Your 6 Step AdWords Audit

By Brad Girtz, 19th November 2017

Your Google AdWords account should be like a great dog. You give it money and it fetches you customers. Unfortunately, some AdWords Accounts are more similar to a dog that tips over the bins and hides all of your left shoes. These accounts waste money while providing little to no reward. So how do you figure out if your account is fetching your slippers or plotting to kill the postman?

Tracking & Remarketing

The first step is to check for tracking and remarketing. If you don’t know what these are here is a quick explanation. Tracking uses cookies to help you understand your customers behaviours. When setup properly tracking allows you to see what channels are responsible for sales as well as how customers interact with your site. Remarketing is the process of using your tracking to show ads to people who have already interacted in some way with your site.

Let’s start with tracking. If you are running an AdWords campaign tracking is essential because it shows you which keywords, ads, ad groups and campaigns are making your sales. You should have a detailed event tracking plan in place. This means you know exactly how much you are spending and making through AdWords and allows you to quickly adjust to any changing factors.

Remarketing dovetails nicely with tracking. It allows you to target people who have already completed an action or actions on your site. This means you can show ads to people based on their previous visits which helps to increase your likelihood of converting them into a paying customer.

Negative Keywords & Search Queries

The next area to examine is negative keywords and search queries. You should regularly be checking your search queries and adding appropriate negative keywords to steer your AdWords spend. For example, if you are selling dog toys and you see the search query “dog toy animated GIFs” you can add the negative keyword “GIF”. You should also be using negative keyword lists to streamline the process. If your campaigns are getting lots of irrelevant searches or you have very few negative keywords it could be a sign your account needs some attention.

A good rule of thumb is to check your search queries every few days when you start a new campaign and then once you have built up a good negative keyword list check your search queries each month. This is also helpful because you can see how your customers are searching. That can tell you a lot about what people are looking for and how they go about searching.

Ads & Extensions

Another crucial factor in your AdWords audit are the ads and their extensions. Most guides will tell you your ads should be well written, include calls to action and feature USPs. What many people forget is that once your ads are written you are not done. You should be looking at your ads regularly and creating new ads based on what you learn. Some ads may seem well written but they simply do not perform well. So get rid of them and use the ads that are working as a template to create new adverts. This job never ends. You should always be striving for a better ad.
One way to immediately boost your ads effectiveness is to use extensions. These are the extra links and text you see under ads usually in the top 3  or 4 positions on Google. Google encourages people to use them and they give you more space to advertise your product or service. Use any extension you think can bring your ads value.

Quality Scores

Google gives you a quality score for a reason. If your keywords have quality scores of 3 or under you need to take action. Poor quality scores can make your ads less competitive, increase your costs and lower your CTR. So when you have a keyword that is not performing you need to find out why. Google provides a score for expected click through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience. Use this to find out where your problems are and fix them. If they cannot be fixed then get rid of the keyword. You would not keep a dog that bit you each morning so why are you keeping a keyword that is costing you money. If you want to learn more about quality score check out this information from Google.

Location & time scheduling

Your ads should be showing where and when you need them. Look at your ad schedule and geographic targeting. If you want people to call your business but your phones are only manned during business hours you should not be advertising any other times. If you only serve customers in one town you had better not be advertising outside of that area.

Another factor to consider is your budget. If you are always hitting your daily budget you should look at the times where you get the most clicks or where your clicks are most likely to convert. Just run your ads during these times. That way your budget is focused where it can do the most good. You also need to look at trends and seasonality. If people are less likely to convert on a certain day you can just turn your ads off then. If one time of year is your slow season you can turn your ads off to save money or increase budgets to try to entice more new business.

Account structure

The final factor to consider in your AdWords audit is account structure. A well organised account will perform better and it allows you to easily understand your data. You should have campaigns that break down your products or services into broad categories. Then your ad groups should focus on specific types or aspects of a product. Each ad group should have a small number of keywords that are all focused around a similar product. If you try to cram too much into a single campaign or ad group it won’t perform well and you will have no idea why. So keep it organised and focused.

If you run your own audit and find problems with your AdWords, Plug & Play can help. Our experts are great at understanding your business and helping you improve your AdWords performance. We offer everything from audits to full scale rebuilds and management. Call us today on 01483 494 864 to learn more.