Sitelinks search box

A sitelinks search box is a quick way for people to search your site or app immediately on the search results page. The search box implements real-time suggestions and other features.

Google Search may automatically expose a search box scoped to your website when it appears as a search result, without you having to do anything additional to make this happen. This search box is powered by Google Search. However, you can explicitly provide information by adding WebSite structured data, which can help Google better understand your site.

If Google Search already exposed a sitelink search box for your site, you can control certain aspects of the sitelink search box by adding WebSite structured data.

How to implement sitelinks search box

Here are the steps to make your site eligible to display with a search box in Google Search results:

  1. Install a working search engine on your web site or Android app.

    Sitelinks search queries send the user to the search results page for your site or app, so you need a functioning search engine to power this feature.

    • Websites: Set up a search engine on your website. The feature forwards the user's query to your target using the syntax specified in your structured data. Your search engine should support UTF-8-encoded queries.
    • Apps: See Search Overview on the Android Developer Site to learn how to implement a search engine for your app. Your Android app should support an ACTION_VIEW intent from Search results, with the corresponding data URI specified in your markup's potentialAction.target property.
  2. Implement the WebSite structured data element on the homepage for your site. An app must have an associated website to enable this feature, even if the website is only a single page. A few additional guidelines:
    • Add this markup only to the homepage, not to any other pages.
    • Always specify one SearchAction for the website, and optionally another if supporting app search. You should always have a SearchAction for the website even if the app is your preferred search target; this ensures that if the user is not searching from an Android phone or does not have your Android app installed, the search result directs to your website.
    • Based on the format you're using, learn where to insert structured data on the page.
  3. Follow the guidelines.
  4. Validate your code using the Rich Results Test.
  5. Verify your search engine implementation by copying the WebSite.potentialAction.target URL from your structured data, replacing {search_term_string} with a test query, and browsing to that URL in a web browser. For example, if your website is example.com, and you want to test the query "kittens", you would browse to https://www.example.com/search/?q=kittens.
  6. Set a preferred canonical URL for your domain's homepage using the rel="canonical" link element on all variants of the homepage. This helps Google Search choose the correct URL for your markup. Your server must support UTF-8 character encoding.
  7. For apps, enable the proper intent filters to support the URL you specify in the app target of your markup. For an example of how to create intent filters for Google Search urls, see Firebase App Indexing for Android.
  8. Deploy a few pages that include your structured data and use the URL Inspection tool to test how Google sees the page. Be sure that your page is accessible to Google and not blocked by a robots.txt file, the noindex tag, or login requirements. If the page looks okay, you can ask Google to recrawl your URLs.
  9. To keep Google informed of future changes, we recommend that you submit a sitemap. You can automate this with the Search Console Sitemap API.

Example

Here is an example search result for "Pinterest" on Google that returns a sitelinks search box for the Pinterest website:

Sitelinks search box in-use

Here is some example markup that would implement a sitelinks search box that uses the website's custom search engine:

JSON-LD

Here's an example in JSON-LD:


<html>
  <head>
    <title>The title of the page</title>
    <script type="application/ld+json">
    {
      "@context": "https://schema.org",
      "@type": "WebSite",
      "url": "https://www.example.com/",
      "potentialAction": {
        "@type": "SearchAction",
        "target": {
          "@type": "EntryPoint",
          "urlTemplate": "https://query.example.com/search?q={search_term_string}"
        },
        "query-input": "required name=search_term_string"
      }
    }
    </script>
  </head>
  <body>
  </body>
</html>
Microdata

Here's an example in Microdata:


<div itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/WebSite">
  <meta itemprop="url" content="https://www.example.com/"/>
  <form itemprop="potentialAction" itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/SearchAction">
    <meta itemprop="target" content="https://query.example.com/search?q={search_term_string}"/>
    <input itemprop="query-input" type="text" name="search_term_string" required/>
    <input type="submit"/>
  </form>
</div>
  

Here's an example of a site and an app in JSON-LD:

<html>
  <head>
    <title>The title of the page</title>
    <script type="application/ld+json">
    {
      "@context": "https://schema.org",
      "@type": "WebSite",
      "url": "https://www.example.com/",
      "potentialAction": [{
        "@type": "SearchAction",
        "target": {
          "@type": "EntryPoint",
          "urlTemplate": "https://query.example.com/search?q={search_term_string}"
        },
        "query-input": "required name=search_term_string"
      },{
        "@type": "SearchAction",
        "target": {
          "@type": "EntryPoint",
          "urlTemplate": "android-app://com.example/https/query.example.com/search/?q={search_term_string}"
        },
        "query-input": "required name=search_term_string"
      }]
    }
    </script>
  </head>
  <body>
  </body>
</html>

Guidelines

You must follow these guidelines for your site to be eligible to appear as a rich result.

Google Search can choose to add a sitelinks search box to your site even if it does not include the structured data described here. However, you can prevent this behavior by add the following meta tag to your homepage:

<meta name="google" content="nositelinkssearchbox" />

Structured data type definitions

To make your content eligible for display with a sitelinks search box, include the required properties.

Modified type WebSite

Google Search uses a modified WebSite structured data type both for website and app search boxes. The full definition of WebSite is provided on schema.org, although Google Search deviates slightly from the standard. The description shown below is definitive.

Required properties
potentialAction

Array of one or two SearchAction objects

This object describes the URI to send the query to, and the syntax of the request that is sent. You must implement a webpage or intent handler that can receive the request, and perform an appropriate search on the submitted string. If the user is not on an Android app (or is on an Android app but has not specified an Android intent target), the search box will send the website version of the query to the location specified; if the user is on an Android device and has specified an Android intent URI, it will send that intent.

You should always create a website SearchAction to enable the desktop search case. If also supporting app search, you can additionally specify a SearchAction object for your app. Each SearchAction object must contain the following nested properties:

Website example

The following example sends a GET request to https://query.example.com/search?q=user%20search%20string.

"potentialAction": [{
  "@type": "SearchAction",
  "target": {
    "@type": "EntryPoint",
    "urlTemplate": "https://query.example.com/search?q={search_term_string}"
  }
  "query-input": "required name=search_term_string"
}]

App example

The following example sends an Android intent to android-app://com.example/https/query.example.com/search/?q=user_search_string.

"potentialAction": [{
  "@type": "SearchAction",
  "target": {
    "@type": "EntryPoint",
    "urlTemplate": "android-app://com.example/https/query.example.com/search/?q={search_term_string}"
  }
  "query-input": "required name=search_term_string"
}]
potentialAction.query-input

Text

Use the literal string required name = search-term, or whatever placeholder you used in target. Make sure that both placeholder values match. For example, both placeholder values in the target and query-input properties use the string search-term:

"potentialAction": [{
  "@type": "SearchAction",
  "target": {
    "@type": "EntryPoint",
    "urlTemplate": "https://query.example.com/search?q={search-term}"
  }
  "query-input": "required name=search-term"
}]
potentialAction.target

EntryPoint

An EntryPoint object with a urlTemplate property.

The urlTemplate should be a string in this format: search_handler_uri{search_term_string}

For example:

https://query.example.com/search?q={search_term_string}
search_handler_uri For websites, the URL of the handler that should receive and handle the search query; for apps, the URI of the intent handler for your search engine that should handle queries.
search_term_string

A placeholder string that is replaced by user's search query when the user clicks the "Search" button in the search box. Make sure that whatever placeholder string you use here also matches the value for the name element for the query-input property.

url

URL

Specifies the URL of the site being searched. Set to the canonical homepage of your site. For example: https://www.example.org

Monitor rich results with Search Console

Search Console is a tool that helps you monitor how your pages perform in Google Search. You don't have to sign up for Search Console to be included in Google Search results, but it can help you understand and improve how Google sees your site. We recommend checking Search Console in the following cases:

  1. After deploying structured data for the first time
  2. After releasing new templates or updating your code
  3. Analyzing traffic periodically

After deploying structured data for the first time

After Google has indexed your pages, look for issues using the relevant Rich result status report. Ideally you should see an increase of valid pages, and no increase in errors or warnings. If you find issues in your structured data:

  1. Fix the errors.
  2. Inspect a live URL to check if the issue persists.
  3. Request validation using the status report.

After releasing new templates or updating your code

When you make significant changes to your website, monitor for increases in structured data errors and warnings.
  • If you see an increase in errors, perhaps you rolled out a new template that doesn't work, or your site interacts with the existing template in a new and bad way.
  • If you see a decrease in valid items (not matched by an increase in errors), perhaps you are no longer embedding structured data in your pages. Use the URL Inspection tool to learn what is causing the issue.

Analyzing traffic periodically

Analyze your Google Search traffic using the Performance Report. The data will show you how often your page appears as a rich result in Search, how often users click on it and what is the average position you appear on search results. You can also automatically pull these results with the Search Console API.

Troubleshooting

If you're having trouble implementing or debugging structured data, here are some resources that may help you.