Google Sitelinks Explained and How Webmasters Can Change Them

The links shown below some sites in Google search results, called sitelinks, are meant to help users navigate your site. Google generates these sitelinks periodically from your site’s contents.

You can see an example below showing Google search results containing sitelinks when people search for my name “Neerav Bhatt”.

Sitelinks for www.bhatt.id.au

The idea is that Google’s systems analyse the link structure of your site to find shortcuts that will save users time and allow them to quickly find the information they’re looking for.

Sitelinks are completely automated and Google only shows them if they think they’ll be useful to the person searching, I have no idea how they determine this but at the moment Sitelinks tend to appear more often for name searches eg: Names of people, locations, companies etc and are also more likely to appear for popular websites.

Webmasters can view and influence potential sitelinks for their site and block the ones they don’t want to appear in Google search results by using Google Webmaster Tools.

To view and manage your sitelinks, go to the Webmaster Tools Dashboard and click the site you want. In the left menu click Links, then click Sitelinks.

Sitelinks Webmaster Tools

Occasionally you might want to exclude a page from your sitelinks, for example: a page that has become outdated or unavailable, or a page that contains information you don’t want emphasized to users. Once you block a page, it won’t appear as a sitelink for 90 days unless you choose to unblock it sooner. Note: it may take a week or so to remove a page from your sitelinks.

I can’t see why they limit blocking to 90 days per link, it should be up to the webmaster to choose to block a page from appearing in sitelinks forever. At present you might have to re-block it again after 90 days.

Because Google generates sitelinks dynamically, the list can change from time to time and sometimes disappear altogether.

12 thoughts on “Google Sitelinks Explained and How Webmasters Can Change Them”

  1. Thank you Neerav,

    This is a very interesting post. I had no idea that webmasters had ANY control of ‘their own’ sitelinks.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  2. That’s good that others think this is something helpful. Personally, it annoys me. I’m sure it is an attempt to be more user friendly, but on principle I HATE something second-guessing me. I read a blog just the other day where the author must feel the same way. It mentioned the author typing in random keywords for no other purpose than to throw off Google. I agree!!

  3. Great post. I knew sitelinks were automated and I’ve been able to get the ones I want to appear in the results before, but I didn’t know you could get much deeper than that.

  4. I only have 7 site links showing, the one I blocked is a 404 page. I am in the process of removing that page through the webmasterpanel right now. Once google kills the page I am thinking about unblocking the site link to see what happens.

  5. I have tried demoting URLs through the WMT and changing the priority of pages in the XML sitemap (I was just hoping this does something) but nothing seems to affect the sitelinks. The sitelinks I”d like removed are staff pages which do not have any value in terms of user experience, I have a lot of other useful URLs with a high numbers of visitors but they don’t make it to the sitelink. Any idea?

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