How to get Google sitelinks for your blog
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Want to get those extra links that appear under your blog’s search result in Google? These are called ‘sitelinks’ and there are a number of things you can do to get Google to show sitelinks for your blog. Here’s how to get Google sitelinks for your blog…
When you search for a blog or company on Google, you’ll often see a much larger listing for that blog or company, with extra links immediately below the main search result.
This type of result is called ‘sitelinks’ and is obviously highly desirable: it gives your blog much more space on the search results page, gives your blog more credibility and usually results in a higher click through rate (CTR).
But how exactly do you get Google sitelinks for your blog? And how do you change the links that appear under your site on Google?
Unfortunately, sitelinks aren’t something you can directly add or change yourself. They are automatically generated by Google. However, there are things you can do to increase your chances of getting Google sitelinks AND there are things you can do to influence what Google shows there. And that’s what this article is all about.
In this article we’ll look at exactly what sitelinks are, why they are important, how to get sitelinks for your blog and how to encourage Google to show what you want to appear in the sitelinks.
What are Google sitelinks?
Google sitelinks are extra links which are shown immediately below a search result in Google. Sitelinks are automatically generated by Google’s algorithm and usually show the most important pages/posts on a website.
Sitelinks appear for the first organic search result and Google generally only shows sitelinks for brands. For bloggers, therefore, sitelinks are usually only shown when someone Google’s your blog’s name.
For example, here’s what my sitelinks result looks like when I google ‘Productive Blogging’
And here’s what my sitelinks result looks like when I google my food blog ‘Easy Peasy Foodie’
Why are Google sitelinks important?
Sitelinks might not be something you can directly influence, but they are certainly something you want to have for your blog.
Why are they so important? Sitelinks are important for 3 main reasons:
1. More space on Google’s search results page
The first and most obvious reason is that sitelinks give you a much larger presence on the Google search results page. A regular search result might get you about 4 lines of text, but a sitelinks result will get you pretty much everything above the fold. (‘Above the fold’ is everything a user can see before they start scrolling.)
2. More credibility
Because you get so much more space on the search results page, and because users are used to seeing sitelinks for big brands, getting sitelinks for your blog makes your blog looks more credible and trustworthy in the eyes of your potential visitors.
3. Better click through rates
Thanks to increased visibility and credibility, sitelinks mean higher click through rates. In other words, having sitelinks mean more of the people who see your search result in Google will click on it.
How to get Google sitelinks for your blog
Sadly, there’s no magic button to press or box to check that will get you sitelinks. Google decides whether or not your blog qualifies to get sitelinks and Google chooses which sitelinks will appear for your blog.
The good news is there’s lots you can do to influence Google and help improve your chances of getting sitelinks.
Here are 7 best practices that will help you get Google sitelinks for your blog…
1. Rank number 1 for your blog name
Sitelinks only appear for the first result in Google, so the first step towards getting sitelinks is to make sure your blog is the number 1 result when you google your blog’s name.
There are 3 main reasons why your blog might not rank number 1.
The first is if it’s very new. It can take several months for a blog to rank #1 for its name.
The second reason is if you’ve named your blog badly. If you’ve chosen a very generic name for your blog (like traveltips.com or dinnerrecipes.com), or picked something that’s just too similar to the name of another much bigger website, then you are unlikely to ever rank #1.
The third reason is if your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is not very good. If your blog is over 6 months old, and your blog’s name is not very generic/very similar to another website, then poor SEO is the most likely reason why your blog is not ranking #1 for your blog name.
READ MORE >>> How to choose the perfect name for your blog
READ MORE >>> A beginner’s guide to SEO for bloggers
2. Ensure your site structure is clear and easy to navigate
Site structure is one of the most important factors in getting sitelinks for your blog. If you want to get sitelinks, you need to make sure Google can easily navigate your site. A clear site structure helps Google understand your site better and find appropriate links to feature.
Google has only a very short article on sitelinks. But in that article site structure is mentioned twice:
“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.”
“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.”
A good site structure means:
- choosing good categories and tags
- optimizing your category and tag archive pages
- good use of menus and breadcrumbs
- good internal linking (see below)
For more on site structure, check out my article on How to optimize your blog’s site structure for SEO
3. Good internal linking
Good internal linking (linking from one blog post/page on your website to another) is an important part of site structure. And the better your site structure, the more chance you have of your blog getting sitelinks.
Internal links help Google to find and index all the posts and pages on your blog, and it helps Google understand their relative importance.
Google typically selects what it perceives are the most important posts/pages on your blog for your sitelinks. One of the ways Google understands which of the pages on your website are the most important is by looking at your internal linking structure.
Google sees the posts and pages on your website which have the most internal linking pointing TO them as the most important. And so, these posts and pages are the most likely to be featured in sitelinks.
Make sure that the posts and pages that you consider to be the most important are also the ones which have the most internal links pointing TO them.
READ MORE >>> How to do proper internal linking on your blog
4. Create a sitemap and submit it to Google
Another way to improve your chances of getting sitelinks for your blog is to create an XML sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console.
By adding a sitemap to your Google Search Console, you’ll help Google to understand and crawl your site better, which will help Google choose the most relevant sitelinks for your blog.
You can easily create an XML sitemap by using the Yoast SEO plugin. If you have already got this plugin installed, simply go to YOAST > GENERAL > FEATURES and toggle the ‘XML Sitemaps’ switch to ‘On’.
If you do not yet have the Yoast SEO plugin, check out my guide to installing and setting up the Yoast SEO plugin correctly.
To submit your sitemap to Google Search Console, follow the steps in my guide to Google Search Console.
5. Use structured data
Structured data (also known as schema) is another way to help Google understand your website better.
For example, you can use structured data to tell Google which page on your blog is your ‘about me’ page, which page is your ‘contact me’ page and which pages are normal blog posts.
Depending on what kind of blog you have, you can also use structured data to tell Google other information about your blog posts. For example, food bloggers can use structured data to tell Google specific information about their recipes (cook times, calories etc.) in a language that Google understands.
There are many ways to add structured data to your website, but one of the simplest is to use the Yoast plugin, which will do most of this automatically for you. To check the plugin has categorized your post/page correctly, go to the schema tab at the bottom of the editing screen. The default setting should be ‘web page’, but you can select the correct one for specific pages, for example your ‘about me’ and ‘contact me’ pages.
If you have a recipe blog, you will also need a recipe plugin to generate the necessary structured data for recipes. I use (and highly recommend!) the WP Recipe Maker plugin* for my food blog, Easy Peasy Foodie.
6. Good page titles and meta descriptions
You should make sure that every page on your website has an appropriate title and meta description, but this is especially important for pages and posts which you would like to appear in your sitelinks. This is because Google will show the title of the page (and sometimes the meta description) for the sitelinks it chooses.
Most bloggers are quite good at selecting appropriate titles and filling in the meta descriptions for blog posts, but not always so good at doing this for pages. (Have you filled in the meta description for all of your pages?)
One area that is very often neglected is selecting appropriate titles and meta descriptions for category archives – and category archive pages often appear in sitelinks. Remember, whatever you name your category pages will be what shows up in your sitelinks. And don’t forget to add a meta description to all your categories, as this is likely to appear directly under the link on the search results page. Ideally Category archives should be fully optimized too.
7. Good general SEO practices
It is, of course, obvious that Google is more likely to trust your website and give it more space in search results if your blog is of high quality overall and follows all the SEO best practices. Google is not going to show sitelinks for poor quality, poorly optimized and spammy blogs.
This means that everything you do for your blog’s SEO will indirectly contribute to your blog getting a full sitelinks listing on the search results page.
If you want to improve all aspects of you SEO, including site structure, keyword research, writing SEO friendly blog posts, optimizing your blog posts, writing cornerstone content and improving your site speed, I recommend checking out my SEO course: SEO Jumpstart
SEO Jumpstart takes you step by step through everything you need to do to optimize your blog for search engines – not just to get sitelinks – but to grow your search engine traffic (these are the exact steps I took to grow my blog to over 1 million monthly pageviews!) and make good money from your blog.
How to change the links that appear under your site on Google
The specific sitelinks which appear under your website on Google are determined by Google’s algorithm, so you cannot manually change them, but there are a number of things you can do to influence what Google shows there.
Google’s sitelinks are the links Google thinks are most important. These are typically a mix of:
- Your most popular categories
- Posts/pages on your website which have the most links pointing to them
- Your most popular posts/pages
- Posts/pages which feature on your blog’s menu bars
- Posts/pages which feature on your blog’s homepage
If there are certain posts or pages which you would like Google to feature in your sitelinks, start by making sure those pages/posts are well written and well optimized for search engines. You should also make sure they have good titles and meta descriptions.
Next, ensure these posts/pages feature prominently on your blog: put them on your homepage and in your menu bars and make sure they have lots of internal links pointing TO them from other posts and pages on your blog.
And finally, where appropriate, promote those posts/pages to get more traffic to them. For example, promote them on social media, on Pinterest and to your email subscribers. (Obviously this won’t be appropriate in all circumstances!)
There are no guarantees here, but by following the steps above you will certainly have a greater chance of Google featuring the pages / posts you want to appear in your sitelinks.
How to remove sitelinks from Google
There used to be an option in Google Search Console where you could manually ‘demote’ sitelinks, by listing specific URLs you did not want Google to show in your sitelinks. Unfortunately, this option is no longer available.
While it is no longer possible to get something removed from your sitelinks by manually ‘demoting’ it in Google Search Console, you could certainly try to influence Google by following the opposite of my advice above. In other words, don’t feature that post/page on your homepage or in your menu bars and ensure it doesn’t have any links pointing to it. You could even go so far as to no-index that page.
However, I would tread very carefully with this approach, as everything you do to discourage Google from including a certain post or page in sitelinks will also make it less likely to rank for other, more relevant search queries in search engine results. So, unless it’s a post/page you really don’t want to rank well at all, I’d probably not do this. And if it is a post/page you don’t mind not ranking, I’d question why you want it on your blog at all and whether it might be better to simply delete it.
Over to you!
Have you done anything on your blog to improve your blog’s site links? Was it effective? Let me know in the comments below.
Or do you have any questions about sitelinks, or SEO in general? Feel free to ask your questions in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them!
- A beginner’s guide to SEO for bloggers
- How to optimize your blog’s site structure for SEO
- How to set up the Yoast SEO plugin PROPERLY!
- 17 SEO mistakes to avoid
- How to write the perfect blog post (for search engines AND your readers)
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