Ever wondered how websites get premier first place result layouts like the one shown in this picture? (See this sample ‘live’ here or simply type in “Canadian news” at Google.) Rumours have persisted for a while as to how these listings are created but Google has finally updated the webmaster’s help guide explaining these listings called “Sitelinks”.
The long and the short of it is that the creation of Sitelinks are totally automated; this had appeared to be the case from all accounts but could not be verified 100%. As it turns out Sitelinks will only appear if Google thinks they will be useful to their users.
The most revealing tidbit comes when Google stated that: “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.”
So, if you want Sitelinks for your first place ranking what does this mean for you, the site owner? Ensuring that your website is search engine friendly is more important than ever. Google’s note about site structure is purposely vague, however, it is logical to assume that the core concepts of good search engine friendly design helps a great deal: see my latest article on search engine friendly design for more tips on this topic.