Let’s start with Google sitelinks. What are they? Have you ever Googled yourself to see what you appear like? Not how rank, but how your site looks visually in the search results page.
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Google Sitelinks are an important factor to determine what’s happening with your presence on the search engine. To be clear, these are not the sitelinks in Google Ads; these are sitelinks in organic search results.
What Google sitelinks look like
Google only shows sitelinks for results if they are useful to your users. They appear in the search engine results page (SERP) below the main search result. they typically appear after performing a “branded search”.
1 – your page title, 2 – site links
Depending on your website’s configuration, then it will not allow the search engine to find good sitelinks to show. Or Google doesn’t think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query.
To improve both these links showing up and the quality of your sitelinks – work on internal linking of your content, and it’s quality.
Sitelinks can be a telltale sign of how your website is performing. As in, what content is important to your website visitors (those you want and maybe not). But it can also tell you what you may not want to be important to your brand that you are communicating.
Why are sitelinks good for my results?
For starters Google sitelinks are amazing. Take a look at how much real estate you are taking up on the SERP. This gives the SERP to be more about you and pushes down results that are not as clean.
They can improve your Click Thru Rate (CTR) on your results boosting your page rankings. CTR is an important factor in SEO (one of about 200).
Sitelinks are Google search features, one of which Google has been adding over the years to the SERP. The tradeoff with these “features” is that more real estate is given to Google features and less to you to place on the SERP.
Other Google features
Paid ads, featured snippets, image carousels, job packs, knowledge graph results, local packs, news carousels, ask boxes, related searches, shopping, sitelinks, and video carousels.
A Featured Snippet in the Google SERP – position 0
Internal content links
Once you get to writing awesome content to start linking up to other articles and pages on your site.
Even give credit to sites you are referencing in your content by linking to them. They may link back! Plus, it’s just goodwill and gives the original author proper credit for the quotes you’ve added to your website.
Sadly, much of the content being published is simply not worth linking to. 75% of it is getting zero inbound links. So forget the “more is better” approach to content if you want links. Go with quality instead. Your content will generate links only if it is truly exceptional— “remarkable,” as Seth Godin would say.”
– Brian Sutter, Forbes.com
Check your links on the SERP
Next in your search bar in Google or any search engine type:
site:domain.com exactly as that using your domain, no http or slashes.
Doing this you’ll see exactly what pages are indexed on your site. The count will be in the upper left of the pages (and posts) you have on the index. If pages are showing up, then you have a problem with your sitemap.xml or robots.txt files.
Audit internal links
If you have multiple pages on your site you should check your click depth. If there are more than three clicks to get to your content, you should revise to reduce this. Next, check for broken links, redirects (301’s and 410’s), and then fix those broken links (404’s). Also, you should not have more than 25% of your site containing 301 redirects.
While nothing I’ve found has shown that 404’s are bad for SEO, having too many is. This leads to users having a bad experience on your website. Which is what Google RankBrain can demote you on the SERP – in theory as Google has never stated what RankBrain does, but many can infer this is a part of it’s function.
Update your sitemap
Your website’s sitemap is critical to keep updated as you create more content to publish. The sitemap tells Google crawlers what page you want indexed. Without a sitemap.xml on your sites has less of a chance to improve it’s SEO since you are not in control of what is indexed or not.
Submit your pages for indexing
Indexing is your pages on the search engine results page (SERP). It’s simply adding pages to the SERP for search. How your website is constructed matters as much as how you have added content to the pages via the editor. So if you do not use, have, or manage a Google Console account, fix that.
Backlinks from quality sources (websites)
One key to improving SEO is quality backlinks. Backlinks are like a vote “yes” to your website and the content you are publishing.
Years ago you could buy backlinks, but then Google realized that website owners were “gaming” the system to rank higher in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Now Google penalizes you, or removes you from the SERP for that practice.
Today a backlink that isn’t high quality can be considered to be toxic, therefore pull you down with it. If you’re paying for monthly SEO services, monitoring of backlinks is included and prevents this toxicity by disavowing those bad votes you don’t want.