Google has changed the search results that appear with some searches, expanding a feature called Sitelinks. Now they take up significantly more space than they did before and have more influence. Currently, Sitelinks are the two columns appear under the website’s main link (which include additional pages on the website). For the most part, this happens with Google searches for a specific name of a business and not a topic. If Google’s algorithm assesses the first search result as being useful, Sitelinks appear giving searchers shortcuts to whatever they are looking for on the website. Business websites that receive Sitelinks may not want these shortcuts as it might limit customers’ exposure to all of their services and the central presentation of their brand (but Google allows some input through demoting certain pages).   But more importantly, this can hurt restaurants who don’t have unique names even if the other company or website with the same name is not a direct competitor.

The Consequences of Sitelinks

This will likely will have an effect on how many customers’ access certain restaurant websites as many websites move down the page that would originally show up on a customer’s computer screen without scrolling. So this should be a cause for concern for restaurants who share their name with other restaurants or companies as Sitelinks may mean less traffic to your website if you are losing the battle for being the top search result. Many customers will be frustrated that they cannot easily find your website and accidentally, end up on the wrong website. Some will give up.

Without a doubt, Sitelinks give the first search result an advantage (and it seems they are the only ones who can receive Sitelinks) while undermining the other websites. Surely, visibility is very important when it comes to searches on Google, giving websites that show up first a large head start on other website (with Sitelinks the head start will be even larger). That’s why Search Engine Optimization is a growing business.

Sitelinks In Action

If you haven’t noticed Sitelinks yet, try the name of a big company and you will almost always see these columns. Even when you search for a restaurant’s name, not all websites receive Sitelinks. This is probably because Google’s algorithm evaluates the website’s influence and authority to see if Sitelinks are appropriate. Also, through Google’s PageRank or another aspect of the algorithm, Google gives company longer lists if Google determines that this is what many searchers are looking for.

This can be pretty powerful. Delta is an airline and a faucet maker. Since Google concludes the airline is what more searchers are looking for, it receives Sitelinks. The columns are 6 links long and fill up everything but the biggest computer screen. Some customers will never make it down the page even though they were looking for faucets.

Search Engine Optimization

Many restaurants share names with other restaurants and companies. Google searches for specific names make a huge portion of a restaurant’s traffic. Therefore, these restaurants should especially focus on being the first result through Search Engine Optimization and getting their own list of links, otherwise customers will face an annoying obstacle when looking for your website.