What are Sitelinks? Just in time for holiday shopping, Google recently released a new feature they are calling Ad Sitelinks (cha-ching). Business.com has had these extra links available for quite awhile, and it is definitely an idea worth copying. These links provide additional ways for users to get to content deeper within your site.
On Google, up to 4 links will show if your ad is deemed worthy. But there are some big hurdles to getting these sitelinks to actually display. Your sitelinks will only show if you are in a T1 -T3 position, and that means you have to have pretty aggressive bids and excellent quality scores (aka click through rates). Keep this in mind when optimizing bids if you want to take advantage of this feature.
How do you implement Google sitelinks? Some advertisers have been in on the beta for a few months, and now more advertisers have been white-listed to try it out. Many of our clients have now been pre-qualified to use sitelinks. You can see if your account is white-listed by going into your campaign settings and see “Show additional links to my site” under the Ad Extensions.
No need to create new ad copy, no need to create new campaigns or keywords. Implementation is straightforward and easy, maybe a little too easy. These sitelinks are at the campaign level, not the ad group or ad text level which I think is kind of strange given that’s where relevancy between keywords and ad text is most critical. I, for one, would choose different links at the ad group level than I am choosing at the campaign level because of page redundancy and highlighting different content. More control is just one area of room for improvement.
Here’s the nitty gritty:
- 35 max characters on the link text
- 1024 max characters on the destination URLs.
- You can add up to 10 links, but only up to 4 will display. While I’ve seen 4 sitelinks in most SERPs with these, Google has told me they may show less than 4.
- Add them in order of your priority. Most likely your first 4 will show unless you break editorial rules or if over time, certain links have really poor CTRs.
Track, track, track. My Google team stated to me that reporting is “limited” at this time on this new feature, meaning “THERE IS NONE.” Another area for improvement. The clicks and costs will be attributed to the campaign/ad group/keyword/ad variation, but there is nowhere in Report Center to specifically see how your sitelinks are performing. Even if you use unique URLs, they will not show up in an Adwords URL report, at least not at this time. This is a must: use an analytics tool and tag your links to see what traffic you are getting and measure the profitability. For my client using this, we are looking at revenue per clickthrough as our metric to evaluate performance.
Why test Google Sitelinks? Note: I write test. As with anything you do in PPC-test, track, analyze, rethink, suspend/expand. As a marketer this feature is a no-brainer. It gets users more efficiently to pages on your site that may get them closer to their/your goals. One or more fewer clicks to navigate to what they want, a very good thing. Conversion rates should be higher. So far I’m seeing better than average revenue per click on the campaigns I’m testing this on.
If you are buying some keywords that are fairly generic in nature or if you have different product versions or models, this is a great way to fine tune the user’s query and offer them options and get to the most relevant landing page. In essence, it should give you a better quality click because it forces them to read and decide what to click on.
My Google reps also report that for beta testers, for ads that ran Sitelinks they experienced a 30% average increase in click through rate.
So better conversion rates and more clicks…what’s not to like about this new feature? Are you using Google sitelinks? If so, what’s your experience so far? If not, why not? I’d love to hear from others and learn from you. Please comment.