Internet Marketing, News, Pay Per Click,
Google Unveils “Visual Sitelinks”- Images in Sitelink Extensions for Mobile Search Ads
November 30, 2016
What is Google Visual Sitelinks Extension?
“Visual Sitelinks” are image extensions that are displayed in Sitelink Extensions of Google Search Ads in mobile devices.
Google has gone one step ahead with its image extension. Since a long time, Google was experimenting with image extensions in Adwords. But, this time they’ve introduced it in sitelink extensions, which is named as ‘Visual Sitelink’. Now, in Google Ads, images will also appear along with the text in the sitelink extension. This feature can only be spotted on mobile phones in a swipeable carousel manner. The new step of Google has opened a new horizon in digital marketing, as it is an additional feature that has been introduced in Pay Per Click (PPC) section.
In 2013, Google announced the official beta for Image Extensions in AdWords. At that time, Google was allowing the Adwords advertisers to display related images along with the text ads.
In the meantime, when Google was experimenting again and again with its image extension, but was unable to fix, Bing Ads bought its own version of image extension. But, the one that Bing Ads announced last year was applicable in search ads only on PCs and tablets, and not on smartphones.
The new carousel feature of Google, for now, is available only on mobiles. However, Google has still not clarified the fact whether it will also be applicable on desktops or not.
Google has always tried to figure out the searchers’ intent to find a visual content, with the help of the keyword that the searcher is putting. Image extensions will more likely trigger those searches that can be explained better with the help of an image.
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Google AdWords Visual Sitelinks Examples
For example: If someone is searching with keyword “local car dealerships”, Google understands that the person is seeking for information and not image. But if someone is typing “luxury car designs”, it is clear that it can be better explained with an image or an illustration. So, in the second case, the image extension is expected to appear in Pay Per Click (PPC) ads.
So, if you are trying to find out the new sitelink extensions on your mobile right now, but not getting it, then your keyword is not perfect for image extension. Change your keyword and you will start getting AdWords Visual Sitelinks. You will definitely find images along with the text in sitelink extensions in the mobile search ads.
But, why are we focusing on visual sitelinks and spending so much time on it? How is it going to benefit us?
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Advantages of Google AdWords Visual Sitelinks
Most advertisers and marketers agree that visual sitelinks will be a success, so, it is worth devoting more time to design it properly. The advantages of visual sitelinks are:
- Better visibility
- More chances of getting clicks
- Great CTR
- Alternate conversion path
- Helps in Quality Score
- Competitive advantage
- Good for PPC ads that can be better explained through images
Due to its greater visibility factor and more user-friendly interface, visual sitelink is getting popular. It is a new type of sitelink that has been added to the big basket of sitelink extensions. However, there are many other types of sitelinks that are used by advertisers to increase the traffic flow of the website.
AdWords Visual Sitelinks Requirements & Specs
Google visual sitelinks are completely dependent upon the images associated with the ad. Factors like how relevant your images are, the targeted keywords and the quality of the images will determine its performance.
AdWords Visual Sitelinks Requirements:
An Image will start appearing in your Google AdWords ads only when:
- Your ad is served at the first position with other sitelink extensions by Google.
- Your ad is available at the Google AdWords Premier account, campaign or ad group level.
- Your account is Whitelisted.
AdWords Visual Sitelinks Specs:
Before designing this sitelink extension, you need to go through the details of visual sitelink specs from images perspective. Following are essential Visual Sitelinks Specs:
- At least 4 images, highly relevant to your ad, must be associated with your Sitelink extension. Also, all of these images should have the same aspect ratio of 16:9.
- Visual Sitelinks Image Size: 1280 x 720 pixels (with JPG or PNG format).
- Ad Title Length (Maximum): 25 characters | Ad Description Length (Maximum): 50 characters
Other Visual Sitelinks Specifications:
- There should be no text or logo overlay issue.
- Photos should be relevant to the product advertised; there should be no ‘catalog item’ photos.
Google Visual Sitelinks Results
Visual sitelinks are perfect to boost CTR as well as the conversion rate. Basically, it helps get higher rankings in mobile SERPs and highlight your brand prominently, so that, your ad does not get lost in the crowd.
According to Google, if we make a comparison between an ad with sitelinks and one without it, then we will see that an ad with sitelink gets a 30% higher CTR as compared to the other one. The result also varies between upgraded sitelinks and non-upgraded sitelinks. Ads with upgraded sitelinks get significantly more clicks and conversions. This proves that if you want to get more successful results from PPC ads, you will have to associate sitelink extensions with your ads and also need to upgrade it. A higher CTR will lead to higher conversion rate and a slight increase in conversion rate will lead to a significant impact on your business. Even a marginal improvement of 0.5% in conversion rate, can significantly improve your leads and conversions and will end up having a positive impact on your business.
The maximum impact is often experienced in visual sitelink. It has been noticed that ads with visual sitelinks tend to bring on an average 150% improvement in the CTR. It can’t be expected that all images in visual sitelinks will generate equal click through rate, because a visual sitelink ad gets 79% click on the headline of the ad and only 21% click on the images.
Types of Sitelink Extensions for Google AdWords Ads
You will find sitelink extensions compatible with search campaigns, and search campaigns with display selection. Today, you will find three types of sitelink extensions in Google AdWords PPC ads – only link, link with description and link with an image.
1. Sitelink Extensions with just “Link”
At the bottom of the Google AdWords ad, some additional links are provided to refine the ad further and to get more targeted audiences.
2. Sitelink Extensions with “Description”
The Google AdWords ad should ideally include some additional links and a short description about those links as it helps, the targeted audiences to get more clarity. Doing so, will reduce the bounce rate of the ad too.
3. Sitelink Extensions with an “Image”
The links at the bottom of the Google AdWords ad can be further elaborated with an image. Sometimes, normal texts are unable to grab the attention of the audiences, but an image can influence in a more effective manner.
However, you should design ads in Adwords for all types of sitelink extensions, as per the the keywords provided, the ad will show up with the link, additional text or with visuals. This is because, even if you set the sitelinks type, Google decides whether to show up the image/description or not.
These types are defined on the basis of usability of the sitelink. It is always recommended to limit the sitelink text to 25 characters (for most of the languages) or 12 characters (for double-width languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean).
Tips to Create Sitelink Extensions:
- Use short text in links
- Create links to reflect your site
- Add descriptions for better understanding
- Add images for better visibility
What is the Usability of Sitelink Extension?
Sitelink extensions are used to add more links to regular ad copy and to target a specific page of the website. It can be store hours page, specific product page, specific service page, contact us page, about us page or many more.
When you intend to add more links to your ads, you take the support of sitelinks. This allows the searchers to skip many unwanted steps and directly land on the page of their interest. Such a process encourages meaningful clicks, which increases the Click Through Rate (CTR) of the ad, and generates new business for you.
Convenience of Using Sitelinks
Can be updated easily- You can change the link text and URLs anytime you want.
Provides detailed report and stats about clicks- You can segment your statistics on campaign level, ad group level or on every ad.
Helps edit without losing any data- You need not reset the performance statistics to edit the sitelinks.
Can create customized sitelink for mobile- You can set mobile-optimized sitelink extension especially for mobile.
Enables one schedule dates- You can specify the start and end date of showing the sitelink with ads.
How to Create Sitelinks Extensions in Google AdWords?
To create sitelinks, you should log in to Google AdWords and place your request to set sitelink extensions. The process to create sitelinks includes eight simple steps:
- In Google AdWords, under ‘Campaigns’ category, search for ‘Ad Extensions’.
- Click on ‘Ad Extensions’, to get a tab ‘View: Sitelink Extensions’
- Click on the drop-down menu of ‘View: Sitelink Extensions’ to select ‘Sitelink Extensions’
- Select any category between ‘Campaign Extension’ and ‘Ad Group Extension’
- Click on ‘+Extension’, to get a tab ‘Edit Campaign Sitelink Extension’ or ‘Edit Ad Group Sitelink Extension’
- Click on ‘+New Sitelink’ button at the bottom of the tab
- Fill the form of New Sitelink that appears and click Save
- Add as many sitelinks you want and click Save
Links to internal pages are showcased in the form of sitelinks just below the website URL in SERPs. Sitelinks help users to navigate around the website thoroughly. Once you create sitelink extensions, you can track the internal links from Google Search Console or Google Webmaster Tools. The steps to track sitelink extensions are:
- Log in to Google Search Console
- Open the dashboard
- Click on ‘Search Traffic’
- Click on ‘Internal Links’
Even after following the above steps, brands still face difficulty in getting sitelinks live on SERPs. Though you might have created different sitelink extensions in Google AdWords, it may or may not get reflected. A few factors that you should be aware of are:
- Sitelinks are auto-generated.
- Sitelinks appear with website’s best practices.
- Google never discloses the method on how to create sitelinks or how to get it.
There are easy ways to get sitelink extension for your website. You can consider these steps as a shortcut method to create sitelinks.
- Mark up web home page
- Set canonical URLs
- Prevent crawling of your site’s search result pages with robots.txt
It is hard to get a sitelink associated with your website URL. You really need to earn it. Sitelinks are awarded to websites who follow some basic tactics, such as:
- Have a unique brand/website name
- Rank top on SERP for your brand/website name
- Have clear hierarchy and structure
- Have plenty of internal links
- Associate sitemap.xml file with Google Search Console
- Have specified page titles
These tactics increase the chances of getting sitelink extension with your brand/website URL in SERP. If you are still not getting sitelinks, then you need to re-focus on the above-mentioned pointers.
How to Add Visual Sitelink Extensions in Adwords?
Visual sitelink extension can be created both at ad campaign level and at ad group level.
- If you set a visual sitelinks extension at ad campaign level, then, by default it will be used in ad groups of that campaign.
- If you create visual sitelinks extension at ad group level, then, it will override the same type of campaign level sitelinks. But, you can also disable a sitelink for an ad group. This will remove the sitelinks not only from the ad group level but also from the ad campaign.
- You can even use separate sitelinks for ad group as well as for ad campaign. You can set visual sitelinks extension for ad groups and then select “Use Campaign setting” to change and use the campaign sitelinks.
Below given essential steps are required to be followed when adding sitelink extensions to your AdWords PPC ads.
- Choose an ad campaign or an ad group, in which you want to add the sitelink
- Click on “Ad extensions”
- Select “Sitelink Extensions”
- Select “+ Extension”
- Here you can see all the sitelinks of your account
- To use an existing sitelink, click on sitelink
- To create a new sitelink, click New
- Create new sitelink by filling sitelink text and URL
- Enter additional text about your link in the Description fields (optional, but highly recommended)
- Enter image related to your link (optional, but highly recommended)
- Details and visuals must be eligible to show below the sitelink
- Click “Save” to save your sitelink setting for your campaign
- Click on “Show this extension on” to select the devices type. You can choose “All devices” option, or specify Mobile devices only or Desktop and tablet devices only. For Visual Sitelink, you will only get the option of Mobile devices only.
- Click Save
The way you can create the sitelink extensions at campaign or ad group level, you can also edit or schedule a sitelink.
Cost of Sitelinks Extension
No extra cost is required for adding extra links to ads and there is no need to pay any cost for adding any kind of extension to your ad. However, when the ad will be clicked it will be charged as per the usual cost of the ad. AdWords charges only for two clicks per impression for each ad and its extensions.
But, if a searcher clicks on more than one link of an ad instantly, then Google considers it as a duplicate or invalid click. In that case, you will not be charged repeatedly.
Henceforth, the importance of sitelinks cannot be undermined. It’s popularity among advertisers is multiplying and thus gives them an opportunity to showcase every element of a website in a systematic and expressive manner.
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