What AdWords Enhanced Sitelinks Can Do for You

Enhanced Campaigns in AdWords rolled out earlier this year and gave us new functionality of some of the features we’re used to, including Ad Sitelinks. AdWords sitelinks originally rolled out in late 2009, but recently got a facelift to include a more targeted approach, additional control over scheduling and enhanced data tracking.

So in this post, we’ll take a look at features within AdWords enhanced sitelinks, and give some tips on how to use them.

First, What are AdWords Sitelinks?

Even though sitelinks have been around for more than three years, not everyone who manages PPC takes advantage of them. We love sitelinks as a way to help the target audience discover content within a website that is useful and relevant to what they are searching for beyond the landing page. Google states that on average, “the clickthrough rate is 30% higher for ads with sitelinks than those without.”

So let’s quickly take a look at how you can use them. AdWords sitelinks allow advertisers to display links to pages deep within their site, right in the ad. Here’s a snapshot of what sitelinks can look like from a PPC advertisement by Wag.com:

Ad Sitelinks Example Screenshot

Example of AdWords Ad Sitelinks

You can enter up to 10 custom sitelinks, and Google will choose the sitelinks to feature for any given ad. Depending on the device the person is on when viewing the ad, the number of sitelinks varies. For tablets and PCs, users can see from two to six. Mobile users can see up to four.

We prefer to just focus on creating four really great, targeted sitelinks so there’s no guessing on what’s going to show up for that particular ad. We usually list the most important sitelink first for good measure, in case that has any weight when being considered for selection.

You can think about sitelinks as a customized mini display of a website’s navigation. See, the subnavigation pages may be more targeted to what the user is looking for than the main landing page you normally drive traffic to from the ad. AdWords sitelinks can be useful when the keyword you’re targeting is broader.

For example, let’s say you run a dog-training program in Boston. The keyword phrase you’re targeting for one ad campaign is “dog training Boston”. Within your dog-training program, you have several courses like “dog tricks,” “obedience course,” “show training” and more.

In this scenario, it would be appropriate to include the individual Web pages of those dog-training courses as part of the sitelinks profile for this particular campaign.

Now, let’s look at how enhanced campaigns has changed the functionality. But first, if you need more information on Google’s policies for sitelinks, check the policy files.

How Have Sitelinks Changed with Enhanced Campaigns?

If you’re not yet familiar with the new Enhanced Campaigns functionality in AdWords, take a moment to read the post we wrote about it not too long ago.

Where sitelinks is concerned, Enhanced Campaigns has given us more control over sitelinks, including the ability to schedule them, decide which device to target and the ability to list them at the ad group level.

Let’s talk about the ability to set them at the ad group level. Take our dog trainer example: if, as a dog training company, you had a course on “dog tricks,” and within that program you offered several individual classes like “learning how to sit,” “playing fetch” and “basic commands”, you could now include sitelinks for these class pages, right in your ads for that ad group.Dog in Glasses Holding Books

This is different than previously, where, for example, if someone were searching for “dog tricks,” they would only see the campaign-level sitelinks on the ad, like the “obedience course” and “show training” links.

So, Should I Add a Bunch of Sitelinks Now?

Actually, no. There’s no need to run out and add sitelinks for every ad group just because we now have the option. We recommend using discretion. Do what makes sense. If getting more granular is going to be of value and help the visitor accomplish something, then that’s a great reason to add sitelinks to the ad group.

Using our dog trainer example, if someone was searching for “dog charity” and your dog-training business happened to have a training program dedicated to a charitable cause, the user would find much more value in seeing a sitelink for “charitable dog training” versus “obedience course.”

If you’re looking to spot check your sitelink idea, take a look at your website’s navigation to see what topics/products/services are broken out under your main categories – this can often help you decide if a sitelink is appropriate for the ad group you’re targeting.

More Benefits for Enhanced Sitelinks

AdWords enhanced sitelinks now include the ability to schedule which sitelinks show when and on what device. For brick-and-mortar merchants, this new feature can be quite handy. From Google’s page on Enhanced Campaigns, it gives an example of how this can be useful:

“ … when her store is open, Sally has ads that show links to a store locator as well as her business phone number for smartphone users. When her shop closes at 5pm, she sets her ads to only show links to her website where customers can place their orders. With enhanced campaigns, Sally is able to schedule when and on which devices she would like these ad extensions to appear.”

And enhanced reporting for sitelinks is also something worth mentioning. From the section on performance and reporting on this page, Google shows us how we can get more insight through Google Analytics:

“Autotagging your links will result in your landing page URLs being recorded with the additional sitelink parameter.

This means it will appear as a separate entry in your Top Content reports as well as be available for you in the AdWords section of Traffic Sources.

You can also analyze the performance of this landing page URL in your AdWords campaigns. Use the secondary dimension to see which ad text and landing page (sitelink) combination works best.”

For more on this topic, you can check out Google’s webinar on “Smarter Extensions: Upgraded Sitelinks and Call Extensions” on this page here.

Are you doing anything interesting with AdWords enhanced sitelinks? Tell us about it below.

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