Weekly SEO news: 11 March 2008
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at Google's Sitelinks. How do you get these for your website and are they worth the time and effort?

In the news: Google adds an additional search box to the result list for some searches, Google received 66% of U.S. searches in February and 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. How to get Google Sitelinks for your website

Many webmasters wonder how they can make Google display additional Sitelinks for their websites. What exactly are Sitelinks, how can you get them and are they worth the effort?

What are Google Sitelinks?

Google Sitelinks are a collection of links that appears below the result of a website. These additional links link to main pages of the website. They are randomly and automatically chosen by Google's algorithm.

As an example, here are the sitelinks that you get for HP.com when you search for "HP":

Sitelinks only appear for general search terms. You'll get Sitelinks if you search for "HP" but you won't get Sitelinks if you search for a term like "HP printer supplies". Sitelinks show up most often for searches on brand names.

Which links does Google use for the Sitelinks?

Google seems to use the first level links on a website for the Sitelinks. That means that all links that are not present on the homepage of your site won't be used as Sitelinks.

The links should be descriptive text links or image links with a descriptive IMG ALT attribute. JavaScript or Flash links are not considered for Sitelinks. Google uses 2 to 8 links for the Sitelinks of a website. Unfortunately, it's unclear how Google assigns the number of links to each website.

The text that is used for the Sitelinks can be the text that are used for the link (anchor text) on the homepage or the title of the linked page. It seems that Google prefers links that appear at the top of a web page.

How can you get Sitelinks for your website?

Unfortunately, there is nothing certain about Google's Sitelinks. The following factors seem to influence whether Google displays Sitelinks or not:

  1. Your website must have a stable #1 ranking for the searched keyword. Other websites don't seem to get Sitelinks.

  2. Your website must be at least 2 years old. It seems that younger websites don't get Sitelinks.

  3. The number of searches and the number of clicks that your website gets for a certain keyword seem to be considered. Keywords that aren't searched often enough don't get Sitelinks. It also seems that your website has to get many clicks for the searched keyword.

  4. The number of links that point to your website with the searched keyword as the anchor text seem to influence the creation of Sitelinks. Sitelinks only seem to appear for the main keywords of a website, not for all keywords for which a website is listed.

If your website meets these criteria Google might assign Sitelinks to your website for your most important keywords.

Sitelinks can be a nice addition for searches for general keywords but they usually won't appear for searches that consist of two to four words. These words are the most important keywords for website promotion and search engine optimization.

People who search for multiple word keywords are more likely to purchase goods or services than people using fewer words (source: Oneupweb Research). Use IBP to find these keywords and to get high rankings for these keywords.

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2. Search engine news of the week
Google tests an additional search box within the search results

Google now sometimes adds an additional search box in the search results that allows searches to search within a site. For example, you'll get the additional search box if you search Google.com for "amazon", "ny times" or "wikipedia":

Ex-Googler launches search engine community Topicle

"Former Google Product Manger, Steffen Mueller, has launched Topicle, a new search engine community. The service, which went live today, uses a model similar to that of Wikipedia, allowing anyone to contribute to the creation and enhancement of their own vertical"

Google receives 66 percent of U.S. searches in February 2008

"Google accounted for 66.44 percent of all U.S. searches in the four weeks ending February 23, 2008. Yahoo! Search, MSN Search and Ask.com each received 20.59, 6.95 and 4.16 percent respectively."

Search engine newslets

  • Landing page load time will be incorporated into Google's Quality Score.
  • Yahoo dethroned in Taiwan.
  • Gmail falls prey to spam bots.
  • Google's security certificate expired, scaring buyers away.
  • Whatever happened to $900 Google?
  • Automated malware hits Yahoo and Microsoft IM.
  • GOOG-411 expands outside of United States.
  • Google, Microsoft said to be preparing bids For Digg.
3. Articles of the week
What is Ask.com's new strategy?

"The new strategy, unveiled along with a restructuring that will reduce Ask's work force by 8%, or about 40 jobs, is a retreat from efforts by former Ask management to broaden the search engine's audience beyond middle-American, predominantly female consumers, who have long made up its core."

Pay-per-click spyware and other scams

"If you thought click fraud was bad, consider this: your Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing ads and Microsoft adCenter accounts are new targets for spyware applications, hackers and scam artists."

Google likely to get EU approval to buy DoubleClick

"European regulators plan to approve Google Inc.'s proposed $3.1 billion takeover of DoubleClick Inc. without conditions, rejecting complaints by Microsoft Corp. that the deal would hurt competition, according to three people with direct knowledge of the case."

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4. Miscellaneous

"I am impressed with the new version."

"The features I like most so far is the ability to add alternate title and descriptions on the link page. [...]

The additional SEO tools are a nice feature also [...] the new dashboard (with the option to add a thumbnail) is also very professional and helpful. Great job on this update. [...]

I am impressed with the new version. Keep up the great work."
Chad Karsting Webmaster www.FolsomChevy.com

"I got top 10 positions in Google and Yahoo."

"I like IBP's Top 10 Optimizer. It could successfully improve my website to get top 10 positions in Google and Yahoo."
Ida Bagus Dudy Surya, www.sewa-mobil.com

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5. Tell us what you think about IBP 10 and win a $100 Amazon coupon

We're looking for feedback to IBP version 10. Tell us how IBP has helped to improve your online business.

The names of all participants will be entered into a raffle for a $100 Amazon coupon. Thank you for helping us make IBP the best SEO tool!

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6. Previous articles

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