Can you Edit Organic Sitelinks on Google?

Editing Organic Sitelink Blog-min

We receive a common question from our clients: how can you control the sitelinks that show up on Google’s search results? For example, this question pops up when a client Googles their company name or a brand keyword and sees a search result highlighting links to other pages on their site in addition to the primary page (see the example screenshot below). What’s highlighted in yellow are the organic sitelinks.


Unfortunately, sitelinks are an automated Google feature that can’t be edited or changed like a web page’s title tag or meta description tag. We’ve seen our clients get frustrated that you can’t instantly change the organic sitelinks. For example, if an employee leaves, the company doesn’t want this person’s information to populate in a prominent position in the organic search results.

While there isn’t a quick fix to choose which organic sitelinks appear, there are some solutions we present to our clients for improving how your website shows up on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

If you don’t like the organic sitelinks Google is showing, you can combat this with a paid Google search ad campaign. When creating a Google Ad campaign, you have significantly more control over the presentation of your ad, including the link text and pages selected for your sitelink extensions.

Changing sitelinks can play an important role beyond business style preferences and vanity. Optimizing your paid ad sitelink extensions can provide quick access to important content and pages useful for improving conversions and sales. As a bonus, this approach takes up more space on the search results page, pushing other websites and competitors lower and forcing searchers to scroll further to find them (see the example screenshot below). The advertisement has sitelinks for Meet the Team, Reviews, Success Stories, etc. This populates ahead of the organic placement for our agency.


 

This solution does require a continuous PPC (pay-per-click) ad campaign budget, but The Media Captain team can manage the campaign so that you’re optimizing your ad spend and only bidding on clicks that matter to your business. It should also be noted that the average cost per click for branded is relatively low compared to non-branded.

Content Tweaks

While you can’t directly change the organic sitelinks shown, you can pinpoint the current pages displayed and change the titles, capitalization, formatting, content, schema, and structured data markup. These updates to the page will likely trigger Google to refresh the sitelink details the next time that page is crawled and reindexed.

With that said, none of the sitelink organic solutions are an immediate or guaranteed way to update the organic sitelinks; you are still at the whim of Google’s algorithm.

Site Structure & Internal Linking

The best way to help Google understand which pages should be highlighted with sitelinks is to optimize the website’s URL structure and page hierarchy. Following site architecture best practices can significantly influence how Google understands which sitelinks will be most valuable for helping users navigate your website. Utilizing effective internal linking with informative anchor text and a consistent URL structure further emphasizes the priority content within your website.

This solution does require a continuous PPC (pay-per-click) ad campaign budget, but The Media Captain team can manage the campaign so that you’re optimizing your ad spend and only bidding on clicks that matter to your business. It should also be noted that the average cost per click for branded is relatively low compared to non-branded.

Content Tweaks

While you can’t directly change the organic sitelinks shown, you can pinpoint the current pages displayed and change the titles, capitalization, formatting, content, schema, and structured data markup. These updates to the page will likely trigger Google to refresh the sitelink details the next time that page is crawled and reindexed.

With that said, none of the sitelink organic solutions are an immediate or guaranteed way to update the organic sitelinks; you are still at the whim of Google’s algorithm.

Don’t Show Search Results

The fourth solution is typically not recommended and should only be used for a page needed on the site that doesn’t provide any value for users clicking from a Google search. This last resort uses a “noindex” tag to prevent a page from showing up at all on search engines. Therefore, while users can still find the page via direct links and internal navigation, it will no longer be included in Google’s organic search results or sitelinks. Pages can easily be noindexed if you have Yoast SEO installed on your site.

Final Thoughts

There are a variety of reasons why someone may prefer to change a website’s sitelinks:

• An irrelevant page is appearing
• To highlight a product page or sales funnel page
• Improving navigation to deeper parts of the website
• Fixing inconsistent link titles or formatting
• And more

Regardless of the reason, many websites want to control the sitelink pages highlighted on the search results. Unfortunately, since October 2016, Google does not offer a method for websites to directly edit or modify the sitelinks that appear on SERP listings. Refer back to the solutions listed above for the best ways to manage organic sitelinks.

While Google’s algorithms are a secret, they occasionally offer some insight into their workings, such as the brief Google Search Webmaster article on sitelinks. It is then up to SEO experts, like The Media Captain team, to interpret, research, and experiment to fully understand the SEO techniques that will help our clients dominate the top rankings on Google.

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