What Are Sitelinks And How Can I get Them?

Gary Green
Gary Green
April 18, 2023

There are many dynamics that influence what will appear on the Google SERPs, but with visual results, text results, exploration features and rich elements all included in the mix, it isn’t surprising that the more SERPs real estate you own, the greater your chance of getting the traffic to your website that you need. 

However, there is an aspect of SERPs that is often overlooked but that can give you a great opportunity to boost your visibility – sitelinks. 

Sitelinks – An Overview

A sitelink is an additional link or navigational element for a particular domain or website that appears with an ad or text result in the SERPs. Thanks to their navigational nature, they enable searchers to view more ways of clicking onto your website.

Today, there is a strong emphasis on both user experience and user engagement as well as on context-focused SEO, and with this in mind, sitelinks represent a great way of not only owning more online real estate, but of also getting more clicks and getting users to stick around once they’ve landed on your website.

During organic searches, the Google algorithm will only show sitelinks for webpages that it believes will be useful and relevant for the user. A key benefit that comes with sitelinks is their ability to boost your click-through-rate since the give text results more real estate on the SERPs, pushing down the other results out of sight of the searcher.

Sitelinks boost internal pages’ visibility, which means that underperforming webpages may see an improvement in their traffic when they appear as a sitelink on a more popular page.

While having more sitelinks with paid ads and organic results is a vital opportunity for brands, it is all too often overlooked. Yet sitelinks can form a key part of maximising your positive search engine rankings, giving searchers even more quality opportunities.

Are There Different Kinds Of Sitelinks? 

There are multiple kinds of commonly-used sitelinks. These include: 

  • Expanded sitelink groups.
  • Inline sitelinks.
  • Paid sitelinks.
  • Search box.

What Are Inline Sitelinks?

An inline sitelink will usually be shown as 5 links displayed horizontally in a row underneath the primary search results.

What Are Expanded Sitelinks?

One of the most common types of sitelink is the expanded sitelink, which takes up the largest amount of SERPs real estate, appearing in the form of a list beneath the organic or primary text result. Expanded sitelinks include descriptions that may be taken from the text or meta description that Google selects that is most relevant to a user’s search.

What Are Search Box Sitelinks?

Search box sitelinks are concise search boxes that appear beneath a primary text result allowing users to directly access your website’s search engine.

What Are Paid Sitelinks?

Paid sitelinks are tied to adverts and that means they are highly controllable by website owners. It is possible to create and add sitelinks to any relevant ad groups and campaigns and thus appear beneath the primary copy and text ad links. 

While these are the most common kinds of sitelinks, there are some other kinds too, although they are less frequently seen and are typically only short-lived. Swipeable, horizontal sitelinks carousels are one type that was once popular but now is rarely seen.

How Do I Get Sitelinks?

Unfortunately, there isn’t any way of telling Google to delete, show, or add sitelinks directly. There are, however, some specific ways in which you can implement best practices in order to attempt to obtain them and indirectly manage them.

Best Practices For Text Link Sitelinks

In terms of organic opportunities, some of the best practices for obtaining sitelinks beneath text results begin with using relevant, concise, and informative headings and page titles on your site. Furthermore, you need to develop a structure for your site that both bots and users can navigate efficiently. 

Doing this means ensuring that the most relevant and important pages have links to them from the webpage. Using breadcrumbs also helps Google to understand the structure of the site, its overall hierarchy and the relationship that exists between its pages. Finally, relevant and concise anchor link texts are also essential.

Other Types Of Sitelinks

When you advertise via Google Ads, it’s possible to easily obtain sitelinks by adding them into your campaigns and ad groups. A helpful and appealing tool for your website is the sitelinks search box. In order for sitelinks search boxes to appear with your text results, it’s essential to have a high-performing search engine on your own website directing user queries to your search result page. 

Also, you need to add WebSite structure data onto your homepage to define the SearchAction.

How Do I Remove Sitelinks Search Boxes?

If you need to remove sitelinks search boxes from your website, all you need to do is add the following meta tag onto your home page: 

<meta name="google" content="nositelinkssearchbox">

Managing Sitelinks

If you find that an unwanted webpage is shown as one of your sitelinks, you should consider whether the webpage should be indexed at all. If it needs to be indexed however it has no relevant to the webpage in the results, you should think again about how it’s linked to on your webpage.

Physical linking and indexing gives you a degree of control over removing pages from your sitelinks when they aren’t relevant or don’t belong.

At one time, Google Webmaster Tools had tools that enabled the removal of certain sitelinks however those controls have now been removed. That means your best option today is to manage the links that are on your website as well as how they’re presented to search engines and users.

The Importance Of Sitelinks

One of the top goals for SEO centres around owning the maximum amount of SERPs real estate so that you can gain the maximum number of clicks and visitors to your website. Since there are many competing kinds of SERPs non-organic content, having as much control and visibility as possible is vital. Sitelinks give you that larger space, pulling users into your website’s deeper links and giving searchers more content before entering your site.

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