Google is launching what appears to be an experimental expansion of natural search Sitelinks. This expansion includes:
- Adding a short snippet of copy from the page or meta description for each page listed
- Keeping the Sitelink URL in addition to the headline
- Expanding the total number of possible sitelinks to 12.
At this time it appears to only be affecting high level branded searches, and I can’t find nonbrand rankings. However, its effect on natural CTR might require some adjustments to paid purchasing of your branded terms, and/or content changes on the pages that are being included in your sitelinks.
To that end, we’ll be watching traffic patterns on our clients’ high-level branded terms over the next few days, and will alert you to any changes and possible next steps. This may also be a short-lived experiment that is eventually phased back into the original state, depending on how it affects user behavior. However, we’ll keep you apprised as we learn more, and if/how it appears to be affecting your performance and how we should best react to it.