Category Archives: Search News

New Bigger Google Sitelinks!

Google announced last Tuesday on the Webmaster Tools blog that some changes had been made to sitelinks.

Instead of appearing as two columns containing just links to the site in slightly smaller text.

Google site links own the SERPs
The updated version shows the links in full size text with the destination URL below and an excerpt of the meta description which is about 35 characters long.

The maximum number of sitelinks has also increased from 8 to 12.

These new updates are great for sites with a good enough page or link structure for Google to create sitelinks for them, however if a site isn’t structured well enough for sitelinks to appear it could look like your site is pushed further down the SERP due to the sheer size of the new sitelinks.

The average height of the old style of sitelinks was about 150px high, the new style takes up about 450px!

To put this into perspective on a SERP which contains no ads at the top or sites with sitelinks I can see 9 different results, whereas on a SERP which has a result with sitelinks at the top I can only see 5.

There are still 10 results on the page, but I’m even less inclined to click the ones further down (I’m quite lazy).

The lesson for today? Get your site structure sorted!

URLs should reflect the hierarchy of that page in your site and what category or categories (depending on the complexity of your site) it relates to.

Link structure is probably one of the biggest factors in ensuring you get sitelinks (it’s the only specific factor mentioned on the Webmaster Toools blog post).

The two most important rules of good link structure:

  1. Every page on your site should be accessible within 3 clicks.
  2. Ensure there are no orphaned pages on your site (unless you don’t want them indexed).
What do you think of the new sitelinks? Has your site been affected for the better or worse?

New Google Black Layout for 2011 – Google turns to the dark side!

Google has been testing a new black naviagtion bar with a grey search bar background.

As per any change that occurs on the internet users are complaining. They claim that the new black navigation bar ruins their custom Google homepage.

New Google layout 2011
Click for larger image

Google is always testing new positioning, colours and many other slight changes to all their services, this one is just one of the most noticeable visual changes this year.

If you’ve seen it let us know what you think of the new Google layout. Did it ruin your custom Google homepage?

Google Introducing Social Search Worldwide Next Week

Do you want your friend’s opinions clogging up the SERP? In the coming week this could be a reality with Google’s newest feature, Social Search!

If you’re signed into your Google account while searching Google guesses whose public content you may want to see from Google chat buddy list, your Google Contacts, people you follow in Google Reader and Buzz, and the networks you’ve linked from your Google profile or Google Account as well as your friends on networks like Twitter or flickr.

It will look something like this:

Google social search result from Twitter

Any search result with a social association to you will have the name of your friend, the network used and the date which the link was shared, by clicking on it you can see what they said.

Whether or not this is a new ranking factor is unclear, it wouldn’t be a very useful one as a friend could tweet about how much they hated the site, unless Google algorithmically decides whether the social link to the site is good or bad it shouldn’t be used as a ranking factor.