Control your branding on Google

| Web design

Control your branding on Google

You may have noticed lately that Brand based searches on Google have changed on the search engine results page. Now you will see extra links to your website have been added underneath your homepage link.

These additional links are called ‘sitelinks’ and though they have been around for a while now, you may have noticed a slight change in them recently. The links previously were small and just included the title of the page, now they have expanded including up to 10 additional links, are larger in font and contain both page title and description (though you are limited to less characters).

Has Google Messed up your brand results?  

The change on the search engine results page for brand based searches gives the brand a lot more coverage and text. Which is generally good as your brand will now dominate the ‘above the fold’ section of the search results.

But it’s not all good news, the link (title tag) and the description of all the extra links are a bit shorter than we are used to, meaning it can be a little more difficult to get across the message. Also what most estate agents are concerned with is you don’t control which links appear in the results. Google picks what links they think are most relevant.

In many cases Google haven’t picked the pages you would most like to appear in the search of your brand. Google have chosen these links/pages by what they think are most relevant to the users, based on their algorithm.

You do actually have some control!

With this you aren’t offered complete control of what links appear in the search results page but Google have given you the option to request which links you don’t want to appear through Webmaster tools.   

Once you’ve submitted your request, Google will then remove those pages from the sitelinks for 90 days. Keep in mind Google may not remove the links immediately.

This isn’t ideal for most estate agents as you will have to keep an eye on things and manage your webmaster tools more than you usually do.

Will demoting links from the sitelinks have an impact on the page’s regular rankings?

You may be thinking if I remove a page from my sitelinks, Google will think that page isn’t important to my website so will lower its rankings on the normal search listing... but don’t worry requesting links to be removed won’t have any effect on Google’s usual listings. You are simply letting Google know you want a specific page remove just from the sitelinks and nothing else.

How should you go about changing your sitelinks?

First you should review your sitelinks and figure out which links you don’t want to show. This can be anything from an old listing to an old blog post...

Next, reconsider your page titles and descriptions. This is something you will have to do with caution as changing page titles will have an impact on that pages search rankings.

Get the most out of the sitelinks:

  1. Try to make page titles 25 characters or less where possible.
  2. Keep the most important words at the start of your page titles.
  3. Keep the most important words at the start of your descriptions.

This week we have covered what sitelinks are and how to change them to benefit your business, next week we will review why Google have made this change to the search engine results page.

SEO Consultant