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Surprise! Google has announced and rolled out dynamic sitelinks to all advertisers worldwide, free of charge.
Dynamic sitelinks are automatically generated and appear below your ad text. They cost nothing if they're clicked and give advertisers more space on the SERP, enabling users to go straight into specific pages on your site from the ad, as shown here:
Still, advertisers have the choice to opt out if they don't want dynamic sitelinks applied to their ads. Before you do, let's see what this is all about.
Why is Google Giving Us Free Stuff?
Out of the goodness of their hearts?
No, sorry. There's definitely a monetary incentive for Google's generosity.
See, even though clicks on dynamic sitelinks are free, they do cause an increase in ad headline click-through rates (CTR) of around 10 percent on average – you still have to pay when people click on your ad headlines. So, an ad in the top position without sitelinks that has a 6 percent expected CTR will have a 6.6 percent CTR with sitelinks added.
More ad clicks = more $$$ for Google – but also more potential customers for your business.
Why Did Google Add Dynamic Sitelinks to All Accounts?
You probably remember that Google migrated everyone to enhanced campaigns not all that long ago. Adoption was low, so they forced the change on everyone.
Same deal here. We estimate that only about 30 percent of small business advertisers (companies spending less than $5,000/month on AdWords) use sitelinks. There are a lot of benefits to using them, yet adoption has been fairly slow because it takes additional work to set-up.
Now, as long as you have your campaign type set to "Search Network with Display" or "Search Network Only," your ads are eligible to display dynamic sitelinks. That's doesn't guarantee that they will – but they're eligible.
This way, advertisers just get them if their ads qualify. The advertiser gets that enhanced CTR and Google gets more revenue.
Do Sitelinks Impact AdRank?
Not long ago, Google made extensions a part of the AdRank formula. The expected impact from your ad extensions and formats is used in the AdRank calculation. At the same time, Google gave AdRank more weight in the determination of whether your ad is eligible to be displayed with extensions and different formats.
Basically, if you pit two ads with equal bids and quality against one another, the ad with more positive expected impact from ad extensions will win the higher position.
Do Sitelinks Impact Quality Score?
On average, we're seeing a 10 percent boost in quality score with the use of sitelinks on ads. Even though hardly anyone clicks on them – the average CTR for sitelinks themselves on ads is just 0.1 percent – they do influence quality score. This can be explained by the enhanced user experience they offer; as Google explains it, sitelinks on ads "connect people to the content they’re looking for by linking to specific pages on your websites -- directly from your ad, with just a single click." Better user experience = higher quality ads.
Can I Still Use Regular Sitelinks?
Google will only automatically generate dynamic sitelinks if you haven't already set them up yourself.
Should I Opt Out of Dynamic Sitelinks?
Why would you opt out of a feature that can increase your quality score, AdRank, and CTRs?
If you're worried that using them will send your CTRs higher and cost you more money via irrelevant clicks, what you really need to tighten up is your targeting and messaging.
Remember, too, that a higher quality score results in higher ad rankings and lower costs per click. You're really shooting yourself in the foot if you chase after a lower CTR strategy in some misguided attempt to save money. It'll cost you in the long run.
If you still want to disable dynamic sitelinks across your AdWords account, you can use Google's handy form to do so (and to turn them back on again later).
Search Engine Journal is made up of a team that works every day with our authors to make their posts the best they can be. We span 5 time zones, some of us have yet to meet in person, and most of our work is behind the scenes. I’d like to shine some light on this backstage process via interviews with my team members. The first up is Danielle Antosz, our Copy Editor extraordinaire.
You’re SEJ’s copy editor. How did you begin your career with editing and copywriting?
This one is actually pretty funny. As a writer, I started my career as a child by writing a series of books called “The Heart Family” – they were really well received by industry critics (meaning, my parents!).
I began my career as a copywriter around 2008 writing for those now defunct content mills – the ones that paid like $1.20 for 200 words. That was terrible, but I slowly started getting hired for better paying gigs, and eventually got hired for an in-house copywriting and editing job.
This was awesome for a while, but I knew the traditional 9-5 office life wasn’t going to work for me. So, a few years ago I started picking up freelance gigs and that eventually took off.
How did you start working with SEJ?
I still remember the words Jenise used in the job description! She wanted a “rock star” copyeditor. The description was direct and pretty edgy, and it seemed like an awesome team. I think she sent me the worst piece of copy she could find to edit – I cut and pasted and rearranged so much! I was a little worried I had hacked too much of the copy – but she loved it. We then talked on the phone, and I had a good feeling I was going to fit right in.
You’re the ‘final frontier’ when it comes to writers getting their posts finally approved to be scheduled. What are the top 3 things writers miss in their posts?
I’ll start by saying if everyone wrote perfectly, I’d be out of a job! But there are definitely a few things I notice over and over again:
What are your favorite blogging/writing resources (websites, books, blogs)?
Oh, my newest favorite is The Worst Muse on Twitter. Cracks me up.
As far as references go, I am a huge fan of Grammar Girl. She gives quick, easy answers to questions like “What is the difference between affect and effect.” Or “There, Their, and They’re”.
Like myself, you are an Oxford comma enthusiast. Give your best argument for why the Oxford comma should always be used.
The only argument you need is clarity. Using an Oxford comma allows the reader to read without being jolted by something they don’t understand. This causes the reader to stop, reread the sentence and often lose their train of thought.
For example: “She took photographs of her parents, the nun and the priest”
The reader goes through this inner monologue: “Are her parents a nun and priest? That’s kind of weird. I didn’t know nuns were supposed to have kids. Or priests, for that matter. Or did she take a picture of her parents, the nun, and also the priest? Ahh…that makes sense. Wait, what was I reading?”
What do you like best about working with the Search Engine Journal team (which is 100% telecommute)?
The best think about working with the SEJ team is just that – the team. Jenise has done a really fantastic job of choosing awesome people and fostering a community feel. It can be really difficult to build a solid telecommute team – most of us have never met. But, I still feel like we all communicate really well and our weekly meetings feel kinda like a group old friends getting together.
Outside of SEJ, what do you like to do for fun?
I love to travel! There is nothing quite like the excitement of looking forward to a big trip and getting on the plane. My next trip is also my first non-Western country – Bali. I can’t wait!
Bonus Question: What was your favorite childhood website or video game?
My dad worked in computer science, so I think I had access to computers earlier than many other kids my age. Back then, I didn’t really go on the internet…there wasn’t much to go to! Instead we had games on those big floppy disks. During that time, my favorite game was definitely Oregon Trail. Actually, I recently found the app version that lets you play it on your phone…but I keep dying of dysentery. Some things just don’t change!