Digital Vidya has partnered with Google Partners to deliver training in Google Adwords, Google Analytics and Mobile Marketing through Google Hangouts On Air. This blog post covers the Google Hangouts On Air: Doing PPC Account Audit conducted by Google Regional Lead Trainer Nick Bathla and host Vikas Wadhva.

What Is PPC Audit?

PPC Audit is to get deeper insights into your Adwords account to see if the structure of your account is good, the network type is apt, performance of every component like keywords, ad extensions, quality score, ads and more is just right to give you conversions and ROI.

Why Should I Audit?

  • The most well-structured and well-defined account could miss something.
  • Customer behavior keeps on changing based on interests and habits.
  • Competitors change their strategies.
  • Search terms can change over a week’s time.
  • Even though you’re getting great conversions, PPC audits should be done to keep a track of your performance.

PPC Audit

The audit should be done to:

  • Deep dive into your account and check for errors.
  • Observe every component for room for improvement.
  • Identify gaps and analyze data.
  • Take corrective actions and improve performance.
  • Not to stick to a non-performing campaign.

Taking third-party opinion is always helpful.

Comparing data within a range of last three months (every quarter) to a set of data of another quarter is a good idea. If you are in a business which has annual performance, an annual comparison is recommended. If you are in a business that is seasonal, comparing data on a month-to-month basis is important.

Why Should I Audit?

Note: It is recommended to not keep on investing in campaigns and expect ROI. It is extremely important to invest in PPC audits to check for improvements and make changes that will lead to higher ROI.

What Is The Recommended Frequency Of Audits?

  • Audits should be done at regular intervals that could be weekly, fortnightly, quarterly or monthly.
  • For smaller businesses where budget is low, a monthly audit is good. For bigger businesses where accounts are more complex and a great number of campaigns, ad groups, ads, higher budgets, offers and promotions are involved audits should be more frequent like say weekly.
  • During performance issues audits should be done at regular intervals till your campaigns start yielding a positive ROI.
  • Whenever same set of people are managing a particular account for long, taking third-party opinions may spot valuable changes.

PPC Audit Components With Checklist

After identifying the date range of your audit, check the following:

 The Settings Tab
  • Devices Targeted: Whichever devices are giving maximum conversions should get the major share of the budget. Devices giving a low CTR, having high CPC and lesser impressions should be removed.
  • Ad Delivery: If you’re having a small budget it is good to use the Standard Delivery option to spread your budget throughout the day. With accelerated delivery Google shows ads more frequently and exhausts your budget quickly. A/B testing should be done with delivery methods to see which is giving results.
  • Ad Rotation: Whichever ad rotation type is giving good ROI, preference should be given to it.
  • Location Settings: Check for the location that is getting you better conversions. Locations where your ads are performing should be allocated a higher budget share and non-performing locations, a lower budget share. In case your location can’t be changed, you need to change your ad copy, keyword match types and various such factors.
  • Language Targeting: If you have websites in more than one language, running an A/B testing will help find which is performing better and further optimizing the lesser performing one.
  • Ad Scheduling: You can see which days of the week or hours of the day your ads are performing better and run campaigns accordingly. You can have a separate campaign for night hours.

Whenever you’re starting fresh, running A/B test campaigns with different settings can tell you which settings will perform better.

The Account Structure
Campaign Structure

It is strongly recommended that your campaign structure is closely related to your website structure, and divided into proper categories and sub categories. This helps in achieving improved quality score and higher ROI.

Adwords Account Structure Audit

Checks:

  • Does the naming structure make sense and is it easily understandable?
  • Do ad groups have unique names which explain the contents?
  • Are campaigns ‘search network only’, ‘display network only’ or ‘search network with display select’?
  • Are interest and category broken down in their own campaigns?
  • Does the overall account structure make sense?

Checkpoints:

  • The campaign structure should be hierarchical and well-designed (including names) for anyone to understand the structure easily and know what your website is about.
  • The targeting should be correct.
  • Google gives a higher quality score to a good account structure which in turn gets you a higher ROI.
  • Google recommends A/B testing at least three ad copies per ad group to see which ones are working better.
Ad Groups

Checks:

  • Are the ad groups very general?
  • Do they include sub-categories?
  • How many keywords and ads are there in each?

Checkpoints:

  • Ad groups should be specific to a particular category or sub-category of products.
  • A maximum of 20 keywords per ad group and three ads per keyword is a good practice.
  • With a handful of keywords it is easy to check the performance of every keyword and ad copy.
Keywords

Checks:

  • How many broad, phrase or exact match keywords are being used?
  • Are bids too high or too low to get clicks, conversions and ROI?

Checkpoints:

  • In case of broad match keywords, relevant negative keywords must be used.
  • Negative keywords should be implemented first at the account level. If they’re working well, you can implement them on the campaign and ad group level.
  • Run A/B testing with various match types to know which are giving maximum conversions.
  • Look into the Search Term Reports and use relevant search terms as keywords with proper match types.
Ads

Checks:

  • Are ads relevant to the ad group structure and landing page?
  • Are they meaningful?
  • Are they delivering a strong message and motivating the user to click?
  • Are they using trademark and registered symbol to their advantage?
  • Is A/B testing being done regularly for all ad copies?

Google Ads Audit

Checkpoints:

  • Each keyword must have a corresponding ad. One keyword can have more than one ads linked to it.
  • Check for proper spellings, punctuation and grammar.
  • Remove ads with expired offers.
  • Shift budget from non-performing ads to performing ads and remove non-performing ads.
Quality Score

From reports, diagnose the following components of quality score:

  • Landing page relevancy
  • Ad copy relevancy
  • Click-through-rate

Checks:

  • Is the structure of account, campaigns and ad groups as said above?
  • Are keywords and ad copies relevant?
  • Is the ad copy tailored to keywords?
  • Is the landing page closely related and in line with ad groups and keywords?

Quality Score Audit

Checkpoints:

  • The ad copy text must be in sync with the keywords and landing pages (text, form fill-up, products and services).
  • Contents of the landing page should be closely related to products, services, offers mentioned in the ad copy.
  • Landing pages should be closely in line with the keywords – specific landing pages for a few specific keywords.
  • Account structure should be scanned to achieve a high quality score.
  • Ad copy relevancy and landing page relevancy together with the keyword leads to a great quality score. It affects the ad rank and CPC.
Landing Pages

Checks:

  • Is the landing page loading quickly?
  • Are the following in place: slow redirects, multiple redirects, slow server response, large page size?
  • Is the landing page device-responsive?
  • Is it compatible with all browsers?

Checkpoints:

  • Page Speed Insights Tool can be used to check page load time.
  • Slow redirects, multiple redirects, server responses and page sizes should be checked.
  • Landing pages should work well across all browsers and all devices including laptops, mobiles and tablets.
Ad Extensions

Checks:

  • Is the business making effective use of ad extensions?
  • Are sitelink extensions leading users to relevant landing pages?

Checkpoints:

  • At least four related sitelink extensions should be created and aligned with similar ad group.
  • For a brick and mortar business location extension should be used.
  • For a business that captures leads through inbound calls, call extension should be used.
  • PLA ads should be used for e-commerce websites.

Ad extensions play an important role in improving CTR and quality score and reduce CPC.

Google Display Network

Checks:

  • Are all placements running automatically?
  • Are some placements in managed placements section?
  • Are managed placements hitting the goal?
  • Are there auto placements that need to be managed?
  • Are interest and topic targeting campaigns running?
  • Which ad formats are being used?

Display Network Audit

Checkpoints:

  • Creatives should be in sync with the landing pages.
  • Ads should be of various sizes to fit all placements.
  • Exclude non-performing placements.
Remarketing

Remarketing is an interesting way to target your audience who visited your website.

Checks:

  • Is the remarketing campaign being implemented?
  • Is an Audience List being created in the Shared Library of your Google Adwords account?
  • Can you find cookies code in the website’s code?

Checkpoints:

  • All lists should be collecting members.
  • An audience set up for each abandonment level is important.
Google Analytics Account

Google Analytics account should be set up for the website.

Checks:

  • Is your Google Analytics linked to the Google Adwords account?
  • Are conversion goals and e-commerce (for e-commerce website) options enabled?

Google Analytics PPC Audit

Checkpoints:

  • Google Adwords account should be very well-connected to Google Analytics.
  • Each of the Google Analytics metrics like new visitors, new sessions, average time on website, average number of pages per session and bounce rate should be checked for performance.

On Achieving Results Of PPC Audit

  • Compile a list of what needs attention and improvement.
  • Prioritize what needs to be done first based on specific issues and what the business demands.

Important:

Changes and improvements should never be done in bulk. They should be done in phases, a few at a time for easy evaluation of performance.

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