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Let’s talk about AdWords extensions.

First, what they do. Google’s AdWords allows you to create extensions on your ads that provide a searcher more information than they might otherwise get.

Searchers like them, even if they don’t know what they are, because they provide more content; more information they can use to make decisions. And businesses like them, not only because they provide information that can drive viewers to your site, but because they take up real estate on the search page. Extensions to your AdWords can push your competitors’ organic search results farther down the page.

Extensions are likely to improve your CTR — click-through rate — which is the number of clicks your ad gets divided by how many times it showed up. A high CTR is important because Google rewards relevance. The higher your CTR, the lower your cost per click.

The beauty of AdWords Extensions is Google doesn’t charge an additional fee for them. So if you’d like to increase clicks, lower your CPC and push your competitors down the page … get started! Here are the types.

Location

Tie your Google Maps listing into your AdWords account, and when someone near your location is searching for a business like yours, your search engine result will include your address. If the user clicks on the address, they get turn-by-turn directions to your business. Location can be used for search listings, display and banner ads, even YouTube ads. And it’s all linked through Google My Business, so as long as you have a My Business account with your address listed and verified, that address will show up.

Call out

You can call out certain aspects of your business: “We offer 10 percent off,” “We do better than the competition,” “Get free shipping.” This is one of the easiest extensions to set up, so it’s one of the most common. Just remember that you only get 25 characters, and that includes spaces. You should actually keep the call out to 18 characters or fewer to avoid Google cutting it short.

Sitelinks

Sitelinks allow you to connect users with different parts of your website. If you run a motorcycle repair shop and somebody visits your shop through that listing, maybe what they’re really looking for is motorcycle parts. Sitelinks are line links that let you connect customers directly with particular pages on your site. Without that, you might lose them. But don’t overload them, either. Typically, keep them between 2 and 6, then optimize and update off those. Sitelinks will also help push your search competitors down the page.

Call extension

This one is really underutilized, and that’s crazy — particularly for mobile device ads. On desktops and tablets the call extension just shows your phone number. But for ads on a mobile phone it shows the number and a little piece of text that says “call.” All the viewer needs to do to get in touch with you right away is touch that text, and their phone dials your number. The best thing about the call extension is Google allows you to add in your number, they’ll give you a forwarding number at no cost, and we can then use the number to generate insight about the calls.

Structured snippets

These are a great way to highlight different areas of your business. They’re similar to call outs, but they let you break your business down for a potential customer. You can highlight brands, types of services, anything you offer.

Message extension

This one is fairly new, and I love it. You add a phone number where you can be reached by text to your Google Business page. You can even set up a default message like, “Yes, I’d love a free estimate on house cleaning,” and customers will be able to text you directly from their search page where your business shows up. If you insist that customers complete a form to contact you, you’re losing customers who might otherwise text you without a second thought.

Price extension

If you have great prices, highlight them. You can provide links specifically to products or services that people are interested in. Or, if you are outside a viewer’s price range, they’ll know it immediately and won’t click your ad, costing you money through pay-per-click. The price extension drives one of the highest click-through rates of all the AdWords Extensions.

Promotion extensions

You can have sales and special offers show up in your search results. Google allows these only in connection with certain occasions — New Year, Valentine’s Day, other holidays — so you have to abide by Google’s calendar. But you can specify a start and end date and the extension will run your promotion automatically.

App extension

This one doesn’t apply to everyone, but if your business has an app, you can highlight it in AdWords and optimize toward app installs. It drives users to the app store description where they can download your app. You’re charged when someone clicks the app store link, not when the app is downloaded. The reason you want to use this one if you can is because downloading your app opens two-way communication between you and a customer. You’ll be able to send free push notifications about the same kinds of things you would have to pay for in an ad, and you won’t have to rely on someone searching for you to be able to offer them better service through search results.

Those are all the Google AdWords Extensions. I strongly urge you to audit what extensions you’re using now, and which ones you can add to drive up that CTR. Don’t forget — they’re free!

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