If you conduct a search you will often find there are one or two results, usually near the top of the SERP, that have a set of links below the description. This is particularly true at Google. Those additional links are for internal pages to that website. How does one become one of those sites that has these additional links and is that a beneficial thing to have?
To answer the second question first, yes, it is beneficial. It sets your website apart from every other website that shows up for that search query. It also means the search engine considers you a trustworthy and authoritative site for that search result.
But that doesn’t answer the question, How do you get there?
The answer to the hows and wherefores is a bit more complicated. The short answer is, you don’t. That’s the search engine’s job. But there is a little bit more to it. It isn’t arbitrary.
No. 1, you have to have something going for you that other websites related to that search term don’t have. But what?
No one knows. It’s as much a mystery as the search engine algorithm itself. But we can guess. Here are a set of criteria that I believe could be factored in, though I have to evidence to prove any of it:
- Age – If your domain is older than any other domain for a certain search phrase then that could make you a candidate for authoritativeness. What it shows is that you pioneered a search phrase, sort of like creating an industry with others who have followed you. They may be better, but you were first and for that you deserve special recognition.
- Size – Let’s face it, size counts. If you have 100,000 pages on your website and all of your competition has fewer than 10,000 then you are different. There’s a bit of a loneliness-at-the-top going on there. Your size could be a contributing factor.
- Quality of Inbound Links – Back links are still important. But more important than quantity is quality. Ten quality links is much more important than 100 average links. And if you get the right mix of inbound links from the right sites then you could be considered an authoritative website for a particular search term.
- Quality of Content – Look, quality is important and content is still king. If your content really shines and stands out above the rest, hey, who’s to argue?
While no one, save the search engine, can say definitely why some sites have special recognition and others don’t, I think at least these four factors are prime running for consideration. What factors or qualities do you think a website need to be considered special and authoritative?