If you are a frequent user of Google, you probably know what sitelinks are, if not by name, then by sight.
Sitelinks help searchers by allowing them to go directly to the most popular parts of a site such as the FAQ section, Contact, Locations, etc. From an SEO standpoint, sitelinks help reveal unknown parts of your site to searchers and can help increase the visibility of and traffic to your site. Sitelinks previously only appeared on the first search result however, which didn’t really help if you were trying to move up in the rankings.
Today Google announced they are expanding sitelinks. According to the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/):
Until now, sitelinks have only ever appeared on the first search result, and so at most one site could have sitelinks per query. We’re now launching an expansion of sitelinks: a single row of links can now appear for results that didn’t show sitelinks before, even for results that aren’t in the first position. This means multiple results on one query can now have sitelinks. Up to four sitelinks can show up right above the page URL, instead of the usual two columns below the URL of the first result.
Just like regular sitelinks, one-line sitelinks will be generated algorithmically and Google’s decision on when to show them and which links to display are entirely based on the expected benefit to users.
Sites will now start showing sitelinks for a number of queries where they previously didn’t. Google expects this to increase visibility and traffic.