Google Site Links
building them using Category Editor plugin
Quite a while ago I posted a blog about how the WordPress and Woocommerce plugin Category Editor can help build Site Links in Google’s search results. It’s good to see that nothing has changed after a number of Google core updates.
A number of my other sites have been delivering site links in Google’s search results including one of my drop-shipping sites. That site chinasavings.co.uk is the subject of this quick blog to demonstrate that site links can still be encouraged and built.
Obviously you can not tell Google which links to show but when these site links do show up they act as a confidence boost for searchers. Now Site Links was never meant to convey authority or confidence. Their task is to show web searchers popular or important pages on a web site to act as a short cut.
That said, there’s no doubt that web searchers who see a web site with plenty of site links under it do take that as some sort of social signal about the authority of the site in the results.
Recap on Google Site Links
Google site links are the links found under the main result on a search results page. They only tend to happen for the number one position and there can be anything between 2 and 10 links in addition to the main link.
Again in the chinasavings.co.uk case study here we see it is delivering 10 site links as shown in the image above.
No site owner can determine which links are going to show. It depends on the search and also signals from Google. They are looking for important ‘hub’ pages or they use their search history data to show popular posts.
But just as in the previous blog on Wildlife News the majority of site links shown for China Savings are for category archive pages. Category and Tag archive pages are ideal for developing as a hub page because the links are already there.
Getting Google to rank archive pages
WordPress and Woocommerce archive pages are just natural hub pages to be taken advantage of, but they need some development and extra information. As they stand by default an archive page is nothing but a list of URLs in a H2 tag with possibly some images.
As Jon Muller, Google Web Trends, said in one podcast;
“The one thing that I notice in talking with the mobile indexing folks is that when the ecommerce category pages don’t have any other content at all other than links to the products then it’s really hard for us to rank those pages.“
The Category Editor plugin can really help you solve that conundrum. Even the free version at WordPress can help substantially in developing those category pages. The free version means you have to add all your supporting information in the top description area. Ideal for search engines but not always great for visitors if they have to scroll through lots of text before getting to the product listings.
This is what makes Category Editor Pro so much better than the free version. You get a second content area after the listings to develop the page with long tail keywords, rich media and supporting information. It’s there for the search engines but if the customer or visitor does not want to read it they can click through on the listings without scrolling.
Building a powerful hub page from archives
There are countless ways to design a category or tag archive page in WordPress and Woocommerce but my own preference is to follow a set of guidelines on all my web sites.
- Strong image introduction
- H1 title followed by an underline and H3 sub title
- 3 or 4 short paragraphs with main keywords
- Display of any sub categories
That is really al I need for the top description area when using the pro version of Category Editor. I disable the default page title and just use the editor to put in the main title and sub title.
You don’t ant to much as you really need your web visitors to get on with choosing their products from the listings.
After the listings in the bottom content area is the place for long-tail keywords, phases and developing rich media. It’s always nice to have a selection of media and formats. don’t forget things like lists and quote blocks.
Good page design for getting ranking of archives and categories
People like to see variety on a page, even text school books try and break up big blocks of words to make the passage and page easier to read and understand. You need to do the same with your archive page. Keep the introduction nice a short, then the listings and then the main content body.
Don’t just add lots of words though. Use the tools at your disposal to present well and Google will pay your back with kindness and search results.
Think of images and video. but don’t stop there. you can use a whole range of html commands to bring about good design and easy readability.
- Headings are the number one way of conveying important information to Google
- block quotes are a great way to introduce a potential snippet for Google to pick up
- lists, both ordered and unordered are great for user readability and search
But you can also bring in rich formats such as FAQ’s into the bottom description area and mark them up in schema for search engines to understand.
The more variety of design and formatting you can introduce the easier it is for both people and search to read and understand your supporting information.
If you are doing this in Woocommerce product category and tag pages then this is a good place to have your FAQ. Have a number of popular question and answers on the archive related to what buyers will be looking for and asking.
Build out your hub page for site links
As you build out your archive page it becomes more important and with the links out to highly relevant and related products there is a good chance that Google will pick it up as hub page and that increases the chance of it being displayed as a site link.
Generally it can take approx. 6 months before you will start to see site links being displayed. That’s the sort of time span it is taking on most of my sites for Google to start understanding the site structure and hierarchy. It also takes time for Google to see which pages on your site are popular and regularly visited.
Once Google starts to understand your visitors and your site structure, you should then start to see site links being displayed.