Sitelinks are an automated Google feature that can’t be edited or changed like a web page’s title tag or meta description tag. You can edit sitelinks within Google Ads, but you cannot edit organic sitelinks.
There are ways to structure your website to help increase a page’s chances of populating within the organic sitelinks. I will dive into this later in the blog.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Organic Sitelinks?
- 2 Frustration with Organic Sitelinks
- 3 How Google Determines What Populates Within Sitelinks
- 4 How to Try to Manipulate What Pages Populate within Organic Sitelinks
- 5 Other Alternatives for Organic Sitelinks
- 6 Final Thoughts
When you conduct a branded search for your business, some pages populate underneath the primary organic listing, driving people to other key pages. These are known as organic sitelinks. Google tries to find relevant pages outside the homepage to provide a better overall search experience.
If an employee leaves a company, the business doesn’t want this person’s information to populate in a prominent position for a branded search. Of course, you can delete the page associated with this person or redirect the page, but this does not guarantee that Google won’t show the organic sitelink for an extended period.
Related Blog: Should You Bid on Branded Keyword?
Example Showcasing Frustration
Below is an example of a client who was frustrated that the last name of the founding attorney was not capitalized. Despite going into the website and adjusting the title tag and heading, the organic sitelink continued to populate with the capitalization errors for quite some time. In an ideal situation, the client could edit what would populate in the organic sitelink. Since you can’t modify this, it led to a frustrated client and poor representation of their firm.
If you analyze Google Analytics, there’s a strong chance the pages that are populating as the organic sitelinks are some of the most visited pages on your site or pages that are prominently displayed within your main navigation.
For The Media Captain, our About, Careers, Meet The Team, and Service pages appear as the organic sitelink.
I was surprised to see our careers page populating as an organic sitelink. I haven’t paid much attention to this page since I post jobs and hire directly on Indeed.com. When I looked at Google Analytics, this was one of the most highly trafficked pages on our site, which made sense as to why Google would showcase this.
- If you want a specific page on your site to populate in the organic sitelinks, try adding the page to your main navigation. Google emphasizes pages they can scan directly in the main navigation as it’s visible across all pages.
- From a user experience perspective, determine how to drive more traffic to the page you’d like to populate as an organic sitelink.
- Internal linking helps Google better prioritize essential pages on your site. If many people go to a specific page based on their clicking on internal links, this indicates to Google that this page is essential.
- Keep in mind there’s no guarantee by making the changes referenced above; you will populate in the organic sitelinks.
While you can’t directly edit or change an organic sitelink, you can modify the information on the page that’s pulling in as an organic sitelink, prompting Google to pull in more up-to-date, accurate information.
Below is information that can be modified on a page that will have a direct correlation to what pulls in as an organic sitelink:
- Title Tag
- Structured data markup
Returning to the example of Schiff Law Firm, we got the sitelink to change with the proper capitalization by changing the capitalization on the founding attorney’s page.
Below is an example of a branded PPC advertisement for The Media Captain with sitelinks. While the sitelinks look very similar to an organic sitelink, you can see “Sponsored” above the URL and headline, which means it’s a paid advertisement.
Paid advertisements appear ahead of the organic listing, meaning your paid sitelinks would be the first sitelink people would see when searching for your brand, if you were to run a branded PPC advertisement.
Our paid ad sitelinks incorporate “Reviews” and “Success Stories,” which differ from organic sitelinks.
No Index / Don’t Show Search Results
- If you don’t want a page to populate as an organic sitelink, you can always “noindex” the page to prevent it from appearing in search results. Pages can easily be noindexed if you have Yoast SEO installed on your site.
- If a page has no relevance and doesn’t need to be on your site and appears as an organic sitelink, you can delete the page if it has no value.
There are a variety of reasons why someone may prefer to change the organic sitelinks on your website:
- Non-relevant page is populating as an organic sitelink.
- Important page on your site that should be associated with your branded search is not populating as an organic sitelink.
- There are inconsistencies with the link titles or formatting of an organic sitelink.
- And more
While you can’t control or edit organic sitelinks, some tactics can improve your chances of the pages appearing as a sitelink.