Programming Sitelink Extensions: 101


I’ve done it myself: that moment where you go to search for something in Google, and you accidentally click on the green link that says “ad”. If you’re like me, you immediately click out of the tab and try again.

But if you’ve ever taken a close look at these, you’ll notice additional ads indented underneath the actual text ads.

These are sitelink extensions, and if you’re a novice or even just looking for a refresher course and you’re wondering how to get these listed on your ads, we’ve mapped out a quick “how to”, just for you.

Step 1: Understanding what they are & why they’re there

Sitelink extensions are additional links to bring traffic to your website, with the goal of getting traffic to convert more quickly and easily. Maybe the user found your ad and it was almost what they were looking for but not quite, that’s usually where sitelink extensions come in. In AdWords, Google has made it pretty easy for you to manually add which extensions you want and where.

Additionally, Google can supplement your sitelink extensions by auto-pulling a short snippet for each sitelink extension from content that’s already present on the webpage. This can be modified manually or you can leave the content that Google supplemented for you.

Sitelink extensions are free to add to your Google Ads—the cost is baked into your daily budget.

They generally look like this:


And that’s not all, the world of Google extensions is huge. Here are some of the different types of extensions, with entirely different goals, such as:

1. Call extensions - the goal here is to get traffic to contact you directly

2. Price extensions - to get users to convert on your website

3. Structured snippet extensions - highlight information that traffic might find valuable, so they can convert faster

But for the purposes of this blog, let’s focus on how to program sitelink extensions, specifically.

Step 2: Making magic happen

Sitelink extensions are super easy to setup and require very little maintenance. Not to mention, Google allows you to set up sitelink extensions not only on the ad group level, but on the campaign level and even on the account level. But as it goes with all things, the road less traveled is the best one to take. So we recommend starting at the ad group level and adding more from there.

Here’s how you’ll do that:

1. First, you’ll go to your left sidebar and click, “Ads & Extensions”

2. Then, you’ll navigate to your top pane and click “Extensions”, and then click the blue plus sign. Your pane should look something like this:


3. You’ll want to select “Ad Group” from the “Add to” dropdown, and then select the ad group you want this sitelink extension to show up for in the window.

4. Make sure “Create New” is highlighted.

5. Add in your first sitelink text! Google AdWords will live update your copy so you can see exactly how it will look both in theory and in practice. The rule of thumb here is the shorter, the better.

6. Next, you’ll be able to add in your two descriptor text pieces. Google will automatically pull this content if you leave it blank.

7. Include the final URL you’ll want this sitelink extension to direct the user to. This doesn’t have to match the landing page URL your ads are currently directing traffic to; in fact, it’s better if it’s different.

Step 3: Almost there, with URL parameters (optional)

Next, if you want to track exactly where each lead came from, whether it’s from a display ad on an affiliated partners website or a text ad, you can add in custom URL parameters. Include the title of the value as you want it to show up in your AdWords results. For example, MailChimp (_Name) = June 2018 Email Newsletter (value).

Step 4: Map out sitelink extension live dates (optional)

With sitelink extensions, you can choose if you want the sitelink extensions to run with your ad group / campaign / account indefinitely or for a certain period of time. If it’s indefinitely, skip this step.

If it’s for a certain period of time, all you’ll do is go to the calendar selector tool and choose the date range you want the sitelink extension to appear for.

It should look like this:


And that’s it! Save and run the sitelink extension, checking back every so often to see how the extension is performing over time. The benefits of sitelinks are vast and include improving your click-through-rate, your overall AdWords quality score, and they even help with generating a large variety of traffic to your website that you previously might have missed out on.

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