The Sitelinks Extension in Google AdWords has been around for almost two years now. In that time, it’s generated great results and advertisers are reaping the benefits across the board. But one aspect of sitelinks that could stand some improvement is tracking and reporting. The question: How do I track individual sitelinks in Google Adwords? The answer: You don’t.
You track them in Google Analytics.
And its pretty simple, too.
It just takes a little tracking set up AdWords and some filtering in Analytics.
The AdWords Part:
When creating your set of Sitelinks, add this piece of tracking onto the end of your destination URL:
?sitelink=”descriptor” (Or &sitelink=descriptor if this is not the first tag you have on your URL.)
Give each of your URLs a distinct descriptor so you can easily tell them apart once you’re in Analytics. Usually something resembling the Link Text works well. (Note: If you actually chose Page 1, Page 2, etc as you’re descriptors, go back and try again.)
The Analytics Part:
Now that your Sitelinks are tagged, they’ll begin sending data to your analytics account. The data will show up in the Content portion of Analytics mixed in with the rest of your landing pages. Simply search for “sitelink” and your pages will filter in.
But lets take this a bit further, and really make your data sing. Say you only want in-depth data about Sitelinks, and you want it in one place. Now it’s time for custom reports.
On the create custom report page, skip down to the portion that’s labeled Filters. Where it says ‘+add dimension’, select ‘Content’, then ‘Landing Page’.
Change ‘Exact’ to ‘Regex’ and in the blank field, type “sitelink”. The ‘Regex’ setting tells Analytics that you want to include any landing page with the phrase you entered, in this case “sitelink”. If you want only certain sitelinks, you can keep the filter set for ‘Exact’ and type in the full tracking code found in the URLs you want. (ex: ?sitelink=pg1)
For the Metric Groups and Dimension Drilldowns, you can select which ever values you like/are most valuable to your company. My personal setup has one tab dedicated to conversions and another to visitor behavior. I place ‘Landing Page’ as the top dimension since I’m centering my data around the sitelink URLs. From there, assuming you have your Analytics account linked to your AdWords account, you can select any dimension as a drilldown. (If you do not have your AdWords account linked to your Analytics account, the dimension drilldowns will not function properly. Here’s how to link your accounts.)
On the Conversions tab, I have the number of goal completions and the goal conversion rate for all of my conversions. This allows me see which sitelinks are driving the different kinds of conversions and at what rate.
On the second tab, I have the same Dimension Drilldowns but my Metric Groups are oriented to visitor behavior.
I can get an idea of the amount of traffic to each of the different sitelinks and how the users are reacting with the content found there. It’s worth nothing that none of these metrics are a true substitute for tracking clicks on individual sitelinks since AdWords and Analytics track users differently: visits ≠ clicks.
I hope this helps you get a better grasp on how your sitelinks are performing. Please feel free to share any feedback, successes, failures, or just say hello!