Sitelink Extensions: Critical Do’s and Don’ts for Success

Google AdWord Extension Example

When it comes to successful AdWords campaigns, sitelink extensions are the most versatile, powerful option at your disposal. After all, they can be used on any device, on accounts of all verticals, and they can say almost anything you can think of. 

That’s right: sitelinks are the king of all AdWords.

Just listen to what Google themselves have to say about them:

“Adding sitelinks boosts the average CTR on an ad by 10-20% (+20-50% when the search is one of your branded terms), so that implementation should be time well spent.”

What are sitelink extensions? 

Sitelink Extension

[Image Source: https://support.google.com/searchads/answer/3316365?hl=en

If you’re wondering what this magical, efficient, and effective tool is, let’s go back to the beginning.

Sitelink extensions are links in your ads that take visitors to specific pages on your site. Unlike the ad heading that might take them to the home page, your sitelink extensions can take users to more targeted content.

You’ll often see sitelink extensions for:

  • Hours
  • Shop Now
  • Learn More
  • Contact
  • Best Sellers
  • Sale

Why use sitelink extensions?

If the stats about adding sitelinks haven’t convinced you, here are some other good reasons to use sitelink extensions:

  • They define a specific outcome (i.e., hours of operation) so you can drive highly targeted traffic to those pages, ultimately increasing conversions.
  • You can take up more space (i.e., consume more real estate!) on SERP: they make your ads bigger and more prominent.
  • Sitelink extensions allow you to share more information with users in a single ad. 

Now that we’ve covered WHY to use sitelink extensions, let’s talk about the best practices for doing so.

How many sitelinks can I have?

Depending on the SERP and the device being used, you can utilize up to six sitelinks per ad for desktop ads and eight for mobile ads. 

Does Google automate sitelinks?

Yes–if you don’t create your own sitelinks, Google will go ahead and do it for you. But don’t relinquish this control!

Creating your own sitelinks gives you the power to optimize conversions and target users based on your specific goals…not what Google THINKS your goals are.

Dos and Don’ts for Sitelink Extensions

Do: Keep them short

Shorter ad copy almost always performs better (even Google says so)!

Google allows your sitelinks to have up to 25 characters. But that doesn’t mean you need to use all of them! Instead, aim for 18-20 characters per extension for desktop ads and 12-15 for mobile ads. That way, you can make sure your ad copy isn’t truncated on search engine response pages (SERP).

Speaking of ad copy, check out our 12 Top Headline Writing Tips To Drive Traffic To Your Website.

Don’t: Forget to keep an eye on your metrics

Metrics

Even though they require little maintenance, a set-it-and-forget-it attitude about sitelink extensions isn’t recommended.

Instead, keep an eye on them. Specifically, check these metrics: 

Conversion rate: Low conversion rates? Time to reevaluate your sitelink extensions. Consider if they’re sending users to the most optimal content on your site. At the same time, make sure the copy in your extensions accurately depicts where the link takes the visitor. 

Clickthrough rate: A low clickthrough rate is a sign your copy isn’t resonating with viewers–especially if impressions are high but clicks are not! Take another stab at your ad copy and see what a few tweaks can do for your results. 

Impressions: How many people are seeing your sitelink? If your numbers are low, it’s a sign Google is passing over your ads for a reason. Try updating your links and try again. 

While we’re discussing ads, is it time to check up on your Facebook ads? Go here to find out why they might not be getting any reach. 

Do: Consider advanced sitelinks

Remember how we mentioned sitelinks let you take up more real estate on the SERP by creating bigger, more prominent ads? Well, with advanced sitelinks, you can take this even further. 

With advanced sitelink extensions, you can add up to two lines of descriptive copy below each sitelink. Basically, you get to create mini ads within your bigger ads to further optimize your ads! 

This will pay off: in testing done by Google, ads with enhanced sitelinks rated more useful and relevant. And compared to traditional ads with just two or three sitelinks, those with advanced sitelinks had significantly higher clickthrough rates. 

Don’t: Forget about Bing Ads Campaigns

If you’ve been focusing all your energy on Google AdWords, it’s time to reconsider Bing Ads Campaigns (now Microsoft Advertising) too. After all, Bing Ads offers nearly all of the same extensions as AdWords, and then some! The same benefits you get from using sitelink extensions in AdWords can be found in Bing. 

Take a few minutes and implement the same extensions you use on AdWords into Bing–no need to even create new copy! 

Do: Set start and end times for time-sensitive sitelinks

Are you running a Christmas season sale for your bakery from December 1-31? Great idea–but make sure your sitelinks are considered in this tactic! 

While it’s wise to create a sitelink specifically for this event, be sure to set appropriate start and end times for that specific link. Otherwise, you’ll be driving traffic to irrelevant content. 

You can take your scheduling even further and set up specific times of day (or days of week) to serve specific links. 

Don’t: Be repetitive

If you’re determined to use all available space for sitelinks, make sure you’re not being redundant. Make sure your ads compel visitors with more than one value proposition. 

Otherwise, you’re missing out making the most of the magic that is sitelink extensions! 

For example? Rather than including one sitelink for “Shoe Sale” and another for “Footwear on Sale,” consider keeping one of those and changing the other to, “Shop Our Best Sellers.” That way, you’re killing two birds with one stone, as they say. 

Get help with PPC marketing

Blue Water Marketing

But here’s the thing: optimizing your sitelink extensions is just ONE part of a highly effective digital marketing strategy.

Feeling a little overwhelmed with covering all your bases? We can help.

Blue Water Marketing in Stuart, FL., offers PPC, SEO, web design, content marketing, and everything else you need to get the results and conversions you’ve been waiting for.

If you have questions or you’d like to request a free consultation, get in touch with us today.

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Taylor Lynch

Taylor Lynch

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