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Controlling Your (Expanding) Google Sitelinks

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Google’s announcing some big changes with their Sitelinks feature.

First, Search Engine Land spots them testing ten Sitelinks on some mobile devices, then they confirm that there will soon be eight Sitelinks in SERPs (pictured below is the current version, showing only four).

Google Sitelinks: only four links, expanding to eight links

And now Google announces that with you can control your Sitelinks through Webmaster Central. Here’s how the process works:

Now, Webmaster Tools lets you view potential sitelinks for your site and block the ones you won’t want to appear in Google search results. Because sitelinks are extremely useful in helping users navigate your site, we don’t typically recommend blocking them. However, occasionally you might want to exclude a page from your sitelinks, for example: a page that has become outdated or unavailable, or a page that contains information you don’t want emphasized to users.

Once you block a page, it won’t appear as a sitelink for 90 days unless you choose to unblock it sooner. It may take a week or so to remove a page from your sitelinks, but we are working on making this process faster.

In the Webmaster Tools Dashboard, you’ll find this capability under Links > Sitelinks. I’m a bit unclear as to why the webmaster’s block would expire after 90 days.

However, if your site doesn’t already have sitelinks included in your Google listings, you can’t add them. Discovering sitelinks is still an automatic, algorithmic process for Google.

Search Engine Land also spotted more Webmaster Central improvements:

  • “query stats . . . breakdown by date range”
  • “receipts for any spam reports, paid link reports, reconsideration requests, and crawl rate change requests you’ve filed”
  • “a form of a duplicate content warning,” called “High URL Counts”

As always, many of these features have long been requested by users, including during Matt Cutts’ open call at SMX Advanced.

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Controlling Your (Expanding) Google Sitelinks
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About Jordan McCollum
Jordan McCollum is a staff writer for the popular marketing blog Marketing Pilgrim. She has worked in search engine optimization with clients including 3M, Little Giant Ladders and ADP. After graduating from Brigham Young University, Jordan joined the SEO copywriting team at the Internet marketing firm 10x Marketing. After 10x closed its doors in December 2006, Jordan became a freelance writer and Internet marketing consultant specializing in SEO. She also has extensive experience with web analytics, conversion rate enhancement and e-mail marketing. WebProNews Writer
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