Have you noticed that some Google search results include a listing of sitelinks immediately following the main search result. In the Fall of 2009 when I began rebuilding the ColorMetrix site, I remember wondering how I could get our site to show up as it now does in the image above. The answer I found by researching sitelinks was discouraging. In short, the Google algorithms decide automatically when your site and its sitelinks are relevant enough for this type of display.
The path we followed to have sitelinks displayed
The exact Google algorithm is as closely guarded a secret as the Coca-Cola recipe. So, what follows here is the story of what we did between the fall of 2009 and now. This is what I believe to be the relevant steps in the process.
First, we made certain our WordPress install was up-to-date. This included updating all plugins to minimize the possibility of Google seeing anything on our site as potential malware. In addition, I decided to take us in the direction of a premium theme for use with WordPress. I’ve frequently written about the Thesis Theme we selected and why. Thesis has great built-in SEO capabilities that makes your site look a whole lot more Google-icious.
We hired professional design help. In the Summer of 2010, we hired Joshua Garity to put some lipstick on the pig that was the ColorMetrix website. The appearance of ColorMetrix today is a result of Joshua’s design and user experience expertise. He did such a good job that Chris Pearson, the founding developer of Thesis Theme, noticed. Chris liked what Joshua had done for us with the Thesis Theme enough to tweet about it. Chris has a loyal following on Twitter and our traffic spiked.
A blog was added to ColorMetrix.com. I can’t overstate the importance of having a blog on your website. The two most clicked options on the ColorMetrix homepage are “About” and “Blog.” Folks want to know about your story, not your products. Plus, Google loves fresh content that people are seeking out. In a nutshell, that’s the value of a blog.
Kitchen Table Companies launches. In January of this year, as my friend Joe Sorge prepared to launch his new community with Chris Brogan, he asked me if he could feature ColorMetrix as a Kitchen Tables Companies Success Story. I jumped at the opportunity. Much of success on the internet is about quality back links. Being linked to by a Chris Brogan project can’t hurt – let’s just put it that way. Around the same time, Chris Pearson listed us in the Thesis Gallery Showcase. These two quality back links generated a lot of quality traffic.
More professional marketing help. Finally, on February 1 of this year, Shelby Sapusek joined us as a virtual marketing manager. One of Shelby’s tasks is to keep the ColorMetrix site fresh, which includes making sure the blog has frequent fresh content. She also makes sure our Twitter feed is fresh and points to those blog posts, generating yet more traffic.
Putting it all together
As you read through the list above I hope you realize achieving sitelinks in not simple. Instead, it’s a lot of hard work. Funny thing is, none of that work was directed towards the achievement of sitelink status. Instead, the list above reads as a how-to achieve authentic online trust and authority.
Sitelinks are meaningful. If you don’t believe me, look at any Google search result that has an entry with them. That entry sticks out from the crowd. Your footprint in the search result more than doubles. We worked for our sitelinks and I wish you luck in achieving yours.