Google Dance and the new sitelink layout in Google

Today, I was trying to book a few train tickets for a family trip, via the most popular online Indian railway booking site IRCTC. I would usually go to this official site directly but for a change I did a Google search for “IRCTC”. To my surprise, I noticed a few interesting changes in Google SERPS. These changes might interest you if you are someone with interests in the field of web search.

Everyone interested in web search, in some way or the other, must be aware of the term “Google dance”. This refers to an update to the Google search index and there would usually be changes in the order of search results. The impact of this depends upon the changes made to the underlying Google search algorithms. But “Google dance” is common these days since Google introduces several changes every year. I am glad to share a screencast of the “Google dance” I captured while searching for “IRCTC”.

When I did the search for IRCTC, I noticed a few interesting changes in the way the results were presented. As expected, the official website of IRCTC ranked number one, but the sitelinks beneath the main domain, were each presented with a title and description of their own. Previews were also enabled for each of those sitelinks. Look at the image below to see how the new sitelink layout looked for “IRCTC”.

New layout of Google sitelinks

Being a techie and a wordpress developer who has built some basic plugins for WordPress SEO, I was always fascinated by Search and this change caught my immediate attention. I then decided to experiment it further and went on to repeat the search again. In the process, I found a few interesting changes. Some of those searches would return me the usual sitelinks without any title and description, while others will return me the new layout for sitelinks. Find below a screenshot of the usual sitelinks for IRCTC.

Old layout of Google sitelinks

I did a small screencast of this experimentation and you can find it below. Since I wasn’t prepared to do this screencast, I had to do it with whatever tools I had on my computer. There isn’t any audio and do excuse me for the low quality.

This is a brief summary of the Google Dance that I captured in the video:

The sitelink layout changed everytime I repeated the search. Interestingly, that wasn’t the only change I observed. The order of the presented results changed repeatedly. I had heard of people mentioning about Google’s traffic throttle and in this screencast I could even capture a small sample of the mechanism that google probably employs to throttle traffic. There was one particular result from a site, which I took as an example to explain this mechanism in the screencast. To my amazement, this result would jump from Page 1 to page 2 of the SERPS and vice-versa, everytime I repeated the search for “IRCTC”. Sometimes, this particular result wouldn’t be found anywhere on SERPS.

Enjoy the google Dance, the new sitelink layout and probably the google traffic throttle in this screencast.

2 comments on “Google Dance and the new sitelink layout in Google

  1. I observed the change. Thanks for the explanation.

  2. Great to see that someone is writing up a commentary on the recent Google dance. Sitelinks seem to be jumping quite frequently these days!

    – Tommy

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