives off a sign or vibe that Google trusts the website.

Google knows Sitelinks take up nearly the entire first section of the search results page. This pushes all search results further down the fold.

Since Google is committed to giving its users the best possible experience, it wouldn’t want to promote an untrustworthy link above the fold.

Google’s algorithm isn’t perfect, so it does make mistakes. But, it gets better all the time.

3) Sitelinks increase your brand and product awareness

Sitelinks usually link to the most important pages on your site (from Google’s perspective), taking into account the number of internal/external links.

More often than not, these will be your ‘about’ or ‘product’ pages.

This makes Sitelinks a great way to educate people about your products, and improve your brand awareness.

4) Sitelinks allow users to browse deeper pages

When a user visits your website, chances are they will browse through the homepage, product/service pages.

In total they might visit 4–5 pages of your website before they decide to leave.

Let me ask you:

Are they going to visit your most popular blog post? Or will they dig around to find the resources page that gives you your best conversions?

Probably not.

With Sitelinks, however, these popular links will show up in search results, driving traffic to your most important pages.

For example, Neil Pate’s website has Sitelinks that show his most blog posts, Ubersuggest, his SEO Analyzer and a link to his services page:

Niel Patel’s website sitelinks example

This helps drive traffic to pages that actually deliver results (leads/subscribers) instead of simply directing people to the home page.

How to generate Google Sitelinks for your website

There isn’t a direct way to get Sitelinks for your website. You can’t just log into Google’s Search Console (Previously Webmaster Tools), turn on a switch and get Sitelinks.

As things stand right now:

  • Sitelinks are automated
  • Sitelinks are created through website best practices
  • Google doesn’t tell you how to create Sitelinks or control their appearance directly

Unfortunately, there are no fixed steps that you can follow to get Sitelinks on your website, but you can follow a process to increase your chances of getting Sitelinks.

Here’s how to get started:

1) Make sure that your website’s name is unique

The first step in getting Sitelinks is to make sure that you use a unique brand name for your site.

For example, if your website is called ‘The chocolate company’ it is likely that it will never gain first result on the first page because the term is too generic.

There could be thousands of companies that make chocolate all around the world. How can Google figure out which one is yours?

Instead, if you choose a unique name, it’d be much easier to rank and get Sitelinks.

For instance, take the example of QuickSprout. It is a unique name and no one is using it apart from Neil Patel.

So Google is sure that when people are searching for QuickSprout:

Google search of Quick Sprout

When you search for Quick Sprout, you only see information about the business on the first page, nothing else. You even listings about Neil Patel, as Quick Sprout is one of his businesses.

In rare cases, brand names will qualify for the first page result even though they have generic name. Apple is a great example of this.

Based on the intent of users Google knows people who are searching for ‘Apple’ want to know about the company Apple and not the fruit.

But this example only works because it’s Apple — smaller brands don’t usually have that luxury where generic brand names are concerned.

I’m not suggesting you change your website/brand name just to get Sitelinks. It’s a lot of effort to go to, and as your brand grows, the chance of getting Sitelinks grows too.

But, if you are at the current stage of buying your domain name, or deciding on a name for your business — avoid using keyword matching domains. Go for something more unique.

2) Add structured data to your Website

Structured data helps Google understand your website, and your organisation more effectively.

If you haven’t heard of this before, it’s more commonly known as rich snippets or schema.

And while typically associated with things like review snippets, and recipe snippets, you can do a lot more with structured data.

Essentially, you can add some code that tells Google which menu to consider for Sitelinks. You can also specify your about page, contact page, enable breadcrumbs and a Sitelinks search box.

Here’s some good news:

If you use WordPress, you can install a plugin called Schema Pro that will handle all of this for you.

3) Ensure your website’s structure and navigation is crystal clear

Websites that have clear hierarchy and structure are easy to crawl and navigate for Google. If Google can’t find all the pages on your site and understand their position relative to each other, it won’t be able to show Sitelinks.

What this means is to keep your homepage as the “root” page.

This is the most visited page and the starting point of navigation for your visitors. From this page, help visitors find other pages on your site.

Your site structure needs to be logical, intuitive and organized.

For example, if you sell toys, you could organize your navigation like this:

  • Home page -> Boys Toys -> Ages 12–14 > Action Figures

Similarly, if you’re selling marketing guides, you could do something like this:

  • Home page -> eBooks -> Content Marketing eBooks -> “Beginners Guide to Content Marketing”

At the same time, make sure that you have all the ‘standard’ pages for a website — Contact Us, About, Products, Privacy Policy, etc.

4) Rank #1 for your brand name in search results

Guess who deserves Sitelinks? The first search result, of course.

There is no second search result that gets Google Sitelinks. If you search for “New Yorker”, the NewYorker.com (the magazine) site gets Sitelinks.

Once you reach #1 position for your website name, it gets much easier to get Sitelinks.

5) Add a sitemap.xml file to your Google Search Console account

A sitemap helps Google crawl your site better.

It not only increases coverage of your webpages, but also defines the most important pages of your website.

Google responds on the basis of priority and the traffic you are receiving on your pages.

If you haven’t got an account, or added your website to your Google Search Console account — follow these steps.

Once you’re ready, here’s what to do next:

To add your sitemap, log into Google Search Console and click on your website. On the dashboard, click on the “Sitemaps” link.

On the next screen, click on “Add/Test Sitemap” (it’s in the right-hand corner). In the pop-up box, add the location of your sitemap (usually “sitename.com/sitemap.xml”).

6) Build internal links

The jury is still out on how helpful internal links are for SEO, but they do tell Google what the most important pages on your site are.

For instance, if you repeatedly link to a product page, Google might take that as a signal for judging the importance of that page.

It appears that adding internal links to pages you want to show up in Sitelinks is a good idea.

You can track internal links from Google Webmaster Tools. To do this, log into your dashboard, then click on “Search Traffic -> Internal Links”.

Conclusion

It isn’t compulsory for every website to have Sitelinks but they are helpful if you can get them.

But it’s not the end of the earth if you don’t get them.

Follow the advice listed above then leave Google to it — eventually you’ll get Sitelinks.

Finally, if you found this post useful, please share it with someone you know it will help!

P.S. If you ever want to connect, don’t hesitate to DM me on IG, click here to head to my profile. Throw me any questions you have, any feedback, suggestions, or if you need help with your store.

Thank you to everyone that made it this far in reading this post, if you did make it this far, I know you’re interested in building your own store. Trust me just go do it. Build the sh*t out of it. Keep building and don’t ever stop.

PEACE And take care everyone! I will be back.

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