Wednesday, 14 June 2017

How to generate Google Sitelinks for your website

June 14, 2017

What are Sitelinks?

Google Sitelinks are little sub-listings that appear under the first result in the search result. Usually when searching for brands.
You must have come across to them on number of occasions. This is what they look like:

There is no direct way to get Sitelinks for your website. You can’t just log into Google’s Search Console (Previously Webmaster Tools), flick 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 ice cream 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 ice cream all around the world. How can Google figure out which one is yours?
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 stage of registering your domain name, or deciding on a name for your business – avoid using keyword matching domains. Go for something more unique.

2. 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.

3. 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 (the magazine) site gets Sitelinks, not (a German fashion label) by virtue of its superior ranking.
Once you reach #1 position for your website name, it gets much easier to get Sitelinks.

4. 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.

 or  see step by step  guidance to submit  sitemap  to webmaster tools :

5. 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.

6. Crosscheck your page titles

The page title is one of the most important on-page SEO elements on your website.
Having the right page is title is extremely crucial. Google looks at these titles to provide Sitelinks.
Make sure page titles are a short description of the pages themselves. These should be logical and in-line with visitor expectations.
This means you shouldn’t name your “About Us” page something like “Get to Know Us Better”. This might confuse Google and you might get absent or duplicate Sitelinks.

7. Raise brand awareness

Raising your brand awareness is a never ending process. But how much is awareness is enough to get the Sitelinks?
Here is what Matt Cutts (Google’s former web spam head) had to say about it:
Make sure that enough people know about your website. You want to be a reputable website and you want people to find out about your website because we don’t do it for every single query.
You need to spread your brand name and make it reputable. There are a lot of ways to go about it.

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