Something New for Google Sitelinks
You may have noticed additional links to interior pages of a website within the natural search results on Google, this is what Google refers to as Sitelinks. Some refer to them as Authority Links. Here is an example.
As of late, you will be seeing several significant changes to Google’s Sitelinks display within organic search results. Quick Background Sitelinks are identified by Google as highly relevant, leading websites. Their intention is to help users navigate a site through shortcuts. The result for meeting the criteria and getting such links result is enhanced website visibility and reputation. Sitelinks are mostly automated and based on different metrics, some of which include:
- Age of a website
- Age of the page(s)
- Site ranks first for the keyword(s)
- Quality and amount of incoming links
- High click-through rates to the website
- Search engine friendly/crawlable site
The anchor text used for the links is based on incoming links to the site/page, anchor text, on-site anchor text, and priority. More from Google's explanation of Sitelinks. The Change In the past Google more commonly used Sitelinks for branded terms, like a website name or company name. However, today we noticed more generic terms displaying Sitelinks for many different organic search results. Also one line of links is being displayed instead of the typical two or three at the bottom of a listing. With further investigation we also noticed that in some instances the first two listed websites had the authoritative links, instead of the typical one, while in other instances it was the third listing and not the prior ones.
It's been found that Google has recently been placing more importance on brands to help reduce the amount of spammy content online. Although Google’s intent may not have been to give more attention to authoritative sites, the byproduct could be seen as another example of a move to give more attention to legitimate online content from authoritative sources.