Google continuously innovates with the goal to make search more efficient. The most recent innovation is the expansion and improvement of sitelinks. Google recently announced on its blog, “Sitelinks will now be full-size links with a URL and one line of snippet text—similar to regular results—making it even easier to find the section of the site you want.” Google additionally upped the maximum number of sitelinks from eight to twelve. This allows for top-ranked sites to dominate the natural SERP above the fold, especially for brand queries. Not surprisingly, brand searches are currently more likely to yield the new sitelinks—because branded search greatly exposes searcher intent.
Take Nike for example. When searching “Nike Shoes,” a twelve pack of sitelinks appears below the top natural listing, allowing searchers to jump to the most relevant area of the site:
For searchers, sitelinks:
For brands/companies, sitelinks:
The new sitelinks are great for your brand—that is, as long as you’re ranking number one for the query. And—although the new sitelinks are most visible for brand queries—we’ve seen the sitelinks appear for generic queries. For instance, MLB.com beats out other sites like Yahoo.com for “al east standings” and scores page domination through the new sitelinks:
Brands that don’t achieve top ranking will have to be more aggressive in paid search to ensure that they don’t get overlooked.