Weekly SEO news: 19 September 2006
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at Google's new Sitelinks and how these links might affect your own web site.

In the news: new search engine statistics, Google removes ads based on user behavior and much more.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your website. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Google's new Sitelinks and your web site

Google recently started to include a set of links below some results to pages within the site. These new additional links are called Sitelinks.

It seems that Google displays Sitelinks if a web site is an authority site for the search term. The following screenshot shows the first results for a "cnn" search:

Google SiteLinks

What are Google Sitelinks?

Google explains the new links on its webmaster pages:

How do you compile the list of links shown below some search results?

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.

At the moment, Sitelinks are completely automated. We're always working to improve our Sitelinks algorithms, and we may incorporate webmaster input in the future.

How does Google calculate Sitelinks?

Google claims that the Sitelinks are created automatically. If Google uses an algorithm to calculate Sitelinks, there must be a way to influence that algorithm.

There are several theories on how Sitelinks are calculated:

  1. Google might track the number of clicks for different results. If a web site gets a lot of traffic for a special keyword then the web site will get Sitelinks on Google's result page.

    For example, if you use a special trademark term on your web pages that cannot be found on other web sites then many people will click on your web site in Google's results when they search for that search term. It's likely that your web site will get Sitelinks for such a search term.

  2. The link architecture of a web site might help. Links at the top of the HTML source of a web site seem to have a better chance to be included as Sitelinks.

  3. Google might use the Google toolbar to determine Sitelinks. The more often a page is bookmarked the more likely it is that these pages will be used as Sitelinks. Google's toolbar can collect a lot of information about a web site.

At the moment, it's hard to tell how Google calculates the new Sitelinks. It's probably a combination of click data, toolbar data and other factors. If you see Sitelinks for your web site, then Google has probably classified your web site as an authority site for the search term.

How does this affect your web site?

It seems that Sitelinks are only used for trademark searches or searches that are similar to trademark queries. Most search engine result pages on Google don't show these additional links.

That means that it's better to invest some time in getting listed in Google's regular result pages than trying to get listed with additional Sitelinks.

Details on how to get your web site in Google's result pages can be found in our free SEO book. The free SEO book covers everything that is important for successful on-page optimization and inbound link optimization. If you want to get your web site to the top of the search results, take a look at the free ebook and try our popular website promotion tool IBP.

2. Search engine news of the week

Hitwise says Google, Ask gain search share in August; MSN, Yahoo slip

"Web tracking firm HitWise says that Google picked up a little ground in search market share in the four weeks ended, reversing a recent downtrend. IAC-Interactive’s Ask.com gained as well; MSN and Yahoo slipped a bit."

Google removing ads based on user behavior

"Google is testing a new advertising layout on search results pages in which ads are removed if a user consistently chooses not to interact with any of the ad elements on the page."

Belgian newspapers win court action against Google

"A Belgian court has ordered Google Inc. to stop reproducing articles from French-speaking newspapers in the news section of one of its Belgian websites."

Quigo: The next Google?

"Quigo is not the household name that these other two search giants are. But the privately held company, which competes with Google and Yahoo in a key part of the online advertising business, is quietly becoming a bigger player."

Search engine newslets

  • Google returns MSN as number 1 result for a "search" search.
  • Yahoo tests PayPal icons in search ads.
  • MSN has a new AJAX image search.
  • Site search has more volume than web search.
  • Google introduces featured content for Google Earth.
  • The continuing adventures of Google's inconsistent PR team.
  • Behind Google's German courtroom battle.
  • Google: The new port authority.
  • Araby.com is a new search engine.
  • Yahoo signs search deal with Acer.
  • Hosting Services from the Googleplex?
  • Shakespeare Searched is a Shakespeare search engine.
  • Apple, Google to team up for video downloads?
  • Microsoft ready to launch own Internet video service.
  • Google will flex political muscles.
  • The rise of Baidu (that's Chinese for Google).
3. Articles of the week

Google goes to market

    "Most of Google's purchases have been so small as to barely attract notice, and the company has done little to highlight them. But taken as a whole, the company's record of acquisitions offers a few signposts toward its future."

No. 13 Google: The search ended here

    "In seven years, Kamangar, now 29, has gone from newbie to key player in one of the most remarkable corporate success stories of the decade."

The search industrial complex

    "On a high stage in San Jose, Calif., Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt smiles at 1,000 businesses that depend on him for life. [...] Most of their revenue flows from those scant and small ads on the sides of search results pages, which it turns out is powering the greatest competition in the computer business."

Google on the Ropes in China

"Results of a survey on China Internet search engine market share conducted by Beijing-based China IntelliConsulting were announced Wednesday, painting a grim picture for Google’s prospects in China."

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4. Recommended resources

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