When you search Google for some keywords, you might have noticed a cluster of additional links placed just below the meta description snippet of a search result. These links are called sitelinks which are meant to help users navigate a particular site and jump to a specific page directly from Google search results.
Sitelinks for a website are generated automatically and their order and visibility changes with time. Google analyzes the structure of a website and determines some key pages which might help users find the information they are looking for.
Here is how sitelinks of this website appears on Google search:
In general, Google shows 8-10 links as sitelinks on search result pages.Note that sitelinks appear only when you search for a site name, URL or something which is exclusively related to the site (name of author, for example). The size of Google sitelinks is also smaller when compared to the size of title links on search result pages.
Looks like Google is going to drastically increase the size and number of sitelinks shown on search result pages, as reported by a Webmaster world user Suzukik. Here is the example screenshot Suzukik provides:
Just look at the font size of these sitelinks – their size is so large that the entire sitelinks section of the first result occupies the region that appears above the fold in a browser. The second and third results are nowhere to be seen above the fold and the number of sitelinks have also increased from 8 to 12. Additionally, a meta description snippet for sitelinks is also shown beneath each link but its really very short in length (30-40 characters).
These mega sitelinks on Google search might be a part of Google’s usability testing but looking at the screenshot, I don’t think this will create an enjoyable user experience. Sitelinks help users jump to a specific section of a website but covering the whole search result page with sitelinks of a particular site doesn’t look like a very good idea. Google has been heavily experimenting with the layout and usability of Google search for a couple of months. First they launched a redesigned Google search with a black navigation menu bar across all Google services. Next, they are also planning to make that navigation bar sticky, so that users can access the menu links when they have scrolled to the bottom of a search result page.
Now consider the situation when both these changes will be made live globally. The navigation menu bar sticks up on top while the whole first page is occupied by huge mega sitelinks, when someone is performing a site specific query or looking to find a particular section of a specific website.