Google likes to change things and often for very good reasons. This week, however, we have to question their judgement in tweaking sitelinks for major brands across the web.
For many this will come as a welcome change but if you have yet to witness first hand what we are talking about then the image you can see on the right will tell you more. Put simply Google has extended sitelinks to include extra info for the visitor on brand-related searches. So far so good.
If you are a brand this makes a lot of sense and does go some way to removing issues around competitive brand SEO stealing ‘your’ traffic.
The issue is that Google is still more than happy to take you and your competitors money and allow competitor brand bidding via Adwords so why ‘improve’ sitelinks. It would make sense if the webmaster had control over sitelink appearance but right now all Google will allow the site owner to do is block unwanted sitelinks. It is Google that decides which it is that can actually be made visible.
This is what they looked like before (as we are sure you know by now:))
The priority is to improve Webmaster Tools functionality and enable the site owner to choose which navigable links should be displayed over making them a ‘bit bigger’ surely? It certainly is if usability is the name of the game here, which it must surely be.
And there is one more major question mark for us also: how does Google decide which sites should be given such links. The answer may be obvious but increasingly big online brands are investing in exact match domains such as insurance.com. Surely such domains cannot take over serps with such extended sitelinks? Can they? If they can then those domains just got a whole load more valuable because nobody is competing in those searches anymore. And if they are not then isn’t that a little unfair?
The conclusion to this ramble? Google get your priorities straight. Give the website owner the keys BEFORE you attempt at making it look pretty. And think about consistency too. How do you decide who to give these links to and who not?
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog, it was written by Simon Penson, Founder and Managing Director of Zazzle Media.