You may have noticed that Google is now displaying sitelinks for many of the sites that appear when conducting a direct search for a particular site, and if you’re lucky your site may be one of them. If you haven’t checked to see if your own site is now displaying sitelinks simply do a Google search and you’ll quickly see what Google displays, similar to the image below for the Weidert Group site.
Since sitelinks are automated by Google based on your link structure to help users navigate your site, you may not like the particular pages/sitelinks that Google is displaying for your site. Not to worry! Here’s some easy steps to take control of your sitelinks to ensure they’re working to fuel your inbound marketing and SEO efforts, and not working against you by putting emphasis on the wrong pages.
STEP 1: Create a Google Webmaster Tools Account
One of the many helpful tools that Google offers is Webmaster Tools, which is an extension of Google Analytics to further analyze and improve your site’s performance and visibility in Google serach results. Setting up an account is free and is a quick process, especially if you’re already using Google Analytics. This is your ticket to having control over which sitelinks appear for your site.
STEP 2: Review Current Sitelinks
If you’re happy with the current sitelinks that Google is displaying for your site you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll! If this is not the case, determine the current sitelinks you would prefer to remove and also think through any additional pages that you may not want to appear as a direct sitelink.
STEP 3: Demote Unwanted Sitelinks
Once you’re signed on with your own Webmaster Tools account and have verified you’re the site owner (which is much easier to do if you have an active Google Analytics account for your site) you can now begin managing your current sitelinks. The process of managing/demoting sitelinks goes as followed:
- From the Webmaster Tools home screen select your site URL at the bottom of the page under Sites
- Once you’ve reached your main dashboard select the Site Configuration link on the far left, and then select Sitelinks
- Now enter the exact page URL for the sitelinks that appear that you want to demote by entering them in the ‘Demote this sitelink URL‘ form field
- Since you’re more than likely demoting sitelinks that appear when someone searches your main home page, be sure to leave the top form field empty where it says ‘Leave empty when demoting a sitelink for your home page‘
Google allows you to demote up to 100 URLs, and demotions are effective for 90 days from your most recent visit to the sitelinks management page within your Webmaster Tools account. So, be sure to login periodically to avoid having all your demotions reset.