AdWords Enhanced Sitelinks – Update Your Architecture

Google’s recent AdWords Sitelink Extension update is a big one. It seems as if Google updates something in AdWords several times a month. While many updates are nice, they are not all game changers. The most recent update, called Enhanced Sitelinks is a game changer.

You essentially get rewarded with A LOT of SERP real estate if you have closely themed Ad Groups within your campaign and those Ad Groups have ads that are closely related to your Sitelinks. Best practice is to theme everything from top to bottom very closely to each other, and this update will reward that practice.

The problem is, many account managers and SEM professionals do not structure their accounts correctly so they will not be able to use the Enhanced Sitelinks. I have taken over and audited dozens of accounts in my career, and not many of them started out with a good architecture. This latest update will force people to make drastic changes to their accounts. This is all for the better, of course, but it will be quite the undertaking for some SEM managers.

Enhanced Sitelinks is not only a layout update, it’s Google telling you that you better start building your AdWords account architecture in the best way possible. While there isn’t an exact account architecture guideline from Google, they do have some general recommendations for building out your account located in their help documents. This is a good read from a senior member in the AdWords Community. While it is informative, there is a lot left to the imagination.

Let’s Paint a Picture, by Numbers
The main idea of account architecture is to keep topics in tightly themed campaigns, groups, keyword sets, and ads. Think of an account as a dresser. You, the account (dresser) manager, should be very OCD about how you organize your clothes.

  1. Keep the socks in one drawer, shirts in another, and pants in another drawer. Those are your Campaigns.
  2. Now, inside of your sock drawer you also have rows of socks. These rows are variations of dress socks, gym socks, and casual socks. Those are your Ad Groups.
  3. Inside the rows are the individual socks, each pair made of a similar thread. The individual socks are your Keywords.
  4. On the outside of your drawer you have large labels. The labels are in-line with the rows of socks so you know what you’ll see when you open the drawer. The labels are your Ads.
  5. Under the labels on the drawer, you also have a few descriptive words written. Best Work Socks, Use These for the Gym, Very White Casual Socks. This is your Sitelink Extension.


Hopefully that helps explain AdWords account architecture to you. That was beginning to feel a bit like Memento with all of the labels.  The key is to keep things organized, properly labeled, and related to each other.

If your ads within the Ad Groups are related to your Sitelinks, your sitelinks will essentially turn into your other ads. Easier shown than explained:

adwords enhanced sitelinks

AdWords Enhanced Sitelinks


The update will be interesting to see in action and analyze if it has any impact on CTR. The reason Google updates ad layout is to increase CTR, so I’m guessing that we should see a good impact on performance. If CTR and total clicks decrease, we will see the Enhanced Sitelinks go away, and this post will be history!

Google official blog post.

Happy Bidding.