Enhanced Sitelinks: Paid Ads Get More Love this Week

Google officially announced the rollout of Enhanced Sitelinks.  What does that mean? And what does it mean for all the players on the search engine results page (SERP)?  I’ll discuss what exactly Enhanced Sitelinks are as well as some of the implications they have for paid and organic performance.

Sitelinks are not new to AdWords. In fact, they were the first ad extension available through Google AdWords.  They’re essentially extra links you can include in your ad.  They only show for high quality ads in top positions of the SERP.

Enhanced sitelinks also only show for high quality, top position ads.  Google looks at other ads in your account and assigns ad copy to your existing sitelink text inserting it into the ad.

How are you eligible?  A quote from Google’s blog – “your account must contain active ads closely related to the sitelinks in your campaign.”  We’re still unclear how Google will actually determine this. But for now, creating identical headlines to sitelink text might be a good way to control what ad copy Google matches to each sitelink.

It’s not surprising that Google’s test accounts saw great click through rate results as they dominate the top of the SERP.  Enhanced sitelinks give advertisers more of an incentive to bid for a top position. More real estate means it’s pushing other paid advertisers further down the page, making the top position even more competitive. This may mean higher CPCs for advertisers fighting for the top position.

More love for paid ads means less love for organic or natural results.  It’s clear that enhanced Adwords sitelinks are a huge increase in real estate at the top of the page for paid ads. This means organic results will be pushed further down the page, making click through rates higher for the enhanced ad but most likely at the expense of the organic results click traffic.

As an advertiser, the details still seem a little foggy and leave me asking several questions.  What are the reporting capabilities?  Do I have insight into when and what ad was pulled into an enhanced sitelink?  How exactly does Google determine an ad to be “closely related” to a sitelink?  Does the advertiser have any say?  I’m sure we’ll find out more in the coming weeks.



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