Over the last year, adverts on Google’s search network have gradually become more interactive, more integrated within the results page and much more customisable. Developments to add-ons such as social, location, product and call extensions, as well as the ability to add star ratings and links to reviews means that we all have more flexibility than ever to differentiate from competitors.
Google have now released details of its latest experiment on search network adverts, news of which will both excite digital advertisers, and be of interest to SEO strategists. The new feature is called ‘enhanced ad sitelinks’, which will look to freshen up the look and relevance of the sitelinks ad extension option which has been available for some time now. The changes include an automated approach to what is included in the sitelinks text – not something which immediately strikes most advertisers as a good thing, however the text is taken from other adverts in your AdWords account, and applied to the sitelink you’ve already written based on its relevancy.
The result is an advert which essentially incorporates four extra adverts within it. So an advert which previously looked like this:
May now look like this:
(Examples taken from Google’s official AdWords blog)
The obvious benefit of having an advert like this is its sheer presence on Google’s results page, dominating the user’s immediate eye line and providing more detail on the website it’s promoting. Combined with the increasing transparency of advert backgrounds, the effect could be that paid results will start looking more natural and organic than ever.
Google’s rationale for the latest development is that they have found click-through rates to improve by 30% on average with sitelinks added as opposed to when they are not present. The new improved extensions are not eligible on all adverts either, but only those which appear above the search results. The account which they run from must also obviously contain active adverts closely related to the sitelinks you have written.
All this means that only well optimised accounts will get the opportunity to use the new feature, and that when you get the balance right, you may have a huge advantage over other advertisers bidding on the same keywords.
If the changes prove to be effective though, we could see a situation where advertisers are prepared to raise bids considerably in an effort to get into those top positions.
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