Google Expands Sitelinks on Mobile SERPs

Google’s mobile search results are now expandable.

When you Google “Search Engine Watch,” you’ll see sitelinks for our categories, such as SEO, PPC and News. Now, PPC and Analytics can be expanded to display a handful of recent articles, eliminating the need to navigate through our Website. 

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In a Hangout on Friday, John Mueller, a Google webmaster trends analyst, said that a desktop site is no longer necessary. Shree Vaidya, head of SEO at U.K. digital agency Engage Interactive, who pointed out the changes to the search results over the weekend, believes this update is along those lines, to an extent. He thinks the expanded sitelinks are more about device unification than prioritizing mobile over desktop, however.

“Google wants its web search experience to be unified across all devices,” Vaidya says, thinking back to when Siri was more advanced than Google Now. “I argued that Google isn’t looking to create an app or hardware-dependent artificial intelligence; it’s looking to add that functionality into its core search product, which will make it device agnostic, something all devices can utilize.”

Beyond device unification, Vaidya thinks Google’s expanded sitelinks are about staying ahead of the curve. Like the Knowledge Graph and Maps, the latest update to the SERPs creates an improved mobile user experience, eliminating, in Google’s eyes, the need to use other search engines.

Vaidya points out that expanded sitelinks on branded searches – he used Topshop for his tests – means that people are using Google for site navigation, rather than just discovering information.

“[This change] allows Google to show more useful links to the user without drastically changing the amount of space the result uses,” he continues. “This test definitely makes sense. If the results are positive, I imagine we’ll see this get rolled out for all users.”

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