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Creating a PPC Audit Checklist for Google AdWords or Bing Ads

by | Jan 29, 2015


Why is doing a PPC audit of my Google AdWords or Bing account important?

  You want to make sure that you are doing all of the right things in your PPC advertising. One small setting can make a huge difference in whether your campaign is a success or a failure. Plus, it seems like new features are being added almost every time you log into your account. By doing an audit of your account, you will be able to rest assured that you are not wasting money.  

How often should I do an audit of my account?

  You should do a general account review at least once a month and do a thorough audit 2-3 times per year. Taking the time to do a proper audit of your account can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars per year in advertising spend and increase your PPC ROI.  

What should be included in my PPC account audit?


General Account Audits

  Unless you’ve had experience in setting up an account before or you are a certified Google AdWords professional, your last campaign could probably use some work. Now is the time to go back  and adjust your settings based on best practices and everything you’ve learned so far.   Some of the items that you want to check:  
  • Have conversions been setup for the account and tracking code placed on website?

  • Do your campaigns have a clear naming convention for an easy understanding of what product, which network, and/or which location is being targeted?

  • Have you linked your Google Analytics account to your PPC account?

  • Have you created custom bid strategies?

  • Are you using Remarketing?


Campaign Audits

  One of the most important aspects of your account is proper use of campaigns. In most cases, your campaigns should be built around your different products or services. However, this may not always be the case. If you are targeting different countries, you may want to set up campaigns for each one you are targeting in addition to various products or services. Keep in mind that you can create as many campaigns as you want — you don’t have to promote all of your products and services in one campaign.   Some of the items that you want to check:  
  • Are you using the correct network for the campaign?

  • Always separate your Display Network and Search Network into two separate campaigns.

  • Are you targeting the correct locations for your customers?

  • Are you using the best bid type for your goals?

  • Have you added negative keywords to your campaign? Are you using ad extensions?


Ad Group Audits

  This is another important part of your account that you want to make sure you got right. You want to make sure that you are being as granular as you can when grouping your products or services. This  will make a big impact on your Quality Score because you will be providing the most relevant ads to searchers. Having a higher Quality Score will lead to a higher click-through-rate and a lower cost-per-click.   Some items that you want to check:  
  • Do you have more than 20 keywords in any of your ad groups?
  • If so, can you split up those keywords into more granular ad groups?
  • Do your ad groups have clear names to identify which keywords are contained in them?
  • Can any of those ad groups become their own campaign for increased control of budget?


Keyword Audits

  If you were guessing which keywords to use when you created your campaign, you’ll want to  go back and do some more research. By using the keyword tool provided with Google AdWords, you will be able to find new keyword and placement ideas. Make sure you look at the estimated search volume or impressions, and also the estimated cost-per-click.   Depending on the competition level for the keyword, it may not make sense for your campaign. The more time you spend researching the keywords, the better your campaigns will perform, and you may just find some hidden gems.   Some items you will want to check: Are you using the best keyword match type for each keyword? Using the Est. First Page Bid & Est. Top of Page Bid columns, see if your bid makes sense for your goals.   Can you afford the keyword or are there other keywords that are better for your budget? Check the Quality Scores of your keywords. Are they 5/10 or above? If they are lower than 5, can you increase your score through keyword match type, ad relevance, increasing bid or landing page changes? Pause any keywords that are too low or cost too much to reach your goals.  

Ad Audits

  One of the factors Google uses in determining your Quality Score is the relevance and performance of your ads. By writing excellent ad copy and using your ad extensions, you can increase your click-through-rate. Why is this important?   Google awards the hard work you put into your ads by increasing your Quality Score which will help your ads be shown more often in a higher position and cost you less per click. You also want to make sure that your ad copy includes the keyword term that your target audience is using to search. This can easily be done using Google’s Dynamic Keyword Insertion in your ad copy.   Some items that you want to check: Are there any spelling or grammatical issues? Does your ad copy make sense to someone that doesn’t know your product? Are you testing ads for increased performance? Does your ad copy contain a clear call to action? Are you using the proper landing pages for your ads? Check your URLs to make sure they are correct and working.  


Now you have a starting point for your next pay-per-click audit. Keep in mind that these are just some of the basic things to look for when doing an audit. For more info on performing a comprehensive PPC audit, contact us at to find out how our certified Google AdWords professionals can help. ]]>

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