Google: We Rarely Show Sitelinks Search Box, Even When Markup is Used

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Google’s John Mueller recently stated that a sitelinks search box is rarely shown for sites in search results.

Further, the appearance of a sitelinks search box is not at all influenced by implementation of structured data markup.

Mueller discussed this topic during a Google Webmaster Central hangout held on April 28.

A question was submitted by an SEO who mentioned their boss is upset with them.

After implementing all the correct structured data markup, Google is still not showing a sitelinks search box when the business is searched for.

Here’s what Mueller had to say in response to this issue.

Problem: Sitelinks Search Box Not Shown in Search Results

A sitelinks search box is a way for people to search within a specific site from the search results page.

Site owners do not have to do anything to get a sitelinks search box to appear.

However, there is structured data available for customizing how a sitelinks search box will appear when Google decides to show one.

Whether or not the structured data is used will not impact Google’s decision to show a sitelinks search box.

In fact, Mueller says this feature is “rarely” shown in search results.

Important: Google doesn’t guarantee that a sitelinks search box will be shown in search results. Additionally, using the sitelinks search box markup doesn’t make it more likely that a sitelinks search box will be shown.”

Keep Expectations Realistic

Mueller mentioned that he sees people struggling with this sitelinks search box issue from time to time.

But it sounds like the real problem stems from managing expectations.

In this case, the SEO may not have explained to their boss that the appearance of a sitelinks search box is not influenced by structured data markup.

That would help explain why the boss was upset when they didn’t see a sitelinks search box after searching for their business.

It’s important to keep expectations realistic when implementing any kind of structured data

There’s no guarantee Google will display a rich result just because the structured data exists on a site.

Structured data is a tool that can be used to communicate to Google how you want a rich result to be displayed.

Whether or not rich result is ultimately displayed is up to Google’s algorithm.

“With regards to sitelinks search box, this is kind of a tricky one and something I see people struggle with from time to time.

The hard part here is that adding the markup does not make it more likely that a sitelink search box will be shown. But rather, if we were to show one, we would use one that’s based on your markup.

So it’s very rare, or it feels very rare, that we would show a sitelink search box in general – for queries, for sites. And only for those cases where we would show it, if you have the markup we’ll try to use the markup, if you don’t have it we’ll just use the default setup.

So that’s something where, if you’re currently not seeing a sitelink searchbox at all, then adding the markup for that will have no effect.”

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