Mobile-First Strategy: Elevate Your Ads With Visual Sitelinks
December 19, 2023
What has been updated from the old blog post:
- Additional content to the intro section.
- Added ‘Benefits of visual sitelinks for mobile ads’ section
- Added Visual Sitelinks Examples section
- Added Types of Visual Sitelinks section
- Added Tips on Creating Effective Visual Sitelinks section
Summary: This blog explores the transformative power of visual sitelinks, delving into how integrating these eye-catching elements can elevate your mobile ads and drive unparalleled engagement.
What are Visual Sitelinks extensions?
Google has gone one step ahead with its visual extension. For a long time, they were experimenting with extensions in Google Ads. But, this time they’ve introduced it in the form of ‘Visual Sitelinks’. Now, in Google Ads, visuals 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. This new step has opened a new horizon in digital marketing, as it is an additional feature that has been introduced in the Pay Per Click (PPC) section. The latest addition enables advertisers to incorporate images into their paid search campaigns, enhancing the visibility of these ads for potential customers.
Visual Sitelinks is designed to capture attention in a competitive landscape, offering a visual appeal that surpasses the capabilities of text ads. The inclusion of high-quality images facilitates the promotion or sale of products and services, making the advertising process more effective.
How do Visual Sitelinks in mobile ads work?
Visual Sitelinks function similarly to other ad extensions in that they are activated by keyword searches and link to pages on an advertiser’s website. They may be accessed at the account, campaign, or ad group level. However, keep in mind that Visual Sitelinks only appear when your ad is placed in position 1.
These advertisements appear as a sequence of swipeable pictures beneath your search ad and are only available on mobile, which is not surprising given Google’s recent drive for marketers to prioritize mobile advertising.
The new carousel feature, for now, is available only on mobiles. However, they still have not clarified the fact whether it will also be applicable on desktops or not.
They have always tried to figure out the searchers’ intent to find visual content, with the help of the keyword that the user is putting. Extensions will more likely trigger those searches that can be explained better with the help of a visual.
Visual Sitelinks Ad Examples
For example: If someone is searching with the keyword “local car dealerships”, understand that the person is seeking information and not images. But if someone is typing “luxury car designs”, it is clear that it can be better explained with an illustration. So, in the second case, the 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 the extension. Change your keyword and you will start getting Google Ads Visual Sitelinks. You will definitely find visuals along with the text in sitelink extensions in the mobile search ads.
But, why are we focusing on sitelinks and spending so much time on them? How is it going to benefit us?
Types of Visual Sitelinks
Sitelinks have undergone transformations over time, and appear in various formats. They can present themselves in the conventional list style of links, or take on a carousel format with the ability to expand.
Due to its greater visibility factor and more user-friendly interface, this 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.
Currently, Google typically displays two distinct categories of sitelinks: those related to search and others associated with video content. Here’s a quick rundown of both.
Search campaign sitelinks
These Visual Sitelinks can be displayed in advertisements positioned at both the top and bottom of Google search results, presenting themselves as conventional sitelinks featuring a list of links.
Image Source: Semrush
You have the flexibility to determine the number of sitelinks displayed in your Google Ads campaigns. In search campaigns, a minimum of two sitelinks will be visible on the desktop, with the option to showcase up to six. On mobile, a minimum of one sitelink will be displayed, and you can present up to eight, transitioning to a carousel format beyond that limit.
Image Source: Semrush
Advantages of Visual Sitelinks for Mobile Ads
The advantages of visual elements in general and especially mobile advertisements, which include images or icons have the following potential advantages:
Increased visibility and engagement
Visual features tend to grab more attention than text alone. Including graphics or symbols in sitelinks may help your mobile advertising stand out, boosting the chances that consumers will notice and interact with your content.
Enhanced user experience
Visuals can help to make a website more interesting and user-friendly. Mobile users frequently prefer a visually pleasing interface, and including pictures or icons in sitelinks can help to improve the user experience.
Images have the ability to transmit information swiftly and efficiently. Visual sitelinks can provide a quick overview of the content or products in a mobile ecosystem where users may have limited time or attention span, prompting consumers to click through.
Visual elements can help to strengthen brand identity and recognition. Users can recall and recognize your brand more easily if your visual sitelinks feature consistent branding elements, encouraging trust and loyalty.
Compelling and contextually relevant visual elements on linked pages have the potential to captivate users, motivating them to click for further exploration. This, in turn, can lead to increased click-through rates for your mobile ads.
Better communication of offerings
Pictures have the ability to communicate information in a quicker and more intuitive manner compared to text. Utilizing visual sitelinks enables the presentation of specific products, services, or promotions, streamlining users’ comprehension of the offerings in your ad.
Due to the limited screen size of mobile devices, visual elements can play a vital role in conveying information concisely and powerfully. This becomes essential for grabbing the attention of users who might be swiftly scrolling through content on their mobile devices.
An ad that captures attention visually has a higher chance of making a positive impact on users. Utilizing visual sitelinks provides you with the chance to craft ads that are not only visually appealing but also harmonize with your brand’s distinctive style and messaging.
Tips for Creating Effective Visual Sitelinks
Short sitelinks text is the way to go
Keep your sitelink text brief and concise. In most languages, stick to a maximum of 25 characters, and for double-width languages (such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean), limit it to 12 characters. Exceeding these limits may result in Google truncating your text, potentially cutting off crucial information.
Descriptions are a must
A sitelink description is a concise text accompanying each specific sitelink. Including descriptions for sitelinks does not diminish the number of links you can display, so be sure to incorporate them for every sitelink in your ads. Ensure that these descriptions are valuable to individuals viewing your ads.
Activate dynamic sitelinks
By activating dynamic sitelinks, Google will autonomously incorporate links and descriptions into your ads, aligning with users’ search queries. These dynamic sitelinks display pertinent deep links leading users to sections or pages designed to drive conversions, mirroring the appearance of manually created sitelinks. The process is seamless, requiring no additional setup, and eliminating the need for crafting new ad text or descriptions.
Sitelinks Requirements & Specs
The Visual Sitelinks are completely dependent upon the visuals associated with the ad. Factors like how relevant your visuals are, the targeted keywords, and the quality of the visuals will determine its performance.
Google Visual Sitelinks requirements
A visual will start appearing in your ads only when:
- Your ad is served at the first position with other sitelink extensions.
- Your ad is available at the Ad Premier account, campaign, or ad group level.
- Your account is Whitelisted.
Google Visual Sitelinks specifications
Before designing the sitelink extension, you need to go through the details of visual sitelink specs from a visual perspective. The following are essential Sitelinks Specs:
- At least 4 images, highly relevant to your ad, must be associated with your sitelink extension. Also, all of these visuals should have the same aspect ratio of 16:9
- Sitelinks Size: 1280 x 720 pixels (JPG or PNG)
- Ad Title Length (Maximum): 25 characters | Ad Description Length (Maximum): 50 characters
Other 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
The Google Visual Sitelinks are perfect for boosting CTR as well as the conversion rate. Basically, it helps get higher rankings in mobile SERPs and highlights your brand prominently, so that, your ad does not get lost in the crowd.
If we make a comparison between an ad with sitelinks and one without it, then we will see that an ad with a 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 them.
A higher CTR will lead to a 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 sitelink. It has been noticed that ads with sitelinks tend to bring on an average 150% improvement in the CTR. It can’t be expected that all visuals in sitelinks will generate an equal click-through rate because a sitelink ad gets 79% clicks on the headline of the ad and only 21% clicks on the visuals.
What is the usability of the 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 a 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 reports and stats about clicks: You can segment your statistics on the 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 date: You can specify the start and end date of showing the sitelink with ads.
How to Create Sitelink Extensions?
To create sitelinks, you should log in to your ads manager account and place your request to set sitelink extensions. The process to create sitelinks includes eight simple steps:
- In Google Ads, under the ‘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 the ‘+New Sitelink’ button at the bottom of the tab
- Fill in the form of the New Sitelink that appears and click Save
- Add as many sitelinks as 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 Search Console or Webmaster Tools. The steps to track sitelink extensions are:
- Log in to 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, they may or may not get reflected. A few factors that you should be aware of are:
- Sitelinks are auto-generated.
- Sitelinks appear with the website’s best practices.
- Google never discloses the method of how to create sitelinks or how to get it.
There are easy ways to get a sitelink extension for your website. You can consider these steps as a shortcut method to create sitelinks.
- Mark up the 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 that follow some basic tactics, such as:
- Have a unique brand/website name
- Rank top on SERP for your brand/website name
- Have a clear hierarchy and structure
- Have plenty of internal links
- Associate sitemap.xml file with Search Console
- Have specified page titles
These tactics increase the chances of getting a 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.
Additional read: Internal Links Vs. External Links
How to Add Sitelink Extensions in Google Ads?
This sitelink extension can be created both at the ad campaign level and at the ad group level.
If you set a sitelinks extension at the ad campaign level, then, by default it will be used in ad groups of that campaign.
If you create a sitelinks extension at the 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 groups as well as for ad campaigns. You can set visual sitelinks extension for ad groups and then select “Use Campaign setting” to change and use the campaign sitelinks.
Here’s how to add Visual Sitelinks extensions:
- 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 a new sitelink by filling sitelink text and URL
- Enter additional text about your link in the Description fields (optional, but highly recommended)
- Enter visual 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 device type. You can choose the “All devices” option, or specify Mobile devices only or Desktop and tablet devices only. For Sitelink, you will only get the option of Mobile devices only.
- Click Save
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 is clicked it will be charged as per the usual cost of the ad. Ad 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. Its popularity among advertisers is multiplying and thus gives them an opportunity to showcase every element of a website in a systematic and expressive manner.
Want to know how you can leverage the Visual Sitelink Extensions feature on your Ads??