Google recently rolled out an extended version of sitelinks. Now users will see full size sitelinks in their search results. Similar to regular results, sitelinks will also be accompanied by a one line text snippet and a URL. According to Google, this will make it easier for users to navigate to the desired section of a site.
But the new version of sitelinks closely resembles paid ads. The move may also help Google increase its revenue by getting users more habituated to clicking on such results.
Regardless of the motivation behind the move, sitelinks are quite useful. Most users tend to start their search with a broad keyword even if they have a narrow goal. Sitelinks can make it easier for such people to find desired information quickly. Since their launch years ago, sitelinks have undergone many changes.
They started out as a single row containing just 4 links. But realizing their value, Google soon started displaying them in the form of a row for better readability and increased the number of sitelinks from 4 to 8. With the latest changes, sitelinks will now be displayed as full size links and the maximum number of links per query will be 12.
The new version of sitelinks will allow webmasters to expose more sections of their site to users. The move will be particularly helpful for large websites and should be taken into consideration for top search engine optimization. Google is also in the process of improving its algorithm by combining regular result and sitelink ranking to reduce duplication.