Simple best practice for sitelink titles

Sitelink titles (anchor text) can be influenced by your webmaster charms! The URLs that Google selects for sitelinks, however, are far less manually manipulated.


google sitelinks for

Oprah’s sitelink titles include “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Contact Us,” “Why Oprah Says She’ll Never Diet…”


If the titles of your sitelinks aren’t exactly what you hoped for, a troubleshooting tactic is to investigate the anchor text of your internal links (as it’s one of several factors used to determine sitelink titles). For example, here are a few links on Oprah’s homepage:


Text link <a href="">O, The Oprah Magazine</a>
Link to a CSS sprite (so it’s a less common case, but you get the idea) <a class="bookclub" href="" alt="BOOK CLUB">BOOK CLUB</a>


Let's pretend Oprah sees her sitelink "BOOK CLUB," but she would prefer it displayed with standard capitalization as "Book Club". One way to help influence this change is for Oprah (or a web-savvy Stedman) to check the anchor text of her internal links and the alt text of her image links -- making sure to use "Book Club," not "BOOK CLUB."


We recently updated our sitelinks FAQ to reflect this tip (thanks to the Sitelinks teams for all their help!):


[ At the moment, sitelinks are completely automated. We're always working to improve our sitelinks algorithms, and we may incorporate webmaster input in the future. There are best practices you can follow, however, to improve the quality of your sitelinks. For example, for your site's internal links, make sure you use anchor text and alt text that's informative, compact, and avoids repetition. Read a blog post about the importance of link structure. ]


Recovering from a broken heart in HTTP status codes

Sometimes a breakup is a breath of fresh air and sometimes it causes chest pain. The stages below are for the chest pain moments. I’ve totally been there. If you’re there now, maybe HTTP can help you through. HTTP helps everything.


I often think of myself as a website with several facets/folders. It’s a pre-req for this whole post so please bear with me. Imagine you’re a structure like:

(yeah, you’re a real winner.)


Just kidding. If you’re into the subdomain vs. subdirectory debate, that’s fine. I made subdirectories because that’s what came to me, but feel free to knock yourself out with subdomains.


Now imagine that you’ve been dumped (or you dumped the other person, whatever). And your feelings are just not cooperating. In a word, you feel “sadness.” That sucks, but it’s human, and of course things gets better — it’s like working on your website.


Stage I
503s across the entire domain is down. This is the equivalent to being in shock. Life is difficult.


Foo: Bar, I heard the news… how you doing?
Bar: Site-wide 503.
Foo: Sorry, dude.


Stage II (optional)
404s across
503s or 200s nearly everywhere else


This stage is optional and can last weeks/months/until you find someone else attractive. Never been at this stage myself, but sometimes in movies you’ll hear dialogue like:


Friend: I know Jack broke your heart, but how about I set you up with Dave? He’s a nice guy.
Main character: I know you’re trying to help, but no Jack, no Dave. I swear off all men completely .


Stage III
200s everywhere except…
503s for romantic-interest/


Hooray, you’re functioning! This can be a really productive stage. I bet the content on has expanded. And with all your free time, you might even have new folders: and


Stage IV
302 temporary redirect from
200s everywhere else


Also known as the “rebound.” Try not to make the target of your redirect 200 on the domains or The key to Stage IV is that’s it’s a 302, not a 301.


Stage V
200s everywhere, including romantic-interest/


Yay for life! The orb is green. Backend ready to publish unique content. Your frontend always turning heads.