In February 2012 Google introduced a new form of Ad Extensions called Sitelinks. Sitelinks offer advertisers the opportunity to display additions links within an advert using specific information to inform a searcher what they may find once they have clicked on the advert. For this reason, and now a much larger advert that draws attention to this extra “space”, Sitelinks have increased advertisers Click Through Rates significantly.
Google have gone one step further as advertisers can now add a description to the Sitelinks which gives an additional opportunity to promote relevant and specific information on a product, service or company itself. Sitelink Descriptions were added as a very attractive incentive to upgrade legacy campaigns to now mandatory enhanced campaigns.
Below is an example of 3 adverts.
Advert 1: Not using Sitelinks.
Advert 2: Using Sitelinks
Advert 3: Using Sitelinks AND Sitelink Descriptions.
Although this has been modified for the purpose of presentation, it really does emphasis the increased “space” that savvy advertisers are using and highlight how CTR can increase so significantly using this feature.
With Sitelinks, and now Sitelink Descriptions you are now affectively being given the opportunity to show more adverts, within an advert, using more specific information about your products.
Google’s logic behind sitelink descriptions does not prescribe to the Traditional Print Media ethos of an adverts cost being based on the size/space of the advert on the page, however, there is a reason why Google are offering this great feature. Sitelinks and Sitelink Descriptions do not show unless your advert shows in the Top 3 positions for your Keyword Auction. The incentive to show in the top 3 ads has never been so inticing, however, advertisers have to pay the premium for the privilege. Increase your keyword bids accordingly!
How to take advantage of Sitelink Decriptions
When creating or editing sitelinks you will now be given the option to add a sitelink description with the 2 description boxes. You can also edit Sitelink scheduling at this point.
Campaigns > Ad Extension > Sitelink > New/Edit Sitelink
Sitelink Descriptions: Best Practices and Key Information
- Play around with Ad Text Descriptions to see how the Ad will actually appear. Adverts are limited to 35 characters Per line. This limitation should encourage the advertiser to take get their point across early and directly with a call to action.
- You can have up to 8 sitelinks, however, this will very rarely be shown. It is best practice to use up to 4 sitelinks and descriptions per ad group which are highly relevant. By using 4 there will be no unwanted variation of your Sitelinks and Descriptions.
- You can also choose different sitelinks per Ad group. This is both a blessing and a curse as sitelink’s can be highly tailored to an advert, however, this can create significantly more work implementing unique sitelinks across all Campaign Ad groups. Again, use sitelinks sparingly where they will ad value to an advert.
- Sitelink Scheduling allows you to show Sitelinks based on time and date. This can be used to great effect if you have a promotion or offer available that starts/ends at a specific time, triggering or ceasing the Sitelink.
- Sitelinks have to be a unique link with a unique URL. Duplicate Sitelinks will stop a Sitelink from showing.
- Many advertisers, and very often e-commerce stores have very bland sitelinks offering nothing that the competition isn’t. Show offers, competitions and rare product lines. Adwords is all about acquiring as many clicks to your ad as possible, whilst minimising irrelevant clicks. Take heed to this Adwords mantra re. Sitelink Descriptions and tailor Sitelinks to your dermographic.
It is also worth noting Sitelinks and Sitelinks Descriptions may not always show, based on many different variables such as quality score, relevance and landing pages to name but a few. Sitelinks Descriptions will not show in the
Adwords Preview Tool also. Early indications are that sitelinks will show significantly more often for branded terms. It is crucial to see how the development of Sitelink Description will play out over time.
There can be very little argument to Sitelink and Sitelink Description’s impact on Click Through Rate, but it doesn’t end there. As visitors are more informed about a sites content, conversions will increase due to the early insight of a service/product. Sitelinks costs the advertiser the same amount as any click on any part of the ad so should be a fundamental part of every advertisers Adwords strategy.
Sitelink Descriptions, along with many other Ad Extensions such as the greatly anticipated Image Extensions, all go some way to build a more visual presence on the search query page. All of Adwords enhancements have a very real affect on organic search, and the realization that organic search is being pushed further down the search page. In a future blog post we will explore the long term affect this will have on digital marketing and the relationship between Organic Search and PPC.
We would love to hear about your experience of Sitelink Descriptions, and Ad Extensions in general. Have you experienced an improved click through rate due to sitelink descriptions? Feel free to comment below with your thoughts regarding any aspect of this article. We would love to know what you think!
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