Google Audit Checklist. Explanation of Concepts

This is a supplementary article intended to compliment the Adwords Audit spreadsheet document. To get the spreadsheet document, you can sign up here —->>

Account and Campaign Settings

  1. Device Optimization: Bidding should be adjusted based on the device. If mobile devices are showing a higher cost per conversion or cpc relative to desktop,then you want to adjust your bids downward. If desktop is getting alot of conversions then consider adjusting your bidding upwards so you can receive more conversions
  2. Day and Hour Optimization: Similar to devices, you want to reduce your bidding during days or hours when conversions are not occuring. And consider paying more for certain days or hours where you are getting conversions
  3. Demographic Optimization: Similar to the above, you can optimize your bidding strategy by gender and age range for each campaign
  4. Search and Display Network Partners: In most cases, you want to opt out of Display Network as it will only increase your cost with little return
  5. Conversion Tracking: You should always implement conversion code tracking when doing a lead generation or ecommerce campaign. Typical conversions that are tracked include the sale of a product, if a call was made, and if a contact form was submitted. The lack of conversion tracking makes it extremely difficult to understand what or how to optimize
  6. Geographic Targeting: Make sure to adjust your geographic targeting based on the nature of your business. You can target by zipcode or radius depending on how granular you wish to be with your campaign
  7. Campaign and Adgroup Theming: There should be a theme to your campaigns and adgroups. Similar keywords should be in the same adgroup. You can also match similar keywords and match type in one adgroup while the same exact keywords but a different match type can go into another adgroup.
  8. Proper Bidding Strategy: There is more to Adwords than just Manual CPC. There are half a dozen bidding strategies such as enhanced CPC, Target CPA, Target ROAS, and Target impression share. Utilizing the correct bidding strategy will dramatically impact your objectives. Conversely, using the wrong one can tank your campaigns.
  9. Analytics and Adwords Linking: Both Google Analytics and Google Ads should be linked together otherwise it’s difficult to get proper and reliable data.
  10. Remarketing is setup. Even if you don’t intend to immediately engage in remarketing, it’s best to have this set up from the launch of a campaign. This allows the account to collect data on your visitors. When you are ready to remarket to your visitors, the data will already be available for you.

Adgroup Structure

  1. Budget allocation for adgroups: You want to make sure your best performing adgroups within a campaign is getting enough of the campaign budget in order to perform. You may need to break out your adgroup into a new campaign so that other under performing adgroups within the same campaign aren’t cannibalizing adspend that should be going to top performing adgroups.
  2. Adgroups are structured thematically. Keywords are grouped into proper themed adgroups. A dental practice might have one adgroup consisting of teeth cleaning and teeth cleansing. And then a second adgroup would have keywords such as invisible braces, invisalign and clear braces. Keywords from both adgroups should not be in the same adgroup.

Keywords

  1. Negative Keywords: It’s important that new campaigns are pro actively managed by ensuring negative keywords are added to your list at both the campaign and adgroup level. Lack of proactive management with negative keywords will only drive your cost up. Go through the Search Query Report to look for poor performing keywords
  2. Add good Keywords: Look through the search query report to find queries that are producing positive results for your campaign. These search queries should be added to the appropriate adgroup with the correct match type.
  3. Avoid broad match keywords: Broad keywords are good if you are performing discovery and want to understand which keywords will perform for you. But in many cases, you want to avoid heavy reliance of broad matching keywords as it will significantly drive up the ad spend. Phrase, exact and modified broad match types are better tactics when it comes to keyword grouping and optimization.
  4. Keywords should get enough impressions: Sometimes keywords will falloff the first page. This means the cpc isn’t high enough. Raising the cpc will keep it on the first page and ultimately generate more impressions.

Ad Creatives

  1. Minimum of 2 ads per adgroup. A/B testing should always be done for ads and at the minimum, you should have 2 ads running simultaneously. Campaigns that generate alot of traffic can get away with 3 or 4 ads running concurrently. Test elements such as the description, headline, and url. Make sure that you only change one element at a time so that you know what element is creating success or failure for you.
  2. Make use of call to actions: CTAs such as “make an appointment”, “call today”, or “download now” have historically shown to improve the CTR of an ad. Placement of the CTA will also affect CTR. Sometimes it’s best to have it in the description and other times, it’s best to be in the headline. You won’t know until you test.
  3. Make use of ad extensions: Extensions are another great way to improve the CTR of an ad. Sitelinks, call, and message extensions are just 3 of nearly a dozen extensions available to you depending on your campaign goal. And as always, don’t be afraid to test extensions to see what performs best.
  4. Keywords should be in the ad: Including the keywords in your ad will improve the quality score of the keywords which reduces your cost per click and ultimately drives down the cost per lead or cost per sale. This is because Google will think the ad is more relevant when it sees the keyword is also found in the ad copy.
  5. Keywords aligned with ad creatives: Ideally, bidded keywords should be in your ads otherwise this may reduce your quality score which ultimately increases your cost per click. This also affects how frequent your ads may be seen because it signals to Google that it may not be as relevant.

Landing Page Design

  1. Properly functioning contact forms. Not only should the contact form work (you’d be surprised as to how many don’t function properly), they should only have the minimum number of fields needed for you. All marketing data has shown that the more fields a form has, the less likely a visitor will fill it out. This results in a lower conversion rate which ultimately affects your cost per lead.
  2. Thank you page should have conversion tracking code. Once a prospect fills out the form, it should redirect them to a thank you page that has the Google Ads conversion tracking code. I’ve audited enough campaigns to know that the lack of an embedded tracking code is a common mistake amongst novices.
  3. Social proof should be used. Positive reviews and endorsements are forms of social proof and using them has shown to improve conversion and lead flow.
  4. Call To Action implementation. CTAs should be clearly labeled on the page and in a very visible area of the page. Positioning, wording, and font size and color of a CTA will affect your conversion rate. So you will need to do alot of testing before you will arrive at an optimum level of performance for your CTA and landing page.
  5. Effective copywriting. Great landing page copywriting is an art and science. This can be topic unto itself and it’s difficult to explain all of the elements needed to positively impact a landing page in a short paragraph here. However, headlines, main copy, reviews, and length of copy will all affect the conversion rate performance of your landing page.

 

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