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Finally! How to Setup Adwords Sitelinks Tracking in Google

AdWords Sitelinks Tracking Report

Sitelinks Tracking Report

I’m embarassed to say it really took me way too long to finally decide that I needed to sit down and start adwords sitelinks tracking. I knew that they were awesome, and the CTR’s (Click Through Rates) were typically 10-20% higher than the keyword CTR on average. But which of the sitelinks in AdWords were they clicking? Was one performing better than the other? Which one converts best? Which one has the worst Bounce Rate? I bet most of you out there aren’t tracking them either (That’s considering you are even using them, which you should be). I knew that there had to be a good way & in all fairness, Google should be making it much easier, because this is important stuff. All the searches that I did online were mostly our of date info, since Google keep changing around the Analytics interface. But, I eventually worked out a solution for tracking sitelinks in AdWords, and I’m here to share it with you.

Sitelink - Google Analytics Landing Pages Report
First Step: Adwords sitelinks tracking can only be initiated by manually tagging the sitelink destination URL. You can use whatever tag you’d like, but I would recommend using “sitelink”. So, let’s say your url is (and mine is) http://www.ballisticwebsites.com you’d add /?sitelink= which sets the variable name & the value PPC-Management (note that there are no spaces) to define which sitelink is being tracked, in this instance, “PPC Management”. Set a unique value for each individual sitelink in your account so that you can properly track. If you have the same name on multiple campaigns, I would recommend making them uniquely tagged so that you can properly track. The final result will look like this: http://www.ballisticwebsites.com/?sitelink=PPC-Management.

Once you’ve got them tagged, you’ll want to sit on them for a few days of course, to gather data. Then, jump on over to Google Analytics. Navigate to Content -> Site Content -> Landing Pages Then, in the “Filter” box (it’s the little box on the right side, just between the graph & rows) type “sitelink” & click the magnifying glass.

Adwords Sitelink Tracking Custom Report

Analytics Custom Report Interface

This should filter out everything except the URL’s with the work “sitelink” in the them & now you know that you have your sitelinks tagged properly. You can also go one step further. If you want to get “fancy” (and I recommend it), go to Custom Reporting -> New Custom Report. Add the “Metrics” that you want to track & the “Dimensions” that you want to access & then (And this is critical) Select “Landing Page” under “Filters” and “Regex” from the dropdown, make sure to select “Regex” here![/caption] not “Exact” as this is what makes it work. Then put “sitelink” in that field. When you click “Save” you should see your MAginc Sitelinks report! Feel free to play around with this report & Metrics as much as you like, but do note one annoying little fact: the “Regex” filter automatically defaults back to “Exact” everytime that you edit the report, so if you find all your data gone (Oh NOoo!), just double check that drop-down box.

Adwords Sitelinks Tracking in a Custom Report

Make sure to select “Regex” here!


So, it may not be as easy as we all think that it should be, but it’s certainly not that bad. If we go back up to the first image, this report shows us that sitelink #4 has 100% bounce rate! Clearly there isn’t enough data, yet, to make an informed decision, but at least we know to start checking it out. Setting up Adwords sitelinks tracking give you a lot of visibility into those extremely powerful AdWords extensions & hopefully it will help you choose the best way to use them on your own or clients accounts. If you are already tracking sitelinks, but using a different method to do so, I’d love to here about it!

Kelly Myers

Ballistic Websites is an Internet Marketing Company based in Knoxville, TN. Our Mission is to help small to medium sized businesses leverage the internet to increase revenue, and stay competitive in today's economy

This Post Has One Comment
  1. Great post! I will be implementing this into my accounts asap.
    I’ve only recently started to experiment with Sitelinks and this will help in that regard. Tracking CTR’s in AdWords gives me little info if I cannot break it down into CTR per SiteLink. Conversion and Bounce Rate tracking via Analytics is exactly what I needed.

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