Google recently changed their policy on Sitelinks. For those of you who are new to Sitelinks, this Adwords feature uses ad extensions to display links below the text ad. Searchers can use these Sitelinks to quickly access specific pages on your website. Typically, this helps increase click through rates and conversions.
Here is an example of how Sitelinks appear in search results.
Google has always had a Sitelinks policy. They are now choosing to enforce it. Well at least, they are still getting around to it. The policy states that Sitelinks must direct users to different pages within your website. Lately, Google has noticed that many advertisers are using Sitelinks to direct users to the same page or content. The real intent of Sitelinks is to aid users in exploring different pages or content within your site.
Google feels that routing users to duplicate pages creates a negative user experience. Because of this, Google will start to enforce this existing policy. Going forward, Google will now require that all Sitelinks direct users to a unique page within the site with different content. Google will now inspect each Sitelink and corresponding page that is served via the ad extensions. The Google system will confirm that Sitelinks meet the policy standards. If the Sitelinks don’t adhere to the policy, Google will restrict the offending ad extensions from appearing in results. Users who are affected by this will likely notice a decrease in CTR and conversions.
The good news is, Google understands it will take time for advertisers to clean this up. Because of this,Google will delay a more proactive enforcement. The length of time on this delay is unknown. Google recommends cleaning up your Sitelinks in the very near future to avoid any interruptions with your PPC campaigns.