Sitelinks = “Authority” or not?

by seoibiza on 16, February, 2009

So, Google sitelinks, authority site, or not?

seo ibiza sitelinks

.We’ve seen this discussion on several forums over the last few months, and sometimes it gets quite heated, regarding Sitelinks, “authority sites”, and the possible connection/s between the two things.

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Google’s official stance on sitelinks is:

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The links shown below some sites in our search results, called sitelinks, are meant to help users navigate your site. Our systems analyze the link structure of your site to find shortcuts that will save users time and allow them to quickly find the information they’re looking for.

We only show sitelinks for results when we think they’ll be useful to the user.

If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don’t think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them.

Lots have people have taken this statement by Google as the entire story, seemingly to imply that there can be nothing more to the story, but we’re not quite so sure.

Our site first started showing them at 8.5 months old, for just the one term “SEO Ibiza” which yes, is of course our company name, but is also two separate keywords. Interestingly though (above) we also had them from the start for “SEO in Ibiza” too.

Since then however, the amount of sitelinks has grown steadily, and they’ve switched around a few times, swapping one or two different pages in and out of the selection, but now seems to have settled at the seven that currently show in the shot above..

So lets take a closer look at our current sitelink pages characteristics..

  • 6 out of 7 pages are PR4. Malta is PR3, Tools alternates between PR4 & greybar.
  • 3 out of 4 “geo” sitelinks (Mallorca, Malta, Ibiza) are dominant Google #1′s
  • 6 out of 7 of these pages are header linked, only Packages is in the main Nav
  • Traffic stats show only Blog HQ could be considered a “most visited” page.

It’s almost like there are some general trends amongst them, but each with it’s own exception to the rule? And then there have been 3 other pages that have swapped in and out of the sitelink control panel in WMT, and interestingly these all share some similar traits.

All of them alternate between PR4 and greybar, all of them are low traffic, and all of them don’t rank in the top 20 for their main phrases yet.

Of the three, 2 are Blog HQ pages, “Alliances” & “International” - which are one directory further in, i.e…  .com/blog/alliances plus 1 more main site page: “.com/seo-resources.html“.  All 3 are also text linked from the header, or right-hand sidebar which the template CSS makes the spiders read first.

Of the other surmised factors affecting sitelinks

  • Site ranks first for the keyword(s) that generate the Sitelinks listing YES
  • Easily spiderable, structured navigation YES
  • Fairly high natural search traffic NOT ALL PAGES
  • High click through rates from the search results page UNKNOWN
  • Useful outbound links NOT ALL PAGES
  • Inbound links from high quality sites NOT ALL PAGES
  • Site age is several years or older NO

One of the things the the “no authority” camp say, is that any site can get these entrance level type sitelinks  “for-your-name” and it’s no indication of any kind of authority status.

But surely this is still an indication of a measure of authority for that particular term?

If you are that company, and there are no others with that name, or, there are several others but you are dominant (sitelinks) then your site is the authoritative result (at that time) for that term?

And then what about when you reverse the keywords, in our case “Ibiza SEO” ? (yep, still there, on.com anyway) – so this is now clearly keywords, and not just company name anymore?

And then more variations on the theme, keywords reversed, + “company”

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and below, Keywords reversed, + Tools ..

These have clearly progressed on from being “domain name” sitelinks and are dominant #1′s on those keyword terms (even though of course these are not high competition keywords)

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And, as we also always say in these discussions, several of our larger (and older) client sites also have sitelinks for major league competitive keywords, that are also not in their domain names. In these instances we can’t help thinking that the fact that a site has sitelinks on non-domain-related ($4 per click on Adwords) buying keywords, does indicate somewhat of an authoritative status on those keywords at least.

keyword authority status  …if you will…

But we do also agree that this is still not the mythical “authority site” itself, whatever that may actually be – that’s still really a title reserved for the few Wiki’s of this world.

But the whole discussion is a little confused in our opinion anyway, as since when does Google work on a site basis anyway? It’s Pagerank is it not? – Google ranks pages, not sites, so we should probably be talking about “authority page” status instead of “authority site” status anyway, no?

In conclusion we think that whether Google publicly admits it or not:

sitelinks = serp dominance = keyword authority

What do you think about this?

{ 7 trackbacks }

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Spa Party 17, February, 2009 at 7:41 pm

This is all well and good but when can we expect ours to show up? :)

skype me tonight please? Dx

Taree Internet 19, February, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Hey Spa Party, wish granted i just gave you 6 sitelinks for “spaparty”

Is that cool with you lol?

Hey SEOIbiza, hope things are going well. ;)

seoibiza 19, February, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Hola mi Aussie amigo :)

can’t see them for Spa Party but they do already actually have them for their name..

>>> Google search “mobilespa” <<<<

we’re not focusing too much on the old site they have a new one coming live imminently, we can probably watch them disappear then lol

all good here, hows things your end?

Taree Internet 19, February, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Hiya, i hope the sun is shining in Ibiza.

Oops, yes i meant to say “mobilespa” i got carried away looking at the site thinking how nice a spa party would be. :)

Your site is getting crawled fast these days, i just got a Google alert for my domain because of the comment i left a while ago. The alert linked back to your /blog page.

Sitelinks are funny things at times, i got the full 8 sitelinks (for several terms) on that Chrome Plugins site just 26 days after regging the domain.. But on Taree it took over a year despite having twice as many links.

Sites were running the same design, both had 2xPR6 and about 30xPR5 so about the same authority. Both had a forum attached, i done the same kind of SEO on both in terms of URL’s, Titles etc and deeplinks.

The big difference?

The Taree site had almost no search volume for it’s domain name or for “Taree” related terms. It’s only a little place with 30k people.

The Chrome site, it was heavily searched due to the Google Chrome launch. It actually got 4k visits the first day it went live.

So.. It’s my belief that 80% of the sitelink factor is keyword(s) in the domain and search volume for those keywords plus closely related keywords. This bit closely ties in to the “Google Suggest” dropdown algo.

Taree has got a strange one, search “Taree Internet” and you will see “Mark All Forums Read” which has been Nofollow since day 1 and it doesn’t even link to a page it just reloads the page and clears the forum read/unread markers.

seoibiza 19, February, 2009 at 11:26 pm

interesting, especially this bit.

So.. It’s my belief that 80% of the sitelink factor is keyword(s) in the domain and search volume for those keywords plus closely related keywords. This bit closely ties in to the “Google Suggest” dropdown algo.

i think you’re likely right, but its the other 20% that really fascinates me though, how to reliably get them for the money phrases that aren’t in your domain name :)

Taree Internet 20, February, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Well in the other 20% yes there’s the known good site architecture and other factors you have mentioned above.

Sitelinks for terms not in the domain, well ranking #1 for the primary term is a given. The rest, i still believe word relationship/stemming is important but it’s hard to explain.

Ok example, you have sitelinks for “Ibiza SEO Company” and also “Ibiza SEO Tools”.

Google “SEO Company” then scroll to the bottom and see the alternate search suggestions?

“SEO Tools” is there.

Or in Google type “SEO” and in the Omnibox you will see “SEO Company” and also “SEO Tools” in the drop-down.

Again, search “Ibiza” and scroll to the bottom of the page and a suggested alternate term is “Mallorca”. Click that, scroll to the bottom and again a suggested term is “Spain”.

See where i’m going with this? It ties in to either what terms you have sitelinks for, and also what terms are showing in your actual sitelinks.

So if i was trying to get sitelinks for say “Mortgage” i’d optimize home for that then i’d get the alternate suggestions at the bottom of the results for the term and build my second level pages around the suggestions. Then i’d click each of those suggestions again and build my third level and basically let Google define my sites phrase relationship architecture.

I’d also pay attention to the omnibox suggestions and work aspects of that in.

Ooook, this Amigo will shut up now before i start going in to the tilde function and others. :D

Yes there’s more to sitelinks than just keywords and search volume, but the above will put a meaningful Google suggested framework in place to help not only sitelinks but the sites overall theme and ranking potential.

What do you reckon Amigo?

seoibiza 20, February, 2009 at 7:28 pm

by jove I think you’re onto something.

research project/s required. lets get sitelinking :)

Personalised Presents 31, May, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Well our site is only 12 months in and have just discovered that we now have sitelinks presented under the search when typing in the company name!

Only PR2 at present which is strange since straight after launch we were PR3 within weeks. Alexa rating is storming all the time now at 900,000 and climbing!

seoibiza 1, June, 2009 at 8:14 am

hola.

yes I can see that, that’s good effort at PR2 out of 325 million results, and with other kw domains there too.

can you make them show for other words / combination s of your name / kws too?

Thomas Roman 8, July, 2009 at 10:41 pm

I don’t get it so if I google http://www.google.com/search?q=kathyscomfort.com&pws=0&hl=en&num=10 that is very specific but still get 18 results for

Focus Prints 3, September, 2009 at 1:55 pm

we use linkdiagnosis for checking our links, only been live 2 months and picking up some great backlinks, can also check your sitemap on there too very helpful

seoibiza 3, September, 2009 at 2:00 pm

hi.

notice linkdiagnosis has all changed today, new interface and not working correctly yet either.

think i preferred the old one.

seo company 14, November, 2009 at 7:42 pm

I noticed linkdiagnosis changed also, not happy

Personalised Gift Ideas 21, February, 2010 at 11:06 am

can someone suggest the best way of checking your backlinks? I am using a few tools and they all give me different results and i am confused. :(

seoibiza 21, February, 2010 at 11:21 am

Hello Leicester.

all the tools we use are listed here SEO tools

we tend to use Linkdiagnosis for a quick check, and Linkscape or Majestic for a serious look.

you will get differing results from tools, but you can cross reference them with each other and with what Webmaster tools tells you about your site

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