So You Think You Know Enhanced Sitelinks?


Enhanced Sitelinks

Sitelinks are now more powerful than ever

There’s hardly time to stop and catch your breath in the fasted paced world of Paid Search these days, no sooner have you got your head around one of the latest updates; Communication Ads, Website Call Metrics, than something else comes along, I’m a big fan of the Contextual Targeting Tool right now. So it’s easy to see why some smaller, but no less significant changes, might have passed a few people by in the last few weeks. Enhanced Sitelinks anyone?

The change that made me sit up and take notice recently was the way that Google now handles Sitelink Extensions. These were a great feature which has been running for some time now, with great success all around. Basically they enable top of page ads to appear with up to four extra links showing below the display URL. For Paid Search strategists they were a great way of introducing extra messages into the ad and taking up more real estate on the search pages.

Sitelinks & Simulation

Now I’m not going to name and shame here but believe me when I say that some people ‘played the system’ with this new feature. Yes they included four extra links showing four distinct and different products or services, but they directed traffic from each extra link to the same page. FOUL PLAY! I hear you cry…well I wouldn’t go that far, there was no rule to stop it and many people would call it clever thinking. Me, I think of it in football terms. It’s like when a forward collapses in the box claiming a penalty even though the only think he came into contact with was a defenders garlic breath, it’s not cheating, it’s gamesmanship.

Enhanced Sitelinks in action

So Google has now seen fit to show those people practising the dark PPC art of simulation a yellow card. From now on all Sitelinks within a campaign must go to separate landing pages if they are to benefit from Enhanced Sitelinks features. It’s all about user experience y’know. Oh and the landing page for the headline ad must be different as well. Got that? Well that’s the easy part, there are also a few other things that require a bit more thought before you can be guaranteed your Sitelinks will go from being reliable Clark Kent to faster than a bullet Kal-El…that’s Superman to those of you who don’t read comics.  Here are the new rules, in full, in an easy to digest format.

Enhanced Sitelinks: Know the Rules

  • Campaign level Sitelinks must direct to different landing pages, these must also be different from the top level landing page
  • Your ad should be the only ad at the top of the search page
  • The ad must have two or three sitelinks attached to it already
  • There must be 2 (if showing 2-line sitelinks) or 4 (if showing 3-line sitelinks) active ads directing visitors to the same pages as the sitelinks in the account you are using, or in another account within your MCC.
  • Keyword-level destination URLs must direct to the same page as the sitelink which you want the ad text to show
  • Keyword insertion is not allowed
  • Duplicate text is not allowed

So the message is clear, if you want to continue to see click through rates associated with your ads which show Sitelinks in excess of 15%, then you need to be familiar with the new rules. And you thought you knew about Sitelinks!


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