Google update the organic sitelink test

An Update on Google Expanded Organic Sitelinks

Back in August I wrote an article on the new Google extended organic sitelinks feature that Google was displaying for branded organic search terms. Well back then Google started showing 12 organic sitelinks it thought as most appropriate to show the user searching for that site. Google seemed to have reverted back to showing only six expanded organic sitelinks for a matched brand search term instead of twelve which almost dominated an entire organic search results page. You can see below that a search for Google produces only six expanded sitelinks instead of the previous twelve that appeared back in August 2011 for the same search term:

Google Expanded Organic Sitelinks
A search for Google shows Google listed with only 6 expanded organic sitelinks instead of the previous 12.
Showing 12 extended organic sitelinks while searching for Google.
Previously Google showed up to 12 expanded organic sitelinks for a matched brand search term.

Back in August Google released on the Official Google Blog that they were updating the algorithm for organic sitelinks increasing the maximum amount of sitelinks shown from eight to twelve. They also announced back then that the ranking algorithm for these sitelinks was being updated so that there would be less duplication of rankings and more organisation on SERP pages. This basically means that the most important internal pages on top sites would be shown nested in these expanded organic sitelinks instead of having individual listings on the search results page.

Search showing Channel 4 expanded organic sitelinks.
A search for Channel 4 (UK) shows the most important internal pages (according to Google) nested as expanded organic sitelinks. Also an internal site search feature!

Another search that I performed back in August was for Channel 4 (UK) which previously showed the 12 extended organic sitelinks and interestingly also shows an internal search feature to search directly from the search results page! I have seen this search feature a few times on different sites, but it doesn’t seem to be widely used across major websites. For example I would have probably expected this search feature to appear for an Apple search, as a search for Microsoft shows the search feature:

Search for Apple shows expanded organic sitelinks.
A search for Apple shows the expanded organic sitelinks again, although there is no search feature to search apple's website. The PPC sitelinks also show six sitelinks which is a new feature from Google Adwords and will be writing about this soon!

As always, Google are constantly altering organic search results and the way we view and use organic searches albeit better in they’re opinion for user experience, but usually harder for us SEO’ers to keep up with every change! It seems that Google have been dabbling in a few more experiments on organic listings recently including showing bullet point lists within organic listings and personal profile listings including personal profile pictures (this one is pretty interesting, will be writing about this soon!).