Google’s Sitelinks Searchbox on WordPress, with or without Yoast SEO

Google sitelinks searchbox
An example of a Sitelinks Searchbox

A couple of years ago, Google introduced the Sitelinks Searchbox. When activated, this search box appears under the main URL for a given brand in the search results, above its sitelinks, hence the name. When you search for that brand in Google, you can directly use the site’s search engine. The results will be presented on the search results page of the relevant site.

How to add a Sitelinks Searchbox to your site

It’s not that difficult to make your site eligible for a Sitelinks Searchbox. The process consists of just three steps, and if you are a Yoast SEO user, it is even easier. This process takes care of the technical side, but, in the end, Google determines if your site gets a Searchbox. To be honest: Google does not show this Sitelinks Searchbox for most sites. So, let’s run through the required steps:

  1. Verify you have a functioning search engine

    For 99.5% of WordPress sites, this one is simple: you type (replacing with your site’s URL), and you should see search results. If you don’t see search, and you’ve not made a conscious decision to move your search engine elsewhere, you might need to fix your theme.

  2. Add the necessary markup

    Adding the markup is simple if you’re on WordPress and use Yoast SEO. It could be that you don’t use the default search engine, in that case, you’ll need to change the URL using the built-in filter. If you don’t have a search engine: why not?

    If you don’t use Yoast SEO, you can add the necessary code by hand via an individual block of code for structured data. Here’s a piece of example code from Google’s documentation, in this same document you’ll also find the requirements for a valid technical implementation. This uses JSON-LD to mark up the code in an efficient and readable way.

  3. Set up a preferred canonical URL for your homepage

    Step three, and again, this one is easy. When you use Yoast SEO, this has already been done for you. However, if you don’t have it installed, you’ll realize after reading this article that now is as good a time as any to install it. If you want – or need – to do it by hand, you can read up on canonical URL’s in our ultimate guide to rel=canonical.

    When you have done all of this and Google deems your site eligible, you might see something like the example above in the search results.

Check the Sitelinks Searchbox results in Google Search Console

A few days after enabling this you should have a Sitelinks searchbox report in Google Search Console. For those of you who have had Yoast SEO for a while, this report should already be there. If there are errors in that report, find out what they are and fix them. If not it’ll look something like this:

A screenshot of the Sitelinks Searchbox report in Google Search Console showing 1.5k URLs without errors.


As said before, it is not too hard to get your site ready for a Sitelinks Searchbox. If you use our Yoast SEO plugin, the necessary code is already built in. Now you just have to wait and see if Google deems your site eligible and shows a search box.

Read more: Structured data with the ultimate guide »

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18 Responses to Google’s Sitelinks Searchbox on WordPress, with or without Yoast SEO

  1. OM Studio
    OM Studio  • 3 years ago

    Excellent article Edwin. I use your plugins on most of my sites. Cheers!

  2. Doronize
    Doronize  • 3 years ago

    So all these are just what i need to do or set for me to get my sitelink showing for my website?

  3. Ashoksinh Gohil
    Ashoksinh Gohil  • 3 years ago

    Right, now I understand!
    But for whom this article, if I already use Yoast SEO than I think, I had to do nothing, Right ?
    i think this article only for who not using Yoast Article ! :}

  4. Ovidiu Nicolae
    Ovidiu Nicolae  • 3 years ago

    Excellent guide and constant updates for the Yoast plugin. Thank you!

  5. Kevin Bouilleaux
    Kevin Bouilleaux  • 3 years ago

    Thank you to keep your great plugin update according Google’s updates.

  6. Diseño Web | Sergio
    Diseño Web | Sergio  • 3 years ago

    Nice article Edwin! Thank you very much to share with us. All the bes from Spain!

  7. Anil Agarwal
    Anil Agarwal  • 3 years ago

    Great one.

    Recently I’ve even written a massive post around getting google sitelinks. Basically, you need to know one thing: YOU cannot add any sitelinks. Google adds them through its own set of automated algorithms.

    If you’re looking for quick ways to get them, make sure to attract as many links and social shares as possible to your best posts. It gets easier.

  8. Kurt Puterbaugh
    Kurt Puterbaugh  • 3 years ago

    I am having a difficulty getting past the first stage. I enter: and it takes me directly to my site and a Nothing Found page.
    I was unaware that I had changed settings and when I go to my theme settings I don’t find anything relevant to change either.
    Am I missing something?

    • Fred
      Fred  • 3 years ago

      The “?s=query” statement says that a search on your site is done on the word “query”. Probably you do not have any pages with the word “query” on it!

  9. Ryan Irving
    Ryan Irving  • 3 years ago

    Nice article Edwin but I was wondering how (if possible) to choose which pages Google displays as site links?

    • Edwin Toonen

      Hi Ryan. Google automatically chooses the pages it shows as site links. Since you can’t choose them, you have to work on your site structure and write great content to get the best results in there. Google picks the pages it thinks visitors find most valuable. In Search Console, you used to be able to demote pages that you found inappropriate or incorrect. As of October 2016, that option no longer exists, unfortunately. See this Google Webmaster post for info:

  10. Matthew Kushinka
    Matthew Kushinka  • 3 years ago

    Thanks for the how-to explanation, Edwin. However, what I don’t really see emphasized here is the justification. In other words, what’s the benefit besides saving the user one click? I can see it being useful if I’m searching for airline tickets or a book on Amazon, but I’m not sure if customers coming to our site would use it. Do you know of any data on visitor usage of the Sitelinks Searchbox? Thanks as always for the great work you guys do!

    • Edwin Toonen

      Hi Matthew. Thanks for your kind words. I don’t have any data on hand about the use of site links, but it’s not hard to imagine that they might enhance your CTR. With site links, your most important pages are directly visible when visitors search for your brand name. It’s an opportunity to make a great impression. The search box is a valuable addition as well, if you’re eligible for one.

  11. Simon
    Simon  • 3 years ago

    Thank you, useful information!

  12. Weblogman
    Weblogman  • 3 years ago

    Was so usefull
    Thanks for this topic and your biggest SEO Plugin

  13. Jayce Ooi
    Jayce Ooi  • 3 years ago

    Need to build own brand first before doing this. Nobody is searching for me right now. :p

  14. Aman
    Aman  • 3 years ago

    Thanks, I was just Searching for this and got on your page

  15. App Shah
    App Shah  • 3 years ago

    Thanks for nice article. Any idea why Yoast doesn’t have sitelinks searchbox? I also noticed the same for Crunchify.

    Do you think it’s related to @id attribute, yoast seo plugin is adding? Created