Surprise! Google has announced and rolled out dynamic sitelinks to all advertisers worldwide, free of charge.
Dynamic sitelinks are automatically generated and appear below your ad text. They cost nothing if they're clicked and give advertisers more space on the SERP, enabling users to go straight into specific pages on your site from the ad, as shown here:
Still, advertisers have the choice to opt out if they don't want dynamic sitelinks applied to their ads. Before you do, let's see what this is all about.
Why is Google Giving Us Free Stuff?
Out of the goodness of their hearts?
No, sorry. There's definitely a monetary incentive for Google's generosity.
See, even though clicks on dynamic sitelinks are free, they do cause an increase in ad headline click-through rates (CTR) of around 10 percent on average – you still have to pay when people click on your ad headlines. So, an ad in the top position without sitelinks that has a 6 percent expected CTR will have a 6.6 percent CTR with sitelinks added.
More ad clicks = more $$$ for Google – but also more potential customers for your business.
Why Did Google Add Dynamic Sitelinks to All Accounts?
You probably remember that Google migrated everyone to enhanced campaigns not all that long ago. Adoption was low, so they forced the change on everyone.
Same deal here. We estimate that only about 30 percent of small business advertisers (companies spending less than $5,000/month on AdWords) use sitelinks. There are a lot of benefits to using them, yet adoption has been fairly slow because it takes additional work to set-up.
Now, as long as you have your campaign type set to "Search Network with Display" or "Search Network Only," your ads are eligible to display dynamic sitelinks. That's doesn't guarantee that they will – but they're eligible.
This way, advertisers just get them if their ads qualify. The advertiser gets that enhanced CTR and Google gets more revenue.
Do Sitelinks Impact AdRank?
Not long ago, Google made extensions a part of the AdRank formula. The expected impact from your ad extensions and formats is used in the AdRank calculation. At the same time, Google gave AdRank more weight in the determination of whether your ad is eligible to be displayed with extensions and different formats.
Basically, if you pit two ads with equal bids and quality against one another, the ad with more positive expected impact from ad extensions will win the higher position.
Do Sitelinks Impact Quality Score?
On average, we're seeing a 10 percent boost in quality score with the use of sitelinks on ads. Even though hardly anyone clicks on them – the average CTR for sitelinks themselves on ads is just 0.1 percent – they do influence quality score. This can be explained by the enhanced user experience they offer; as Google explains it, sitelinks on ads "connect people to the content they’re looking for by linking to specific pages on your websites -- directly from your ad, with just a single click." Better user experience = higher quality ads.
Can I Still Use Regular Sitelinks?
Google will only automatically generate dynamic sitelinks if you haven't already set them up yourself.
Should I Opt Out of Dynamic Sitelinks?
Why would you opt out of a feature that can increase your quality score, AdRank, and CTRs?
If you're worried that using them will send your CTRs higher and cost you more money via irrelevant clicks, what you really need to tighten up is your targeting and messaging.
Remember, too, that a higher quality score results in higher ad rankings and lower costs per click. You're really shooting yourself in the foot if you chase after a lower CTR strategy in some misguided attempt to save money. It'll cost you in the long run.
If you still want to disable dynamic sitelinks across your AdWords account, you can use Google's handy form to do so (and to turn them back on again later).
The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates extended through Sept 19. Register today!