You’re probably familiar with organic sitelinks. They’re the links that Google sometimes displays for brand queries which highlight important or popular sections of your website. And if you’re a local, bricks and mortar-type business, I know you’re familiar with local search results or “pack” listing on Google. Recently, however, while working with a client on some local SEO issues I noticed that some brand queries are triggering something I hadn’t seen (or noticed) before. Local organic sitelinks!
Local Organic Sitelinks for Brand Searches
I searched the web to see if other SEOs had seen this before and also reported what I was seeing to my colleagues. It does not seem like anyone is talking about this but I believe this a significant and import change in Google’s search results.
First, let’s look at exactly what’s happening and how it’s happening:
It doesn’t seem like Pizza Hut did anything special to make this happen such as implementing local business schema. It seems to have happened simply because they have unique URLs for restaurants near my Germantown, Maryland location. It’s may also be important to note that Pizza Hut’s individual store pages aren’t really anything special. They don’t have much unique content. The only real difference between various location pages is their NAP (name, address and phone).
Basic Indexable URLs for Each Location
In addition to having unique URLs for each location, it’s probably equally important that these pages are easily accessible to Googlebot. Pizza Hut’s store finder page doesn’t provide access to these unique URLs as is common with many store finder tools. But Pizza Hut does have a browse path to these URLs; basically it’s a simple html sitemap of store locations beginning with a state-by-state directory.
Browse Path/HTML Sitemap
While this might seem like a minor change in Google SERPs, it does seem to provide a good user experience by helping searchers quickly find the location closest to them. These local sitelinks are more useful than the URLs which are traditionally awarded sitelinks (About Us, Contract Us, Products, etc.). I’m not sure that these help marketers any more than the local “pack” listings but it certainly seems to be an improvement for Google.
Have you noticed this change? Do you think it impacts marketers at all?