Enhanced Sitelinks

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Enhanced sitelinks have been introduced by Google relatively recently for paid search results, but what does this mean and what are the benefits?

Whats different?

Here we see what a search would look like prior to enhanced sitelinks:

And this is what the same advert could appear like now, both of the ads here have been shown for identical search term "londontown", and all the sitelinks are the same:

What this has done is bring in the ad text from other adverts in the account making these ads now appear as ads themselves massively increasing the size of the ad.

How It Can Appear

To allow sitelinks to show in this way, certain criteria must be met:

  • First of all you will only be eligible to show like this if your advert is showing in the top paid position above Googles organic results (Which is why its something youre most likely to encounter on companies brand terms).
  • On top of this the destination URL of the sitelink must match the destination URL of another ad in the same account.
  • And probably the hardest thing is that your ad text and sitelink have to be deemed relevant to each other.

Your sitelinks should now be eligible to show. It is probable that within each individual auction other factors will be taken into account when Google is deciding when your sitelinks will appear like this, how many site links you will show and which of your ads will get pulled through. I would imagine that quality score will also be considered. Best practice also recommends that you list 6-10 sitelinks and also that for each sitelink multiple relevant ads are using the same URL. This would imply that the click-through-rates of the ads may also be taken into account.

Benefits

Overall as opposed to seeing any extra additional benefits to regular sitelinks it is mostly that you should see the same effects amplified. Particularly where you'd expect to see an increase in click-through-rate resulting from the increased ad exposure on the page, above we can see the difference in the amount of space enhanced sitelinks take up on the front page of Google results compared with regular sitelinks.

Google claims that "In testing, people reported that ads with enhanced sitelinks were more useful and relevant. And click through rates were significantly higher than the same ad with traditional 2- and 3-line sitelinks". And that "the click through rate is 30% higher for ads with sitelinks than those without."

Increased click-through-rates should further down the line possibly result in cheaper cost-per-click figures, particularly if you can get these enhanced sitelinks to show on non-brand terms.

Dependant on the choice of landing pages it is likely you should see better conversion rates from the previous form of sitelinks, but particularly now you can add in more information about which pages you are directing customers to. Giving customers more information should result in customers getting closer to the exact page they are looking for with the initial click.

Disadvantages

Currently we have only witnessed this happening on company's brand searches; it seems difficult to allow your ads to show on non-brand terms. With your brand terms youd often expect this to be traffic you're already capitalising on as well.

Its hard to say how regularly Google will check sitelinks and ads, so it may take some time and a certain amount of trial and error to assess whether your ads are going to show with these improved sitelinks.

One potential problem could be the case of similar style ads being pulled through, in instances where the messages and calls-to-action in the ad copy are very similar the full advert could look automated, spammy and won't utilise the full potential of the messages you can put across with enhanced ads. This is more something to watch out for so you can control entirely what your full ad will look like. Think, if you could manually write an ad of this size, you wouldnt choose to repeat the same messages.

Conclusion

Its definitely worth the effort of making your sitelinks eligible to show in this way as the benefits easily outweigh the costs, although ultimately Google still has control over when, where and whether or not your ads appear like this.