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The Ultimate PPC Audit Guide Checklist For Your Google Ads

Sam Carr

Sam Carr

August 8th, 2019

Sam Carr is a content marketer at PPC Protect with 10 years of digital marketing experience. With a keen interest in ad fraud, Sam shares all his insights on the PPC Protect blog.

google invalid clicks report

When it comes to running PPC campaigns, ensuring you get the most out of every cent should be your highest priority. With some keywords costing upwards of $10 per click, doing everything to improve your ROI is crucial.

No matter if you’re running your own PPC campaigns, or managing some for a client, doing a regular PPC audit and review is a surefire way to maximize ad spend.

To help ensure you are getting the most out of your paid ads, we’ve put together a step by step guide on what you should be checking regularly. Within this PPC audit guide, we’ll cover everything you should be reviewing within your campaigns to ensure you haven’t accidentally forgotten to optimize something. From keyword match types to geo-targeting and more, we’ve got everything that should be on your audit checklist.

So grab yourself a beverage and let’s take a dive into auditing that PPC campaign you’ve been putting off for the last month!

Ensure Your Data Is Correct

ppc audit data

The first and most important thing you need to check before you get into the meat of the PPC audit is that the data in your analytics is correct. Having the wrong data can often lead to bad decisions and the under or over-optimization of your PPC campaign. This, in turn, will have a negative effect on the overall effectiveness of your campaign.

Ensuring your data is correct means checking to make sure nothing silly has happened, like running paid ads to 404 or broken pages and wasting your budget (doh!). There’s no point in diving into your data and analytics, only to find out your landing pages have been broken for the last week.

Other things to check include the page load speed of your website, and that any registration or signup forms are working. Everything might look perfect on your landing page, but if the registration form is broken, then you’ll never get conversions no matter how much you optimise your campaign!

One of the best ways to ensure you have the correct data to work with is to use a 3rd party tracking service. By installing a simple tracking template, you can collect important additional data from your campaign that you won’t be able to see in Google’s analytics. This extra data will allow you to make even more decisions to improve your campaign and verify that all your landing pages are working as intended.

Review Your Campaign Settings

Once you are sure you have the right data and you are on the correct account (it happens!), it’s time to start reviewing your campaign settings. This involves going through your account and reviewing all of the keywords you are targeting as well as their individual settings and bids.

Depending on how long ago you set up a campaign, it might also be worthwhile to do some competitor analysis to see if there are any new keywords you could be targeting. There are many paid tools to do this, but you can easily make do with Google’s free keyword planner tool, which will allow you to search via a specific site.

The next step is to ensure the geographic targeting is set up correctly and that you’re targeting the most relevant countries or cities that are likely to convert. If you’ve had a look through your data and noticed your highest conversion rate in London, then it might be an idea to focus your efforts on that city. Why target England when you can drill down even further and just target London? This will ensure that all your precious monthly ad spend actually goes to displaying ads that are much more likely to convert.

Review Ad Group Relevancy

With many different keywords out there, it’s only a matter of time before you start to target some that don’t match your ads or landing page. When this happens, your relevancy and quality score can be severely affected which results in higher costs for your campaign.

Luckily, Google provides a warning when keyword relevancy is below average and action is required. When reviewing your PPC campaign, you should be on the lookout for any keywords that have below-average relevancy.

These keywords should be added to their own ad group and the adverts and landing pages changed accordingly. These changes will result in improved relevancy for the target keywords which will decrease the average post per click for your campaign.

Inspect Your Keyword Match Types

keyword match types

Checking the keyword match type of your individual keywords is another crucial step in the audit which can often help you get the most out of your budget. By default, Google will add keywords from the keyword planner as “broad match” which isn’t always a good idea.

Sometimes it’s much better to run phrase or exact match keywords as they deliver more relevant users. If you have advanced tracking set up, then you should be able to see exactly what keywords people are searching for when they click on your ads. If you don’t have these top converting keywords set up as exact match type, then it’s probably a good idea to do so.

Just as you are examining the keywords you want to appear for, you should also be inspecting the keywords you don’t want to show up for. This means crawling through your analytics data to see if there are any obvious keywords you want to avoid or have a low conversion rate. Usually, any keywords with the word “free” in them might be a good starting point.

When a keyword has the word free in them it usually means the user isn’t willing to spend money. So why would you spend several dollars trying to get them to buy your product or service? These “bad” keywords can be added to your negative keywords list to ensure your ads don’t appear for them in the future.

Check Your Landing Pages

ppc landing pages

Although you checked your landing pages to ensure they were working and functional at the start of the PPC audit. It’s also a good idea to ensure they are relevant to the keywords you are targeting. The relevancy of your landing page can have a big impact on your campaign’s “quality score” which in turn, decides how much extra or less you pay per click. Point ads to a landing page that is irrelevant will increase the amount you pay per click. So by ensuring your landing page is relevant will often result in savings and a lower average CPC.

Whether this means creating a whole bunch of new landing pages of changing existing ones, having a good quality score should always be the priority. If you can’t be bothered to optimize your PPC landing pages or make more, then maybe this PPC management isn’t for you.

Beware Of Fraudulent Clicks

If you’ve noticed a strange spike in clicks or costs, then there’s a chance you could be a victim of click fraud.

No matter what industry you are in, there are plenty of fraudsters and competitors out there that will cause havoc to your PPC campaign. Even a handful of fraudulent clicks a month can cost you a lot of money that you probably don’t even realize you are losing.

Protect your ads from these fraudsters with our advanced click fraud detection technology. With installation only taking a few minutes, you could be saving yourself a significant amount of your monthly budget that could be spent on legitimate clicks.

Sign up for a free 14-day trial below to see how much you could save with PPC Protect.

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