I had the opportunity to chat with a Google AdWords representative this week regarding a paid campaign we’re running. While I can’t go into the details of the specific campaign, it was a good opportunity to get a refresher on some of the features that you might not always think about. One of the features we discussed was using sitelinks for your campaigns.
If you’re not familiar with them, you’ve probably seen these sitelinks in ads before and wondered how they got there. Well, it’s super easy. Either at the campaign or ad group level, you have the opportunity to add this feature in. It essentially doubles (or maybe quadruples, depending how you use them) the space your ad takes up, which can be really powerful for catching someone’s attention and getting the click.
Just like when you’re writing other ads, this is kind of like writing a mini-add for the specific page. You have the option of adding link text (25 characters), a link URL (doesn’t display, so it can be as long as it needs to be), and a description (2 lines, 35 characters each). The description is optional. The dog food ad, for example, opted not to use it, instead just letting the link text tell the story. And, you can schedule it. Maybe you only want to run sitelinks on the weekend when things are more competitive and you want that extra edge, for example.
The rep that I spoke to indicated that the use of sitelinks actually plays into the algorithm of how ads are displayed, with Google favoring sites (somewhat) that are using them. (Don’t go getting too excited! It definitely didn’t sound like sitelinks is the only way to do well in the AdWords algorithm. You still need to do all of the other things you’ve always been doing!)
And that’s where things got a little murky for me.
On the one hand the bit of an algorithm edge you might get makes deciding whether to use sitelinks a no-brainer! Of course you want any up you can get in the algorithm!
But, the more I started to think about these campaigns, I remembered that we’re also running really tight campaigns, targeted to very specific products… and there really isn’t another page that I want paid visitors to look at. I want them to be searching for the product we are selling, and convert on that page. Sure, there are other pages on the site I could add to siteilnks (mostly other products), but that’s not what I’m trying to sell in that campaign. So… are sitelinks really a good idea for this client?
In the end I decided to pass on this feature for this client at this time. In the future we might build out additional content that would be a valuable sitelink, but for now, it simply doesn’t make sense for them.
But that’s not to say that sitelinks aren’t a valuable tool for other campaigns. What do you think? Have you used them for an AdWords campaign? How did it go? Did they improve your performance? Should I reconsider? Tell me in the comments!