10 Types of Messaging to Test in the New Expanded Sitelinks

Google recently announced that campaigns upgraded to enhanced campaigns will now have access to an upgraded version of sitelinks. The new format allows advertisers to create sitelinks with a headline with 25 character max, and two optional description text lines with 35 character limits. Sound familiar?

I believe now is a great time to start a regular sitelinks copy testing schedule for your campaigns, just like you have with ad copy testing. No longer are the days when we have no idea which link is being clicked on and why.

The question is, what should you test? Well, hopefully I can help with that. Below are ten different types of messaging that I would recommend testing in the new expanded sitelinks.

1.) Features

It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Features describe what different aspects of your product. These pieces can be as basic as describing the physical appearance of the product or as in depth as mentioning the components that make up the product. Let’s use a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as an example. When writing features, check out a picture or a written description of the product for ideas. The following can be a list of features to describe different pieces of your sandwich:

• Grape Jelly
• Chunky Peanut Butter
• Toasted White Bread
• Diagonally Cut

2.) Benefits

Benefits take your product a step further than Features. Rather than simply listing the aspects of the product/service, benefits answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”. Some basic benefits of our friend the PB & J sandwich would be that it’s easy to make, it satisfies your craving for a PB & J, and it helps you stop being hungry.

(Note: Here’s a great article outlining the differences between Features and Benefits on Entreprenuer.com.)

3.) Problem Solving

The way most people explain search advertising is that you’re providing solutions to the searchers problems. With these expanded sitelinks, there’s now enough space to give multiple example problems that your product or service can help solve. As an example, let’s use a searcher who searches on “local plumber”. Do they have a backed up sewer line? Are they putting in a new bathroom? Do they have leaky pipes?

At this point, we have no idea what their problem is. Using these common problems/needs as sitelink text, you can direct the searcher to the most relevant landing page on your site even on the most generic keywords.

4.) Complimentary Products

These are a list of products that can accompany the original product the searcher was looking for. These products should share a similar theme but shouldn’t necessarily rely on each other for use. Running shoes provide the perfect example. What do most people use with running shoes? Socks! Maybe try offering 10% off socks with the purchase of running shoes. Active wear could also be something sold along with running shoes. For this type of messaging, I would recommend reviewing a typical order on your site. What products are typically bought together and what incentives do people pursue the most.

5.) Supplementary Products

As a complimentary product is meant to be used in conjunction another, supplementary products are meant to be used in place of one another. Online advertising best practices say you should give the searcher exactly what they’re looking for, and you absolutely should. But what about when they’re not sure what they’re looking for (or they at least don’t spell it out in their query)?

For example, let’s say a searcher types in “buy iPhone online”. Do they want a new or used iPhone; a white or black iPhone; a 3G, 3GS, 4G, 4GS, or iPhone 5? Use each sitelink to test a different type of product and let the searcher decide from the search engine results page which product they would like to view on your site.

6.) Company Information

Another messaging type is to direct searchers to more information about your company itself. This can work well for branding campaigns or possibly lead generation campaigns where the nature of the company is almost as important as the quality of the service itself. An example of this would be for charitable foundations. More often than not, people aren’t coming to your site to buy something, they’re coming to get more information about you. Provide them with sitelinks that lead to your organization’s mission statement, your About Us page, or a page with a list of upcoming events.

7.) Ways to Save/Discounts

People love saving money, so why not show them all the ways they can save? Having a promotion on certain products? Tell them about it in the sitelinks. Is shipping free if your order is over $75? Let them know! Just be sure you’ve got the landing page tagged with the appropriate offer so it’s reflected in the shopping cart upon check out.

8.) Testimonials/Customer Stories

One of the best ways to show potential clients/customers that they’ll have a favorable experience with your company is to show them that others have had favorable experiences with you. For this area, you can test having general text guiding customers to your reviews by saying something like, “See What Our Customers Are Saying”. Or, you could even go more specific and use excerpts from the reviews themselves. Go nuts!

9.) Calls to Action/Types of Conversions

In my mind, I view this to be a type of messaging that will most likely work best for lead gen sites. Depending on your product, there may be many different levels of conversion that (for the most part) do the same thing: generate a lead. These different types might include downloading a whitepaper, getting a 30 day free trial, scheduling a product demo, signing up for a free consultation, etc. But usually, best practices on a landing page tell you to guide the searcher to one type of conversion.

That’s where sitelinks come in. Use each sitelink to highlight a different conversion type. Give the searcher the power to choose which level of commitment they would like to pursue. Be sure each sitelink’s landing page gives the searcher the chance to perform the type of conversion they chose.

10.) Third Party Links

Although most likely not best for your conversion numbers, third party sitelinks can help build your brand and network. Sitelinks now allow you to send traffic to your Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, or LinkedIn pages as long as your link text is descriptive of what the searcher will find once they land on that page. At this point, third party sitelinks are considered to be used in limited circumstances. If you attempt to add them to your campaigns and they are disapproved, contact your Google rep to request access.

These are certainly not all the types of messaging you can use in the new expanded sitelinks. Let us know your favorite kind in the comments!