It seems as though Google is trying to keep us all on our toes, now more so than ever! It has recently been announced that as of September 5, they have been rolling out a new sitelinks search box, and we already love it! New algorithms can sometimes seem a bit daunting to us webmasters, but we really think this one will be beneficial to everyone and make Internet browsing even easier than it already is.
The new and improved sitelinks search box will allow Internet users to search for specific content on any website, when using Google search. Google has said that this is because people like to search for specific features and this will be the way for them to reach your content quickly through search results. For example, they may search for a specific landscaping company, then before entering the website they can utilise the search box to find say, the landscape design page or the likes. The search box will also support Google’s autocomplete feature.
In order for this to be beneficial to your website you will need to ensure your pages are marked correctly. You will need to have a site-specific search engine for your website and you will need to make sure it is correctly up and running. Of course, if you do not have one of these it is advised to get one! Once you do have it up and running you will need to notify Google. You can find out more about this here: http://bit.ly/1uI1tc5
Before you get started, Google has also shared the following recommended practices:
– Set a preferred canonical URL for your domain’s homepage using the rel=”canonical” link element on all variants of the homepage. This helps Google Search choose the correct URL for your markup.
– Prevent crawling of your site’s search results pages with robots.txt.
– Make sure that your server supports UTF-8 character encoding.
– Put the markup on the homepage of your site. It is not necessary for the markup to be repeated on other pages of your site.
– We recommend JSON-LD. Alternatively, you can use microdata.
– Specify only one URL search pattern for the target. We are experimenting with multiple pattern support, so if you have feedback or use cases for multiple target support, let us know in our Webmaster Central Help Forum.
If the markup is correctly implemented, users will be able to use the search box for your website soon enough. If it does not work, your search results will remain the same as they have. We are going to ensure all of our websites are ready for this feature and we suggest you do too!