Google is constantly updating its ad ranking algorithms to improve the search advertising experience for both users and advertisers. Most of this goes on behind the scenes, though advertisers often notice changes to the appearance of how we would expect to see ads displayed, and screenshots spread throughout agencies like wildfire. Google always tests any changes comprehensively before implementing changes across the entire Adwords network and releases an official update on this algorithm enhancement.
Sitelink Display Changes
Recently Google made one of the biggest changes to the Adwords experience by ceasing to display ads on a sidebar on the right side of the screen, and instead of showing two or three ads in the centre, by showing up to four.
The side bar ads which we used to see never displayed any extensions like sitelinks or call-outs, but the top placed ads (in the centre) usually did. This unpredictability of how ads would be displayed was often problematic for advertisers. Sometimes your ad would be displayed in the top spot, but with no sitelinks, and other times in position three but will full sitelinks. The apparently random display of ads always invited questions from clients as to why advertisers with a lower rank were able to show a more visual advert, etc. Well, Google has finally put us out of our misery and produced a definitive rule for how sitelinks will be displayed to go alongside its new four ad display format.
Sitelink Ranking Changes
The new rule is both incredibly simple and very welcomed by advertisers:
Higher ranked ads will be eligible to display more extensions
If you look at the screenshot above, you will notice the top ad has four sitelink extensions and review extensions and the second ad has three sitelink extensions and review extensions and the third and fourth have none. It’s not ground-breaking, it’s not revolutionary, but it does reward advertisers whose ad rank puts them in a higher position by allowing them to show more extensions.
This predictability of how sitelinks will be displayed is welcomed by Croud, as it offers more control on how ads will be displayed and lends more weight to the effectiveness of bidding to higher positions. Over the next couple of weeks we will monitor what impact these changes have on ad results so stay tuned for our follow-up results.