Algorithm Rolled Out: August 16, 2011

Algorithm Summary: Overall Gist 

As pay-per-click advertisers, we’ve recently been exposed to several new developments. Everyone knows that, whether you wanted it or not, Google began moving all accounts to Enhanced Campaigns last week. Despite the mixed reactions to enhanced campaigns thus far, there are a few additions that we can all get excited about. The modifications to ad extensions, notably Sitelinks, were one of the things that piqued my interest the most. Google launched the Expanded Sitelinks Update to a global audience on August 16, 2011. This update only affects brand inquiries (searches for brand names) and modifies the layout of the first page of search results.

What Exactly Is a Sitelink Extension?

Sitelinks are the blue links that display beneath Google search results. They connect to other pages on the same website that appear in the search results, thus the term “site links.”

Sitelink Varieties

Sitelinks have emerged over time, and Google now displays them in different ways. The number and appearance of sitelinks in search results will vary.

Some site links may contain outlines or photos. Sitelinks may alternatively be displayed as a carousel or with the option to expand.

In general, Google displays two types of sitelinks these days:

Search campaigns will include at least two site links beneath search advertising. On PC, you can have up to 6 or 8 links on mobile.

When playing videos on mobile devices, at least two site links appear beneath the advertisements on YouTube. You can display up to four site links.

How to Use Sitelink Extensions in Ads

When configuring Google Ads site links, you must also consider what information will be displayed.


Sitelinks should be brief and to the point. You’ll have about 20 characters on desktop and 15 on mobile to communicate your link. If your text is longer, Google will truncate it, perhaps omitting vital information.


Your advertisements Once live, your site links won’t require much further effort from you. However, it would assist if you were prepared to experiment with various links, text, and themes to determine which performs the best.

Key Takeaways from Improved Sitelinks

It would be prudent to upgrade your site links. Because there is no support in AdWords Editor currently, adding sitelinks can be time-consuming, but here’s why you should:

Whether site links contribute to overall performance isn’t the only one at stake here. You are simply taking up more space than your potential competitor’s ad, which could be a success in and of itself.

According to Google, advertisements incorporating site links have a 30% greater click-through rate than standalone ads.

If an ad performs well in one campaign or ad group, you can repeat it as a site link in other campaigns/ad groups as long as it points to a different URL.

Individual site links allow you to experiment with varied phrasing and calls to action in your ad copy.

If you know you’re going to be in one of the top spots or are paying to get there, upgrade your site links to take advantage of all that “real estate” you’re paying for.

Now that you understand how to calculate site link contribution, you can make informed judgments about which sitelinks to display to maximize your return.

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