Another day, another change from the folks over at Google. As part of their continuing dedication to improving search from a user perspective, they have now introduced expandable site links on mobile. We already knew that they had been testing this, but now it’s official. Being able to be found by your customers via mobile is essential to doing business these days, and Google wants us all to know that if we play by their rules, we reap the benefits. This will definitely help users though, especially as they fumble around with touch screens.
What has changed?
Not too long ago, (just a few days actually) when you searched you only saw the title tag with a link under it, and then the meta description. Now, when you search for something you get a whole lot more information than you bargained for. With expanded links you can see sub sections of a website right in the SERP, and even the most popular links within a website.
When you search for restaurants for example, the SERP brings up the results, and Tripadvisor is at the top. At the bottom of the Tripadvisor result is a link to the “top Montreal restaurants” page within their website. A quick search of “NBA” pulls up not only the main page of NBA.com, but also displays all of today’s games, recent scores, social feeds, team logos, and pretty much anything you need to know.
Interestingly enough it seems to only work for the top results, or some paid ones. For example, we searched for hotels in Toronto and were able to quickly navigate to a booking page via an expandable link on the top paid page results, but saw nothing of the sort for the top organic result. We will have to wait and see how things pan out.
But why, Google?
We think the logic is clear for Google. First, this allows them to make their top slots more valuable both to advertisers, and to users. On the advertiser’s side, all of their relevant services are displayed in front of the customer, so that they don’t have to do any extra navigation, and can get right where they need to go, such as booking a room when searching for a hotel. On the user’s side, now the most relevant information is right in front of them. This is a huge advantage on mobile. They don’t have to click through to a home page first, and navigate on that small screen of theirs. They can go directly where they need to go.
What does it mean for me?
Google is making their top slots more and more valuable, and this means that you need ensure that your webpage has a properly laid out map of sub-sections. Label them correctly so that users can see where they are going, and know exactly what they are getting in to. Not only that, but when you couple this with the recent “snackpack” update, you see just how important it is to get yourself into those top spots. While we won’t know the true extent of this change until Google opens up by commenting on the update, we do know that the top results on the SERP have changed, and are still changing.
SEO is a constantly evolving game – new things become incredibly important, while old things fall to the wayside. It is important to monitor the changes, and adapt accordingly. New expandable links on Google search results mean that users can now navigate more freely directly from the SERP, and that appearing in the top slots is all the more valuable.