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What You Should Know About The Rare Appearance Of The Sitelinks Search Box

Sitelinks Search Box

To keep site owners and affordable SEO providers informed, John Mueller of Google recently clarified that the sitelinks search box is not routinely displayed for websites in the search results. And when it is shown, that’s not really related to the structured data markup implementation.

In a Webmaster Central hangout on 28th April 2020, Mueller talked about this issue in response to a specific query. The question came about after the correspondent’s boss became annoyed that Google hadn’t displayed the sitelinks search box, even though the company had applied the right structured data markup.

Sitelinks Search Box Not Appearing In Search Results?

One way you can browse within a particular website from the SERPs is through a sitelinks search box. However, it does appear that there’s nothing either site owners or SEO experts can do to make certain that this is visible.

That said, there is a structured data that can be used to customise the sitelinks search box when it does make an appearance in the search results page. But even so, doing this doesn’t affect whether Google chooses to display this search box. Mueller himself even stated that it’s not often this feature is displayed in Google’s search results.

This is further confirmed in the official developer document of Google:

Important: Google doesn’t guarantee that a sitelinks search box will be shown in search results. Additionally, using the sitelinks search box markup doesn’t make it more likely that a sitelinks search box will be shown.”

Being Realistic

While many are having a hard time with the sitelinks search box, the root of the problem seems to be overly high expectations on the part of users.

Concerning the original query in the hangout with Mueller, it probably should have been made clear that there’s no correlation between employing a structured data markup and the search box for sitelinks being visible in search results. Not understanding this fact is, no doubt, why the poster’s boss was confused.

So when it comes to the execution of any type of structured data, it’s crucial to be realistic in your expectations, because there’s simply no guarantee that Google will show a rich result.

Bear in mind that structured data can be utilised to make contact with Google about the way a rich result can be shown. The point is, how these results appear in the end is all down to Google’s algorithm.

With regards to sitelinks search box, this is kind of a tricky one and something I see people struggle with from time to time.

The hard part here is that adding the markup does not make it more likely that a sitelink search box will be shown. But rather, if we were to show one, we would use one that’s based on your markup.

So it’s very rare, or it feels very rare, that we would show a sitelink search box in general – for queries, for sites. And only for those cases where we would show it, if you have the markup we’ll try to use the markup, if you don’t have it we’ll just use the default setup.

So that’s something where, if you’re currently not seeing a sitelink search box at all, then adding the markup for that will have no effect.

This Is How You Must Implement JavaScript On Your Links

Google’s Martin Splitt stated on a recent Webmaster Conference Lightning Talk, “Use proper link markup, do not use fragment URLs for links you want crawlers to discover and follow, and you should be building websites that work well with JavaScript and the links will be found,”

How to create links?

One great way to create a link is by utilising the HTML <a> tag along with the destination URL in the href attribute. For instance, <a href=”https://example.com”>link</a>.

If you want to upgrade your link’s functionality, you can apply JavaScript. For example, when you click a pop-out burger menu on a site’s page, you can utilise the JavaScript to cut off the href and make the menu appear.

Should you ignore the href attribute?

While you might think that removing the href attribute and clearing your code is a good move, you should understand that this will mean your link is only functional if the JavaScript is also working the right way. Also, it’s worth taking note that the content can only be crawled with href attributes. If there’s a bug present, then there’s no way you can access it.

What you need to know about fragment identifiers

Fragment identifiers refer to a certain page’s subsections, but not entirely a different web page. It is also recognised by the hashtag symbol, “#”.

Example: the example.com/FAQ#subsection would lead you to a section of the page example.com/FAQ.

Splitt stated, “Because fragments aren’t meant to point to different content, crawlers ignore them; they just pretend that the fragments don’t exist,” So if you create a single-page application using fragment identifiers, don’t expect the crawlers to follow these links.

Why should you care?

One way to get a grip of your site’s contents and how you can ensure it ranks for relevant queries is through building links that can be crawled. Also, it may seem odd, but some people opt to search with JavaScript not turned on. In that instance, following the above guidance can guarantee that your links are working properly.

This local SEO company post originally appeared on https://www.searchenginejournal.com/sitelinks-search-box-not-shown/365290/ and https://searchengineland.com/the-right-way-to-apply-javascript-to-your-links-for-seo-333888.

Boosting the performance of a website is something that many site owners struggle with. But reputable SEOs can help get this done with much less stress and fuss. Want to know how? Get in touch with us here at Position1SEO for more details.

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