Site Links – What Are They?
Site links are an enhanced website listing within Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
They are completely automatic, in other words; …you can’t request them, …you can’t buy them, …you can’t piss and moan to Google about your mistreatment (that will bite you in the arse). Because they happen completely internal to Google’s search result algorithm, which of course is very tightly held, the ultimate proprietary technology of Google Inc.!
How to Get Selected?
While we don’t know the exact mechanism, a savvy webmaster does have access to complete details of the bottom of Google’s algorithm (ie., bot traffic input), and we can get a ‘partial-snapshot’ view of the index in the middle with (site:) searches, and of course the very top of this algorithm is in the public domain (i.e., the SERPs themselves).
The analysis is mixed at best. Many sites that do poorly, even very poorly, in SERPs, (e.g., Amanda Howard Real Estate, Exit Realty of the Valley) have very nice Google Site Links. While others that do well in the SERPs, like ourselves and others, have had no Site Links at all.
At first glance one would easily think that ‘Site Links’ are semi-proportional to market share but such is not the case. Other sites with significant market share also have no Site Links at all (e.g., Summit Realtors ).
So What Gives?
Its not Google its your website users! …’If you build it they will come’, a good starting place but not quite there. The larger question is; “Will they come back and how?”
My own educated guess, …when your users prefer you or your website over others, they narrow their search parameters to include your site or company name and even start using (site:) searches themselves, …when this specific search traffic (which is measurable) …begins and sustains a certain level, relative to your competitors.
I believe it is then …that the ‘algorithm’ kicks in to provide enhanced site links, (not for you or your company) but for your users!
It’s Not Playing Favorites
Google doesn’t like us or our websites anymore than any other local competitor, they are simply focusing on servicing their own users ahead of whatever our personal or business desire may be. …A good lesson here for any service business, I would think.