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:

Lucky brand

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:

seth godin twitter

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.

tags : conversation marketing


  1. Ian, I told you that YOU ARE A BRAND! ;-)

    It will be interesting to see if your theory of related site content plays out…

    • Ian Lurie


      Re: Me being a brand – shudder

      I think the related links from other sites could creep in. It seems extreme, but every time I say “this seems too extreme for Google” they go for it, and it looks so… sensible… when they’re done.

  2. Ian, check out the site links from Wikipedia for the query “cthulhu” – confession, I wasn’t familiar with term.

    • Ian Lurie


      That just means you aren’t sufficiently nerdy. Among the geeks, Cthulhu is definitely a brand. :)

      • LOL, when I read Cthulhu I was fearing some crazy experiment in Providence University… maybe the Google search team is not really in Cupertino anymore.

        • Ian Lurie


          Didn’t they buy all of Providence, Rhode Island?

  3. I’d be happy for sitelinks on searches that aren’t brands. They’re a good way to group the core stuff together. Even for “Ian Lurie Twitter” it would be nice to see the other “Ian Laurie”s on Twitter, as well as recent tweets to you – seems logical.

  4. I started playing around with google suggests out of curiosity with variations of some brands I work with. One Twitter account Google gave sitelinks to had only 150 followers and has been dormant since July. The rest of the sitelinked accounts had huge follower counts.

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