A detailed look at Google’s new Enhanced Sitelinks

By , Associate Director of Paid Search at Hanapin Marketing


This week on PPC Hero we’ve been focusing on all the big new and exciting changes happening in the PPC world. If you haven’t heard yet, Google is rolling out its new Enhanced Campaigns at present and you’ll be forced to switch over come June. For more info have a look at Eric’s reaction earlier this week.


Today we’re going to take a look at the new Sitelink features in Enhanced Campaigns, which promise to improve upon the existing system by allowing us to judge Sitelinks on an individual basis and to set certain ones to show only at specific hours.


My current biggest annoyance is that I had to do all of this stuff manually through the user interface rather than with AdWords Editor. That’s because AdWords Editor doesn’t yet support Enhanced Campaign settings. I have been reliably informed that the new version is likely to come out in March, probably… maybe. Honestly, apart from a few basic looks into the new set up, like I’m showing you today, I’m leaving all of my Enhanced Campaign work until Editor is out – it was too slow working without it.


I wanted to put something together that helps all of you out with exactly what the new Sitelinks will look like and how you go about updating everything. Apologies for the picture heavy post that follows:


Enabling your Enhanced Campaigns

Once Google opts your account in to Enhanced Campaigns, you should start to receive these notifications in your campaigns:




Click ‘Get Started’ and you’ll see the following pop up:


sitelinks 2


Now I’ve opted in, I get prompted to set my bids for Mobile. I went with the 20% lower Max CPCs as this is a branded campaign and that’s roughly the CPA difference I’ve been seeing to this point.


Sitelinks 3


Once you’ve picked your poison, you’ll be greeted with the following friendly screen letting you know you’ve been optimized:


Sitelinks 4


Enhanced Sitelinks

If you look at your extensions drop down within your Ad Extensions tab you should notice a couple of changes – mainly the addition of Offer Extensions – which sync up with any Google Offers you are currently running.


Sitelinks 5

Once you select Sitelink Extensions you will be greeted with this cheery fellow:


sitelink 20


I just upgraded my one campaign’s Sitelinks, but I can’t see the harm in doing it for all your campaigns.


Here’s how it looks after upgrading. Notice that my Sitelinks are now showing as independent of each other, rather than lumped together as one? Just one of the many exciting things you’ll see!


Sitelinks 7


The other major difference is that the settings now include an option for ad group level Sitelinks. This is great news for my brand campaign as I tend to lump the different services we offer within the same brand campaign if they include a brand query. In this case the client sells different verticals of insurance. So our branded travel insurance queries and branded renters insurance ones can show different Sitelinks rather than the same bland list. Hooray for Enhanced Campaigns right? … Right?


When you click to add a new ad group level extension you’ll see something similar to shown in the image below:


Sitelinks 8


What you’re doing is picking individual Sitelinks from across your account (once you’ve opted all Sitelinks in to Enhanced). WARNING: Opting in your Sitelinks into Enhanced will delete your old data.


Once we start picking from our list of existing Sitelinks (or adding fresh ones) we get the option to edit them on an individual level. This is pretty similar to what we used to see, but much more annoying to edit as we have to go one at a time!


Sitelinks 10


Clicking on the little pencil icon to the right of our Sitelinks brings up the edit options. The main changes of note are that you can add a mobile preference to your sitelinks and that you can only show Sitelinks during certain hours. Google’s example stems from their obsession with local restaurants (if you watched the webinar today you’ll understand) and shows a Pizza restaurant’s Sitelinks advertising lunch specials between 11 and 1 and delivery options in the evening.


What I’ve been doing is adding 4-5 Sitelinks per campaign, and then copying the exact same Sitelinks, changing the URLs to my mobile site, and then ticking the mobile preferred option for those adds. Google thankfully makes it easy to differentiate your mobile preferred ones by adding (mobile) after those Sitelinks.


Sitelink 11


Once you’ve added all your ad group level Sitelinks, you should see something similar to the below:


Sitelink 12

After letting my Sitelinks run for a day, here’s a quick screenshot of what the new reporting looks like.


Sitelinks 13


As you can see I get stats for individual Sitelinks. However, this is not stats for people clicking on those exact links, this is just stats for clicking on the ad as a whole when those links are showing – pretty disappointing truth be told, as the latter is something I’ve been desperate to see for a while.

Just like the above, you can also report on an ad group level:


Sitelinks 14


So that’s pretty much it. I think there’s a lot of potential for these changes, but they haven’t given us everything we want, and they still present a number of challenges. Sitelinks shared between campaigns is a pain for tag management too. I’m waiting for the new Editor to come out before I complain more about this.


Hope this gives you a clear picture of what to expect! Let us know your thoughts.

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18 thoughts on “A detailed look at Google’s new Enhanced Sitelinks

  1. Matthew Umbro

    Great post, Sam. One thing I’ve noticed early on is that it’s best to have at least 4 sitelinks per device (4 for desktop/tablet & 4 for mobile). I actually had 2 sitelinks that were the same (1 for desktop/tablet & 1 for mobile) show up in a mobile search. It appears that you at least need 4 mobile specific sitelinks to ensure that a desktop/laptop sitelinks doesn’t sneak in. It’s not ideal to have the same sitelink show twice in a mobile listing.

    1. Sam OwenSam Owen

      Thanks for the tip! That makes a lot of sense as I guess non-mobile preferred sitelinks will still show on mobile if you don’t have enough mobile-preferred ones?

  2. Jon Fendrich

    It is pretty mind boggling that they STILL have not figured out a way to provide true individual SiteLink level reporting. Lumping the data together inclusive of all ad impressions where the Sitelink displayed, while somewhat helpful, prevents advertisers from understanding which Sitelink’s messaging is more effective at generating a click ON THE SITELINK. I remember attending a Google event a few years ago when Sitelinks were first introduced when someone brought this reporting issue up, and Google’s response was that the engineering on the back end was way too complicated to make this reporting available. You would think with all of the resources they poured into this overhaul, that this all too common advertiser gripe could have been addressed. All that said, the ability to apply them at the adgroup level is in itself a HUGE improvement and I can’t wait to start applying the strategy since I am a bit of a granular-obsessed advertiser. Thanks for the breakdown!

    1. Sam OwenSam Owen

      You’re right this is still a big issue. I want to know how many people click on each sitelink and convert directly. We can still do it using the same technique as before – i.e. adding ?sitelink=1 to our sitelink destination URLs and going into Analytics, but it shouldn’t be necessary as it’s a pain to do.

      1. searchengineman

        I just got off the phone with Google. I was under the impression as well we would get Granular Site Link Reporting. And you still need to filter those reports by “Click Type”. All things considered its even more difficult to read the report, and apply meaningful action.

  3. Steve

    FYI, it is possible to see the clicks on each sitelink itself: use Segment -> This Extension vs Other. The “This Extension” row is the stat on the sitelink itself.

    1. Sam OwenSam Owen

      I think that will just tell you if one of your sitelinks was clicked, rather than that specific sitelink. But you do raise a good point that we can get more granular than I suggested.

      1. Steve

        It tells you clicks on just that particular sitelink.
        Segment -> Click type is the one that tells you if one of your sitelinks was clicked.

        1. Sam OwenSam Owen

          Hmm, that might be the way to see it. Good spot if true! I’m not convinced that it isn’t just the number of clicks on all sitelinks when that sitelink is showing though – as where would clicks on other sitelinks be listed in that segmentation?

  4. Rosa Hayes Florence

    That is a lot to have to go through. I was going to use campaigns but I am waiting for my site to build a little better before I do it since I don’t want readers to come to it and not get very much information from it.

  5. Ben

    Hi Sam,
    So in your example you would have 9-10 sitelinks either per campaign or per ad group. 4-5 would be for desktop and then the same 4-5 would be for mobile (just change the URL)?

  6. Gaby Martinez

    Can I use an individual location extension for each ad group? I have multiple stores with different addresses I already combined all campaigns into a big one, next step is where I’m a bit confused, I thought enhanced campaigns meant all extensions could be done at the ad group level, but its telling me the location extension is applied at the campaign level? if this is true then I see no use in the new and improved “enhanced campaigns” that’s one of the main reasons why I upgraded. Any advice, am I missing something?

  7. Dave Wong

    Sam – I believe you’re incorrect about this little tidbit, “WARNING: Opting in your Sitelinks into Enhanced will delete your old data.”. It does not delete your old data (unless you mean the Google definition of “delete”, AKA “hide”). In the sitelinks extensions section, you’ll see there is now a drop-down for “Upgraded” vs. “Not upgraded”. Select “Not upgraded”. Now, you’ll also need to select to view “All” instead of the default “All but deleted”. Voila 🙂

  8. Jeff Selig

    we are transitioning over slowly but surely. Lots of new stuff to address with Enhanced Campaign setup including call extensions, since phone numbers will no longer be allowed in ad text


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