Tracking AdWords Sitelinks

Posted 22/08/2012

bloodhound - tracking SitelinksA few weeks ago, I wrote a post on AdWords Sitelinks. These are an awesome way to expand your PPC ads, and if you’re not using them, you should be! But one of the issues with Sitelinks is that the data for them in AdWords is… less than comprehensive. You can see that you’re getting a great clickthrough rate, and conversions, but you can’t see which of your Sitelinks has led to them.

So what’s a PPC advertiser to do?

Thankfully, Google Analytics is a bit more explicit, and you can use it for tracking your Sitelinks to see which ones are leading to clicks and conversions. But before you can do this, you need to manually add tracking parameters to the ends of your Sitelinks URLs.

There are different parameters that you can use, depending on what you want to know, but I use the following, taken from this awesome post on the subject

?origin=sitelink1&keyword={keyword}&matchtype={matchtype}

…where “origin” indicates where the click came from, “keyword” shows the query the visitor typed in to find your ad, and “matchtype” shows the keyword match type that triggered your ad.  These last two fields are dynamically updated.

You should choose a different name for each Sitelink, so that you can track them individually in Analytics.For example, let’s say you own a chocolate shop and you are running 2 PPC campaigns, one for chocolates and the other for sweets. You might set up Sitleinks URLs that look like this:

http://www.awesomechocolatesite.com/gift-boxes?origin=sitelink-chocolates1&keyword={keyword}&matchtype={matchtype}

http://www.awesomechocolatesite.com/pick-and-mix?origin=sitelink-sweets2&keyword={keyword}&matchtype={matchtype}

Simply number the Sitelinks in the order they’re listed in AdWords for each campaign and voilà! You’re tracking your Sitelinks.

How do I see the Sitelinks data in Analytics?

To view your Sitelinks data in Analytics – note, wait a few days to allow them to collect some data! – navigate to Content > Site Content > Landing Pages. Then, just use the search box on the right to search for all URLs containing “sitelink”. This’ll give you a nice little list of all your Sitelink URLs, and how they’re performing. If you want to get really detailed, though, you’ll need to create a Custom Report.

To do this, click on “Custom Reporting” at the top of the page, and add a new report. Give it a name, add the metrics and the dimensions that you want to see data for, and then create a filter. Choose “Landing Page”, and change the dropdown menu from”Exact” to “Regex”. Then type “sitelink” into the text box and hit Save.

Set up a filter in Analytics to track your Sitelinks performance

Tracking your Sitelinks isn’t difficult, it’s just a bit fiddly. But it’s definitely worth doing because they can really benefit your campaigns. Now if only Google would sort out editing individual Sitelinks so you don’t have to delete the entire set…

Further Reading:

Linking AdWords and Analytics in Different Accounts

 300+ Internet Marketing Resources and Tools

AdWords Location Extensions: Let people come to YOU

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