I’ve written about sitelinks before (Update: New Google Ad Extensions) and I’m a huge fan, but the latest release surrounding ad extensions had me a bit concerned. Dynamic sitelinks are automatically generated text links that appear below your ad, just like regular sitelinks. My concern? For one, I’m wary of anything that is automated and not fully transparent within Google (I’m a bit of a control freak), second, there is no reporting available to see what the actual text ended up being in the dynamic sitelink or the page it drove to. There is a silver lining however, clicks on dynamic sitelinks are FREE!
What exactly are they?
Dynamic sitelinks are text links (just like regular sitelinks) that appear below your text ads in SERPs.
How are they generated?
They are dynamically populated (hence the name – so clever!) based on previous user behavior. They identify pages that have shown to be relevant to particular searches and create a sitelinks with them. Here’s how Google describes it. So far, as I mentioned, there is no way to see what text Google actually used for the sitelink and with which page it drove to, OR any reporting on the performance. The announcement on Inside AdWords compares them to seller ratings. Like seller ratings, clicks are FREE, unlike seller ratings, the traffic actually goes to your site, and there is copy associated with your ad. That is what has me most concerned. Having worked with and currently working with clients who are in legally sensitive industries, it is a bit scary to not know what text is appearing alongside our ads that have gone through extensive legal review for compliance. There is good news to follow on this front though. Keep reading.
When will they show?
The part that doesn’t have me so concerned is that it seems the dynamic sitelinks will rarely appear. Especially if you have a well-managed account. Dynamic sitelinks will only appear when the system thinks they will perform better than your own sitelinks. They will also never trump enhanced sitelinks. So, if you’re using enhanced sitelinks, or actively testing sitelinks to make sure you are already using the most relevant ones, you shouldn’t see too many instances where the dynamic ones will appear.
All in all, by the end of my research into this new product, I was more comfortable with the whole idea. You can also request that dynamic sitelinks be disabled for your account through this form. The fact that clicks on dynamic sitelinks are FREE (did I mention that yet?), restore my faith that Google is still trying to create the most relevant and useful experience for searchers.