Sitelinks Demotion Tool Within Google Search Console Has Been Removed

Oct 13, 2016 • 7:53 am | comments (16) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

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Back in 2007 Google added a feature to Search Console, back then known as Webmaster Tools, to allow webmasters to "demote" or remove specific URLs as sitelinks from showing up in the search results snippets.

Sitelinks are the popular links you find in Google search results under some of the snippets. Here what I boxed in, in red, are the sitelinks for this search snippet:


So if I felt the "about us" link is something that is not worth showing as a sitelink, I would have been able to tell Google - ignore that one and replace it with your next runner up. I cannot longer do that.

Google posted this news on Google+ this morning saying "our algorithms have gotten much better at finding, creating, and showing relevant sitelinks, and so we feel it's time to simplify things." So they decided internally to remove the demote sitelinks feature to simplify things.

It was actually a feature I used every now and then, so I am a bit surprised they dropped it. Google added this:

We only show sitelinks for results when we think they'll be useful to the user. If the structure of your site doesn't allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don't think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user's query, we won't show them. This process is completely automated. Sitelinks have evolved into being based on traditional web ranking, so the way to influence them is the same as other web pages.

Best practices to improve the quality of your sitelinks include:

# Provide a clear structure for your website, using relevant internal links and anchor text that's informative, compact, and avoids repetition.

# Allow Google to crawl and index important pages within your site. Use Fetch and Render [1] to check that they can be rendered properly.

# If you need to remove a page from search completely, use a "noindex" robots meta tag [2] on that page.

John Mueller of Google posted about this on Twitter as well and he is taking some heat for the decision.

Do you feel that this is a bad move by Google?

Forum discussion at Twitter and Google+.

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