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Google Sitelinks: How Google Calculates Sitelinks? How You Can Modify Them?

Google has a beautiful feature not present in other major search engines—sitelinks. If you search for a popular website through Google, along with the site URL and description, Google also shows some internal links from the site and optionally also a search box, which searches within the site. These links are called Google sitelinks. Google calculates which pages to be included as sitelinks automatically. At least three pages are shown as sitelinks in search results.
Google Sitelinks

Here we will see how you can have sitelinks and how you can modify which one to show and which one not to.

How Does Google Find Relevant Sitelinks

In order to find how Google finds which links to be rated as relevant sitelinks, I unleashed an experiment. First, I went to Google Webmaster Tools to see if I have any recognized sitelinks (to know how, read below). From Webmaster Tools, you can find if any sitelinks are recognized for your site. The site should be fairly old and content rich to get some sitelinks approved. I found that the following pages are recognized as sitelinks for CuteWriting:

I tried to find out the specialty of these pages.

Page Traffic?

First I fired up Google Analytics and checked the traffic on these pages. I have more than 60 per cent of my traffic coming from Google search. I had a feeling that high traffic pages may be included as sitelinks. But the findings show otherwise:

The page on wordiness is in 6th position in traffic. QWERTY keyboard typing guide is 20th, Dialog attribution post is 44th, Tips to write dialogs is 75th, and similes and metaphors post is at an awful 137th position.

So, the fact is that none of the top-trafficked pages are included as sitelinks. The pages recognized have a widespread traffic pattern. The conclusion is traffic has nothing to do with sitelink recognition.

Links In?

Has incoming links anything to do with sitelink recognition? I analyzed the recognized sitelink pages to see if they have any incoming links. I found that except one or two of them, they don’t have any incoming link from any external blog. Some pages have one or two other pages in CuteWriting linking into them. But most don’t have any exceptional number of inlinks. Most are not even submitted to the social media sites. There are pages, which have more inlinks than they do do that are not recognized as sitelinks.

So conclusion is that the incoming links don’t have anything to do with sitelink recognition.

Sitewide Links?

Then I checked for the sitewide links to see if there is a connection. A conjecture is that the accessibility of a page from the home page may help it be recognized as a sitelink. Sitewide links are those, which can be accessed from any page on the site. You will see the top tabs on my home page with links like ‘Contribute’, ‘Usage Disclaimer’ etc. These are sitewide links. Also there is the ‘Featured Posts’ widget on the sidebar, which constitutes another list of sitewide links.

I checked to see if any of these links have anything to do with sitelinks. First of all, the top tab links, ‘contribute’ or ‘usage policy’ are not recognized as sitelinks. None of the current featured posts is recognized as sitelinks.

I checked to see how CuteWriting looked a few days ago, before the most recent changes in featured links section. I saw that three of the sitelinks were present in that list: QWERTY article, Killer dialogs, and dialog attribution. Still, there are other links in that list that are not recognized as sitelinks.

The conclusion is that the sitewide links may not affect sitelink recognition at all.

How Google Recognizes Sitelinks Then?

If you check to see my sitelinks, you will see that all of them are related to the general topic of my blog—writing / creative writing. However, there are other more popular pages in the creative writing category that are not recognized as sitelinks. The sitelink recognition algorithm is highly secretive just as the general search algorithm. People have conjectured quite a bit about this.

However, what we assume is pages with quite a bit of traffic, reasonable number of inlinks, and high relevance to the niche of the site, etc., are good candidates for sitelinks.

Regulating Your Sitelinks

You may have sitelinks recognized if your blog is popular enough. As I mentioned in an earlier post, an account in Google Webmaster Tools is inevitable for any webmaster. If you have sitelinks, you will be able to see them on Webmaster Tools before they will ever appear on actual Google search results.

Go to Google Webmaster Tools->Go to the website profile->Links->Sitelinks

Now, if you believe that any of these sitelinks are not relevant enough, just click the ‘block’ button and give a cause and comment to remove the recognized link as sitelink.


Getting recognized sitelinks is a step of growth of your blog. So, regulate the content you publish, get good incoming links, and more importantly, stay focused on the topic of your blog.

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008


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