Most Google Adwords accounts are not fully optimized, costing these businesses lots of money and leads from poorly run campaigns. A quick Google Adwords account audit can help you uncover missed opportunities and lead to higher conversions for your campaigns.
Unfortunately, most businesses neglect their Adwords campaigns once they are started. This neglect not only leads to stagnant growth, it ends up increasing your costs and ultimately leads to an unprofitable campaign.
If you want to run a successful and profitable Adwords campaign, you will need to revisit it on a regular basis. Like most things, your Adwords account needs regular upkeep if you want it to keep performing for you each month.
A regularly scheduled Google Adwords account audit will help your Adwords campaign efficient and profitable every month.
Most business owners don't feel like they don't have the time to go through their Adwords account or may not even know where to begin. We are going to outline a Google Adwords account audit that will only take you about 20 minutes to perform and will ensure you are doing what's needed to run a successful campaign. Plus, you can download your own printable Google Adwords Audit checklist at the end of this article.
What is an Adwords Account Audit?
An Adwords account audit is a step by step process you go through to evaluate the overall effectiveness of your campaigns and to uncover issues and opportunities to increase their effectiveness.
Without a methodical approach, you could be missing critical areas in your account that may be costing you money and costing you leads. An audit will make sure you cover all critical areas and leave you with a simple to-do list of items you need to address.
An Adwords audit should be performed on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on how much time you have to give and how important Google Adwords is to you as an advertising channel. While this audit isn't as comprehensive as a full Adwords account audit, it is a quick way to make sure your Adwords campaigns are running smoothly and efficiently. To get the most out of the audit, make sure you have conversion tracking setup as well as phone call tracking if you are using the call Ad Extension. It is very difficult to make improvements to your campaigns when you do not have a goal to track.
Below is an easy to follow Google Adwords checklist you can follow that will ensure you cover the most important parts of a well run Google Adwords Account. Plus, it'll only take you about 20 minutes to do.
Tip: Google Adwords does not display all metrics by default. As you go through your campaigns, if you do not see a metric you are looking for, click on the “Modify Columns” tab, which is identified by 3 black vertical bars.
Google Adwords Audit Checklist
Make sure your conversions are being recorded. View the conversion actions you set in Adwords (Tools ->Measurement->Conversions) to make sure you are tracking the conversion you want to check they are active and being reported as conversions in Adwords. As you go through the audit checklist, use your conversions as a benchmark on how well your Campaigns, Ad groups, Ads, and Keywords are performing.
If you are tracking phone calls, make sure the call Ad Extension is active in your ads and that they are being recorded in Adwords. As you go through the audit checklist, use your phone call conversions as a benchmark on how well your Campaigns, Ad groups, Ads, and Keywords are performing.
Budgets & Bidding
Check to make sure your budget and ad spend is not limiting your campaign impressions, you can check your Impression Share to see if you are reaching maximum exposure with your budget or if there is an opportunity to reach more people with an increased budget. Check the Ad groups in your campaign to make sure one Ad group isn't hogging the lion's share of the budget.
Check your location targeting to make sure you are targeting the right geographic locations. If you are getting conversions during certain times of the day, use the Ad Scheduling feature under advanced settings to limit your ads to certain times of the day. Check your bidding type, if you are using automated bidding, consider switching to manual CPC bidding. Manual bidding will give you granular control over your keyword bidding so you are not overspending on poorly converting keywords and underbidding on higher converting keywords.
Check to see how your conversions are broken down by device type – computers, mobile phones, and tablets. If you find one device outperforming the others, consider raising your bid for that device. Consider lowering your bid for devices where you have poor conversions.
Ad Extensions can greatly improve your visibility in the SERPS as well as increase conversions. Go through the Ad Extensions options and set up as many as you can. Review your current Ad Extensions and update them as needed.
You should be running at least 3 ads per Ad Group for testing purposes. Check to see how each ad is performing as far as Click Through Rate (CTR) and conversions. Consider taking out the lowest performing ad and replacing it with a new one to test.
Make sure your landing page URL is working correctly. Check your landing page copy to make sure it is in-line with the copy in your ad. Check your landing page on mobile, tablet and computer to make sure it is displaying correctly and your main message and call to action are easy to access.
A low Quality Score can keep your keyword from triggering and cause you to overpay for clicks. Review your Quality Scores and work on improving any QS lower than a 6. If you cannot improve the QS for a keyword and it is not converting, consider removing the keyword as Google deems it a poor fit for your Ad group.
If you are using manual bidding, go through your keyword list and adjust your keyword bids so that they are showing on the first page of results. Check your keywords to see how they have performed over time as far as conversions and raise/lower your bids accordingly.
Search Term Report
Review your search term report to see what people are actually typing in to trigger your ads. Make a list of non-relevant search terms and add them to your negative keyword list. If there are search terms that are converting well, consider adding that keyword to your campaign as an Exact Match Type keyword and increasing the bid on that keyword.
Regularly adding negative keywords will help make your campaigns more efficient and profitable over time. Add the negative keywords you found on your search term report. You can either add them at the campaign level to cover all Ad groups or you can add them to a specific Ad group in your campaign. For common negative keywords, create a negative keyword list so you can easily apply the list to other campaigns.
Change History Report
If more than one person works on your Adwords account, check the Change History report to see what changes others have made to the account. Also, if you notice performance changes in the account, you can use the Change History Report to see what account changes were made at that time to create the performance change.
Adwords Opportunities Section
Check the Adwords Opportunities Section to see recommendations form Google on improving the performance of your campaigns. Take time to review the recommendations and choose the ones you think will be helpful.
Rinse and Repeat
So now you have an easy to use Adwords audit checklist that will only take about 20 minutes to work through. I personally like to go through these on a monthly basis, saving the more intensive Adwords audits for quarterly reviews. By using this checklist on a monthly basis, your Adwords campaigns will get better and better each month. Incremental improvements over time are what makes a high performing Google Adwords campaign.
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