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The Ultimate Guide to Conducting a Comprehensive Google Ads Audit

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Ensuring your Google Ads campaigns are performing effectively is crucial for achieving optimal results and return on investment. Conducting regular comprehensive Google Ads audits allows you to identify areas of strength, weakness and opportunity within your campaigns, leading to improved performance.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps for carrying out a thorough Google Ads audit to maximise your PPC success.

Defining Your Comprehensive Google Ads Audit Goals

The first step is to clearly define the objectives and purpose of your audit. Ask yourself:

  • What are you looking to achieve from the audit?
  • Are you aiming to enhance overall campaign performance? Reduce costs? Align strategy with new business goals?

Clarifying specific goals gives direction and focus to the audit, ensuring it tackles areas that will have the biggest impact on campaign success. All subsequent steps should then align back to these objectives.

You might be asking yourself: Are PPC ads worth it? You may be wondering: What is PPC in Google Ads? Perhaps you need the audit to provide insights into decreasing your cost-per-acquisition or increasing lead generation through paid ads. Or you’re launching a new product line and want to assess how your ads can support its promotion.

Defining the “why” upfront ensures your audit is targeted, efficient and provides maximum value. What is the difference between Google local ads and PPC?

Reviewing Account Structure

Next, assess the structure and organisation of your Google Ads account.

  • How are campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads set up and arranged?
  • Does the structure make sense logically?
  • Is there alignment between how your account is arranged and your overall business goals?

Account structure impacts reporting, analytics and your team’s ability to optimise campaigns moving forward.

Ensure campaigns are structured sensibly to focus on specific products, services or target audiences. Ad groups should also be segmented appropriately around common themes, keywords and products.

A clear, logical structure ensures account components can be managed, monitored and optimised effectively. Misaligned or overly complex structures create difficulties in reporting on performance and implementing improvement strategies.

Additionally, consider how well your account structure aligns with overarching business objectives. For example, if a goal is to increase leads through Google Paid Search Ads, do you have a dedicated campaign for lead generation?

Take time to restructure elements that aren’t organised in an effective, goal-aligned manner.

Analysing Keywords for a Comprehensive Google Ads Audit

Conducting in-depth keyword analysis is a crucial piece of your Google Ads audit.

Assess keywords across two key dimensions:

  1. Relevance – How relevant is the keyword to your products, services and target audience? Are you targeting keyword themes aligned with your business?
  2. Performance – How are keywords performing? Which are driving conversions and returns? Which are underperforming and wasting budget?

Group keywords into categories based on these factors, such as:

  • High relevance/high performance – These are effective, business-aligned keywords worth bidding higher on.
  • Low relevance/low performance – These keywords should be removed or have bids decreased.
  • High relevance/low performance – Have potential but need improved creative, landing page, or bid strategy.

Also leverage Google’s Keyword Planner tool to discover new keyword opportunities aligned with your products, services and targets.

Thorough keyword research for Google PPC and analysis enables you to focus spend on profitable, relevant search terms while slashing ineffective keywords.

Evaluating Ad Copy & Extensions

Your ad creative plays a huge role in driving clicks, conversions and reducing cost-per-click.

Assess your ad copy across key elements:

  • Headlines – Do they grab attention? Establish relevance? Inspire click-throughs?
  • Ad text – Is the copy compelling? Does it communicate key information?
  • Landing page alignment – Does the ad align seamlessly with the landing page experience?
  • Messaging – Does the copy feel fresh? Or is messaging getting stale and blending in?

Ad extensions also greatly impact results by increasing visibility, engagement and conversions. Review adoption of extensions like:

  • Sitelinks – Highlight key site pages to increase clicks.
  • Structured Snippets – Highlight specific aspects of your products and services.
  • Callouts – Draw attention to products, offers, or value propositions.
  • Location – Connect with local audiences.
  • Call – Enable direct calls from ads.
  • Reviews – Build trust and credibility by showcasing positive ratings.

Assess how effectively your ad copy and extensions are combined to create high-performing ad sets that engage searchers.

Evaluating Landing Pages for a Comprehensive Google Ads Audit

Your ad is only as strong as the landing page it leads to.

Analyse the landing pages your ad sets direct visitors to. Consider:

  • Relevance – Does the landing page align closely with what was promised in the ad copy?
  • User experience – Is the landing page optimised for conversions? Easy-to-navigate? Mobile responsive?
  • Load speed – Does the page load quickly? Research shows slow load times dramatically increase bounce rates.
  • Call-to-action – Is the CTA clear? Does it match the ad messaging and intent?
  • Forms – If using landing page forms, are they short, simple and enable mobile completion?

The landing page experience should closely match the expectations set by the ad. Misalignment leads to high bounce rates and poor conversions.

Optimise landing pages during your audit to create seamless post-click experiences.

Ensure your ad strength is as high as it can possibly be, aiming for at least ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ strength. Google provides this feedback to help make sure that you are providing the right messages to your customers.

Analysing Quality Score

Quality Score is a key metric measuring how relevant your keywords, ads and landing pages are to searchers. The higher your Quality Score (rated 1-10), the better your ad visibility, lower costs and higher ad positions.

Review the Quality Score for important keyword-ad groups. Identify areas of strength with high scores as well as key areas for improvement.

Look at improving Quality Score by:

  • Optimising ad relevance through keyword targeting
  • Crafting compelling ad copy for Google Ads
  • Designing seamless landing page experiences
  • Earning positive click feedback from users

Higher Quality Scores benefit your performance. Focus on improving relevancy to enhance Quality Scores across your account.

Reviewing Bidding Strategies for a Comprehensive Google Ads Audit

Assess your current bidding strategies and adjustments during the audit. Consider:

  • Are you using the right bid strategy for your campaign goals?
  • How are manual vs. automated bidding strategies performing?

Evaluate key factors like target impression share, conversions, click volume and costs. This enables you to determine the best bidding approach:

  • Target manual bid – Set specific bids tailored to individual keywords
  • Enhanced cost-per-click – Focuses on conversions while minimising average CPC
  • Target return on ad spend – Bases bids on target ROI for conversions
  • Maximise clicks – Automatically sets bids to maximise click volume within budget
  • Maximise conversions – Bids aggressively to gain conversions with less focus on cost
  • Target CPA – Smart Bidding strategy setting bids for you to get as many conversions (customer actions) as possible.

Choose strategies that align with your overall objectives. Mix and match approaches as needed based on individual campaign goals.

Assessing Ad Performance

Analyse the performance of your existing ads to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.

Look at key metrics like click-through-rate, conversion rate, cost-per-conversion and impression share.

Group your ads into categories:

  • Top performers – Have the strongest results based on goals. Look to replicate elements in other ads.
  • Low performers – Aren’t delivering desired results. Either refine or pause these.
  • Middle performers – Have potential with some optimisation.

Regularly refresh ad creative, including headlines, copy, extensions and landing pages to maintain high performance. 

Monitoring Conversions & Analytics for a Comprehensive Google Ads Audit

Understand not just if conversions occurred, but how users interacted with your ads.

Ensure conversion tracking is properly implemented across your account. Connect Google 

Ads to analytics platforms like Google Analytics to unlock deeper behavioural insights.

Key areas Google Analytics reveals include:

  • Assisted conversions – What ad interactions led to eventual conversions?
  • Geographic performance – How do results differ by user location?
  • Landing page behaviour – How are users interacting with landing pages? Where do they drop off?
  • Device analysis – Do ads perform better on desktop or mobile?
  • Audience insights – What are the demographic traits of converting users?

Leverage these insights to fine-tune your Google Pay Per Click Advertising targeting, creative and landing pages. Optimise based on real user interactions.

Researching the Competition

Wrapping up your audit, research competitor performance for comparison:

  • What keywords are competitors targeting? How do their bids and ad positions compare?
  • Analyse competitors’ ad copy. How does it differ from yours in messaging, structure and value prop?
  • What landing pages are they driving traffic to? How do they convert visitors?
  • Are competitors leveraging extensions you aren’t capitalising on?

Gaining perspective into competitors’ strategies reveals missed opportunities and areas where you can improve your PPC presence. Use tools like SpyFu to efficiently research competitors at scale.

Refine your Google Ads strategy based on learnings from top competitors in your space. Is Google PPC worth it?

Ongoing Iteration for Continuous Improvement for a Comprehensive Google Ads Audit

Conducting a comprehensive Google Ads audit is an invaluable, yet time-intensive undertaking. While this guide covers core components, plan to invest significant effort in coordinating and performing these steps.

Critical areas like account structure, keywords and ad copy may each require days to thoroughly analyse and optimise. Don’t rush the process.

Further, auditing your Google Ads performance is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing discipline. Set reminders to reassess your account on a quarterly or biannual basis. Continue iteratively improving over time.

If tackling this independently feels daunting given campaign complexity and scale, leverage help from a specialist PPC agency. Their teams and technology can remove the heavy lifting while providing an expert perspective on opportunities for optimization.

In Summary

Regularly auditing your Google Ads campaigns provides tremendous upside for improving performance, increasing conversions and reducing wasted ad spend.

Conducting a comprehensive audit covering areas like keywords, ad copy, landing pages and bidding enables you to unlock new opportunities while addressing areas of underperformance in PPC agencies.

Moving forward with a revamped Google Ads strategy, you’re able to achieve exceptional ROI and new heights of advertising success.

Don’t forget to take a look at our common mistakes to avoid in Google Ads.

Final Word

If you need help or simply don’t have the time to conduct your own Google Ads Audit then why not book a call with one of our PPC Experts? We are happy to discuss how we can help you audit and improve your performance.

 

Author

Dan

Has worked on hundreds of Google Ads accounts over 15+ years in the industry. There is possibly no vertical that he hasn't helped his clients achieve success in.

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