Organic sitelinks are an important part of your SEO strategy. They give you additional opportunities to capture traffic from users who may not be interested in what your main search results have to offer.
Today I’ll go over what they look like, how exactly they benefit your site and what you can do to encourage Google to list them for you.
What are Organic Sitelinks?
Organic sitelinks are links that appear beneath the main listing for a website in Google's search results. They are designed to help users navigate to important pages on the website quickly and easily, improving the overall user experience.
These links provide additional information about the site and may include subheadings, contact details, reviews, and other helpful information.
Below is an example of a Google search for “Amazon.” Underneath the primary listing, which goes to Amazon’s homepage, you can see links to major sections of the site and (presumably) a list of the most visited pages. The fact that they are immediately listed in the search results removes a few steps for the user and simplifies their experience as they navigate the website.
Benefits of Organic Sitelinks
One of the main benefits of organic sitelinks is that they help improve your visibility in the search results; this is partly because your listing now takes up a significant portion of the search results page. It’s a bit of a cheat code to improve brand recognition.
Additionally, by making it easier for users to find what they're looking for on your site, you can help boost your conversion rates and retain more customers. Long story short, sitelinks help you:
- Build trust through enhanced brand recognition
- Increase conversions
- Increase click-through rates
- Provide greater value to site visitors and improve their search experience
How to Earn Sitelinks
The key word here is “earn.” That’s right, you can’t choose whether Google pulls sitelinks into your search results; they are generated by Google’s ever-changing algorithms. However, you can influence Google to display them.
It sounds like a bit of a gamble, but regardless of whether you get sitelinks out of your efforts, you will still be making valuable improvements to your site. To increase your chances of earning sitelinks, you can:
- Optimize your site content
- Refine your site structure
- Implement structured data
- Submit your sitemap
1. Optimize Your Site Content
To create organic sitelinks, you should consider optimizing your site content. This includes using relevant keywords and creating engaging, authoritative content that will encourage users to engage with and share your site.
Start by reviewing your internal linking practices. Are you linking to words like “click here,” or are you getting more specific with your hyperlinked text? The more specific your hyperlinks are, the better! You should also add ALT tags (also known as ALT text) to your images to help crawlers figure out what each image contains.
If your focus is a blog site, consider adding a table of contents to each post! These add a good amount of context for crawlers, not to mention that SEO-optimized blogs are also more reader-friendly.
2. Refine Your Site Structure
Think about how your website is put together. Every website has some sort of hierarchy, and how you group and categorize your content can affect how Google “reads” it. This article on flat versus deep website hierarchies does a great job explaining how you can organize information on your site.
The below visual is also an excellent example.
Image source: NNGroup
On the left is an example of a flat site hierarchy. It features numerous major categories and just a few vertical levels. On the right is an example of a deep site hierarchy. It has the same quantity of information as the flat version but is organized into a greater number of sublevels.
There are several benefits and pitfalls to each hierarchy type, but the overarching lesson when it comes to earning sitelinks is that your site organization must be logical and easy to follow. Avoid overlapping concepts or multiple avenues to find the same information and ensure your site’s navigation is specific and coherent.
A clear organization benefits both the user and the search engines that crawl your site to learn what information, products or resources you have to offer.
3. Use Structured Data
Structured data markup is another way to help Google understand your site and its contents. Have you noticed a trend yet? All of these tips have to do with assisting Google in making sense of your website.
Structured data accomplishes this by essentially labeling each piece of content on your site in a way that Google understands. Because these labels are standardized, web crawlers get a leg up when “reading” your content.
4. Submit Your Sitemap
A sitemap is a file that contains all the URLs on your website. It’s like an organizational map or table of contents for your site that helps search engine crawlers index your content more effectively. You can submit your sitemap to Google using the Search Console tool.
Organic Sitelinks Aren’t a Guarantee.
While the above measures can help improve your odds, Google still has the final say. But even if you don’t end up with sitelinks, these optimization and organization efforts will go a long way to garner more organic traffic and boost your overall rankings.
Teaming up with an expert who understands the nuances of SEO can be a game-changer. If you want someone in your corner, chat with one of our team members about SEO services for your business!