To most AdWords users, sitelinks are the bread and butter of making expanded text ads stand out from the crowd. They’re an integral factor when it comes to the ranking of your ad, whilst also portraying value and trust to customers browsing to make a purchase. With Google suggesting sitelink usage can boost CTR on an ad by 10-20% (or even up to 50% when searched on a branded term), spending that little bit of extra time on your ads is time well spent.
Sitelink extensions allow advertisers to easily link to specific pages on a client’s website beneath the main text of the ad, giving a clearer view of what the website offers at a glance. In September 2016, Google released the option of using account level sitelinks - giving your ads the best possible chance of increasing CTR.
So, how can you take advantage of sitelink extensions?
Finding your niche
Creating campaign level or ad group sitelink extensions allows for a more tailored ad process, displaying more specific web pages which are useful to the ad served. Due to some websites having millions of products across several different categories, the account level sitelinks potentially will not be relevant to the ad served.
Below is an example of how we changed generic account sitelinks, which had nothing to do with what had been searched for, into more niche sitelinks at ad group level for a flooring campaign (Type AC6). Once creating and changing the sitelinks to something relevant to the search made by the customer, the CTR increased dramatically from 1% to 27%; producing results and links the potential customer is interested in.
Getting your sitelinks seen
When deciding to implement sitelinks to each individual campaign in your accounts, and sometimes at an even more granular level (such as at the ad group level shown above), it is important to maximise the chances of these sitelinks showing in Google results.
Extensions are shown at Google’s discretion, which is linked both to the ad rank of an advert and what Google’s algorithm deems best for the user’s needs and context. It is a good rule of thumb to include at least six sitelinks for desktop and four for mobile for maximum exposure within adwords for them to serve the most fit-for-purpose sitelinks to the user.
Below is an example where ‘Calvin Klein’ is being searched for in Google. Calvin Klein, being such an iconic brand, will have several different retailers competing for the number one search ad position. But the inclusion of the sitelinks shown below makes sure competitor ads are shown below the fold, whilst also making sure the original ad is more prominent on the page - research has shown the difference to be up to 84%.
With the increase in mobile purchasing in recent years, these sitelinks could easily be the difference why a user chooses to click on your ad rather than one from a competitor.
Using sale extensions
Potential customers love the opportunity to save money on their favourite brands or items, so why not give them the best opportunity to see the sale you’re offering?
Creating sitelinks advertising a sale period is easy, as you can schedule sitelinks to start and stop at the dates of your client’s sale periods. This removes the chance of the advertiser forgetting to remove the sitelink and causing confusion for the user if the sitelink was then outdated and broken, which can ultimately leave a bad impression of the site or brand.
But do they work? The image below shows the user is more enticed by sitelinks which include sale periods, with CTR being significantly higher (by more than 27%) on the sitelinks which include the word ‘sale’.
Now on Google Labs: promotion extensions
Google is constantly testing new projects within Adwords Google Labs, creating new features advertisers can use to try and improve and enhance their advertising. Recently, Google started to test another extension to help promote client’s sales or promotion on their websites in the form of promotion extensions.
This new feature makes it easier for advertisers to schedule when to start and end a promotion without having to change the ad copy of an ad, whilst also giving the sale or promotion more prominence with a clickable link and symbol (as shown in the example above).
When tested on one of our client’s sale periods, we saw that the CTR was a very respectable 30.06%, giving the user another extension to interact with whilst offering another enticing link for the ad; and making the ad more prominent and relevant on the page.
I hope this has helped clarify why taking time to focus on creating engaging sitelink extensions can help increase CTR and conversion rates for your ads and drive more revenue for your clients. For more PPC and digital marketing updates be sure to sign up for our mailing list that will inform you when new blog posts like this one go live.