Jul 2012 20

What is Sitelinks Ad Extension?

Part of AdWords’ ad extension, sitelinks is not the new kid on the block in the Google AdWords platform.

Even though sitelinks had been introduced for quite a while now, it is still not commonly used in many SEM campaigns.

Are you familiar with sitelinks? If you are, bear with me for the next paragraph. If you aren’t, let’s do a quick recap!

From Google AdWords Support:

The sitelinks ad extension lets you show links to pages from your website, in addition to the main landing page, beneath the text of your ads. Sitelinks appear in ads at the top and bottom of Google search results. You can activate sitelinks – creating up to ten – when you select your campaign’s settings. From the Ad extensions tab in your AdWords account you’ll be able to edit your link text and URLs and see how ads that contain sitelinks perform.

An illustration of Sitelinks Ad Extension (referred to as Sitelinks from hereon) can be found in the greybox below.

An illustration of Google AdWords Sitelinks Ad Extension

In the advertisement, there are four link texts – women’s shoes, men’s shoes, specials for women and flats.

Prerequisites For Sitelinks Ad Extensions.

Google had always gave incentives to advertisers whom occupied any of the top three positions.

Incentives include (but not limited to) the following:

  • Prominent, segregated display of the ad with a larger SERP foot print (compared to its side-positioned cousins).
  • Additional display of the domain name beside the headline.
  • Improved readability of description lines. Either as a single line below the display URL or as a two-liner, first line directly after the headline and the second line below the display URL.
  • Sitelinks Ad Extension*.

Of the lot mentioned, sitelinks ad extension is the only one that requires certain performance-related conditions to be met before it can make an impression.

Tom Demers summed up the prerequisites excellently in his article on Google AdWords Sitelinks on Wordstream.

What Ads Get Sitelinks?

AdWords has a few different sitelink formats (from Google’s documentation on sitelink formats):

  • Three-line and two-line formats – Sitelinks are designed to trigger in situations where an ad provides the ideal answer for a search query. These ads are most likely to trigger on unique brand terms.
  • One-line format – Sitelinks will trigger with more generic terms, but may also include brand terms.
  • Embedded format – Sitelinks will trigger whenever your ad qualifies to appear above the search results and the text in your ad exactly matches one or more of your sitelinks.

Basically the idea is you’ll only be showing sitelinks on ads/queries that you’re seen as highly relevant for (read: have a high click-through rate on) already.


Benefits of Sitelinks Ad Extensions

Melissa Mackey rounded up 11 Great Points About Google AdWords Sitelinks” on SearchEngineWatch.com , highlighted below are some significant benefits of using sitelinks.

  1. Sitelinks have a CTR that’s much higher than average. It is not unusual to see sitelinks with over 10% CTR.
  2. Up to 10 sitelinks can be designated per campaign. Depending on Google’s algorithm, at any one time, a maximum of 6 can make it to the SERP. We all know how valuable real estates are on Google SERP, don’t we? These additional real estates provide excellent opportunities for more SERP foot prints as well as call to actions.
  3. Intelligent utilization of sitelinks can provide the searcher with more relevant options as well as targeted landing pages to aid in conversion (this will be talk about in a separate article).


Creative Link Text Writing

Remembering a work assignment I had not too long ago when I first started out in the industry.

A colleague and I were tasked to draft out the syllabus for a Digital Media Workshop to a MNC.

Thinking that it was to be a formal presentation, our list of syllabus goes something like this:

  1. Search Engine Marketing: An Introduction.
  2. Advanced Management of SEM Campaigns.
  3. An Introduction to Social Media Platforms.

Confident and proud that we had completed the assignment in a relatively short time, we submitted the draft.

Our draft was heartlessly thrown back to us, right into our face.

“Why?”  That’s the big thought on our mind.

Our boss shared with us his thoughts (amid that it was in a frustrated and unfriendly tone).

Imagine the same syllabus above translated into the following instead:

  1. Bringing You Into The World of Search
  2. PPC Campaigns Under 20 Minutes A Day
  3. 3 Effective SEM Tips To Better Your Competitors
  4. Know Your Social Media ABCs

The same life lesson that I had, can be translated to the formulation for link text.

How many times have you seen link text that speaks of the following? Like a mundane and lazy duplication of their current site structure.

  • About Us
  • Our Products / Our Services
  • Contact Us

Imagine the following creative alternatives (citing Zalora as an example), won’t they induce you to click more?

  • Why Choose Zalora?
  • Buy With Confidence
  • The Zalora Advantage
  • Widest Selection of Puma Shoes
  • Visit The e-Store Now

There’s 35 characters per link text. Creative crafting of link text can bring unexpected positive results to your SEM campaigns.

Try it out today and share your positive experience here!

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