Cross-site sitelinks show up when the underlying page links internally to others that elaborate on the topic, such as this example of adding menus in WordPress.
Consider, too, linking prominently from one page to subheadings on another. Here’s an example of cross-site sitelinks on Google search results.

Organic Sitelinks

In most cases, however, branded sitelinks are from the main navigation, such as this example for an “ebay” query.

  • Branded.
  • “Mini” (a single line).

Mini sitelinks are contextual, such as for this query “how to copy twitter profile link.”
Branded sitelinks show for brand-name search queries and are always at the top. Google inserts branded sitelinks in mostly high authority sites for known “entities,” high-volume queries Google knows as brands.
Cross-site sitelinks show up when the underlying page links internally to others that elaborate on the topic. This is useful for highly-focused content.

Screenshot of mobile search results for "ebay" query
Screenshot of mobile search results for "ebay" query Cross-site sitelinks are harder to earn because they (apparently) rely on page authority, i.e., its backlink profile. Monitor your sitelinks using SE Ranking’s “Sitelinks” filter within its position monitoring tool. Save the filter for easier subsequent access.

Organic sitelinks appear beneath a listing in search results. Google provides no clear guidelines on optimizing for sitelinks, making them unpredictable.

Screenshot of mobile search results for "how to copy twitter profile link."
Screenshot of mobile search results for "how to copy twitter profile link." Jump-to sitelinks are based on inserting so-called “HTML anchor links” on a page and then linking to them. Clicking a link takes the visitor to that anchor without opening a new page.

Optimizing for Mini Sitelinks

Branded sitelinks are usually from the main navigation, such as this example for an “ebay” query.

  • Jump-to sitelinks go directly to a section of the same page ranking for the search query.
  • Cross-site sitelinks go to other pages of the site related to the query.

I know of no way to optimize for branded sitelinks other than changing a site’s primary navigation. (Paid search advertisers have much better control.) But there are few on-page tactics to generate mini sitelinks, which appear in two forms.
This “About Menus” page populates cross-site sitelinks.
And here’s the page that populates them. As you can see, Google often drops some links and re-orders others.
Mini sitelinks mostly show up in the top 10 organic results. Mini sitelinks are contextual — i.e., based on the search query.
Organic sitelinks appear in two forms:

Example of cross-site sitelinks in Google search results.
Example of cross-site sitelinks in Google search results. Consider updating a page if it includes a table of contents but fails to generate mini sitelinks on Google’s search results. In my experience, Google sometimes drops sitelinks if the content is a couple of years old.

A common reason to remove a sitelink is to replace it with another page. Unfortunately, Google provides few, if any, removal options.

Screenshot of a web page "About Menus" with links to other pages
Screenshot of a web page "About Menus" with links to other pages Sometimes branded sitelinks include a box to search the site right from Google. Google’s tutorial addresses how to use structured data to increase the chances of a sitelink search box.

Here’s what we know and suspect.

How to Remove a Sitelink

WPBeginner explains how WordPress users can easily create a clickable table of contents via anchor texts in H2 or H3 subheadings. Here’s a screenshot below of a page that generates organic mini sitelinks using that method.

  • Search Console no longer offers control over sitelinks. It used to.
  • Google recommends using a noindex meta tag to eliminate a sitelink. That recommendation, however, is incredibly damaging. It will remove the entire page from Google’s index, preventing it from ranking for any query.
  • Finally, this meta tag is still (apparently) supported by Google: <meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox”/>. This will remove the “sitelinks search box” from your search snippet, but I am not sure if it will eliminate a page (from sitelinks). It’s worth a try if you’re desperate.

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