Audit Google Ads


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Business Benefits

Create a high-quality audit report that will help you optimize ad performance and reach client goals.

Make sure conversions are being tracked.

Sign in to Google Ads and click the tools icon in the upper right corner. Then under Measurement, click Conversions. Check to see that all the desired conversion actions are listed and check the Tracking Status column to ensure that the conversion actions are verified and are tracking conversions.

If there are no conversions, it’s possible that the Google Ads tracking code is not installed properly on the website. This can be resolved by following the Google tracking code installation guide.

Review targeting settings to ensure they’re aligned with advertising goals.

Go to Campaigns. Select a campaign to review by clicking on the campaign name. Select Settings from the left column, and review each row. For example, if the client wants to generate leads in New York City, then the campaign goal should be Leads. The Locations option should specify people living in New York City.

Check the bidding strategy to ensure it aligns with the client’s business and goals. For example, you might want to choose Maximize Clicks to get the most number of clicks or Target CPA to keep conversion costs down.

Review campaign structure, paying close attention to ad groups.

Generally, ad groups should contain specific keywords related to the ad copy. Too many keywords in an ad group signals that either the copy is generic or keyword cannibalization is taking place. Opt for ad groups with no more than 15-20 keywords. For example, if your client is selling shoes, instead of having one giant ad group with every possible variation of shoes, create ad groups for boots, high heels, and running shoes.

Check the number of ads in each ad group.

Ideally, an account should have two or three ads in an ad group. These variations allow the marketing team to test different copy, to see what resonates with the audience and yields the best return on investment.

Review the search terms report to see which search terms are triggering your ads.

Go to Keywords > Search Terms. Use the terms in this report to get insights into what the target audience is specifically searching for when they click on your client’s ad. This information can help you identify new keywords as well as negative keywords. You might also decide to alter keyword match types based on these insights.

Review the negative keywords list.

Go to Keywords > Negative Keywords. Ensure that this list includes keywords that the client does not want to pay for if someone searches for that term. For example, if your client is selling luxury dining room tables, negative keywords might include “pool”, “card”, “coffee”, and “cheap”.

Review keyword match types.

There are three ways to structure keywords to trigger their display in the Google search engine:

  • Broad Match: This option is the most comprehensive as it allows an ad to show for searches not specifically related to the keyword, including synonyms, misspellings, and other variations. For example, if the broad match keyword is shoes, search queries like “brown shoes,” “buy shoes online,” “shooees,” and “boots.”
  • Phrase Match: This match type allows an ad to show when the search query has the keyword phrase in exact order. Other terms may come before or after the phrase. Phrase match keywords are denoted with quotation marks. For example, the keyword “brown shoes” would be triggered by search queries like “buy brown shoes,” “brown shoes for sale,” and “designer brown shoes.”
  • Exact Match: As the name suggests exact match means that an ad only showed for searches that exactly match the query. The exact match is placed in [brackets]. For example, [brown shoes] as a keyword would only trigger an ad impression if someone typed that exact query in the search bar.

In general, a Google Ads account should have a blend of match types. Otherwise, the result could be too many clicks from people looking for things not related to the business, which would be the case for broad match. On the other hand, having too many exact match keywords can severely limit search volume.

In February 2021, Google sunsetted broad match modified, so that keyword match type is no longer an option.

Confirm the presence of ad extensions, which give an ad more real estate and can promote higher click-through rates.

From the Ads Overview, click Ads & Extensions > Extensions. The type of extensions recommended will vary based on the business, but Sitelink and Callout extensions tend to be the most common. Review the Extensions for accuracy and look for opportunities to create site extensions. For example, an upcoming promotion might warrant the use of the Promotion extension.

Use tools such as Mobile-Friendly Test Tool and PageSpeed Insights to confirm that the site is mobile-friendly and loads quickly.

A site that passes the Mobile-Friendly test tool will have a score in the green and an indication that there are no errors. For loading speed, look for scores over 50, and ideally, higher than 90.