The strange case of the 3 Google Sitelinks
Thursday, 17 April 2008 — by Wayne Smallman
Google Sitelinks are an elusive creature of the web. And in my efforts to snare several of them, I managed to get more than I’d bargained for — but there was much to be learned in the process…
Back in February, I released an article that was the culmination of several months-worth of research and patient waiting. After sifting through log files, analytical examinations and anecdotal evidence, I finally arrived at what I believed to be a thorough explanation of Google Sitelinks.
What are Sitelinks? They’re the list of links underneath a search result that you sometimes see at the top of Google’s search results page, most often when you’re searching for a brand name.
By way of a follow-up, I discussed a few Google Webmaster Tools improvements, as well as some clarification to points raised regarding my original Sitelinks article.
Based on what I understand of Google Sitelinks, my next challenge was to get Sitelinks for Blah — and that’s exactly what I’ve managed to do. However, things didn’t quite turn out the way I’d planned.
Sitelinks with a sense of irony
The end of March 2008 marked the 3rd year of the Blah, Blah! Technology ‘blog. To commemorate the occasion, I wrote a series of 3-themed articles.
So it seems fitting if a little ironic that when I checked my Google Webmaster Tools account today, I should find precisely 3 Sitelinks for Blah.
As usual, Kate & I were chatting on Skype:
“You ready for a really good news tinged with bad news scenario?”
Making a name for Sitelinks .. any name but Paula!
As quirks go, a Sitelink called Paula sort of takes the grand prize and runs off into the distance, only to turn briefly to show its bare arse before vanishing over the horizon, to join all of the other little quirks, I dare imagine.
She’s a devil, that one!
I really couldn’t let this stand — nothing personal, P. but I’d prefer a more relevant name for a Sitelink, if you don’t mind!
I knew there was no option to rename a Sitelink, but I really had to get in contact with Google, so I paid a visit to their Help section. After a quick search for Sitelinks, I was taken to their Google Webmaster Help group.
A few moments later, I emerged empowered with new knowledge I did not know beforehand. I was now in a position to click the block button!
Blocking a Sitelink — 3rd time lucky?
On clicking the block button, a small response form appears beneath the Sitelink. First of all, there’s a drop-down / pop-up menu containing a number of reporting options. I chose the option for an incorrect Sitelink title. Secondly, there was a text box, where I typed in my reasoning:
“The title of the article is: “My 3 rules for Social Media voting”, while Paula is the name of a person that made a comment. If this is rectified, then I’d be entirely happy with the Sitelink!”
But there’s a caveat. Once I’d submitted the response form, I was taken back to the Sitelinks page only to see the following:
“We display sitelinks only if a site has 3 or more unblocked sitelinks. If you’d like sitelinks to appear on your site, please make sure that at least 3 sitelinks are unblocked.”
And I only had 3 Sitelinks to begin with! Which means that unless Google tends to the title issue — and I’m hoping they will — I won’t see the Sitelinks at all.
See how great a guy I really am? I do all of the daft / strange / dangerous / boring / reckless things so you don’t have to.
I’ll keep you posted about how things turn out…
- Semantic Web — the “Found Engine” comes of age
- Google bolsters Sitelinks with new search tool
- Google Webmaster Tools improves, Sitelinks clarified
- Google Sitelinks explained