How to Write for Google’s Expanded Site Links
Greetings to you! Today, Heather addresses how to write for Google’s expanded site links. Yes, you may have noticed that Google has made yet another change to its SERP (search engine results page). This change presents a fantastic opportunity: besides displaying expanded site links, Google is also displaying a little snippet from each of those links from the page’s meta description.
So now, rather than having just one or two links and corresponding meta description snippets to leverage, you’ve up to six via Google’s expanded search results. Tune is as Heather explains more about this newest SEO opportunity and how to take full advantage of it:
1. More SERP real estate – more opportunities
With the expansion of site links in Google’s search engine results comes that much more SERP real estate for site owners to fill out with meta descriptions (think marketing statements) for those links.
As shown by the Brookstone SERP example, there is little bit of information about each site link (“snippet”) included beneath the main site link. These snippets are pulled from the corresponding pages’ meta descriptions.
- Now, the meta description is even more important
2. Why? A comparison to illustrate: Starbuck’s vs. Seattle’s Best Coffee
Looking at the SERP for Starbuck’s, you can see that it has its sitelink optimization down, providing unique descriptions across their pages from its career center to its compelling product description.
On the other hand, looking at Seattle’s Best Coffee, you see that they have the same meta description across multiple pages: coffee, coffee locator, zip code, map it.
- So you can see how Google’s new way of displaying its search results provides a great opportunity for writing multiple, powerful marketing statements.
Granted you don’t have a lot of characters to work with – around 35’ish with spaces – but you can see what you can do to make those characters count, making your statement the best it can be for the user.
3. So what does this mean for you?
- Check your sitelinks – what do you see?
- Know that every page must have a unique meta description. If your pages don’t have a meta description, this is great opportunity.
- Google is displaying about 35’ish characters of the opening meta description text, so you need to write well and write tight.
- Adding keyphrases and calls to action is a great idea.
A great resource (which inspired this post) is by Adam Sherk: http://www.adamsherk.com/seo/google-expanded-sitelinks-optimization/.
As you pointed out the most important thing to focus on is the description. Many sites that aren’t properly optimized don’t take advantage of the description opportunities. In addition to helping the search engines, it can help visitors determine which page they should click on to get the most relevant information.
Absolutely, Nick! A well-written description serves both the visitor and your own SEO conversion goals. Great point, and thanks so much for your comment :)
Hi Laura and Heather,
VERY timely article. Thank you. I do SEO for my real estate sites and I notice this change particularly on subdivision sites where the builder has a site with numerous pages which show up in the expanded links. So the important thing to know is that those expanded links take up a lot of space above the fold, so higher ranking are more and more important. I wonder if anyone has done a test on how CTRs are going up on the interior pages with the new expanded links?
Ken, hi! You bring up an excellent question — that would make for a great and timely white paper. If we run across any data about it, we’ll be sure to add it to the post. Thanks so much for your great feedback!
Great post Heather & Laura!
I just started using expanded site links in some paid search campaigns. I’m hoping to have some data regarding which links & copy most increase CTR soon.