Simple 6 Step PPC Audit Checklist + Free Template

Ryan Scollon - PPC Freelancer

Written By Ryan Scollon

Published On 12 Oct, 2022

PPC Audit

Contents

  1. Review Goals & Situation
  2. Account Structure
  3. Account & Campaign Settings
  4. Keywords
  5. Ads & Extensions
  6. Landing Pages

BONUS: Free Audit Checklist Download

 

Why You Need A PPC Audit

Audits can be useful in lots of situations. As part of our PPC service, we carry one out for all of my clients every 6 months, just to make sure we are not missing any opportunities. But they are most beneficial for accounts that have been neglected.

  • Working with an agency but not happy with the results?
  • Managing the account yourself but hit a wall with your time or knowledge?
  • Happy with your performance so far but ready to scale things up?

Or maybe you just want the peace of mind that your account is in tip-top shape.

 

1. Review Goals & Situation

While the audit process remains the same, your perspective for each step may change depending on your goals and current situation. If you are wanting to grow and scale your Google Ads account, you’ll be looking for opportunities to increase spend and increase volumes. But if you are trying to reduce wastage, you’ll be looking out for things that aren’t working so that you can get rid.

Here are a few things to think about

  • Are you wanting to grow your Google Ads account and spend more?
  • Are you getting enough enquiries from PPC at the moment?
  • Are you happy with how much you are paying for each enquiry? (cost per conversion)
  • Is the quality of your enquiries good? Or could it be improved?

 

2. Account Structure

Account structure is important to ensure you have control over the budget for your campaigns. If you have all of your services in 1 campaign and some perform really well but other perform terribly, you have no way of dividing up the budget between those ad groups. Where as if you have them split out, you can have more control over your budget and what campaigns to prioritise.

  • Is the naming conventions of campaigns and ad groups clear?
  • Is there any crossover with your campaigns or ad groups? (the same keywords running in different campaigns)
  • Are you ‘bottom of the funnel’ keywords in a different campaign to your ‘top of the funnel’ keywords.
  • Are your branded keywords in a separate campaign?

 

3. Account & Campaign Settings

While these settings might seem quite basic, over 80% of accounts that I audit have these set up incorrectly and can often lead to big improvements in the performance once corrected.

  • Conversion tracking set up and reporting correctly
  • Have you turned off search partners and display network
  • Are you targeting the correct geographical locations?
  • Have you got your advanced location settings configured correctly?
  • Are the bid strategy, budget, and ad delivery methods as you desire?
  • Do you have ad schedules in place?
  • Are your campaigns limited by budget?

 

4. Keywords

Over the last few years, keywords have become more and more tricky due to the changes that Google has rolled out regarding match types. Previously, you could play it safe and use exact match for your keywords so that your ads wouldn’t show for any wild variations. Now, even when using exact match, your ads will show for variations of your keywords and sometimes can show for irrelevant or low quality search terms.

  • Are you using the best match types? Phrase match or exact match are your safest bets if you don’t regularly maintain your PPC account.
  • Are your quality scores at least 6/10?
  • Are the keywords relevant? Make sure they are not too generic
  • Are you reviewing search terms regularly and adding negative keywords for anything irrelevant or low quality?
  • Do you have any keywords that spend a lot of money but don’t deliver any conversions?

 

5. Ads & Extensions

While it’s not as important to refresh your ads in PPC compared to running social ads, it’s still good practice to check them for policy violates and to ensure that any content in your ads remains up to date.

  • Have you upgraded your ads to responsive search ads (RSAs)? Google no longer supports expanded text ads.
  • Any policy issues or disapproved ads?
  • Is the ad strength for your RSAs average or higher?
  • Do your ads contain USPs, benefits etc?
  • Are you making the most of ad assets (ad extensions)?
  • Do the ads match the keyword context?
  • Do the ads send users to the most relevant landing page?

 

6. Landing Pages

Landing pages are often overlooked when carrying out Google Ads audits. Why? Well I would imagine it’s because they are technically not part of Google Ads…you can’t really edit or control them in anyway from within the Google Ads dashboard. But they are a fundamental part to your PPC performance.

  • Do your landing pages actually work? You’d be surprised how many Final URLs I have seen that either go to a 404 not found page or they redirect.
  • Is your website mobile friendly? Be sure to check forms, galleries, etc as these are common issues on mobile.
  • Is your page speed good? I would recommend using https://gtmetrix.com/ to test. Ideally under 3MB and loads within 3 seconds.
  • Do you have a simple and clear call to action? Do your forms work? Users don’t want to fill out long complicated forms, and they certainly don’t want to search high and low to find them.
  • Is the content only your landing page relevant to the keywords and ads for that ad group?

 

7. Free Audit Checklist Download

Want access to the full audit checklist template? No problem. Simply click this link and click ‘make a copy’ and you’ll have your very own checklist to use on your account. Get stuck? Feel free to drop me a message and I’ll be happy to talk you through any bits that you are not sure on.

PPC Audit Service

Ryan Scollon - PPC Freelancer

Freelance PPC Consultant

Ryan has been helping brands grow their business through PPC since 2013. You can often find his insight featured in publications like The Independent, SEMrush, Search Engine Roundtable & many more.

Connect with Ryan on Twitter and LinkedIn