by Peter Young on February 16, 2012 · 1 comment

There are a couple of ex-colleagues who are going to have a little snigger at the above headline, however the headline hides an interesting manouvre from Google in terms of shaping their PPC inventory moving forward and how these display on site.

Sitelinks through PPC have been a recent improvement from Google, and something even as a SEO I have been very keen on. They allow advertisers to target messaging much more effectively than in the early days of PPC, and furthermore allow us to create particular paths and functions for consumers which often vary from channel to channel

So lets take for example the current sitelinks incarntaion

The current framework allows for around 6 sitelinks for PPC managers to communicate with potential consumers. Whilst these ads are limited to headline snippets they are small and dont take up a lot of page real estate. As of the 14th February however this is likely to change and with it bring a new round of challenges to both SEO’s and PPCs alike.

New enhancements from Google could significantly change much of the landscape for advertisers using existing sitelink functionality but utilising creative from other parts of the Adwords campaign.

To be eligible for the extended sitelinks, advertisers must have:
- A valid Adwords campaign and an ad with sitelinks appearing within the Google search results
- Ads relating closely to the sitelinks in the campaign.

In testing for the ads, Google mentioned clickthrough rates were significantly higher than the previous 2/3 line sitelinks. One would argue that is hardly surprising givent he real estate that these new ads take up, and that in itself presents more interesting scenarios to SEO’s who are already under pressure with many of the changes Google has made to its search results set. Further more these results bear many similarities to those of the sitelinks already in place within organic search results.

More real estate to PPC which this undoubtedly will mean, should mean yet more traction for PPC results, and less visibility on organic results potentially resulting in the following scenario
- More advertisers using PPC as organic visibility is being throttled
- Competition within both PPC and SEO significantly increasing as the battle for no1 increases significantly organically and the increased competition means CPC etc are going to be significantly tested
- Differentiation between SEO and PPC diminishing further
- Advertisers utilising more personalisation factors to try and influence eyefall where possible

Its an interesting time, and again its disappointing to see yet more real estate being taken up with yet more PPC. The balance between the two channels has always been a defining factor of Google, and its interesting to see them move away from this as the chase for increased revenue continues unabated.

That in itself brings challenges, due to the way many consumers perceive organic / paid results. Its another interesting move by Google and certainly not the last. For advertisers its certainly time to get clever with managing your PPC ads, ensuring as much targeting and refinement as possible. From a SEO perspective, its time to get clever and start utilsing all the tools at your disposal whether its extending your campaigns into wider contexts such as social and local to simply ensuring your campaigns are now working in tandem. What the new changes do bring is a better way to communicate with consumers more effectively, something which if harnessed correctly could be powerful weapon in the search amoury

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Anton Koekemoer March 5, 2012 at 9:18 am

Great post – Especially like the title you have chosen , Great choice on wordplay.

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