AdWords Sitelinks Policy Change
We recently received an announcement from Google that could affect the performance of any AdWords campaign that uses sitelinks. The reason for the change seems to be, as usual, people are scamming the system.
If you use sitelinks now, or plan to use sitelinks in the future, please continue reading to understand the changes and suggested steps you can take to avoid any negative impact to your campaigns.
WHAT ARE SITELINKS
Sitelinks make your AdWords ads more valuable by showing additional direct links to specific web pages that you want to promote. Users get to specific destinations on your web site more quickly. And, on average, you’ll see a higher clickthrough rate for your ads. That makes sitelinks a great way to improve your campaign performance. To see images or learn more aboutsitelinks, please see this AdWords Help Center article.
EXISTING SITELINKS POLICY
To ensure that users have a good experience with ad sitelinks, the existing policy requires each sitelink in a campaign to link to a different landing
page URL with unique content on the landing page. That means a user can expect a meaningfully different landing page experience for each sitelink.
According to the message we received, Google has noticed an increase in the number of sitelinks created with the same landing pages or the same content. So in the coming month, they will begin more proactive enforcement of the existing policy. Initially, Google will focus on new and recently changed sitelinks. As ads are being served, the AdWords systems will verify your sitelinks meet the policy standards. Sitelinks that don’t meet the standards will be restricted from appearing.
IMPACT ON PERFORMANCE
Having fewer eligible sitelinks could keep your ad from showing in the larger 2-line and 3-line formats, where more eligible sitelinks are required. Remember, larger formats are more visible and typically have higher average clickthrough rates (CTR). And if you don’t have enough eligible sitelinks in your campaign, then your ads may not display sitelinks at all.
Manually checking and fixing duplicates for your existing sitelinks and landing pages might take some time and coordination. So Google is
delaying more proactive enforcement with existing sitelinks for a few months. But don’t wait until the last minute. And remember, any sitelink
that you add or change will be subject to proactive enforcement right away.
SUGGESTIONS WITH EXISTING SITELINKS
To increase the chances of having more sitelinks shown with your ads, we recommend having 6-10 unique sitelinks in each of your campaigns.
If you already have campaigns with sitelinks, we’d suggest reviewing each campaign to verify that it has 6-10 unique sitelinks. You’d probably want
to start with the campaigns that show sitelinks most often. Usually, this would be a campaign with keywords like your business name and its best-known products and services.
Here’s how you can work through this using the AdWords interface.
1. Log into the AdWords interface and click on the “Ad Extensions” tab.
2. Select “Sitelinks Extensions” from the drop down menu.
3. Sort your sitelink extensions by impressions or clicks by clicking on
the column header.
4. Click on each sitelink in the top campaign and follow it through to its
landing page (there’s no charge for these clicks).
5. Fix any duplicates you find in each campaign by hovering over the
extension area and clicking the pencil icon.