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Google Introduces New Sitelinks Search Box

Google introduced a new Sitelink search box feature that gives webmasters the ability to control searching within their site. Websites seen in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) now display a site search box above the Sitelinks. The new search box has been designed to simplify a user’s query for specific content on your website, working directly through your own website search pages.

The Sitelinks Search Box is displayed in a prominent position and the new functionality eliminates a step in a user’s content search process. The auto-complete feature is also used to great advantage when a user types search terms into the search box. The new search box is available for both desktop and mobile searches.

Desktop version:

Position2 - An example of the desktop version sitelinks


Mobile version:

Position2 - An example of the mobile version sitelinks

The new Sitelink Search Box sends the user directly to your website’s search pages. You need to markup your pages correctly to enable this feature. Websites must have a working search engine function to implement this feature, and webmasters should use markup on the home page.

Best practices for schema markup (from the Sitelink Search Box implementation guidelines) include:

  • Put the markup on the homepage of your site. (It is not necessary for the markup to be repeated on other pages.)
  • Use JSON-LD. (Alternatively, you can use microdata.)
  • Specify only one URL search pattern for the target. (Google is experimenting with multiple pattern support, so if you have feedback or use cases for multiple target support, let us know in our Webmaster Central Help Forum.)

Some Google best practices on site-wide configurations include:

  • Set a preferred canonical URL for your domain’s homepage using the rel=”canonical” link element on all variants of the homepage. (This helps Google Search choose the correct URL for your markup.)
  • Prevent crawling of your site’s search results pages with robots.txt. (See more in our Webmaster Guidelines.)
  • Make sure your server supports UTF-8 character encoding.

This feature gives webmasters the ability to drive traffic to specific pages that a user might be searching for, while eliminating a step along the way that gets them there. It’s sure to become popular.

Feature to disable the Sitelinks Search Box

Google also added a new feature to disable the Sitelinks Search Box and prevent it from showing up completely. To disable the Sitelinks Search feature use the new meta tag, nositelinkssearchbox:

<meta name=”google” content=” nositelinkssearchbox”>

Adding this tag to a site tells Google not to show a Sitelinks Search Box when the site appears in search results. The Sitelinks Search Box will be disabled as part of the normal Googlebot crawling and processing of the page. This can take a few weeks depending on the site and other factors.

Contact us now to make your website user-friendly!

Team Position2

December 12, 2014

By Team Position2