Jan 11

Google is TRON…at Least With its Sitelinks


I fight for the users!

I’ve seen a number of postings about Google sitelinks, how you can influence them, how Google likely decides whether to assign sitelinks to a website’s entry in the SERPs, etc.  Ultimately these Sitelinks are, I think, a terrible thing  for Internet Marketers, and the LAST thing you should do is try and influence Google to add them for your site; here’s why.

If your website has come up in a search, then the name of your website is either a brand term, or your website is named after some popular search and has some keyword-rich domain.   So in either case, it’s extremely clear that users have intent to go to your website – they’re not just trolling around.

Since their intent is near 100% sure in this case, the meta-description is probably immaterial to your Click-Through-Rate.

By providing links to subsections of your website right in the SERP, it is true that Google may be pushing someone else down the SERP (or even off the page), and by having multiple highlighted blue links, it’s may be slighly more likely someone will click, but this is all ignoring a huge downside.

Google is essentially, by allowing users to click through directly into a subsection of your website, DENYING YOU THAT FIRST CLICK to the homepage – reducing user time onsite and pageviews.  Certainly it’s great for the users and saves time, but from the perspective of internet marketing – sometimes having the user find what they want super-quickly is the worst thing that can happen (sorry users!).

What do sitelinks sound like?  Listen….it’s the sound of Google vacuuming up all of the traffic to your home page.  Actually they’re not vacuuming it up – the traffic is actually thrown into a black hole and leaves the universe, even Google doesn’t appear to be benefiting from it.  It’s a shockingly pro-user-experience feature that doesn’t seem to do much for Google (except perhaps making it more attractive than other search engines).

So is this one of the areas where Google “fights for the users” like TRON?  Opinions to the contrary appreciated!


  1. Mark F. says:

    Interesting take on a commonly accepted fact-of-SEO-life.

    Its a mixed bag to be sure. By providing someone a direct sitelink to a page which “should” be what the visitor is looking for (according to Google) you increase the chance of a fast-bounce if the chosen page doesn’t contain what the visitor expected.

    However, if as you suggest, the visitor suffers through what could be a convoluted homepage navigation to find what they’re looking for, you most certainly increase other metrics, like time-on-site, but do you really end up with a happier user?

    Google’s position is clearly no, they prefer the former.

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