One of the first things that every web developers should do after launching a website is to create a Google Search Console account. Because it helps you understand how Google crawls, analyses and indexes your website. Google search console (previously Google Webmaster Tools is a no-charge web service by Google for webmasters. It allows webmasters to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites. As of May 20, 2015, Google rebranded Google Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console. It has tools that let webmasters:
- List internal and external pages that link to the site.
- Submit and check a sitemap.
- See what keyword searches on Google led to the site being listed in the SERPs, and the click through rates of such listings.
- Highlight to Google Search elements of structured data which are used to enrich search hit entries.
- Check and set the crawl rate, and view statistics about when Googlebot accesses a particular site.
- Write and check a robots.txt file to help discover pages that are blocked in robots.txt accidentally.
- Rich cards a new section added, for better mobile user experience.
- Figure out which links that Googlebot had difficulty crawling, including the error that Googlebot received when accessing the URLs in question.
- Set a preferred domain, which determines how the site URL is displayed in SERPs.
- Demote Sitelinks for certain search results.
- Provide access to an API to add, change and delete listings and list crawl errors.
- Receive notifications from Google for manual penalties.
However, after 9 years, Google has announced on Google+ that they are removing one of Google Search Console features which are the ability to remove sitelinks from displaying in Google Search. This feature was first introduced in October 18, 2007.
By this feature, Google will know whether webmasters want a specific URL to appear in the featured sitelinks section in the Google search results or not. Sitelinks are usually found under a search result snippet in Google.
The main reason why Google removes the feature is to simplify things as Google’s algorithm have been much better at finding, creating and showing relevant sitelinks, as Google adds:
We only show sitelinks for results when we think they’ll be useful to the user. If the structure of your site doesn’t allow our algorithms to find good sitelinks, or we don’t think that the sitelinks for your site are relevant for the user’s query, we won’t show them. This process is completely automated. Sitelinks have evolved into being based on traditional web ranking, so the way to influence them is the same as other web pages.
There are several things that any webmaster should do if they don’t wish any sitelinks appear. Here are three best practices that webmasters should do:
- Create a clear structure for your website by using relevant internal links and anchor text that’s informative, compact and avoids repetition.
- Apply Fetch and Render to help Google crawls and index important pages within your site properly.
- Or you can use a “noindex” robots meta tag  on that page, if you need to remove a page from search completely.