Results of in-house testing of AdWords SiteLinks are in showing three types of result groups. The tests set an internal benchmark of a 60% conversion rate increase. Four actionable takeaways are presented.

Way back in the glorious year that was 2009, we wrote about the new SiteLinks feature within AdWords. In it I gave a rundown on how to implement the feature and some quick tips on how to make the most of these additional links.

At that time we were still in the midst of running our own experiments and I couldn't share any data with you.

Weve concluded our initial rounds of testing and the results are in.


Across all the experiments run, we found that results could be categorized into 1 of 3 buckets:

1. There was an inverse relationship between Click-through Rate and Conversion Rate, with CTRs increasing dramatically, while Conversion Rate dropped. In this scenario, people were much more likely to click on an ad, but since they had the option of 4 additional pages they could navigate to, we saw conversions drop. In this scenario, the additional links didn't necessarily have a strong conversion path for the user to take.

2. There was a substantial increase in CTRs, while Conversion Rates remained steady. People responded to the ad much in the same way they did in the first scenario, but because some of the additional links had a clearer conversion path, we saw conversion rates hold steady.

3. There was no change in CTR, while Conversion Rates increased quite dramatically. In this scenario, we found that people werent any more enticed to click on an ad that had SiteLinks, but they were much more likely to convert once they clicked through.

Now, keep in mind that Im talking about Conversion Rates, so in the first scenario, we saw number of actual conversions drop. In the second scenario, the number of conversions increased quite substantially " since we were driving many more clicks, a Conversion Rate that remained steady drove an increase in actual conversions. In the third scenario, we saw CTRs remain steady, but we drove more conversions on the same number of clicks.

SiteLinks wont
an increase
I know what youre asking " what is this 60% increase in Conversion Rates you speak of in the title??? Well, in one of our tests, we saw a Clients conversion rates increase by just that " 60%!

So, a little misleading in that SiteLinks wont guarantee an increase in conversion rates, or conversions, but there is a huge opportunity for you to experiment with SiteLinks and work towards that 60% weve set as a benchmark..a very high benchmark.

Ive broken out 3 of our test to illustrate how results differed, and how these 3 specific test cases can be placed in the buckets Ive discussed above.

These results are displayed as a percentage change in metrics " before SiteLinks vs after SiteLinks:

Now, how do we account for these differences? Partly due to industry, but it largely came down to how the SiteLinks were utilized.

If we included pages that had a conversion path as the additional Links, we saw Conversion rates either hold steady, or increase. If we simply choose random pages for the sake of being eligible for SiteLinks, we saw conversion rates drop. In the case where CTRs held steady, we found this to occur when we already had extremely high CTRs, but the additional SiteLinks helped to guide users to other pages, all of which had a conversion path.

What are the take aways from all this?

  • When choosing your additional pages to link to, put as much thought into them as you do your main link. Ensure there is a strong Call-to-Action and an easy conversion path.
  • You have 35 characters when naming these additional links " make good use of these! Think of this as additional real estate, an extensions of your messaging. Rather than simply saying Locations, why not Find a Location Near You.
  • Consider the objectives of your campaign " SiteLinks will undoubtedly drive a tremendous amount of clicks, but with such a large increase of Clicks, there is an associated cost for those clicks. Make sure this increase in cost is providing value back to you.
  • This will only work for those Campaign which have extremely high Quality Scores " start with your Branded and move from there. If you need to, try segmenting keywords with high Quality Scores into their own Campaigns.

So, there you have it folks, the results of our SiteLinks testing and some tips on how to drive more conversions with this new feature.

Which SiteLink tests will you be running?