Rich from Scouta email to ask me:
“When I do a Google search for b5media I get a really neat result that shows the major parts of your site (see image below). Is there a trick from a webmasters point of view to getting that result, or is it something that eventually happens at Google’s end when you get big enough traffic?”
It’s a good question and one I’ve had a bit lately – particularly about the same thing appearing for people when they search for ProBlogger on Google – which comes up like this:
The links under the search result are called ‘Sitelinks’. Google describes them in their Webmaster Tools resources as follows:
“Sitelinks are additional links Google sometimes generates from site contents in order to help users navigate your site. Google generates these sitelinks periodically from your site’s contents.
Because we generate sitelinks dynamically, this list can change from time to time.
Sitelinks are completely automated, and we show them only if we think they’ll be useful to the user. If your site’s structure doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don’t think that the sitelinks are relevant to the user’s query, we won’t show them. However, we are always working to improve how we find and display sitelinks.”
Also at the Webmaster Help Center Google also says the same thing but also adds:
“At the moment, sitelinks are completely automated. We’re always working to improve our sitelinks algorithms, and we may incorporate webmaster input in the future.”
So, they are great to have when Google decides to add them to your blog – but there isn’t much you can do to get them or to manipulate what Google shows in these links as they are something that is fairly automated according to some algorithm at Google. They do tend to be shown mainly for larger sites and sites with an established presence – and I’ve only really seen them for the first result in a search.
To find out if you have them – the best way is to log into Google’s Webmaster Tools, verify that you’re the owner of your site and check under the ‘Links’ menu for the ‘Sitelinks’ section. It will then tell you if you have sitelinks or not and if so what links are showing. Alternatively you could search for your blog’s name and if you’re the first result you’ll either see them or not. If you don’t see them and you’re the #1 result you probably don’t have them.
update: as pointed out by numerous comments below – Google recently allowed publishers who do have Google Sitelinks being served to block links that they don’t want to appear. There’s no way to suggest other links – but this at least allows you to block any that you don’t want – albeit only for a 90 day period it seems. You can read about how this works in their announcement. Thanks to those who picked this up (Al, Jordon and Amit).