I Never Really Set Out To Have A Brand
… but Google decided I have one, anyhow:
Those extra links under the result for me are called Sitelinks, and the general idea is that Google wants to simplify access for the most common subnavigational queries on your brand, thus removing a click from the process for your visitor. If you’ve got a name that could ever be directly searched, you might want to consider that folks may not come in at the home page. (Heck, this is the Internet: you should ALWAYS consider the possibility of folks accessing your site in essentially a random manner. Something like 70% of my traffic comes in at an entrance other than the home page! Thus, if you have a free trial page, you need to try “selling” the free trial without the benefit of the homepage explaining what it does, etc. I made some edits to my page today to try doing just that, without taking away from the Big Orange Buttons directing folks to actually download the trial.)
Speaking of sitelinks, if you’re on the bubble for having them, you can see them in the Google Webmaster Console. You’re given what links Google has chosen and the opportunity to nix individual links, but they won’t let you add new ones or specify (or indeed see) which queries will bring them up. “Bingo Card Creator” doesn’t, for example, possibly because the algorithms aren’t yet convinced that that is navigational as opposed to someone looking for a bingo card creator.
It seems that Sitelinks, which used to be primarily the domain of the big brands with gazillion dollar advertising budgets, got democratized recently. (I mean, heck, Daily Bingo Cards? I’d be suprised if that saw more than 50 searches per month.) Several other uISVs have them: Perfect Table Plan, Helpspot, and LandLordMax when I tried some quick searches. (Others that I rather expected would have them didn’t, for whatever reason.) Its, of course, an unalloyed good thing when you have them, since it means a search for the brand that you worked so hard building directs almost all the clicks to you, as opposed to folks trying to arbitrage off your brand equity, like say a download or typosquatter site.
(I end up paying about $25 a month to download sites put ads for BCC right next to the actual download link for BCC and have customers hit it by mistake. I’m happier to pay for the click than lose it to a competitor, but I can’t say I’m a big fan of the process.)