What are Site Links?

Site links are the useful additional links that you sometimes see as part of your search results. In the vast majority of cases, your sitelinks will appear through branded search terms (i.e people typing in your brand name). For example, when you Google ‘Yellowball’ you not only see the link to our homepage but also links to inner pages on the site:

Screenshot of Yellowball Sitelinks

Why are they useful for SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation is not just about being top of Google (read more here). In fact, truly valuable SEO is about providing an ROI for clients, or yourself, which usually refers to an increase in enquiries for your product or service. In turn, this increase in enquiries should provide more conversions and therefore increased revenue over and above the investment in SEO – whether that be time, money or resource.

Therefore, if you consider the main objective of an SEO campaign to be increased conversions, a great campaign should take into account more than just content, links and rankings. You should be addressing all aspects of the user journey and sales funnel, from researching via search engines through to the purchasing decision and beyond. Sitelinks affect the way your website is displayed in the SERPs and as such should be considered an influencing factor in the user journey.

They're Great for Click Through Rates

Whilst sitelinks usually only appear for branded or navigational search terms they can still be highly useful for improving click through rates. They provide the user with additional options for your site, with the ability for users to click directly through to internal pages that may be of more value to them than the homepage. There are a number of other reasons as to why sitelinks can help with CTR:

Assumed Authority

People trust Google to provide them with the most valuable and relevant result for their search term. Users do not just click on the results at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) because they do not want to trawl through pages of results (this is a large factor), they also trust that Google is providing them with the best results at the top. The user assumes (or presumes, depending how pedantic you want to be) that the result at the top of the page is the best one for them. This assumed authority of a website at the top of search results is therefore increased if Google is providing the searcher with what is essentially an expanded result, with multiple click through options. It is a method of further improving your authority with the searcher.

Less Visibility for other Search Results

Sitelinks take up more real estate on the SERP. As you can see from the screenshot above, the user can now only see one other result above the fold whereas in normal searches they are able to see 4-5 results. Yes this argument is somewhat weakened by the fact that sitelinks usually only appear for branded or navigational searches and as such the user is likely to be looking for your website anyway. However, should you have a brand name that could also be considered a transactional search term, gaining sitelinks can push your competitors down the search results and out of sight.

Reduced User Journeys

Sitelinks were designed by Google to display more useful information to the user. Again it all comes down to relevance and value. There are instances where you may want the searcher to click directly on a sitelink. For example, if you are a business like ours where we offer multiple services, a searcher may have entered a branded search term in order to find our website, but may only be looking for a website design. As such, the sitelink enables them to click straight through to that page, focussing their intent and reducing their user journey. They can navigate straight to the content that they are really looking for!

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