New Inequality in Google Places: Sitelinks in "Blended" Local Search Results

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I’ve just seen what I believe is a new competitive edge that some businesses can wield over others in the Google Places “blended” search results: sitelinks.

For example, here’s a screenshot of how one of my clients shows up in Google Places—notice the 3 little links under his Google listing:

I’ve never seen sitelinks show up where they do now in Google Places.

Sitelinks have shown up in non-local (organic and paid) search results for several years.  In terms of how they’ve appeared in the local search results, it’s been the case for quite some time that if you search for a business by name and see its “one-box” appear in Google Places, typically you’d see any sitelinks that Google has given it.

(By the way, here’s a post I did on how you can get sitelinks from Google.)

What’s different about these sitelinks is they’re showing up for some businesses (and not others) in the cutthroat arena known as page one of Google’s local search results.  Some businesses get to show their sitelinks to customers, even when those customers don’t search for those businesses by name.

What’s more, I’ve only seen the “blended” sitelinks for the businesses that are already ranked at the top of the heap.  The above example of my client is one such example (hey, I’m not complaining).  Here’s another example:

It’s possible this is a test.  But I’d say that’s unlikely, based on the fact that sitelinks have appeared in more and more areas of Google over the years.

In any case, this isn’t an earth-shaking change, but it does change the local-search landscape a little (is that too many L’s?).  Mainly it’s a force-multiplier for businesses that are the top of Google Places for some search terms.  The sitelinks push the other local businesses down the page just a little bit, and the sitelinks are likely to boost click-through rates for local businesses that have them.

The moral of the story?  Try to get sitelinks.  An optimized, Google-friendly site can help your Google Places ranking big-time, and the process of trying to get sitelinks can help you tighten up your site and give it a boost in this way.  Plus, if and when you’re at the top of the local search results in your market, your sitelinks can be an even greater advantage over lower-ranked local competitors.

Have you noticed more sitelinks in your local market than you noticed before?  Is it only the top-ranked businesses that have sitelinks?

Comments

  1. Hey Phil, I think these are the same sitelinks I blogged about back in July of last year.

    http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/google-local-sitelinks-google-places-listings.html

    But maybe you just noticed because they are starting to show up more than they were before? I see them occasionally, but not very often.

    • Hey Linda,

      Thanks for the great observation. I did see the blog post you did way back in July, forgot about it for months, and couldn’t find it or any other post when I was wondering the other day whether sitelinks had ever been seen in non-one-box results.

      So I guess it’s pretty safe to say that sitelinks IN the 7-pack have been around a little while. But, as you pointed out, they may be on the rise at least a little bit. I’d never seen them for either of the two local markets I took example screenshots of. Maybe the “news” of this post isn’t that the sitelinks are new, but that they may be spreading to more local markets (and helping the very top-ranked businesses hang onto their leads). I’d be really interested in knowing what else you think / observe about this.

  2. Nice article, Phil.

    As Linda noted, these show up for a few months now, but what is interesting is that we start seeing them more often, and not only for the ranked A business.

    I believe Google are making some upgrade on the way they find and display sitelinks. Let’s wait for the monthly inside search post with the algorithm updates and see 😉

    • Hey Nyagoslav,

      Yeah, it wasn’t much of a “catch” on my part…doh!

      And yes, as you said, I’ve noticed more of these sitelinks recently. However, I’ve only noticed them for A and B–none of the other rankings has had them, based on what I’ve seen so far. I’d be really interested in knowing what you’ve seen–particularly if you’ve seen cases where the sitelinks truly are peppered throughout the rankings, or have been for F-G, etc.

      Thanks for the great input / insight, as always!

  3. Hey Phil,
    Good article. I was looking around on some info on this matter. I see you wrote this on Feb 4th and today Feb 10th, I just saw our clients Sitelinks on a search today. It wasn’t there last week. Our client was the only one that had the sitelinks and their position was #1 to confirm what you said above to Nyagoslav.

    • Hey Justin,

      Thanks for the intel. As I’ve said and as of course you’ve noticed first-hand, the evolution here is that the sitelinks are becoming more common. I find it a little puzzling (though I guess not surprising) that #1 so consistently is the one with sitelinks. My best guess at this stage is that it reflects what seems to be Google’s growing emphasis on site quality as a GP ranking factor.

      Feel free to let me know if you notice some new development in terms of sitelinks–either in your client’s market or in general. I have a feeling this isn’t the last post I’ll be doing on sitelinks.

      In any case, it’s awesome that you got your client in such a good position.

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