Google Sitelinks are not new. The Search Engine began experimenting with them back in 2005 – and started rolling out organic sitelinks officially the following year. Sitelinks are an option in paid search as well. Google AdWords sitelinks follow the same basic format. And… all the sitelinks, of course, appear in a Google search result page (SERP).
Sitelinks: What are they?
Sitelinks are the additional links that appear in Google below an organic listing or an AdWords ad.
In the early days, Google displayed a website listing that simply included a title, short description and the site address in the search results. Eventually sitelinks began to appear below the listing to specific pages within the website. These were based on brand name searches (and variations thereof). This process of generating these links was completely automated by the Search Engine. Sitelink selection and ranking can change from query to query, allowing for more of a variety of optimized results. Over time, Google Canada has increased the number of links displayed and expanded them (to include a short snippet) giving much more visibility for one’s website in the SERPs.
Unlike the organic sitelinks, these additional links are generated by AdWords. These extra landing page links allow for more text ad real estate (up to four links). They are generated by the advertiser – not by Google (however the search engine needs to approve them). And… they can be based on branded as well as non-branded keywords.
Here is an example of sitelinks based on a Google Search for “WebFuel Ottawa”.
You will note from the example above, the two different types of sitelinks.
In the Paid Search section (which appears first in the search results), the sitelinks are “SEO” and “PPC”, which are our core services. This will allow us to give more visibility to relevant key web pages related to the ad (and track the results).
In the Organic Search results, the set of links include “About WebFuel”, “SEO Site Audit”, “Google AdWords”, “Google Analytics”, “Blog” and our “Contact” page. These additional internal links will drive web traffic to specific web pages within our website.
So… what does this have to do with PPC and SEO?
In terms of PPC, Google AdWords management can include implementation and optimization of sitelinks via the ad extension feature. Using this strategy allows for quick visibility on a Google results page – and should improve the paid keyword traffic. Improving natural (unpaid) web traffic would involve SEO. Optimization of those sitelinks relates to organic algorithm factors (including site architecture), visible results takes longer and requires (in most cases) advanced SEO techniques.
Are you taking advantage of sitelinks?