Google to Include Website URL’s in Paid Search (PPC) Advert Headlines


Sasha Hanau

Industry News

How will the new format of Google Adwords adverts affect advertisers and searchers?

Google are currently experimenting with Adwords (PPC) ad formats and search results now also display the website’s URL in the headline, separated by a pipe symbol | Please see the example below:

Website URL Headlines - New Format for PPC & Adwords

Google explains that the headline is the most important part of your PPC adverts – it is what determines if someone clicks your advert or not. The change was made in order to help click through rates as searchers will now be able to more easily identify the site to which they’ll be taken to after they click on the ad. At the same time, Google suggests that advertisers will benefit by being able to feature their brand more prominently in their advert.

What impact might this have on PPC?

As you may have noticed Google had also been trialing a different format change recently – one we now call ‘First Line Promotion’ where the first line of your advert copy (after the headline) is rolled into one headline, like this:

Google PPC - New format - First Line Promotion

This still appears to be the preference with Google. I.e. if your copy is distinguished as two separate statements running across the lines or it includes punctuation, then Google will move the first line of copy up to join the headline. If however your copy runs on from one line to another then Google now chooses to place your website URL at the end of your headline instead.

The new format seems to be a definite move on Google’s part to promote the headline in PPC adverts more. One might also ask whether Google are actually trying to make the paid search listings look more natural. The long headline certainly does make paid adverts look more like the organic listings below.

We believe that Google’s changes are intended to improve CTR’s. By making the paid adverts stand out less as paid or ‘sponsored listings’ as they used to be called they are more likely to be clicked on.

At present, only the URL (minus www.) will appear in search results (e.g., however, Google plans to add sub-domains to this in the near future (e.g. Subdirectories will not be included.

If your website address, headline and first descriptive line of copy all fit in the 68 character limit then it’s possible they will all get rolled into one headline. If not all copy can fit on one line then Google will always take your descriptive copy text over your website URL to make up your headline. It should be noted also that these features cannot be switched off.

This change came into force on Google today, Wednesday 18th May 2011 and will be rolled out across all Google sites very soon. We are yet to see what real affect it will have on CTR but please watch this space.

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