Google’s new extended sitelinks: What do they mean for your business

on August 29th, 2011

I’ve nopticed these new, extended sitelinks about a week or two ago, but it seems they are now here to stay. They are 12 links deep, with a snapshot of each page under teh corresponding link, and take up about 90% of the results page. What search terms do they show up for? What do they mean for your business? How to get them? All that and some images after the jump.

First things first: if you haven’t seen these new sitelinks in action yet, they look like this:

extended sitelinks1 Google’s new extended sitelinks: What do they mean for your business

You will notice, for any site lucky enough to get them, that they pretty much hijack the entire search results page. They are huge. There are up to 12 for any given brand, and are sometimes followed by another search result from the same website or supplemented by live blog results (e.g. CNN).

extended sitelinks4 Google’s new extended sitelinks: What do they mean for your business

What search terms they show up for?

It seems they only show up for branded search terms, more specifically for company names. The snapshot above is for “Limeshot Design”, a few other quick searches brought up similar setups for Amazon, Nike, etc. You get the picture.

I have been unable to get these sitelinks for any other type of searches, not even for highly branded products like Kindle or iPhone. It seems for the time being they are limited to company names/brands.

extended sitelinks5 Google’s new extended sitelinks: What do they mean for your business

What do they mean for your business?

Well, at this point it’s primarily good news for brand owners: the new sitelinks ensure that anyone looking for your company will pretty much end up clicking on a link to your site 99% of the time, despite the efforts of any PPC advertisers to hijack your traffic (and we all know viewers can be confused and sidetracked by paid results to the expense of the organic ones).

Moreover, despite initial fears, it seems the new sitelinks will not hurt anyone selling branded products (see iPhone or Kindle above, or Nike Lunarglide, or have your pick): it seems they are showing up primarily for company names. You can still target product names both organically and via paid search.

But how do you get them?

Well, this is where it gets arcane. It can be safely said they only show up for established, authority domains with a strong brand presence. If your website hasn’t been around for too long and you don’t have many in-bound links then all you can do is keep on adding links and content and make sure you keep checking your Google Webmaster Tools account.

There is also a rumour going around that user behaviour also has something to do with the selection of URLs that become sitelinks: the most trafficked pages are the ones that are given prominence.

In the meanwhile, make sure that

  1. Your page titles are convincing
  2. Your meta descriptions compelling (they will show up under those sitelinks) and
  3. Your URLs self-explanatory.

And most importantly…

Care for your brand. It just became a bit more important.

One Response to “Google’s new extended sitelinks: What do they mean for your business”

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