Why you should audit your Google Adwords
An audit of your AdWords account consists of checking the optimisation of your AdWords account. Maybe you’re putting a lot of effort into areas that don’t pay off that much.
Conversely, it is possible that your strategy or your site presents hidden flaws that handicap you on a daily basis.
There are a lot of automated tools that allow you to clear great “health” indicators from your account. These are effective but very general, they diagnose all AdWords accounts on the same basis and have no context element.
They will not take into account your objectives or your past: this is why you must carry out your own audit by following our instructions!
For a good audit, the 3 things to pay attention to are:
1. Identify the points to be audited and measure the improvements you can make
2. Evaluate and note the current state of each point that you will audit
3. List all the aspects that need to be improved for each of the points mentioned above
Do not put your hands in the mud immediately during your audit: You are there to go around ALL the important elements and note the possible improvements. The goal is to get around the whole thing, without spreading out in improvement.
Why do an audit of your AdWords account?
In the case where you take control of a new AdWords account (whether it belongs to a client or a subcontractor) as in the case where you decide to optimise your own account, the process is vital. This will let you know where you are before you invest time and money.
Even in the case of an account that you already have well in hand (even already audited before), it is beneficial to immerse yourself in it: With hindsight and experience of the campaigns already developed, you will be able to bring an additional setting level.
By doing your audit correctly, you will be able to:
Identify areas of waste
Improve your management process
Identify ideas from the analysis of your account (in hindsight). You can apply it to other accounts … Other channels.
Confirm or deny your intuitions (and become a better AdWords specialist!)
To get to the point, let’s now talk about the famous audit methodology! The latter will ask you to question everything you have done previously (or what your client has done, much easier) to look at it with a new eye and assess its effectiveness.
Google AdWords audit
First step: Review your goals
Before you even touch the keyboard, ask yourself: What are my goals? What end goals do I have for this site / client and how can AdWords help me?
Once you know what to focus on, move on to conversion goals: if you know what results you want to achieve, that will determine a lot in the audit to follow.
The questions to ask are:
What are your conversion goals for the business?
What are your conversion goals in AdWords?
Are the objectives well compatible?
Can you track results beyond AdWords (leads, sales or traffic)?
Has your target audience or set of personas changed?
When you have clarified all of these questions, you are able to know what you want from your AdWords account. And there, you can get your hands dirty by having all the elements in hand.
Step two: Review the account structure
Having a good organisation in your campaigns can considerably reduce the time necessary to manage your campaigns and to obtain better information for your decision-making. Among the many imaginable ways to organise your campaigns and ad groups, here are a few.
Organise them by:
Range of services
Subject – type of application
As you can imagine, there is no “right” way to organise your account. The goal of the game is to leave you as much leeway on operational details like the auction, budget, announcements, etc.
The different points of the structure of your account to be evaluated are:
1st – Do your campaigns work with different levels of settings (geographic targeting, bid levels, day-parting …)
2nd – Are the campaigns a good summary of the ad groups they contain?
3rd – Are the campaigns easy to compare? Is it easy to balance the budget between each of them?
Step Three: Setting Up the Account and Ads
If the basic configuration of a campaign is quickly done, we often need to come back to it to adjust certain sliders according to experience and hindsight. Before going on the hunt for optimisation and performance.
Here are some specific things to see:
Is your geographic targeting appropriate? How accurate is it?
Do you see countries or regions in the “Locations” tab that you didn’t want to target?
Is device targeting appropriate for your expectations?
Do your advanced geolocation settings conform to what you want to reach your audience?
Are your bidding, budget and ad strategies meeting your expectations?
Is your dayparting effective? Does it return the expected results?
Do you use “dynamic search” ads?
If so, are you using them for the right reasons?
Step Four: Ad Groups
Remember, ad groups are not just keyword groups. It is easy to confuse: We tend to think too much in terms of keywords when the real interest is that of the Internet user as well as where we want to send it.
Even with the best groups of keywords in the world, you can still perform poorly if your ads and the landing pages they link to are not well designed (and don’t match).
In short, focus on your landing pages, your ads, your scores and then the potential of your ads to generate conversions.
The questions to ask yourself about your ad groups are:
1st – Do my ad groups have 10 keywords or less?
2nd – Do my ad groups complement each other or do they compete with each other?
3rd – Is the maximum level of CPC at its optimal level?
4th – Do my best performing ad groups get enough budget?
Step Five: The Keywords
We are starting to get to the heart of the matter. If this is a very interesting part, to which we want to go straight away as a good AdWords expert, we must not neglect this: This step is (almost) useless if we have not completed well those before. There is something to be confused between keywords, queries, negative matching (or negative keywords), match types … In short, a lot of details.
You can start by identifying trends and patterns in your keywords. Use the Keyword Planner and do some simple research to see what appears. If there are general patterns and words that don’t match your business; then you can build your list of negative keywords with!
When you go forward, do not scatter yourself in the updating of keywords. Write down any errors or improvements, to stay in a spirit of analysis and not of implementation (we will not tell you how to manage your time, but it is important to stay effective until the end).
When you look at the keywords, do it within each campaign separately, focusing on the subject of the campaign, going back to the ad groups. By applying the objectives identified during the first stage of the audit, you will be able to judge the effectiveness of a particular keyword.
In the case of a large campaign, look instead at sample keywords to find patterns or trends rather than trying to judge each keyword individually. Long sorting sessions and sample tests will allow you to pinpoint the points to be optimised.
Here’s what to look for in keyword audit:
Have you set negative keywords?
Does the query report reveal any off-topic keywords in relation to the topic and the conversion objectives?
Are there keywords on which you have no conversion but a lot of impression, clicks or expenses?
Do you have keywords with low scores?
Are there keywords that are not active at the moment?
If so, check whether negative matches or other conflicts prevent them from working.
Is the maximum CPC level for each keyword an optimal level?
Do you have words far below or above the expected results in terms of CPC, CTR or conversion?
Step Six: Announcements
A good way to test your ads: A / B Testing. Here’s how: Make sure each ad group has at least two ads, Set the ad rotation to “forced” or “continuous”.
Then from time to time, evaluate the performance of each version, to determine which one within each group is the best performing.
Even though Google’s algorithm can handle all of this independently, it’s never a good solution to leave your ads unattended. Google interpretation is not always perfect (but rarely catastrophic) but it is often different from your expectations. The audit is done to reveal this kind of “autopilot drift” to you.
When auditing your ads, you should:
Provide each ad group with two versions for each ad
Prefer dynamic insertion of keywords rather than a static title
Use a call to action in the title of your ads
Focus on ads with a low to medium score
Step 7: Landing pages
We agree, landing pages are something external to AdWords, they are located on your site. However, they are directly connected to your ad, its performance and therefore to AdWords metrics (performance measures).
Indeed, the job of the AdWords ad is to bring the user to your site, to the landing page. Conversely, converting and achieving your goals in general is the job of the landing page. If the two are not aligned on the same keywords and the same promise, it is disappointment for the user.
You have to make sure that these two elements are coherent, tackle the same subject from the same angle, without any unpleasant surprises too. You can include a call to action to energise your page and encourage … action. Without losing sight of the user experience that plays a key role in getting your conversions.
To audit your landing pages, ask yourself these questions:
Is there a convincing and consistent headline with the ad?
Have you included an effective call to action?
Do you have a form at the end of the process (purchase, recovery of leads… whatever your objective) with a thank you page at the end?
Does this page contain a tracking code to see the number of Internet users who went to the end of the tunnel?
Are the quality scores of the ads linked to your landing pages average or good?
Would it be worth adding additional specialised landing pages? Or on the contrary to condense them into a more general page?
Arbitrate based on the performance of ads and pages.
Final step: The report and action plan
From the start, keep in mind that the notes you take to keep track of your audit may need to be disclosed to other stakeholders (your customers, manager, for example). Without teaching you your job, it may be good for you to do it in a clear way and which allows you to draw up an action plan of the points to improve of your audit.
Also, you will be able to keep this audit as a “common thread” to follow for your next audits. Ideally, your work does not start until you have listed all the things to review in writing.
Once it’s done, it’s up to you to get your hands dirty. Thanks to this audit that you have just started, you will be able to make things happen and get better results with the same budget.
If these actions seemed relevant to you, share this article! It will surely help your colleagues and friends who also work on Google AdWords. If you would like our team to manage your Adwords, contact the PPC Melbourne Experts, SEO Empire.