Types of Google’s Navigational Snippets: How to Get More Out of Your Search Position
Last updated: December 4th, 2013
Traditionally Google had the cleanest search interface ever: Users could only see the linked title, two-line description of the target page, URL and search query in bold.
Then Google decided to serve more to the user: In many cases, when they thought it made sense, they would tweak the search snippet so that it could direct the user to a more relevant or to several parts of the site.
These types of search snippets will be referred to as “navigational” snippets in this article (feel free to come up with a better name).
Whether the objective has been to better accommodate the users’ needs or to encourage them to stay longer within SERPs (in the case of “Search within search” feature, for example), this is a huge potential to get competitive advantage.
In today’s search world, when higher rankings are harder (and slower) to achieve, the more we can get out of our current search engine position, the better.
So which types of navigational snippets exist?
- Google Sitelinks (and later one-line sitelinks)
- Search Within Search
- Jump to links
- Rich snippets (events)
- “More results from” links
The first step to Google scraping more information from your site in order to show it in the SERPs was Sitelinks. They were first officially announced in 2006.
They only appear for top search result and allow users to jump to more specific pages of the site. Sitelinks are also supposed to give the user an “overview” of the site by showing him / her the “most important” pages from the domain.
How to get?
Sitelinks appear for “navigational” / branded searches and they are awarded to moderately trusted / powerful domains.
They have undergone some essential changes since they were first introduced:
- You can ban any page from appearing as sitelinks from inside Google Webmaster Tools
- One-link sitelinks (“mini sitelinks” as SEO community calls them) started appearing in 2009. Unlike traditional sitelinks, mini sitelinks may appear for informational queries and across the SERPs (not just first results).
- In 2011 Google tweaked sitelinks: They are now arranged in clearer columns, more sites are allowed to have sitelinks and higher number of sitelinks now show up in search results (for the top result only).
When “Search within Search (Google called it “teleporting“) was first announced, it caused quite a stir. However it hasn’t become mainstream and remained enabled just for a selected number of queries and for a selected group of domains, so most people forgot about it.
For some domains and search results Google shows a separate search button inviting you to search within that domain.
How to get?
This feature will now occur when we detect a high probability that a user wants more refined search results within a specific site. Like the rest of our snippets, the sites that display the site search box are chosen algorithmically based on metrics that measure how useful the search box is to users.
Together with one-link / mini-sitelinks, “Jump to” links were announced in 2009. They were meant to provide better user experience by taking a user to a more relevant portion of the web page.
How to get?
These are not hard to get if you structure your page using “Named anchors” that take the user to the specific part of the page.
Rich Snippets were introduced long ago! They were supposed to reflect the page rich markup to give Google users more (structured) information about the page.
How to get?
I have written a detailed tutorial into how to use that rich markup (the easiest is Schema.org) for rich snippet support.
Here is an example of how rich snippets may help Google find more pages from your site to direct the user to:
Event rich snippet displaying navigational links to individual events:
For some queries, when Google is able to indicate a strong user’s interest in a particular domain, they would invite them to see “more results from that domain”. It’s a nice addition to Sitelinks:
How to get?
Like sitelinks, it largely depends on the query and authority of your overall domain.
Have you been testing different ways to navigate users to different parts of your website using different types of navigational snippets? Have you succeeded? Please share your thoughts!
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