Google offers several optional ad extensions that allow you to include additional information, increase the relevance of your message, and offer more ways for users to interact with your AdWords text ads. One common and extremely useful ad extension type is called Sitelink Extensions.
This article will give you everything you need to know to get the most out of sitelink extensions in your account!
Let’s get started…
Standard AdWords text ads have a single link to your website – the headline.
Sitelink Extensions are additional links to your site that display at the bottom of your ad. While your headline still points to your main landing page, these sitelinks point to alternative pages on your site. The idea is to provide more information AND offer searchers a direct link to the pages on your site that are the most relevant to them.
Google will display between 2 – 6 sitelinks when your ad shows on a computer or tablet… and 2 – 4 links when your ad shows on mobile.
Let’s take a look at a couple of ways sitelinks can display:
The first thing to notice is how sitelink extensions – like all ad extensions – increase the physical size of the ad. This helps the ad stand out and get more clicks.
Also notice how the link text allows these advertisers to provide more information without using valuable space in the body of the ad itself…
For example, the Esurance ad features a Sitelink titled “Awarded Best in Class.” This is a great use of the Sitelink feature as it allows Esurance to include this award in their message – while saving the text in the ad body itself for the more targeted call-to-action of getting a fast, free insurance quote!
Another great reason to use sitelink extensions is to get prospects to the most relevant page on your site…
The 2 auto insurance ads above are a great example of this:
- Someone looking to insure their motorcycle can click the “Motorcycle Insurance” sitelink and land directly on a page with information and quotes specific to motorcycles
- Someone who wants a quote can click the “Get A Quote” sitelink to reach a page that helps them do just that…
- And someone just getting started can click the “Car Insurance 101” sitelink and find a page with general information more relevant to where they are in the buying process
TIP: People have incredibly short attention spans online, and anything you can do to move them directly to the solution they are looking for reduces the chance they get distracted before purchasing your product, signing up for your newsletter, or taking another valuable action on your website.
Creating Sitelink Extensions
Sitelink extensions can be created at the account, campaign, or ad group level. And like the other AdWords ad extensions, they are inherited downwards in the account structure. This is a huge time saver if you will be using the same sitelinks across multiple ad groups or campaigns.
Here’s how to create new sitelinks to use in your ads:
- Navigate to the campaign or ad group you want to add sitelinks to
- Click the Ad extensions tab, and then select “Sitelink Extensions” under the “View” dropdown menu
- Click the giant red button that says + Extension. You will see a list of any sitelinks previously created, and clicking the + New sitelink will bring up the dialogue box below allowing you to create a new sitelink
- Link text: This is the actual text that will display in your ad. Choose something that describes where that link will take them…
- Final URL: This is the specific landing page the link will point to. Note that Google has a rule that the landing page must be on the same domain as the display URL in your ad. In addition, each sitelink must point to a different URL… so no creating multiple links that all point to the same page
- Device preference: Checking the box next to Mobile will tell Google to give this particular sitelink preference over other sitelinks when the user is on a mobile device
- Description: The description is where you can add additional text that describes the landing page at your final URL. Google will sometimes include the description text, and when it they do it will display in grey text under each site link (highlighted in the red boxes below)
Sitelink descriptions will further increase the size of your ad… and well-written descriptions will encourage clicks on relevant sitelinks. These descriptions are optional, but I highly recommend you include them!
- Start/end dates, scheduling: As the name suggests, these options let you show your sitelink only on certain days or times. In most cases you can ignore these settings but they can be helpful in some situations. Perhaps you are running a 4-day sale and want a sitelink that automatically stops showing when the sale ends. Or maybe you only want certain sitelinks to show during hours when your business is open
- URLs for mobile: Use this option to set a different landing page for users on mobile. This is a very useful option if you have a separate mobile-version of your website
Click save and your sitelink has been created!
Managing Sitelink Extensions
To manage your sitelink extensions, for example to override the default inheritance rules:
- Navigate to the campaign or ad group you would like to use sitelinks in
- Click the Ad extensions tab, and then select “Sitelink Extensions” under the “View” dropdown menu.
- Click the red + Extension button to pull up the dialogue box below:
The drop down menu at the top provides you with the option to disable sitelink extensions for the particular campaign or ad group you are viewing.
You will also see 2 columns of sitelinks… the column on the left includes any sitelinks you have already created and the column on the right is the sitelinks that are currently selected for this campaign or ad group.
Click the >> arrow next to a sitelink in the left column to add it to this particular campaign or ad group. Click the << arrow next to a sitelink in the right column to remove it from this particular campaign or ad group.
And finally if you wish to create a new sitelink click the + New sitelink button and follow the instructions above.
Tips for Writing Effective Sitelink Extensions
- Google will display between 2-6 sitelinks on your ad. One factor they consider is the physical size of your ad, so you can increase your chances of showing more sitelinks by keeping the link text relatively short
- The descriptions field is optional, but highly recommended… they increase your ad size and help get people to the best page on your site
- Common uses for sitelinks include different categories of products/services you offer, store or business hours, an order now page, or links to commonly asked questions
- Carefully consider the range of people who will be seeing your ad and think about the ideal landing page you would want to send them each to. Remember people at different stages of the buying process will be looking for different information
Sitelink extensions are a great ad extension that can improve the performance of most advertising campaigns. As with everything in AdWords, success comes down to understanding some marketing principles, measuring your results, and lots and lots of testing.
This guide should give you enough to get started but if you have any questions I’d love to hear them in the comments section below!
To watch our complete video tutorial on setting up sitelink extensions in your account, click this link.