Google Site Links are here to stay!

Google site links favour established keyword-style brand names

Yesterday (or today still in the US), Google confirmed that the extended site links we have been seeing in brand related searches are here to stay, stating that it makes it even easier for searchers to get straight to the section of the website you are looking for.

While this is by and large a change for the good, it restricts competition for some highly competitive search terms on the basis of Google’s assumption that the searcher is looking for a specific brand – which is not always the case.

This is example below – a search for ‘good food guide’ presents the Australian Good Food Guide as the dominant search result, effectively condemning other aspiring food guide’s to be considered by Google searchers as being worthy of the ‘good’ moniker.

These new site links will impact on a significant number of SEO strategies

We looked at the massive site links in SERPs in greater detail last week but after seeing them disappear from search results, we attributed the new-look site links to a Google experiment or an immature algorithm, expecting that to be the end of it. With Google now officially announcing that these extended site links are here to stay, it presents a serious challenge for many online marketers – how to rank for key phrases that Google perceives to be strictly brand related?

Should internet marketers give up on this avenue of generating traffic – admit defeat because it’s a key phrase that closely relates to a competitor’s brand? What if months of SEO effort has gone into trying to rank high on the first page for that keyword? Should that effort be abandoned as a result of this change?

This change to SERPs is a pretty significant introduction and is no doubt going to encourage more businesses to use keyword-style brand names such ‘Cheap Flights Ltd’ or ‘5 Star Holiday Resorts Ltd’. Such a practice seems destined to command the top section of organic search results if recent trends continue, so it seems a genuine opportunity to quickly bypass competition.

Generally speaking, site links are a good idea. Multiple listings for a brand are presented in a cleaner format at the top of the search results page and it’s easier to get straight to the internal page you are after. However the examples we gave in our previous post, such as ‘budget car insurance’ and ‘budget car hire’, demonstrate that this new site links format is far from perfect. These results restrict competition and as a result inhibit consumer choice.

Contact today on how you may have to alter your SEO strategy to get the most out of Google’s recent changes.

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