Google changes its PPC policy… again
About three years ago, Latitude blogged about the “exciting release” of paid site links on Google and recently, after countless developments to the site link product, Google announced that they would start enforcing one policy in particular.
Back in 2009, Google gave selected advertisers the option to add up to four additional site links to their PPC ads for selected terms, empowering the advertiser to tactically steer the customer to a specific product offer or even informational pages. Whereas advertisers were up until now permitted to send their side link traffic to the same page if they wanted (allowing advertisers to use them more as additional ad copy than deep links), the new policy means that advertisers must point each site link to unique content, as demonstrated below.
Shortly after the release of the paid site links product three years ago, we saw market increases in click-through rates of as much as 10-15% in some cases. The benefit to ad rank, and ultimately the average cost per click for a campaign, became so powerful that it was common best practice to deploy site links across every campaign. As the thresholds were lowered, Google allowed them to show for generic, as well as brand terms. As a result, the very thought of them being taken away must make many advertisers shudder.
In fact, the effect of the site link policy change can be clearly seen in the below graph:
But fear not! The policy will only realistically affect new campaigns with duplicate landing page content and URLs. Existing campaigns won’t be affected until they are edited. The change in policy, however, does emphasise the need for multiple unique landing pages on a website, even if only to show the maximum site links eligible, such is their importance in today’s paid search auctions.