3D Ads…Sort of: The Beauty of Google Sitelinks

Has anyone else noticed the exploding popularity of 3-D entertainment lately? I suppose it’s not really ‘lately,’ since 3-D filmmaking has been popular for quite some time, but with the advent of 3-D TVs and HD 3-D movies it seems as though good old 2-D TV is becoming passé. After all, who can resist being pulled into the action, feeling like a participant in a film, and ending up with a richer experience overall?

And so it is with search advertising. No, I’m not talking about ads that actually appear jump off of the screen at you (although wouldn’t that be cool?). Instead I’m talking about depth and richness of experience, both attributes that a simple text ad can achieve with the addition of Sitelinks.

Sitelinks are additional links within a text ad that can take a user to up to 4 separate landing pages on your site. These links not only serve to call attention to your ad, making it stand out on the page, but it allows the ad to be even further targeted to the user. The person viewing your ad will have multiple choices in terms of where they’re taken, and the links will allow access to content located deeper in your site.

Intrigued? You should be…here are a couple of other details that make Sitelinks worth checking out:

  • They’re incredibly easy to activate in your account: you simply need to go to the ad extensions section within the AdWords Interface, select Sitelinks, and then come up with link text and destination URLs.
  • While only 4 links will show in your ad, you can enter up to 10 in your account allowing for more variety in your offerings.
  • They can really boost your performance! I’ve personally found that the CTR of the Sitelinks is often higher than that of the regular ad by percentages in the triple digits. Check out some of the stats in this account—the 1st shot shows the stats for the overall campaigns, with the 2nd showing the Sitelinks stats for the same 3 campaigns:

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  • Remember what comes with better performance: lower CPCs. So the added bonus here is that Sitelinks may actually help to lower the amount you’re paying per click.
  • Thanks to this performance boost and CPC reduction, Sitelinks can be especially powerful when used in conjunction with Brand campaigns, as they allow small- and medium-sized businesses to compete for keywords that normally command high CPCs at a lower cost.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to give Sitelinks a shot. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t warn you of a few limitations to keep in mind as well:

  • Sitelinks will only show for ads in the highest positions, meaning that if your ad ranks below the top 3 or so you won’t see the links even if you have them activated in your account.
  • Occasionally you might notice that some destination URLs might not work with Sitelinks. I experienced this with a client using a 3rd party host for some of their deeper content, so be sure to double-check your links once they’re set up.
  • If your website is structured such that all of your content and information is on one page.  Sitelinks aren’t a good choice for you. This is simply because if you don’t have separate landing pages for different products or offerings, there aren’t any separate links that you can provide in your ad.

Overall I’d highly recommend seeing what Sitelinks can do for you. If you agree, but don’t believe that you have a website that’s structured in such a way as to take full advantage of their benefits (see the last bullet point in the limitations section), you may want to consider adding a few pages to your site—it could be time for some A/B Testing!

Posted in: Internet Marketing, Online Marketing ROI, Online Strategies, Pay Per Click, SEM

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