What are Dynamic Sitelinks? A Guide to Google’s Latest Add-On

By Matt Zajechowski

Dynamic Sitelinks are the latest in Google’s options of AdWords ad extensions for your paid search ads. They’re sitelinks dynamically generated by Google in an attempt to increase the relevance of your ad to a Google user and they’ve been causing a bit of commotion in the industry.

How Dynamic Sitelinks Work

Dynamic Sitelinks are created by AdWords based on user search activity. Let’s say you are researching used cars and you’ve been to multiple sites looking for the car you want. AdWords, at some point, might create a dynamic sitelink for an ad based on this behavior.

Meaning, Google will automatically place this under your ad if it determines that a user is looking for a specific product or service. AdWords will choose the text in the sitelink and the page that the sitelink will take you to. The purpose is to enhance ad relevance and user experience.

If you have already set up sitelinks, this may decrease the possibility of AdWords creating a Dynamic Sitelink for you unless AdWords determines that it can perform better.

How Dynamic Sitelinks Are Cool

  • They’re free! Yes, Dynamic Sitelinks are free. Well… sort of: if a user clicks on the sitelink, Google will not charge you for that click. But if a user clicks on the headline of the ad shown with a Dynamic Sitelink, you will be charged for that click.
  • No setup is necessary. AdWords sitelinks will automatically create these for your account unless you opt out of the service.
  • They’re based on user search behavior. Google is really good at identifying patterns in your behavior on the internet. Increasing ad relevance through a dynamic sitelink extension based on search behavior can be a big value-add for your campaign.

How They’re Not So Cool

  • No reporting. As of yet, no reporting is available unless you have the Labs Tab in your account. After speaking to a Googler about this I was told that reporting will be available “soon,” though I did not get a time.
  • Low impression volume. Google is saying that Dynamic Sitelinks will have low impression volume to start and still encourages advertisers to create their own.
  • They’re based on user search behavior. I know I said that was a cool thing about this product but on the other hand, there is no input from the advertiser on when or to who these sitelinks will show. Yes, Google is really good at analyzing search behavior but at the end of the day, this is all determined by an algorithm analyzing a user’s Google searches.
  • Opting out must be requested in writing. Should an advertiser want to opt out of this service you can opt out here. The process can take up to one week.

How This Affects the Advertiser

This is a service that has the potential to make a positive impact on search advertisers, particularly advertisers who are new to AdWords. The problem is that less advanced advertisers (and let’s be real, some of us more advanced ones) do not always have the best keyword strategies or bidding practices in place.

The disconnect between this service and the advertiser is a little unsettling. I believe Dynamic Sitelinks will have very little effect on search advertisers at this point. If you have sitelinks in place, the chances of having any created for you are diminished and if you don’t have sitelinks in place, the chances are low anyway.

On the other hand, sitelinks in general are proven to increase click-thru rates if used correctly. That means more clicks for advertisers.  This also means more clicks for Google to collect revenue on especially since only a small percentage of advertisers use sitelinks.

This idea has the potential for advertisers as the product is refined over time, but until I can see some transparency from Google on how or if these perform for advertisers, I don’t see what the fuss is about. I have yet to see any Dynamic Sitelinks in my Google searches, have you? What do you think about Dynamic Sitelinks? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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