When browsing Google's search results, you'll probably come across organic sitelinks; but how do you rank your website for them?
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What Are Organic Sitelinks and How Do You Rank Your Website for Them?

When browsing Google's search results, you'll probably come across organic sitelinks; but how do you rank your website for them?

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Lori Ballen is a member of the Amazon Associates Program and earns money from qualifying purchases. Posts contain affiliate links that benefit Lori as well.

When browsing Google’s search results, you’ll probably come across organic sitelinks. Even if your website ranks in Google’s search results, though, it may not rank for organic sitelinks. What are organic sitelinks exactly, and how do you rank your website for them?

Overview of Organic Sitelinks

Organic sitelinks are deep links that Google automatically includes in certain organic listings. Like all deep links, they point to subpages. Clicking an organic sitelink will take users to a specific page that’s under your website’s homepage.

Traditional Google-indexed listings have a title, description, and display URL. The description and display URL are formatted as plain text, whereas the title is formatted as a linked element. Users can click the title of a listing in Google’s search results to visit the web page for which the listing was created.

Organic sitelinks don’t remove or replace any of this information. They simply add deep links to listings. Your website’s listings will still feature a title, description, and display URL.

With organic sitelinks, deep links will be displayed below this information. Each deep link or organic sitelink will point to a subpage other than that for which the listing was created. For any given listing, Google may include up to six organic listings.

Here’s an example of a search for ‘best teleprompter apps for Mac’. You can see the organic sitelinks at the bottom of the snippet.

Here's an example of a search for  'best teleprompter apps for Mac'. You can see the organic sitelinks at the bottom of the snippet.

The 2 Types of Organic Sitelinks

There are two types of organic sitelinks: basic and advanced. Basic is the most common type. Basic organic sitelinks are displayed as linked titles to subpages. Advanced organic sitelinks, on the other hand, are displayed as linked titles to subpages with a separate description. Regardless, both types consist of deep links.

Keep in mind that Google offers sitelinks for ads as well.

Ad sitelinks, of course, aren’t organic. If you use Google’s advertising service, you can enable them with the sitelink extension. Your ads will feature deep links to your website if you use the sitelink extension.

Benefits of Ranking for Organic Sitelinks

By ranking for organic sitelinks, your website will likely experience higher click-through rates (CTRs). A study conducted by PPC Hero found that the average CTR for traditional listings is 1.18 percent, compared to 1.93 percent for listings with organic sitelinks.

Ranking for organic sitelinks will increase traffic to your website’s subpages. Subpages often suffer from low traffic because they are under the homepage. With organic sitelinks, the listing for your website’s homepage will feature deep links to your site’s subpages.

Some users may still visit your website’s homepage, but others may visit its subpages.

Another benefit of organic sitelinks is more conversions. Conversions typically don’t happen on homepages. Whether you’re trying to sell a product or generate leads, conversions usually happen on subpages. Ranking for organic sitelinks will funnel users from Google’s search results to these subpages so that your website’s conversions increase.

How to Rank Your Website for Organic Sitelinks

Whether basic or advanced, all organic sitelinks are automatically created by Google. You can’t force Google to include them in your website’s listings. And unlike with ad sitelinks, you can’t enable them by using an extension. Google will only include organic sitelinks in your website’s listings if it believes they will help users navigate your site.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to earn organic sitelinks.

Using highly relevant anchor text for your website’s internal links will increase the chances of it ranking for organic sitelinks. As it crawls your website’s internal links, Google will inspect the anchor text. If an internal link’s anchor text accurately reflects the web page’s content, Google may use it to create an organic sitelink.

In addition to being relevant, you should keep the anchor text short — at least for internal links in your website’s navigation menus. Google typically doesn’t use title tags to create organic sitelinks. Instead, it uses the anchor text. It specifically uses the anchor text displayed in navigation menu links. If you create internal links in navigation menus with long anchor text, however, Google may not be able to fit them inside of your website’s listings.

Some of your website’s internal links may not have anchor text. While anchor text is required for text links, it’s not required for image links. If you link to a subpage from an image, in fact, you won’t have the option to create anchor text. For image links, you can use relevant and short alt text as an alternative. Google may use the alt text of an image link to create an organic sitelink for the corresponding web page.

Don’t forget to use a proper hierarchy (such as the WordPress taxonomies) when planning your website’s navigation. Hierarchical navigation refers to the use of multiple category levels. You can create a handful of top-level categories for general topics. Under each of these top-level categories, you can create a larger quantity of lower-level categories for more specific topics.

Hierarchical navigation such as this will help Google understand which web pages are the most important. It will recognize the top-level pages as being more important than the lower-level pages. As a result, Google might create organic sitelinks for the former pages.

Use heading tags for paragraph titles. H2 and H3 headers improve the user experience and are often used by Google to create organic sitelinks. Including a table of contents can help as well.

Organic Deep Links for Bing: What You Should Know

If your website ranks for organic sitelinks in Google’s search results, it may rank for organic deep links in Bing’s search results. Organic deep links are Bing’s version of organic sitelinks. They use a similar design consisting of links to subpages, which may or may not have a description.

You don’t have to take any extra steps to optimize your website for organic deep links. Like Google, Bing will create them automatically if it believes they will help users navigate your website. Just remember to use relevant and short anchor text for internal links along with hierarchal navigation.

Organic sitelinks can drive greater success for your website. Each of these deep links serves as an entry point to your website. By ranking for organic sitelinks, your website will benefit from higher CTRs, more subpage traffic, and more conversions.

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Lori Ballen is an entrepreneur who makes money online through blogging, video, social media, and other content marketing strategies. She's a 6-figure affiliate marketer and coaches others on how to make money online. SEO, Search Engine Optimized Content is her specialty. Lori is the creator of Ballen Academy and owns a real estate business in Las Vegas, NV.

Lori Ballen

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