google-thumbSomething that was quietly announced by Google on Google+ was the removal of a Google Search Console feature that’s almost nine years ago – the ability to remove sitelinks from displaying in Google search.

As of October 13th, the feature was finally shut off, which had been running sense October 18, 2007.

This feature allowed webmaster tell Google that they didn’t want a particular URL to show up in the featured sitelinks section in Google search results.  Sitelinks are the sublinks that can be found under a search result snippit in Google.  This is how the sitelinks look:

webmasters_47334_sitelinks

According to Google, they’re removing the feature in order to “simplify things.”  The company said,  “

[O]ur algorithms have gotten much better at finding, creating and showing relevant sitelinks, and so we feel it’s time to simplify things.” Google added:

We only show sitelinks for results when we think they’ll be useful to the user. If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don’t think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them. This process is completely automated. Sitelinks have evolved into being based on traditional web ranking, so the way to influence them is the same as other web pages.

At this point, what will webmasters do about sitelinks they don’t want to show up? Google has listed three best practices:

  • Provide a clear structure for your website, using relevant internal links and anchor text that’s informative, compact and avoids repetition.
  • Allow Google to crawl and index important pages within your site. Use Fetch and Render [1] to check that they can be rendered properly.
  • If you need to remove a page from search completely, use a “noindex” robots meta tag [2] on that page.

 

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