Google’s Inside Search blog gives a quick history of sitelinks in search results that really shows how different the new approach is.
The first generation from 2006 looked like this
More recently, an expanded list of links in two columns has been more the norm.
Now, with the new announcement you get this.
The inclusion of URL’s and snippet text use almost looks like paid ads. I wonder if this is a way to get people more used to clicking on this kind of result thus making them more likely to click on paid search which is where Google makes its coin?
If you look at the example showing the “new and improved snippets I have circled what a paid ad looks like in certain situations above this new enriched sitelink result. It simply looks like the old sitelink ad which because of the continued lightening of the background color for paid ads looks very much like an organic result if someone wasn’t playing very close attention (which most don’t and Google banks on that).
Google prattles on about its improved algorithm to give the best choices for these sitelinks but there is no way for the site owner to suggest what might be best for them. No surprise there. Here is what Google says about this algorithmic tweak.
In addition, we’re making a significant improvement to our algorithms by combining sitelink ranking with regular result ranking to yield a higher-quality list of links. This reduces link duplication and creates a better organized search results page. Now, all results from the top-ranked site will be nested within the first result as sitelinks, and all results from other sites will appear below them. The number of sitelinks will also vary based on your query—for example, [museum of art nyc] shows more sitelinks than [the met] because we’re more certain you want results fromwww.metmuseum.org.
Personally, I think this is overkill but that’s just my opinion. The results shown for a direct search of “Marketing Pilgrim” are various blog posts, a few areas of the blog and even a profile of a writer but one that contributes very infrequently. So as for Google’s algorithmic improvements there appears to be a need for some serious tweaking.
What’s your take?