This morning I was mucking about on teh interwebz and decided to check how I was ranking against my name (eGoogling is an addiction, especially once you start to rank quite well): I’m now page 1 for searches for both versions of my first name (both Ciaran & Ciarán, and links with those words as text would be much appreciated – just saying) so was pretty chuffed. I thought that I’d also check how I’m doing for my full name as, though I’ve ranked #1 for both versions of this for a while (with & without the foda), things can change.
And change they had, because Google now thinks that I’m worthy of sitelinks – those links that you sometime see under the top result in the organic listings, generally when you do a navigational search (i.e. for a brand name). I have to say, and it doesn’t paint me in a particularly ‘cool’ light, that I was pretty excited about this. I may even have let out a little exclamation of excitement. It certainly made the cat jump anyway.
The reason for this excitement is that this essentially means that it thinks I am the ultimate source of information on Ciaran Norris and that it is therefore in the interest of its users to provide them with direct access to more of my content. As far as the Big G are concerned, I am the mutt’s nuts when it comes to the hot topic that is Ciaran Norris (though bizarrely, not for Ciarán Norris). Which of course I am. Kind of. Oh, whatever.
Anyway, what’s interesting about this is which links it’s chosen and what that suggests. As you can see from the image above, the links are, with just two exceptions, to the archives of my posts. The two exceptions are to the pages for posts tagged with Ben Westbeech or Gilles Peterson. Now either Google can now read minds and knows that those guys are two of my favourites or else it has some clever little algorithm which tells it that those are likely to be of interest. I wonder which it is?
If I look at other sites with sitelinks (such as my place of work) what becomes apparent is that Google is trying to map site structure at the same time as showing pages which are the most popular. In other words if you want certain pages to appear as sitelinks, then you need to build links to those pages and should consider internal links as one way of doing that (whilst you can use Webmaster Tools to tell Google not to return particular pages as sitelinks, you can’t tell it which ones you want it to show). Having said that, I don’t remember linking to those tag pages all that much so at the end of the day it’s all clear as mud.
Of course in order for this to be relevant you have to get sitelinks first and that’s something that there’s no quick fix for, other than being incredibly interesting & important of course*!
*This is a joke. Honestly.