Back in June of last year, in conjunction with new features of enhanced campaign, Google introduced an enhancement to sitelinks that allows users the ability to add descriptive text for your specific sitelink. I've always been a great fan of sitelinks, because it’s a great way to boost your average click-through rate (CTR) on your ads, in particular for brand terms (as much as 50 percent, per Google).
It gives you the ability to have more than one link in your paid search ad to different pages on your website. And with the ability to add additional detail to your site links, it gives you the ability to "own" more real estate in the paid search results.
Sitelinks also factor into your ad rank, and can influence the position of your ad on search page. Ad Rank previously took into account your max cost-per-click (CPC) and quality score, and now ad extensions and formats are another component of the calculation.
Seems like a no-brainer to implement, right?
Surprisingly, many clients are still not taking advantage of this feature. Google actually noted this in a blog post in January. After some extensive research, I found a surprisingly small number of customers are taking full advantage of the benefits of sitelinks. In the example below, Merry Maids is using the traditional sitelink format; the two other businesses aren't using sitelinks at all.
The addition of descriptive text could provide additional information regarding the individual links. For user example, the "Our Guarentee" link could describe what the actual guarentee is, or its benefit to the prospetive buyer. Using sitelinks means that the user is getting more useful and relevant information. Google’s testing shows that CTRs were higher than the same ad that had traditional site links.
In searching for "dog crate covers", we see again the traditional site link formats being used, but not the descriptive text versions:
The implementation of this feature is relatively easy. When you add a new site link, Google provides you with a Description field. You can describe your link in more detail, promote an offer, or create a call to action to the user.
We implemented descriptive sitelinks right after they became available, and we noticed for our clients a stronger overall CTR, in particular with branded terms. Not only were our clients able to provide users with information about their products and promotions, but their ads displayed in higher positions on the search results page. Your ad is utilizing more space, and your ad appears to be more relevant.
Some key things to keep in mind when implementing descriptive site links:
- Incorporate calls to action where applicable. It’s a great way to drive users directly to another internal landing page.
- Provide promotion information, such as sales, discounts or free shipping.
- Think of each sitelink as an additional ad that you would create. Incorporate keywords in the ad, and use compelling messaging.
- Test and test again. In Pauline Jokober’s article, she refers to doing periodic sitelink audits. This is important to see what is and isn't working.
Sitelinks can help users find information faster on your site, and get to exactly where they need to go. Providing ads with more detail improves the overall user experience. Don’t you think it’s time to take your sitelinks to that next level?