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Mega Sitelinks - everybody can see big sitelinks now
suzukik




msg:4349308
 5:29 am on Aug 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

We've seen Google testing big sitelinks many times so far. It seems official now (or rolling out gradually). It's so huge that it occupies above the fold.

Screenshot [picasaweb.google.com]

[insidesearch.blogspot.com...]

Sitelinks will now be full-size links with a URL and one line of snippet text—similar to regular results—making it even easier to find the section of the site you want. We’re also increasing the maximum number of sitelinks per query from eight to 12.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 11:52 pm (utc) on Aug 16, 2011]
[edit reason] added link to new google blog post [/edit]

 

Ludacris




msg:4354152
 10:32 am on Aug 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Confirmed Spain

bbarbeau




msg:4354264
 5:16 pm on Aug 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

What I want is more different results on page one, I think everyone wants that.


I agree. To me this is yet another move by Google that really strikes down diversity in the SERPs.

For some queries, I'm seeing domain.com at #1, followed by the mega sitelinks.

Then the next two results following the mega sitelinks are subdomain1.domain.com and subdomain2.domain.com.

So that's 14-16 links in the "top 3" positions that point to one site. Why not just force queries to "I'm feeling lucky" and call it a day?

Moreover, for one example I've looked at, the page that is ranking #1 is a splash page where users select their language. How is the return of splash pages user-centric? Shouldn't Google be smart enough to rank the appropriate internal language landing page as the top result?

I also think the inclusion of truncated URLs and meta descriptions/snippets is (at the moment) highly uninformative.

I've seen where Google serves 12 truncated display URLs that are essentially the same (simply because of the URL structure of the site) and because Google wants to show the keyword-relevant part of the URL, i.e.

www.domain.com/keyword1/...keyword2/ab...
www.domain.com/keyword1/...keyword2/cd...
www.domain.com/keyword1/...keyword2/ef...
www.domain.com/keyword1/...keyword2/gh...
www.domain.com/keyword1/...keyword2/ij...
www.domain.com/keyword1/...keyword2/kl...
www.domain.com/keyword1/...keyword2/mn...
etc. where ab..., cd... et. al. are other truncations.

And then a 34-character snippet either selected from the page by Google or else taken from the meta description?

To me it makes the SERPs look busy and unappealing, and I think I'd be more likely to skip the section en masse and proceed to the next result rather than try to make sense out of all those disparate pages shoved into such a small space.



On a different note, I'm seeing this for our own branded terms as well, and I think they did a fairly good job selecting the sitelinks (simply in terms of high traffic/high relevance pages).

But overall, I still don't like the change. I'm not sure if I preferred the individual listing of 8+ pages to this or not.

graeme_p




msg:4354420
 5:27 am on Aug 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I just did a search that returned a Wikipedia entry with mega site links to related pages.

Not good. Especially as one of the search terms as a big brand.

Joseuonline




msg:4355323
 7:42 pm on Aug 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've found in a few instances that these mega site links are just a visually-sensible way of organizing results that were (likely) already in the first page. It seems they just hit the Tab key for search results with same domain so it looks better.

Is anyone seeing more much more exposure than before or just rearranged exposure?

tedster




msg:4355367
 11:20 pm on Aug 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've been thinking the same thing. It's a rearrangement (and an improvement) of those SERPs for navigational queries that were generating so many links to just one site anyway.

shazam




msg:4355430
 6:03 am on Aug 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's all just another predictable move to push the legit organic serps down below the fold and off the page. Once again, subtly or not so subtly forcing people to pay the extortionate adwords rates if their business relies on search traffic.

It's clearly not just brand related. I just found these expanded sitelinks for a "city+newspaper" query.

It has nothing to do with improvement. People use a "search engine" to get a number of DIFFERENT sites. Once again, if people want to find something at Amazon, they go to Amazon.

"Push the organic results down" <--- googles new mantra

More to come, you can be sure of it.

netmeg




msg:4355544
 2:23 pm on Aug 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

People use a "search engine" to get a number of DIFFERENT sites.

No they don't. They use it as a means to an end; to find something they are looking for. And once they find it, they tend to stop looking. Sure, some people comparison shop before a purchase, but that's only a percentage of the overall actual queries in a day. And some people here claim they would rather have a number of different sites, but that's an even smaller percentage. Most people just want to find what they're looking for and move on.

And an alarming number of them just type the company name or domain name into the Google search box. One of my clients gets around $5000-$6000 in orders every day *just* from organic searches on their domain name - including the ".com" part. And he's in a pretty small niche.

Moreover, in one sentence you say "It's clearly not just brand related" and then in the next you say "Push the organic results down" - well, which is it? My sites with the 12 pack links *are* all organic results; I'm not paying for those links (or any ads that run next to them), and I'm sure not a big brand. *I* pushed the other guys down by being the most authoritative result for the query; Google isn't artificially propping me up there. (Heh, in fact if they were deliberately doing that sort of thing, I'd probably be among the last on their list)

alexsel




msg:4355569
 3:03 pm on Aug 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

No they don't. They use it as a means to an end; to find something they are looking for. And once they find it, they tend to stop looking.


As been told by so many, people come to search engines to have their questions answered. It's the search engine's job to answer that question as quickly as possible.

Sure, some people comparison shop before a purchase, but that's only a percentage of the overall actual queries in a day. And some people here claim they would rather have a number of different sites, but that's an even smaller percentage. Most people just want to find what they're looking for and move on.


Depends on the individual and the industry. The travel industry is filled with comparison shoppers and on average takes 3-4 clicks to conversion. Users will typically start with the head terms, look at the results and conduct initial comparison of sites that they see. Then they'll leave SERPs, mabye for Tripadvisor or other review sites. Then come back to do another search, typically more long tail. At this point, they have either made up their mind or continue the research. Eventually, having been on your site 2-3 times, they'll search for your brand term, click and convert.

That's why funnels and the right attribution is so important. But again, much of search behavior depends on what industry you're in, type of product and price.

shazam




msg:4355629
 6:44 pm on Aug 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Nutmeg its clearly both.

Now instead of returning 10 different organic domains for each and every query we are shown only the top few. The rest are all pushed down below the fold and off the page. The only variety is in the paid placements.

The example I gave is nothing close to a brand related search, yet is still a convenient excuse to push down the majority of results.

Just one more move in the same direction.

I'm happy for you that this is working towards your advantage. Enjoy it while it lasts. If you happen to slip a few notches down, your organic search traffic will dry up instantly. In the not too distant past, a #2-5 ranking still delivered respectable traffic, those days are quickly passing or in many cases are already gone.

netmeg




msg:4355651
 7:18 pm on Aug 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the lesson in how Google works now. By the way, it's "netmeg"

CalArch90




msg:4356953
 2:08 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

For my domain I see the following variations...

www.mysite.com (no mega links, only 4 horizontal links)
mysite.com (mega links appear)
mysite (mega links appear)

Any thoughts on why I'm seeing this? Does this mean Google places less value on the www domain variation? I set my preferred domain in Webmaster Tools to www.

Robert Charlton




msg:4356971
 3:17 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

the following variations...

As I've observed it, the more specificity in a search, the more likely Google is to return more mega sitelinks.

Previously, what I'd observed on a client domain in the form keyword1keyword2.com was something like....

Search terms in brackets....

[keyword1 keyword2] returns 4 mega sitelinks
[keyword1keyword2] returns 6 mega sitelinks
[keyword1keyword2.com] returns 8 mega sitelinks

Just did a test search and I'm seeing results that I haven't seen before, odd enough that I'm thinking it may be a glitch, or a change... or else, more likely, that Google is testing....

[keyword1 keyword2] returns 4 mega sitelinks
[keyword1keyword2] returns 9 mega sitelinks
[keyword1keyword2.com] returns 12 mega sitelinks
[www.keyword1keyword2.com] returns 12 mega sitelinks

My emphasis....
Does this mean Google places less value on the www domain variation? I set my preferred domain in Webmaster Tools to www.

No, what it most likely means is that you haven't done a 301 redirect so that www is your canonical form... and this might be some evidence that proper server canonicalization is more definitive than using Webmaster Tools to indicate preferences.

CalArch90




msg:4356975
 4:00 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hey thanks Robert, I'll look into the 301 redirect/canonical issue.

Robert Charlton




msg:4356984
 4:36 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

CalArch - I did some further checking on a site that I know isn't properly canonicalized on the server, but which has been using www for years. That site gets 12 mega sitelinks with or without the www.

That said, I continue to think that you have a canonicalization issue, and perhaps also a predominance of inbound links in the form of http://example.com ...ie, without the www ...or enough of them without www that Google isn't immediately sure how to regard the domain with www.

I don't want to take this discussion off topic by discussing the details of your situation at length here, but if you want to start another thread discussing it, maybe we can look further... and also link to it from here.

(In the new thread, use example.com as your domain. It simplifies lots of things on the forum if you do that.)

pageoneresults




msg:4358261
 12:09 pm on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Performing various searches this morning that "used to" trigger 12 mega sitelinks. Now I'm only seeing 6. I like the 6 much better than the 12.

Leosghost




msg:4358267
 12:35 pm on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

^^^ ditto ..looks much better ( less "directory" ) or "spammy" ( even though I was getting it on a few of mine ) ..and still says "brand".

g1smd




msg:4358324
 4:53 pm on Sep 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

In the last few days I see only 6 links again, not 12.

alexsel




msg:4358543
 5:25 pm on Sep 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

I see six links as well. Personally believe they enhanced algorithms to determine which pages should be featured as site links. Goes by true page authority from what I've seen.

Didn't mind 12 links since it pushed competitors down below the fold but think that the scaled down focus will have a positive impact on revenue.

Either way, whether you like it or not, now is the time to recontinue the discussion if you should be bidding on your brand terms.

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