How to Do a PPC Audit

Many companies are spending tons of money on their PPC (Pay Per Click) on Google Adwords, Yahoo, Bing or even on social media like Facebook.

So we have to give our PPC budget a review from time to time.

How effective are our campaigns? Are we getting the maximum return of our investment?

Have you identified your metrics and your key performance indicators (KPI) so you can measure the effectiveness of your PPC campaign?
Let me give you a step by step approach to do a PPC audit.

The analyze consist of 4 steps. First you have to “Analyzing Account and Campaign Structure”. Then you will have to “Analyzing Ad Group / Ad Copy”. After that you will have to do an “Analyzing Keyword and Landing Pages”. Finally you will have to “Identify quick opportunities for optimization”.

Okay are you ready? Coffee in your cup?

I will talk about Google Adwords in this article – but you can use the same kind of audit in all your PPC accounts on the Internet.


1 – Analyzing Account and Campaign Structure
First you will have to start looking into your existing PPC account and campaign structure. You can waste a lot of good money if your structure is wrong.

Check whether the account includes categorization for different campaigns. You can start by checking your campaign structure – start checking whether it includes a categorization of different ad groups or not properly.

When do you need to create a new campaign?

Staying organized – you might have to create a new campaign to stay organized. You could be selling shoes in one campaign and footwear in another campaign. This way you will stay organized and not just having one huge campaign folder.

Setting the drive campaign structure – this is the main reason for setting up different campaigns. You are controlling some of the structures at the campaign level. This could be the “search and display network”, “Search Network only” or “display Network only”.

You can also choose the location and language settings. If you are selling shoes in Denmark and in the USA – it will be advisable to create a campaign for each of the two countries.

You can also choose your device targeting options on the campaign level. Here you can text and image ads either to desktop and laptop computer, or to Smartphones devices with an internet browser, or to tablet devices.

So you might create a new campaign specific to a mobile campaign instead of mixing it into your normal campaign. This way you have more control over your different type of campaigns.

If all your ads are collected in one campaign if will be a good idea to start splitting into different campaigns.

Okay – ready for next step in our audit?


2 – Analyzing Ad Group / Ad Copy
Now it’s time to check the ad groups.

First we will check the settings. Is your campaign split into locally ad groups? Let’s say you are selling Shoes – then you might want to make an ad group for your “party shoes” and one for more “Formal shoes”.

The reason for this is that you need parameters like keywords, relevance, landing pages to be focused on party shoes. And it will be different parameters for the formal shoes.

Remember to check into your ad scheduling, the Geo location targeting and the language settings.

When you check your ad copy – remember to check whether you are using your keywords in the copy, prices, special offers, do you copy some unique selling points and do you have some strong call to action?

Depending on how many clicks you have – you should at least have 2 variations of your ad at a time. Read more here about – how you can decide which ad is the winner.

One little trick is to automatically insert the search phrase into your ad copy. You can read more about the dynamic keywords here.

That was step number 2. Take some more coffee before we start again.


3 – Analyzing Keywords and Landing Pages
Now it’s time to check out our keywords and landing pages. In this section we will look into how the keyword is performing, the quality score, keyword match type, bid rate and conversions.

Keywords – start to think you are the customer. If you are looking for shoes how do you want to search? If somebody is looking for shoes – the person might look for “red shoes”, “high heel shoes”, “tennis shoes”, “women shoes”, “cheap shoes”, “casual men shoes”.

Often you will get a much higher CTR for keywords phrases contain more than one word.

Remember to review your keywords periodically and remove non performing keywords which are not providing any revenue for the company.

Keyword Match Type – check out your keyword match type.

There are 5 types of keyword matching. “Broad match”, “phrase match”, “exact match”, “broad match modifier” and “negative”. The most normal thing is to use phrase match, exact match and broad match modifier as the match type.

If you have the word “men’s shoes” as a keyword and uses a broad match – they your ad will be shown if somebody is searching for “men’s” and “shoes” in any order of the search query. Your ad will also be shown for both singular and plural forms, synonyms and other relevant variation. So this way your ad will be shown for “men’s shoes”, “cheap men’s shoes”, “men’s shoe photos”,” running shoes” and more.

If you are using the phrase match – then your ad will only be shown for a keyword search query in the same order of words. It will also show your ad like if you have used exact phrase. Your main benefit is compared to broad match is that the ad will not be shown for searches like “shoes for men”, “men shoe”, “men’s sneakers” and more.

If you pick out the exact match – then your ad will only appear when a user is looking for your specific term “men’s shoes”. The user will have to search for the exact word and with the exact order. Your ad will not be shown for “cheap men’s shoes”, “men’s shoe”, “buy men’s shoes” and more.

Let’s say if you placed +men’s +shoes as a broad match modifier type then your ad will appear only when a user searches for terms like discounted men’s shoes, stylish men’s shoes and so on.

Negative keywords is a great way to get a higher CTR. When you add some negative keywords it will help not to show your ad when it’s really unwanted or irrelevant. If you are selling men’s shoes – then put “women’s” as a negative keyword. If you’re selling expensive shoes – a negative keyword could be “cheap” and more.

Next check out the landing page quality. In a PPC audit it is also important to check out the landing page of your ad. When you are doing landing page analysis – remember to look for factors that could improve your quality. Are you using an appealing tag line, do you have a strong call to action button above the fold, do you use testimonial, videos and demo of your products? Benefits in bullet points?

Get some more ideas here with 13 elements your home page must have.


4 – Identifying Quick Opportunities to Optimize
This is the last step in our do it yourself PPC audit.

First you will need to take a look at your quality score on each keyword.

If your quality score is 7, 8, 9 or 10 it will help you to get a higher position on Google Adwords. So you are doing a great job.
If your quality score is 5, 6 you have a medium level quality score.

If your quality score is 1, 2, 3 or 4 your keyword has a low quality score and you will need to work with it. Import your landing page or delete the keyword. A low quality score will increase your cost and lower your ad position.

You could also split the keywords into different ad groups, with a more specific ad copy relevant to the keyword with lower quality score. Try also to change the title and the Meta description of the landing page and the content of the landing page. This will all help you to increase the quality score of the low ranking quality score keywords.

Check out the conversion rate of your website. Whatever your goal is – email subscribe, purchase, Sign-up – you will have to check it out.

What is your cost per lead? What is your cost per conversion?

And how much money is a conversion worth for you and your company?

Get more ideas how to optimize your conversion rate here.

































Well time for me to do an audit now.

Have a great day out there – take care.




Henrik Sandberg

I am the founder of SeoCustomer and I love everything about SEO, SEM, Social Media Traffic and Link Building. Join our email club here at SeoCustomer and get blog updates and access to whitepapers about SEO.

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