People have been seeing tests (really!) from this for the past few weeks, but Google has now made it official: there is a new way of showing sitelinks, and not just that: instead of the ‘old’ 8 links, we now get 12 sitelinks.
The change was announced on the Google Blog where they showed the evolution of sitelinks: from a single row to a set of 8 links, to 12 sitelinks with descriptions. The sitelinks now look a lot more like ‘regular’ links.
Here is an example of the sitelinks:
If you compare that to the ‘old’ version of sitelinks you’ll immediately see the difference. Sitelinks are now full-size links with a URL and one line of snippet text.
Like before you can ‘manage’ them in your Webmastertools. However, instead of ‘deleting’ sitelinks you think are not correct, you can now ‘demote’ any links you feel should not be there. You are then telling Google that specific sitelink should not be there. Google will take these requests in account when organizing the sitelinks. You can demote up to 100 URLs, and demotions are effective for 90 days.
Many marketeers and starting online marketers have asked about the sitelinks. “Can I have those?”. Sitelinks however are not for everybody. You can consider yourself ‘lucky’ if you have them as a website owner. Google only shows sitelinks when they feel it benefits the user. They won’t show them if they don’t understand the structure of your site or that they are irrelevant.
Sitelinks are automatically generated so if the sitelinks which are shown are not correct you cannot blame a person, but if there is someone to blame it could be yourself. The structure of your website in that case is not clear to Google, so you might want to look at that. The influence you have on the sitelinks is making sure your structure is right, looking at your internal links, and as Google says: “make sure you use anchor text and alt text that’s informative, compact, and avoids repetition.”
With the change in sitelinks lay out Google also made significant changes to their algorithm by combining sitelink ranking with regular result ranking to yield a higher-quality list of links. Google says:
“This reduces link duplication and creates a better organized search results page. Now, all results from the top-ranked site will be nested within the first result as sitelinks, and all results from other sites will appear below them. The number of sitelinks will also vary based on your query—for example, [museum of art nyc] shows more sitelinks than [the met] because we’re more certain you want results from www.metmuseum.org.”
The changes will be rolled out over the next few days so if you are not seeing them yet, try clearing you cache or simply be patient: they will be there soon.