Quick Guide to AdWords Sitelinks
:: By Derek Schou, Associate Editor ::
Spending on paid search ads in the U.S. alone is expected to top $24 billion by 2016.
With so much money being spent on paid search advertising, it is important that businesses and marketers alike squeeze every ounce of performance from their ads. One of the best ways to do this is with sitelinks.
Sitelinks, for those who have not read Websites Magazine's previous coverage, are links to a website's subpages that appear under Google search listings. While developers and Web workers cannot control when sitelinks are displayed for organic search results, they can control them when they are paid for via Google AdWords.
WHY BOTHER WITH SITELINKS?
There are two main reasons to add sitelinks to your ad: more links available to click and easy site navigation. With as many as six sitelinks able to be seen at once, websites are able to have seven total clickable links on a single ad rather than just one.
Furthermore, in a case study posted on ppchero.com, Sam Owen, associate director of paid search at Hanapin Marketing, noted the difference in clicks, impressions, click-through rate (CTR) and cost-per-click (CPC) before and after sitelinks were added to his paid search ad. The results were a dramatic rise in clicks going from 1,812 pre-sitelinks to 5,130 post-sitelinks as well as a rise in impressions (156,224 pre-sitelinks to 269,512 post-sitelinks) and CTR (1.16 percent pre-sitelinks to 1.90 percent post sitelinks). Owen also saw a significant drop in his CPC from $1.39 pre-sitelinks to $1.16 post-sitelinks.
As if additional impressions and an elevated CTR are not appealing enough, sitelinks allow businesses to create an easy navigation experience for users with designated landing pages. It is well documented (as far back as 2007 on Website Magazine) that consumers will simply leave a website if it is hard for them to navigate. There are so many alternatives available on the Internet that consumers will just turn to one of your competitors for the service or product they require.
A great example of this can be seen when searching for the popular sporting goods store Sports Authority. In the results is a paid search ad for Sport Authority with four sitelinks: Deals of the Week, $50 Off A Select Item, Back-to-School Central and Free Shipping On Shoes. Three of these sitelinks advertise some type of discount (which consumers always love), while the other plays to the time of year with the school year fast approaching and many children as well as young adults beginning their back-to-school shopping.
HOW TO ADD SITELINKS TO YOUR PAID SEARCH ADS
The first step in adding sitelinks to your paid search ad is to log into your Google AdWords account. From there, marketers click on the Ad extensions tab to show a drop-down menu in which they click “View” and then “Edit” next to the Sitelink settings link. All you have to do from here is enter the correct URL, an optional description and save. After you hit save there is one more step which is to select which devices to display the sitelink on and click save again.
Google recently released a new type of sitelink called dynamic sitelinks for paid ad search results. If enabled, users cannot determine which page the dynamic sitelink will take customers to. Instead, Google analyzes each individual’s recent search information and then automatically decides which page to link to. If users have both standard and dynamic sitelinks enabled and Google decides a dynamic sitelink would be of more use, it will override the standard sitelinks and display only the dynamic sitelink.
For more information on dynamic sitelinks check out Website Magazine’s previous coverage of the new extension for Google AdWords.