August 16, 2011
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Google are continually testing changes to create the best experience for its users. Whilst a lot of the changes are debated within the SEO community with regards to whether these changes are in fact beneficial or not, one of the largest changes to happen recently is the testing of mega sitelinks.
Commonly known as sitelinks, Google would show 4 to 6 important sitelinks either inline or underneath a search engine result listing that was deemed to have authority on the keyphrase used; more commonly than not this was in relation to brand searches.
Over the past week, Google has been seen testing “Mega Sitelinks” – the same premise but now including up to 12 listings and taking up much more space than before . Below you can see examples of our very own mega sitelinks.
From a brand perspective, mega sitelinks are a phenomenal change. Not only is it a dream ticket for online reputation management, but it acts as a massive advertising board for your brand. Not only are you ensuring that the user only sees your brand, but you are also showing important pages about your brand. Obviously pages that you do not wish to show can be removed in Google Webmaster Tools.
One further addition that we have seen is the transition of mega sitelinks to blended search results (aka Universal search results).
Below is a screenshot of one of our clients, Hayes Garden World, with blended mega sitelinks search results of:
This is a fantastic UI change from the client’s perspective and is the ultimate search result for a brand result. They have full 100% coverage within the search result pages ensuring maximum exposure to a user.
We also noticed that we experienced blended mega sitelinks later in the day:
Whilst non-brand searches remain unaffected there are several instances of brands who have built businesses on exact match domain names. Again, a client of ours, Online Boilers, benefits hugely from these tests:
This is the question that most SEO companies and clients alike will want answered. After all, imagine if this was triggered for generic searches?
As with all Google tests, this could be gone within the next few days and be forgotten about, but I suspect that this will be here to stay and make the #1 spot in an organic search a much more commercially viable target for a search engine optimisation campaign.
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