April 7, 2014: There are a number of ways B2B companies can make their advertisements more effective. Sitelinks, for example, is a tool that can help advertisers gain additional presence on the main page (see example below) when they are in one of the top advertising positions.
In the above, “Current Mortgage Rates,” “First Time Home Buyer,” etc. are examples of sitelinks, additional hyperlinked text that goes to a separate landing page from the main text link above it. Think of it as a smaller sitemap that’s displayed on the search engine results page.
Taking advantage of these links doesn’t cost additional amounts per click and allows B2B advertisers to have more effective ads by enabling users to click on the link most relevant to what they’re looking for. It also pushes other advertisers and organic results further down the page, and gives searchers an opportunity to see other related products or services that may be complementary or supplementary to their search query.
To make advertising less confusing to users, Google has some requirements for the anchor text of ads:
screenshot taken 3/20/2014 via Google Support
Sitelink anchor text must be similar to or the same as the actual title of pages that they are linking to. Just like other Adwords campaign links, all sitelinks are reviewed and can be disapproved, which would mean they would not be shown in advertisements.
However, when used correctly, sitelinks can make for better ads, both for advertisers and users. The CTR of sitelinks tends to be lower than those of regular ads, so results must be compared amongst sitelinks, instead of entire campaigns, according to Google’s Inside AdWords blog.
The minimum number of sitelinks per ad is six for desktop ads and four for mobile. However, up to 20 can be included. Much like the rest of the ad copy, there are character limits per link as well: up to 25 characters for the anchor text itself, though 18-20 characters (which includes spaces) has been found to be the most successful for desktop campaigns and 12-15 characters is best for mobile.
According to Wordstream, you can choose which sitelinks are displayed to mobile users as well, which is useful for B2B companies who have a local office space that mobile users may be searching for in their local area.
Google has been continuously making improvements to sitelinks options. For instance, anchor text titles aren’t the only thing that’s included with sitelinks. In summer 2013, AdWords announced that advertisers can also add descriptions below their sitelinks, according to Search Engine Watch, which published the screenshot example below. You must be using enhanced campaigns to utilize this feature, but it’s something that could be very powerful because it allows you to tailor specific call to actions for each additional link.
All included content sitelinks must be unique as well; this gives more pages on your site exposure while also presenting users with more opportunities to decide which link they are most interested in.
Benefits of Sitelinks
In addition to more exposure, sitelinks give advertisers the chance to show their audience additional pages and resources on their website that the user may have not known were available. This can lead to a higher click-through rate and ROI, as the exposure to related or supplementary products and services can lead to a higher average order amount.
For instance , someone searching for mortgages (using the example above) may need to refinance. By having an additional sitelink that goes directly to refinancing rates, you may be able to get the user to click and investigate your page, when you may not have with your normal ad copy.
Another distinct advantage to sitelinks is that the sitelinks extension takes up more space on the page, both on desktop and mobile versions. In the B2B industry in particular, this is a substantial benefit. Because B2B companies may have a more niche or smaller audience, it’s imperative to capture that targeted user wherever they can.
How Can B2B Companies Use Sitelinks Differently?
Screenshot taken 3/20/2014
When using sitelinks specifically for the B2B industry, it’s important for marketers to utilize the top benefits of sitelinks: extra real estate, as mentioned above, and the navigational layout of the ad (which exposes the user to additional products and services they may have been unaware of previously).
In addition, B2B audiences appreciate additional types of rich content that give them more information about a company’s products or services. This could include blog posts, case studies, white papers, and newsletters, which are all types of content that offer high quality information and lead to higher levels of engagement.
To make the most of this rich content in a sitelink AdWords campaign, B2B marketers can put the content behind a landing page that has a snippet of the content in question, then a call to action to fill out a contact form or enter an email address in order to access the entire piece.
However, because each audience is different, it’s important to experiment with what type of content exposure and viewing process gets the lowest exit rate while driving engagement (mainly time spent on site) and the most conversions.
No matter what links you decide to use as part of your AdWords sitelinks extensions, experimentation, clear/succinct anchor text, and original, rich content are all key components of making your B2B campaigns more effective.