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How to Drive Results with PPC Sitelinks

May 3, 2010

It’s not uncommon to find that searches on your company name bring in:
1. The most referrals to your site
2. The most quality traffic to (or conversions on) your site
3. In many cases, all of the above

When a search like this is done, we know the searcher already has you in their mindset and hopefully you will be appearing top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – in SEO, PPC, or both. But what exactly are these people looking to find? What exactly is it they want from you? What is their intent?

This is where Google Sitelinks can really help. I first came across Sitelinks at SearchFest and got the ball rolling from there. Since then I’ve learned more about them, and finally put them into action with positive results. If you haven’t put Sitelinks in place for your site yet, now is a great time to start.

What is Sitelinks?
Sitelinks allows you to display additional links as part of your search engine result to help direct people deeper into your website. There are Sitelinks for SEO and Sitelinks for PPC. As always, PPC Sitelinks are more easy to control and provides the best starting point. With PPC Sitelinks you can choose four additional links to display in your ad.

Why is Sitelinks Good?
Sitelinks are good for companies and searchers.

For searchers, the relevance of the ad is improved as there are more options to navigate to the right area of a site, on first click.

For companies, improved relevance means increases in click-thru rate (Google estimates an average CTR increase of 30%). And because you have more links in the ad, it also means you have almost twice the real estate on the SERP, pushing other entries further down the page… We like that.

Sitelinks are also great to improve targeting and can help you drive specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

1. Target Intent
PPC Sitelinks provides a fab way to better target searcher intent. Rather than provide searchers with a one click option to your homepage, you can start to better understand their intent by focusing site link options around the different stages of the buy-cycle.

As an example, your four buy-cycle-related Sitelinks may include:

2. Drive KPIs
Being able to link Search to your organization’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is golden. If your goal is to drive more key actions or specific events, then you can target your PPC Sitelinks to focus on such KPIs.

As an example, your KPI-related Sitelinks may include:

You can even drive visits to special promotions (for example, an event/live webinar sign-up, or a limited-time product promotion), which can be quite easily put in place and swapped out as needed.

How do I get Sitelinks?
In order to qualify for Sitelinks, Google has to be entirely confident that your PPC ad is the right answer to a search query. Even if you appear in the top spot for a keyword like “printer”, you’re not necessarily the right answer since there’s a ton of printer manufacturers out there.

So by default, Sitelinks tend to be limited to your company name and specific brand-related terms (for example “yourcompanyname.com”). In addition, you have to:

  • Be the first position PPC ad
  • Have a substantially higher CTR than any other ad in the SERP
  • Have Sitelink URLs that are a part of your main website

In Adwords, you can specify up to 10 Sitelinks in priority order. Although Google will only display four, they will rotate links in place of lower performing ones, so that over time the best performing Sitelinks are the ones that appear most often.

Bottom line: Sitelinks are not only your friend; they’re your BFF.

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From → Search Marketing

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