Google’s New Tabbed Sitelinks

There have been reports of a Google sitelink addition that adds tabular mega sitelinks. Google has been gently testing these new features of sitelinks based on categories within the site. They have done a great job of implementing a great useful look to them. And it again provides the easiest route to relevant links to your search.  Here is what the new layout looks like:

Old layout:

Google has confirmed that this as a test so the look could change, as well as functionality too.

The new tabbed layout provides from five to nine tabs, featuring both branded websites as well as sitelinks. This will be helpful to content-heavy websites. Currently brand listings consist of up to six sitelinks, excluding the standard link to the site’s homepage.

Within the possible five to nine tabs, they could contain between four to thirteen sitelinks. This means the number of linked pages appearing in the SERPs would increase drastically. This also will impact the brand traffic analytics in many ways.

Here is an example of SEOMoz’s tabbed sitelink. As you can see the blog’s text snippet is pulled from the page’s meta description. This doesn’t always happen this way though. You can see the tab consists of a link to the main blog, link to the Rand’s post 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic, link to YouMoz, and a link to the second page of the main blog.

Image source: SEOmoz

Google’s intent is to reduce the amount of time it takes users to get to popular deep pages. This in addition to personalized location-based store results and knowledge graph brings an extra degree of ease to the search process.

The bounce rate on pages appearing in the sitelinks will increase and at the same time, sitelinks should drive high quality traffic, most likely with high engagement and conversion as more users will be able to quickly land on the page they need. This will shift a great deal of traffic from the homepage to other pages on a site. Basically, taking A out of the steps of A, B, then C to get to a page. It will also decrease the average time on page/site. When a user is enable to visit just one page then they leave it will be shown as zero. You should pay more attention to the dwell time than average time on page/site.

This will lead to new strategic decisions in terms of information architecture, internal linking, content structure, and the number of deeper pages operating as entry points to the site will increase.

According to Barry Schwartz and others “We’re not seeing a direct correlation between structured data formats (including schema, RDFa, and Microformats) and the tabulated results yet, although it does seem tied directly to the main navigation of a page. And although Google has stated that meta descriptions are not a ranking factor, they play an important part in helping users make sense of the new tabulated mega sitelinks.”

Expect to see the update roll out to big brands and large e-commerce sites for now (though Amazon’s sitelinks haven’t changed yet). To brush up on your best practices for sitelinks be sure to follow these steps.

– Make sure your meta descriptions are SEO friendly. They aren’t a ranking factor but they are a conversion-generating tool. Write with sitelinks in mind.
– Make your top navigation text crawl-able. Does this accurately describe the content in each section?
– Pay attention to rich data. There isn’t exactly a connection yet but it can only help you stay ahead of the game for future updates. This feature may become more advanced and rich data may play a larger role in sitelinks. You should try out for this.

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Eric Wagner

Eric is a CEO with a background in marketing and search engine optimization specialist (SEO). In his free time, Eric enjoys exercise, gardening, technology, a good book, and spending time with family and friends.

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