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The strange case of the 3 Google Sitelinks

Thursday, 17 April 2008 — by

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.

Kapitex Healthcare Sitelinks

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.

I’m pretty sure the name comes from fellow ‘blogger Paula Hawk, who commented several times on my 3 rules for Social Media voting article.

Blah, Blah! Technology Sitelinks

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…

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David Bradley → Thursday, 17 April 2008 @ 14:49 BDT

We’ve discussed Sitelinks at length via Skype and elsewhere, but I really wonder whether for sites like ours it’s worth worrying about them. Obviously, if you’re NASA, you get 1000s if not millions of people searching for NASA as a keyword, but how many people search for blahblahtech or sciencetext? A big fat zero I bet.

Of course, at some point in the future either or both of those names might become just as famous as NASA, you never know, but by then Google will have moved far beyond the Sitelinks concept and our brains will all be tapping the net wirelessly with not a computer in site.

db

Kyle James → Thursday, 17 April 2008 @ 16:39 BDT

LOL, believe it or not probably the best thing you could do is write a post about the problem, because eventually (meaning about ten minutes from now in Google time) Google support will come across this post and fix it.

Nick James → Thursday, 17 April 2008 @ 21:48 BDT

Ha ha. You should’ve kept the sitelink, Wayne, and sent it out into the world to make a man of itself. After all, John Wayne’s real name was Marion, and the legendary Big Daddy, erstwhile wrestler of these very shores, was named Shirley. ;)
Loved the post. I think sod’s law has taken it upon himself to piss on the chips of all Englishmen. :)

Wayne Smallman → Thursday, 17 April 2008 @ 22:00 BDT

Talk about Sods Law?!

If only more people had clicked on my Contact or About button.

That’s for next time, maybe? As for the here & now, I have to contend with this rib-ticking festival of mirth & merriment that is a Sitelink called Paula…

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