Google Search seems to be showing fewer sitelinks in the search results. Google would show as many as six sitelinks per search result snippet, now Google seems to be showing a maximum of four sitelinks and often just two sitelinks.
What are sitelinks. Sitelinks are links from the same domain that are clustered together under a web result. Google Search said it “analyzes the link structure of your site to find shortcuts that will save users time and allow them to quickly find the information they’re looking for” in the search results.
What changed. Google seems to have changed to a vertical format for large sitelinks and is only showing up to 4 sitelinks. Even the example from Google’s very own help documentation shows six sitelinks.
Screenshots. Here are screenshots showing how a search for [tesla] is showing four sitelinks:
A year or so ago, the same search displayed six sitelinks:
My site has always showed at least four sitelinks, now I see it showing only two:
If you search for rustybrick with a space, [rusty brick], Google does show four:
Why we care. Fewer sitelinks may lead to less of a chance to get clicked on from the Google Search results. That may lead to less site traffic from Google search and ultimately lead to less revenue.
We have emailed Google to confirm this was changed and to learn more about why it has changed.
Hat tip to this Reddit thread for spotting this.