Google sitelinks go Cthulhu, grow social media tentacles
Ian Lurie Sep 13 2011
Beware! Google’s new, massive, SERP-sucking sitelinks are growing tentacles. And they’re getting those appendages into more than brands.
I’ve been pondering Google’s sitelinks a lot lately. It’s hard not to. Sitelinks are in your face everywhere you go. Do a search for ‘Lucky Brand.’ Between sitelinks and Adwords ads, you can’t even fit in quick Twitter joke:
That’s OK. Lucky’s a brand. Their site has a hierarchy and navigation. It makes sense, right?
But, is “Ian Lurie Twitter” a brand?
If me + Twitter = brand, I fear for our entire species.
Social media activity is a sitelinks attractor
If you just search for ‘Ian Lurie’ you won’t find any sitelinks. Maybe it’s the combination of my name plus ‘Twitter’. So ‘Seth Godin Twitter’ should generate the same result. If I’m a little swirling dust cloud of brand, then Seth Godin is a blue giant. Sitelinks, definitely!!! Er, nope:
But Seth has an active Twitter account, @thisissethsblog. Why doesn’t that show up in sitelinks?
Google’s doing some careful analysis here. Seth’s Twitter account is just a stream from his blog, which Google already indexes. He doesn’t mix in any other stuff. And there’s no user generated content to make it unique.
On Facebook, though, those reposts lead to comments, which makes the page and content on it unique. And voila, sitelinks:
Google’s crawling Twitter and Facebook, finding accounts with lots of authority/activity, and then turning them into sitelinks. If the activity streams have something unique to offer.
This isn’t of itself something you can use to help market your company. But the larger implication is that Google’s turning more than branded sites into sitelinks. Google’s turning branded content into sitelinks, regardless of location. The next step? Potentially: Google pulling content from different sites into a single ‘sitelinks’ collection. Just a theory.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More