Not too long ago we posted an article explaining how to set up sitelinks in Google Adwords. Well last week Google announced the roll out of Enhanced Sitelinks. This has lots of PPC managers and Adwords advertisers buzzing because Google has basically given the original sitelinks feature a healthy dose of steroids. For those in need of a sports analogy right now… if the original sitelinks were Oakland A’s – “Bash Brother” Mark McGwire, then Enhanced Sitelinks are the latter, more juiced up, St. Louis Cardinal’s one-man homerun machine Mark McGwire. At least that’s what everyone is hoping anyways.[column col=”1/2″] [/column] [column col=”1/2″] [/column]
What’s the Big Deal?
This is pretty significant news because its an improvement on the original sitelinks, which are known to be highly effective. Google states that sitelinks provide on average a 30% higher CTR than ads without them. Our experience definitely backs up this stat from Google. Furthermore, Google is claiming that tests have shown that new Enhanced sitelinks attract an even higher CTR than their 1st edition… and we believe it.
What Enhanced Sitelinks Look Like
For those of you who don’t know, here is an image of a text ad with Original Style Sitelinks (we’ll follow Google’s pizza example from here on):
Here is an image of the same text ad, but with the new & improved Enhanced Sitelinks:
As you can see, the difference between the new and old is the added description lines beneath the sitelinks. So, in essence, the Enhanced Sitelinks are like multiple text ads displayed beneath your actual text ad that was triggered by the search query. Google has shown up to 4 Enhanced Sitelinks underneath one ad (as in the example above).
How Enhanced Sitelinks Work
So where do these added description lines come from? Google automatically takes them from ads that already exist (anywhere) in your account. Lets say somewhere in your Adwords account you had this Ad activated:
Google takes the description lines from an ad such as this, and places them below the sitelink.
As you can see, the headline from the pulled ad is replaced with whatever you originally input as the sitelink itself (see below).
Wait, how does Google decide which ad to pull the description lines from?
Ok, so here’s the important part.
If the sitelinks in your campaign are closely related to active ads in your account, Google will pair them up and create the enhanced sitelink as shown above. So our impression is that Google looks at the name of the sitelink and compares it to headlines and ad copy from text ads throughout your account (*not just within that campaign)… hence establishing an enhanced sitelink if a proper match is found. We’re not exactly sure how sophisticated this process is, nor if it brings display URL’s into play… but you get the general idea.
How To Implement Enhanced Sitelinks
So you know that at some point you read the word “automatically” in this article. Now you’re pretty excited about the fact that your PPC campaigns are about to start cranking out homeruns to the tune of dollar bills. And the best part is… Google, in all its divine majesty, is doing all the work for you!! Haha! Sweet, shutdown that computer, and head to Burlington Coat Factory before it gets too warm to sport some new fur!
**Not so fast**
As with any new feature, this one means some work for your end. You need to prepare your account for enhanced sitelinks based on Google’s criteria for automatically displaying them. Otherwise you may not reap the benefits Google is boasting for these bad boys.
Criteria for Enhanced Sitelinks to show in your ads:
- Your ad must appear in the top positions above organic listings, not in the side bar. (And not below organic listings where the sitelinks of old were eligible to show)
- The names of your sitelinks must closely relate to ad copy within your account
So, here are some actions to consider:
- Compare your ad copy with your sitelinks. If they don’t seem to be closely related, you may want to consider either writing new ads, inputting new sitelinks, or both. One article from Lunametrics suggested matching up the text in your ad’s headlines with the labels of your sitelinks. It makes sense to focus on ad headlines as they might carry more weight, but we haven’t found where Google says this specifically.
- Shoot for the top. Carefully assess the pros and cons, and then decide on whether you should increase some bids. We suggest looking for keywords that are performing well, and considering capitalizing on that strength. Identify keywords with high CTR’s and quality scores. Then see if you can get them to trigger ads at the top by increasing bids. Test out these Enhanced Sitelinks within one or two campaigns, and then address the rest of your account according to the results. But don’t wait too long, because we have a feeling these things are going to prove profitable.
Yeah, we have a few as well. Like, “How closely related do our sitelinks and ads have to be, exactly?” And, “Do all sitelinks within a campaign have to be enhanced-eligible for the ad to show any enhanced sitelinks? Will it just show one enhanced sitelink if only one meets the criteria? …and so on.
If you have any questions or comments, let us know. All in all, we’re excited for the new Adwords addition. After the powerful impact traditional sitelinks made on our accounts, we’re crossing our fingers that Google is accurate with their lofty projections for the enhanced version. It makes a lot of sense to us that Google is indeed right… so I guess the only thing left to do at this point is grab my credit card and head to Burlington Coat Factory.