As anyone who advertises with AdWords knows, you are rather limited by the number of characters that you can use in your ads. But what if you could get more? By using AdWords Sitelinks, you can…

AdWords ads give you 95 characters in which to sell your product or service. 25 in the headline, and 2 lines of description at 35 characters each. That’s not a lot of space really. But with AdWords Sitelinks, you get the opportunity to extend your ad copy, expand on the benefits of your offer, or  direct visitors to other pages and products on your site.

So, instead of an ad that looks like this:

House of Fraser ad with no Sitelinks

You get an ad that looks like this:

M&S ad with Sitelinks

Or this:

River Island ad with Sitelinks

And the best part? It’s completely free!

(Though obviously, you still pay for clicks!)

How to enable AdWords Sitelinks

To enable Sitelinks for your AdWords campaign, log into your account, and click on the name of the campaign. At the top of the page you’ll see a tab called “Ad Extensions” (note: you may have to enable this – just click on the little down arrow and tick the box next to “Ad Extensions”).

Enabling the Ad Extensions tab

Then, on the dropdown menu on the left, select Sitelinks Extensions:

Adding AdWords Sitelinks to your ads

You’ll see the following screen:

Adding Sitelinks extensions in AdWords

Simply enter the link text you want to use, add the relevant URL, and click save. Voilà! You’ve just created your first set of Sitelinks.

What should I put in my Sitelinks?

AdWords lets you add up to 10 links to your website that may be displayed with your ad (usually 2, 4 or 6 will display). And each of these can have 35 characters’ worth of link text.

So really, it depends what you offer. If you are an ecommerce site with different product categories, you could put links to these, as River Island and M&S have done (use calls to action too, such as “Buy…” or “Shop…”). If you’re a more service based business, you could use them to outline more benefits to your company, such as free delivery, prices or special offers.

How do I get Sitelinks to show?

You can add Sitelinks to your AdWords campaign, but that doesn’t mean they’ll show up. In order for them to do so, your ad will need to appear at the top of the results page, will have to have a high Quality Score and will have to direct users to URLs relevant to your product/service.

What are the disadvantages of AdWords Sitelinks?

Sitelinks are just one of several Ad Extensions that Google provides to enable advertisers to get the most out of their ads.  Others include location (great for local businesses), phone number and products (great for ecommerce sites).

But, like everything, AdWords Sitelinks do have some downsides. At present, they can only be applied at the campaign level, meaning that you might not be able to be as targeted as you would like, and some Sitelinks might not be relevant to all the ads in a campaign.

The data’s not great either. You can see clickthrough rate (which is usually really good!), but only for the set of Sitelinks, not each individual one.

Lastly, and my main bugbear, you cannot split test or pause Sitelinks. And because they’re created in sets, if you want to change a particular link, you have to delete the entire set for a campaign and start again, meaning you lose all the data for the original set. Since one of the many awesome things about AdWords is the ability to split test ad copy, it would be great if this could be extended to Sitelinks too, along with the opportunity to pause individual links.


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