Extended Sitelinks Are A Headfake
There are some people who believe that sitelinks are expanding and that these sitelinks are a way to help gain exposure for your website. This is partially true. Yes, sitelinks help people find more pages on your website via search engines. However, Google is not really expanding the use of sitelinks.
Just in case you're already lost, let's back up for a moment. What is a sitelink? These are sitelinks:
A sitelink is a link that appears underneath the main link for a website. In some cases, sitelinks appear underneath a subpage of the site. These links help users navigate a website directly from Google's search engine results pages, rather than having to click through to your website, and then having to click through your site's navigation links. The purpose of sitelinks is to simplify site navigation by displaying sitelinks to important pages within your website.
Google has been showing sitelinks in its search results for a long time now. In fact, the big "G" has been showing sitelinks for sub-pages for a while too. The idea that Google would expand sitelinks is an attractive one. For starters, when people search for something and find your website and corresponding sitelinks, it throws up a huge signal for users. Sitelinks scream "authority." They also force Google to show more of your site in its search results.
Sitelinks don't affect your ranking in Google's SERPs, but the "authority" factor is huge. Think about it. When you search for something in Google, and you see a website that has those sitelinks right in the search results pages, doesn't it seem more
As it stands now, Google's default results page shows just 10 websites. If your website shows up first, along with your sitelinks, then you'll be taking up more of that valuable virtual estate in the SERPs. More visibility on page one is a great thing, because it means there's a better chance of people clicking on your links as versus your competitors'.
If Google was expanding sitelinks, it would mean that more of your website would be visible in Google's SERPs. Consequently, it would mean that you would be able to take up more space in Google's results pages. Again, a good thing.
Even though there's no official expansion going on, you should be aware of the fact that Google's sitelinks apply to your sub-pages. If you're not already doing so, you should optimize your site so that Google can more easily display these sitelinks.
If you use flash on your site, then you should consider using a few search engine friendly navigation links. If you have many navigation links on your site, take some time to optimize those links for usability. Not only will this make it easier for your visitors, an optimized navigation menu will show the site links you want shown in the search engine results pages. Google uses navigation links as a guide for sitelinks, so keep that in mind.
When you update your website, you may have changed some key pages on your site. However, sometimes, Google doesn't catch the update. If Google is showing the wrong sitelinks for your sub-pages or homepage, you can fix this in your Google webmaster tools account. Click on "Links," and then "Sitelinks." From here, you can block sitelinks that take your visitors to 404 pages.