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Google AdWords Spring Cleaning Checklist

While you’re making time to schedule some much needed Spring cleaning around your home and office, it’s also a good idea to set time aside to dust out the cobwebs in your AdWords campaign. Even if you’ve been giving your AdWords approach lots of love throughout the year, chances are you’re going to need to do some AdWords Spring cleaning.

Just think about last time you cleaned out your closet; things have a way of accumulating, falling into disorder and being forgotten even though we look at our closets almost every single day. Sure, we may do some minor organization and purging to accommodate new items, but for the most part, we probably don’t even know exactly what’s in there.

Same goes for your AdWords account. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to dive right in and schedule an AdWords cleanup before the year gets too far underway and existing and potential issues get buried in the fray. The process doesn’t actually take long, and it’s not that complicated – if you know what you’re doing.

SEE ALSO: Common Pay-Per-Click Mistakes

We’ve compiled a simple set of strategies to help make AdWords cleanup easy. In just 5 steps, you’ll have your Adwords organization under control and your account will be running beautifully and most importantly, optimally.

5 Step AdWords Spring Cleaning Checklist

1) Review Keywords. Tap into your Search Term Report to see what keywords people are using that result in their clicking on your ads. By examining this report you’ll discover what keywords you should keep or add as Positive Keywords (along with what keyword match type to utilize), and which to slot into the Negative Keyword category.

Positive keywords are keywords that receive solid, qualified traffic, without you having actually bid on them. Put these words on your positive list and you’ll typically see more impressions and more quality traffic (traffic that is more likely to convert).

Acknowledging and adding keywords that aren’t working for you (negative keywords) will help your business spend more wisely by eliminating words that are not yielding results. As a result, you won’t attract traffic to your site that doesn’t convert and you’ll better manage your AdWords organization by managing an effective budget and more powerful campaign.

Quick tip: Set up conversion tracking so you’re not flying blind. This metric allows you to see what ads and keywords get people to respond. Bonus: Setting it up takes less than an hour.

2. Rethink Structure. Likewise, it is equally important to rethink the way your AdWords account is structured. The year can get busy and sometimes Ad Copy gets a little loosey goosey, Ad Groups migrate to campaigns where they are unsuited; basically, AdWords stops working for you and the chaos and frustration ensues.

Part of AdWords organization involves taking a good look at your AdWords account to ensure your Ad Groups contain relevant keywords. You will also want to check that Ad Groups are situated in campaigns where they are ideally suited, with proper targeting and demographic settings. You always want to make sure your Ad Groups are based around specific themes and your keywords correspond to those  similar themes, so you are focused on one objective per theme and you aren’t trying to do too much with one particular Ad Group.

Next, you’ll want to make sure your Ad Copy contains accurate keywords, describes your product/service, accurately represents your business, has calls to action and contains current offers. This will lead to greater click through as well as an increase in conversions. To ensure great Ad Copy, get creative. You don’t want to rip-off the copy of your competition. Your copy is your businesses fingerprint in the digital marketing world. Make it unique.

Restructuring Quick Tips:

If you have stellar Ad Copy, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Simply tweak the copy for each ad group in that campaign. It is always good form to test various versions of Ad Copy to see what is really working and what isn’t. (Consider A/B testing two ads per Ad Group to ensure you are maximizing your Ad Copy potential )

Keyword research is not only something that needs to be done at the birth of a campaign. Your campaign is your baby, and you need to take care of it for its whole life. This means continuing to do keyword research. Hit up the Keyword Planner tool, Google Trends and other third party tools to help you improve on your keyword optimization.

3. Look at Campaign Budgets & Settings. Take a peek at your Campaign Settings to ensure they are optimized for their Ad Group. Look at the Networks you’ve opted into, and review targeted Locations. Ensure Device Settings (i.e. your bid adjustments) fall in line with your website and business goals, and that the Bid Strategy falls into place with your goals for your ROI (return on investment).

Furthermore, when you look at Campaign Budgets, make sure you are nurturing the ones that are working by increasing their cap and decreasing the cap on campaigns that are not working. Whatever you decide, bear in mind the cost-per-click competition is continuing to increase across all industries, so stay vigilant and analyze your bids carefully.

4. Landing Page Check Up. Make sure website links still work. If this sounds painfully obvious, we’re glad, and this shouldn’t be an issue for you anyway. This said, you’d be surprised how much AdWords traffic goes to 404 pages. The bounce rate for 404 pages is pretty close to 100%. It’s unprofessional and makes potential customers think you don’t take your business seriously. Quadruple check that all your links lead to active pages.

Similarly, you’ll want to improve weak landing pages so they’re not eating up your budget. Adjust copy, navigation, layout and/or image(s) to turn your landing pages into powerhouses that bolster your ROI. Your main targeted keyword landing pages are probably solid, but don’t forget to look at the lesser keywords. They can still help your campaign if they are given more landing page love.

Also, don’t forget to review your call-to-action on your landing pages. Evaluate your statistics in Google Analytics and ensure you’re using the best verbiage and that your CTA button or text is positioned optimally for best possible conversion. (Landing page A/B testing is another way to continue improving as well. Your Landing page is the most important piece of your campaign, so understanding what works and what doesn’t is extremely important for improving performance)

5) Think Smart. This is the year of mobile, so it is time to make sure your smartphone traffic is getting the best user experience possible – and to decide if it is even worth it to bid on the smartphone segment. This will depend on your business and whether it benefits from smartphone traffic. If you’re not sure if targeting smartphone traffic is best practice for your business, talk to us. We can conduct analysis on your website, review your in-depth site data to understand if mobile data traffic converts on your website and structure mobile bid adjustments to reflect your existing mobile conversion rates..

Quick Tip: Mobile traffic conversation rates are steadily climbing, so if your rates are low now, keep an eye on them as you can expect them to increase, especially over the rest of this year.

AdWords cleanup can be done relatively quickly, and this little investment of time can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to creating, executing and managing your campaign.

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Need help with your AdWords Spring cleaning? Call our AdWords organization experts.

 photo: coachquestleader.com

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