03 Feb 2011

Sitelinks: Better Branding and Response Rates

February 03, 2011PPC Advertising

We are always seeking ways to capitalize on using branded keywords in our Google campaigns — since many of our clients rely on searches for their company or branded product names to drive traffic to their site. For these clients, we are relying on a new Google feature to improve these campaigns even a little bit further with Sitelinks.

Here’s an example of a client that uses Sitelinks:

The links below the URL are actually features that were added by the Site Pro specialists. The addition has multiple advantages such as:

  • Better Click Through Response. If Internet searchers see that an ad is exactly what they are looking for — and specifically, a sitelink is offered that appeals to them — they will click on it more frequently.
  • Better Conversion Rates. Conversions is the word we use for any action that you want visitors to do on a website — such as fill out a lead form or make a sale. When visitors to a website can instantly click on the page they want — and are not forced to click around on a website — conversion rates improve. In other words, sending visitors to the place where they will convert (like a gift certificate purchase page) will boost sales or lead response numbers. We do not want website visitors to be clicking around on sites in a vain effort to make a purchase or find a contact form. More often than not, a frustrated visitor will leave the site and find another competitor’s site to make the purchase.
  • Better Branding. Sitelinks offers a great opportunity to show off a range of products or services that is provided on our clients’ websites. Internet searchers will see, for example, that the Wine of the Month club offers gift certificates. They may pass this time on actually clicking on the ad, but the seed might be planted for searchers to return at another time and purchase a gift certificate. The sitelinks provide an extra measure of credibility to a site over competitors who are not using sitelinks.
  • Better for Branded Term Searches. Sometimes Internet searchers might have a specific product in mind when they are searching, but will only type in a generic term such as “Avon makeup” when they are really looking to order a lipstick from Avon. With Sitelinks, companies can help these searchers hone into the actual product they want. In this case, Avon would be smart to create a Sitelink that features its Lipstick product line.

Last month, Google announced another quirk to the Sitelinks: the actual order and frequency of how they appear. Google gives the option of listing up to 10 Sitelinks in a campaign. In the past, the first four links that we listed would usually appear in Internet search page results. Now, Google will give more visibility to the links that have the highest Click Through Rates. In effect, this change will naturally optimize the campaigns by showing only the most effective Sitelink phrases. Some best practices that are now recommended for this change means:

  • We need to use more than 4 site links to give the system the best opportunity to rotate the links and see which ones are the most successful.
  • Shorter is better with these links — so use very terse words for the links … like “Gifts” instead of “Gift Selections”
  • Rank the links in order of importance when entering them since the top links will still be important –but not the only criteria.

What does this mean for our clients? Site Pro will work with our clients to create campaigns that feature Sitelinks — since it is a feature that is set on the campaign level with AdWords –and not on the keyword or ad level.  The Sitelinks will only appear with advertisers with very high Quality Scores and with ads that appear in the top 2 positions. Depending on the search query, one line OR two lines of Sitelinks will appear. The two-line Sitelinks will show up for unique brand terms, but the one-link terms will show up for more generic terms.

For that reason, we recommend using Sitelinks for campaigns for keywords related to brand-name queries. Our Search Engine Management specialists are constantly segmenting out new campaigns with different foci and goals — so we can now add another reason to create yet more campaigns. Afterwards, we can track the Sitelink metrics through the AdWords extensions bar.