How To Get Google To Show UI Snippets

Thought-provoking article at the Social Patterns blog about Google UI Snippets. Briefly, a ui snippet is a link within a site presented as part of a serp.

Michael Nguyen thinks the selection process has something to do with traffic data, presumably acquired from the Google toolbar:

“If you are using the Google Toolbar’s advanced features, when you visit a web page, the toolbar sends Google some information including the url of the page. This data could be used to track linking data that Google’s crawler can not successfully crawl. In other words, with the Google Toolbar, you are Google’s crawler.”

Michael backs up his comments by comparing Alexa data, concluding that many site’s snippet links closely resemble Alexa traffic stats.

Interesting, eh. On a related note, does anyone have any other examples of curious toolbar “crawling” ability?

  1. aaron wallaaron wall04-25-2006

    I think the sub pages are shown by internal link structure more than by usage data. I once had a monthly archive page (February 2004 I believe) showing up as one of my sub links on my site.

    Currently my first two links (salesletter and free tools) make a lot of sense. Also the text I use as an internal anchor seems to be picked up even if it is not the most relevant term for the page. The sales letter is listed in Google as testimonials.

    The seo tips category is another good pick, as most likely it is heavily linked to. The SEO forums pick is a bit surprising though. It used to be heavily referenced internally, but due to the new site structure it has been depreciated a bit from a sitewide navigational link to more of a page that was referenced a few times. Perhaps it still showing in Google is due to external links, although that still makes me curious as to how to why it shows over the page about me getting sued (as that lawsuit page got a boatload of links).

    I think getting them to show at all is based on how relevant a site is for a particular query compared to the rest of the field (for that same query). For instance, I have it for SEO Book, but not for any other query (like Aaron Wall, for example).

    For navigational queries they use these links to aid visitors.

    Sites rise and fall though. SEO chat used to have these navigational links for the term SEO, but after they pissed off their moderators they became less relevant for that query than they once were. They still rank #1 for that query in Google, but they no longer enjoy the multi link listing.

  2. aaron wallaaron wall04-25-2006

    I don’t think it is just based on usage data because that would favor community sites (like forums) over other publishing models that may produce higher quality information with less usage data.

    I think it is primarily link driven.

  3. Michael NguyenMichael Nguyen04-25-2006


    Traffic doesn’t determine whether or not snippets are displayed. Traffic determines which snippets get displayed. Was my post that badly written? (Honestly =P)

  4. aaron wallaaron wall04-25-2006

    I am not sure traffic displays which snippets get displayed either…I think you need something like a certain amount of external linkage to a page and then a certain amount of coroberating internal linkage.

    When I was sued the page mentioning the lawsuit was linked to from all over the web, and thousands and thousands and thousands of people visited that page. It was never shown as a navigational page in Google SERPs in spite of being the most heavily trafficed page on my site (other than the home page) for over a month.

  5. mad4mad404-26-2006

    From the snippets I see for my biggest site its definately not linkage data. It matches the traffic data almost perfectly though.

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