Are Sitelinks Your Hidden SuperStar?

To me, sitelinks are the Roy Halladay of PPC. Why you ask? Well when the Phillies added Roy Halladay to their pitching lineup, they saw great results- perfect game, no hitters, etc. Similar to this, when you add sitelinks to your PPC campaigns you often see great results- increased clicks, CTR, and conversions. While this is obviously the desired result, it is important to note that sitelinks might not work exceptionally well in every campaign, just like Roy Halladay won’t work on every team, aka the Mets.

If you aren’t utilizing Sitelinks, I recommend checking out my colleague Morgan’s post. Morgan gives a great explanation on what sitelinks are, and what they can do for your metrics.

However, if you are utilizing sitelinks, I’m sure you might be wondering how to figure out, if they are your Roy Halladay? Well just like Charlie Manuel and hundreds of other sports analysts, you’ll just need to look at their performance to find out.

Below, I’m going to explain 2 ways, to analyze sitelinks. I also recommend checking out Crystal’s post, which explains how to tag sitelinks. Tagging sitelinks, will give you insight into which individual sitelink is performing best/worse.

Sitelinks Showing vs. Not Showing Analysis

One of the first thing we look at when analyzing sitelinks, is to see their performance when shown vs. not shown. Remember Sitelinks, aren’t shown all the time. In order to be shown, sitelinks must meet these qualifications:

1. Your ad must be positioned in the top sponsored results (above organic listings)
2. You should have a high Quality Scores.
3. Your sitelinks URLs take visitors to the main website, as in the same top level domain as your ad’s display and destination URL

To analyze this, start off creating two simple excel charts. Below is an example of what these charts should like.

Filling in Sitelinks Showing chart is easy, just go to the Ad Extensions tab within Adwords. Then change the view to sitelinks extensions. This will give you all the data necessary for the Sitelinks Showing chart.

For the Sitelinks Not Showing chart, you’ll want to go back to the campaign tab. Then you’ll just subtract the Sitelinks Showing data from the campaign totals. Your answers will be the totals for the Sitelinks Not Showing chart.

Once you have that data you can start analyzing whether your ads are performing better with or without sitelinks. In this case, we saw that 1) Ads with sitelinks had higher CTR’s, and 2) Ads with Sitelinks had CPC’s 50% lower than ads without sitelinks!

Next, I am going to explain how to figure out if your ad’s headline, or your ad’s sitelinks generate more clicks.

Sitelinks vs. Headline Analysis

To figure this out, you are going to want to go back to the Campaign tab in Adwords. From here, you are going to download a campaign report, with the data segmented by click type. Once this report downloads, you’ll have insight into how many of your sitelink clicks were on the headline of that ad, vs. how many were from the sitelinks. Data should be taken from here vs. the Ad Extensions report, as the Ad Extension tab doesn’t break click data down.

Just like before, you are going to want to create two more excel charts. Don’t worry, we’ll go over how to fill them in, next.

For, the Sitelinks chart, you will need to copy the Sitelink data from the report you just downloaded.

To fill in the Headline chart, you’ll need to subtract the “Sitelinks Showing Totals” from the data in the Sitelinks chart. For example, we determined that there were 786 headline clicks in Campaign 1, by subtracting the 846 Sitelinks Showing clicks from the 60 Sitelink clicks.

Once you’ve finished filling this in, you’ll know whether your headlines or sitelinks are driving more clicks. Don’t be alarmed, if you see that people click on your headline more. While we can’t fully explain why, this is something we see quite often.

Now that you know a new way to analyze sitelinks, it is time to get your “Charlie Manuel” on, and determine, whether or not sitelinks are you hidden superstar! Additionally, if you have any other ways to analyze sitelink performance, I’d love to hear them!