Google has announced an update to their sitelinks extensions policy that could have a negative impact on existing AdWords campaigns.
What are AdWords sitelinks extensions?
Sitelinks extensions appear beneath the text of your advertisement and are direct entry points into different, useful portions of your website. Google has an article on using sitelinks extensions for your AdWords campaign. Enabling the sitelinks extension for an AdWords campaign is free for the advertiser.
Google will be enforcing the sitelinks policy more strictly
In the email announcement Google has reiterated that each link within a sitelinks extension must click to a unique page. There should not be any duplicate links or links to pages with duplicate content. While this has always been a part of the Google sitelinks extensions policy, Google has reached out to advertisers stating that the policy will be more strictly enforced soon. Google is asking advertisers to verify their own sitelinks and their destination URLs in order to prevent ads from being disqualified in the future. Ads that violate the terms will not be shown.
Tips on using Google AdWords sitelinks
On the bright side, the email announcement offers some encouraging insight for advertisers. Google has openly expressed that campaigns with quality sitelinks extensions will perform better than campaigns without. A blog post from Google confirms that “on average, clickthrough rate is 30% higher for ads with sitelinks than those without” (Feb 2012). Additionally, by omitting sitelinks you may be preventing your ad from showing in the most prominent spot.
Having fewer eligible sitelinks could keep your ad from showing in the larger 2-line and 3-line formats, where more eligible sitelinks are required. Remember, larger formats are more visible and typically have higher average clickthrough rates (CTR). And if you don’t have enough eligible sitelinks in your campaign, then your ads may not display sitelinks at all.
Google wants advertisers to use sitelinks extensions and to use them well. Sitelinks within ads create great value for Google searchers. They also give advertisers insight about what their customers are looking for. Sitelinks are meant to be hand-picked entry points into the most useful areas of your website.
Here are some easy tips to make sure your campaigns are not adversely affected by the policy update.
- Enable sitelinks extensions for all campaigns.
- Make sure there are at least 6-10 links for each sitelinks extension.
- Verify that existing links are unique.
- Verify that links click to a page with unique, relavent content.
If you are running an AdWords campaign without taking advantage of features like sitelinks extensions, please contact us. We’ll help you take advantage of everything that AdWords has to offer.