Q and A : Is there anything I can do to improve the chance of Google displaying sitelinks for my site?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I’d love to have Sitelinks shown when people search for my site on Google. Is there anything I can do to improve the chance of Google displaying sitelinks for my site?


Dear Matthew

Shirley has also asked about this, so hopefully the following information will help answer both your queries.

To borrow a quote from Google’s Webmasters/Site owners Help about sitelinks:

We only show sitelinks for results when we think they’ll be useful to the user. If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don’t think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them.

From this we can take two important points – firstly, you need a good, SEO-friendly navigation / architecture for your site.

Assuming you know about sitelinks and are reading an SEO blog, you’d most likely already have this in place… so the second thing to work on is convincing Google your site is useful.

There are two main ways to accomplish this:

  1. By focusing on building good deep links to your most important internal pages
  2. By increasing the click-through rate (and reducing the bounce rate) to the pages you want to have as a sitelink

One way to improve the click-through rates, deep link to a few of your pages and convince the big G which pages are the most important is by putting a strong call-to-action on your homepage’s body content and then linking to each of these core pages.

Even with all this, there’s still no guarantees that you’ll get sitelinks, but it should help.

If anyone else has any advice or feedback about sitelinks, let us know in the comments.


Peter Newsome
SiteMost Search Engine Optimisation

Q and A: How can I make my blog searchable and rank well on search engines?

QuestionDear Kalena…

How can I make my blog searchable and rank well on search engines? How long on average does it take a new blog site to receive good traffic?



Hi Priscilla

My first piece of advice would be to host your blog on your own domain name and not with any of the many free hosted platforms such as blogger.com, wordpress.com etc. This serves two purposes:

  1. You gain maximum SEO potential from all inbound links you receive as they’re pointing to your site and not helping improve the authority of the main root domain that you’re blog is associated with.
  2. If you decide to move things around, you have full control over how the pages redirect and can ensure no previously built inbound links go to waste if/when changes are made.

Once you have your own domain and hosting account to house it, the next big thing is having search engine friendly blog software. I personally use WordPress as it’s one of the most popular and even without adding any plugins, it has some really good SEO features built-in. It’s also really easy to extend and add widgets / plugins to make it even better.

Put together a blog schedule to ensure you’re consistent with your posts – it could be daily, weekly, monthly or whatever works-out best for you. You could even set aside a day a week to prepare posts and write a few in one sitting then schedule them to go live at different intervals. Regardless of how often you blog, it’s essential to make blogging part of your routine as it’s very easy to let other things get in the way and before you know it, you haven’t posted anything for a couple of months.

While having great content is crucial, you will still find that it often isn’t enough to drive traffic, so the next step is to get your name out there. Comment on other relevant blogs, offer to guest post, participate in blog carnivals, promote your blog using other social media tools like Twitter and look for as many opportunities you can find to let people know you exist.

A new blog post can be indexed in minutes, but proper traffic and subscribers takes time to build.

If you’re serious about creating a successful blog, I’d also suggest checking-out ProBlogger as he provides a tonne of great advice.

Hope this helps!

Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Brisbane

Q and A: Why are some directory backlinks not showing-up?

QuestionDear Kalena…

As I am submitting my site to directories as part of my link building campaign, I go back to some of the ones I submitted to 3 or 4 months ago and can see my info/link on these directories. However, when I check on Google WebMaster or Yahoo Site Explorer, these links are not listed as incoming links.

Can you tell me why that is?


Dear Yen…

There could be a number of reasons for this.

It’s not uncommon for some directories utilise the ‘nofollow’ tag, or use redirects or javascripts to link to your site. If any of these techniques have been applied, the link won’t be shown in the Webmaster / Site Explorer tools.

Some directories are very low quality, excessively employ reciprocal linking, sell links and/or link-out to bad neighbourhoods – if you’ve got a link from one of these directories, the link won’t pass any value and also may not be displayed in the link checking tools either.

Then there are the directories that are really big with hundreds/thousands of categories and sub-categories (and if those categories are not updated on a regular basis), then there’s also a very good chance that the spiders may not have crawled deeply enough to even find your link.

While submitting to a few of the more trusted directories isn’t a bad thing, my advice would be to adjust your link building approach.

Spend more time building relationships and trying to get a few really good, relevant links from well trusted sites instead of submitting to a bunch of average directories that most likely don’t pass much real link value.

Hope this helps!

Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Brisbane

Q and A : Will changing web servers affect my rankings?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I have a query related to web server migration and corresponding effects on search engine rankings.

I have a website of my client for which I was doing SEO for quite some time and getting some pleasant search engine rankings for the same website.

Recently he migrates his web server without notifying me and instantly I observed a major downfall in search engine rankings in Google. I have lost the rankings on almost all the keywords.

My question is, is this downfall in rankings is due to server migration as that website was ranked on top search engine result pages before the server migration?

If this is the reason of downfall, then how can I retain those rankings and how long it will take??

Thanks in anticipation.


Dear Manish

There are a lot of things that need to be considered when moving a site between servers/hosts. These include (but are not limited to):

Other sites hosted on the same server
If you were to move house and relocate to a shady neighbourhood, people would start wondering if you’re associated with other people in the area, if you’re having financial troubles etc. The internet is the same. Move your site to a server that hosts a lot of gambling, pharmaceuticals and adult sites, Google may start to question the quality of your own site and if you are in some way associated with those other sites.

Server congestion and load times
Google has to index a LOT of content, so if the server your site is hosted on is overloaded, doesn’t have the necessary bandwidth available or is simply slow to respond, Google may be forced to only index part of your site, or even skip it altogether and move onto pages that respond more efficiently.

Linking patterns
Google looks at linking patterns and relationships that exist between different sites. If you have 100 links all from the same IP address, those links will generally not carry the same weight as 100 links spread across a wide range of networks. If your client’s site was moved to the same server that coincidentally a lot of your inbound links were coming from, Google could devalue the weight of these links.

Unsupported features
Server security policies can vary between hosting providers as will the features they support. I’ve seen some hosts block the use of .htaccess files causing URL rewriting and many other little issues. Some files/folders may automatically be set with read-only permissions causing dynamically generated content features to break and the more complex the site, the more chance there is for things to go wrong.

While Google is pretty good at determining what geographic region a site is aimed at (through use of domain extension, where a majority of inbound links are from etc.) the physical location of the hosting server also plays a role in this. If the hosting was moved to a server in a different country, it may affect your local search results. There are ways around this through Google’s Webmaster tools, and if you’re doing everything else right, it may not have a huge impact, but it’s yet another factor to be considered.

It’s hard to say with certainty that the migration of your client’s site is responsible for the drop in rankings, but hopefully some of the above suggestions will give you a few things to start investigating. As mentioned above, these are just a few of the more common things to check and I encourage readers to add their own server-related SEO feedback in the comments.

Hope this helps

Peter Newsome
SiteMost’s Search Engine Optimisation Brisbane

Q and A : Will changing content negatively affect my rankings?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I recently got promoted on my job and I’m now responsible for the SEO of the company website.

We’re currently ranking number 1 on Google but I would like to do some changes to the content of the site (use more keywords, make it more appealing to the visitor, etc) but I’m afraid that with these changes, the website can go down on the ranking. What’s your opinion?

Thank you.

Dear Victoria

Changes in content can affect your search rankings, but this shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing (as long as you do it right).

There are two things to consider – first and foremost, your website should be designed for your clients. If your planning on improving the content, adding more value to the site, making it more user-friendly etc. then please don’t let the potential loss of a ranking or two stop you. These types of improvements to a site usually reduce bounce-rates which, although not instantaneous, will have a better, long-term effect on your site’s overall rankings and performance.

The second thing to be mindful of is that while making these changes, you still keep the most important keywords in the right places. This includes all the obvious stuff like title tags, headings etc.

Also, if these changes only affect the content, but not the actual architecture of the site, then ignore this next bit, but if you’re planning on changing file names, or moving pages around, ensure you use the appropriate 301 redirects to avoid losing any of the link value these pages have built-up.

Hope this helps

Peter Newsome
SiteMost Search Engine Optimisation