Rant #425 #701 — You Can(not) Manually Update Google Sitelinks!

How Do You Update Google Sitelinks?

Well, short answer—you can and you can’t update Google sitelinks for your website. If you’re not sure what I mean, these are the links and little tidbits of info that show up under your search results.

google sitelinks example

This question has come up quite often lately, and often at the advice of an SEO professional. This blows my mind that so many hard-working business people are misguided on this tiny, yet extremely important, detail about optimizing your business online.

Here’s a brief overview of what’s going on…

About Google Sitelinks

There’s not really a way to determine what Google chooses as your Sitelinks (the URLs shown under the homepage search result).

How can we create manually sitelinks for a website - Search Console Help

There is no direct way to get Sitelinks for your website. You can’t just log into Google’s Search Console (Previously Webmaster Tools), flick a switch and get Sitelinks.

As things stand right now:

• Sitelinks are automated
• Sitelinks are created through website best practices
• Google doesn’t tell you how to create Sitelinks or control their appearance directly

Unfortunately, there are no fixed steps that you can follow to pick and choose Sitelinks.

In Google’s own words,

“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.”

About the Search Results for Any Keyword Phrase

In a search result, while searching for a direct keyword (let’s say it’s ‘Smack Happy Design’), it is on page 1 (organically).

If you’re looking at the local results that are typically listed before organic results, you can try things like:

  • Getting more reviews added to Google
  • Improving your Google My Business profile to try and get better local SEO

I’d like to mention if for example your website has been blocked from being crawled for so long—it could take months to appropriately settle on the level of authority your website’s content holds in search.

2020 EDIT:

In this example, I’m using a company name as the keyphrase to explain…

SO! Let’s say you are not seeing consistent results for a keyword. You want to only show up for ‘Smack Happy’. If you get search results for ‘Smack Happy Design’ and ‘Smack Happy’, there are a few places to look right off-the-bat:

Check and update your metadata: Titles and Descriptions. If you use an SEO tool like Yoast, for example, this setting is located toward the bottom of each page or post in your WordPress editor. Plus there could be additional settings to play with inside Yoast’s general settings.

Review and edit your website copy: If you only want to have a single phrase show and not a variant of that phrase (ie. Smack Happy vs Smack Happy Design) then only that one single phrase (Smack Happy) should be the most prevalent and comprehensive phrase on the site. Why? Google’s generation of page titles and descriptions are completely automated.

Check the footer of your website: The copyright statement in your website’s footer is an official, legal statement saying that you own your content. If you use a keyphrase that is different from the one you want to be indexed – it may be seen as authoritative and taken into account when Google is automatically collecting data that appears globally throughout your website (on every page).

copyright footer seo

After a set of important website updates, always submit to Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools) to be indexed.

Monitor your traffic in Search Console and Google Analytics. With any website changes, traffic is subject to fluctuate – which is completely normal – even if your website traffic drops temporarily. If it doesn’t trend back up or improve, then you might have to reassess your strategy for what’s next.

Search for your company name, and update your Knowledge Panel and Google Listing: Once your website has all instances of the keyword phrase updated to the phrase you prefer to be indexed – make sure you update these for consistency. Google takes into account both the content of your page as well as references to it that appear on the web (not necessarily on your website).

Update your other listings using a directory listing service. This way, you are able to have your care of and constantly updated and managed with a click of a button. You can likely gather a free list of results from companies like SEM Rush or Moz.

You can also look in some places you already manage, and easily update yourself directly:

  • Social media accounts (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)
  • Review websites (like Yelp, Angie’s List)
  • Sister sites or subdomains
  • Job listings

Check Your Website

With over 600 algorithm changes per year—it is more vital than ever to pay close attention to the technical health of your website.

Launch our Site Checker and conduct your free Technical SEO Audit to find out what you should be focusing on first.

Launch Site Checker


Improving search results is a process.

To begin to figure out how to improve search results begins with determining current rankings, what terms you want to rank for, what terms people are actually searching for, who your competitors are, what your competitors are doing—and with those details, finally plan what happens next to improve all of it.

Hoping this helps! We just want to make your life easier. It’s not easy understanding all of the do’s and do not’s of website best practices like how to update Google sitelinks and more.

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