This ultimate Google ads checklist summarizes all the different things that you need to optimize your Google Ads campaign and get the best results.

The process includes Ads setup, setting daily bids, conversion tracking, as well as gathering the information you need to optimize across all Google properties for the best performance.

Google Account Setup Information

Setting up your Ads account is quite simple but there are several pieces of information you need to have ready. Here are some of the data to have available prior to setting up your Ads account

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  • Business name
  • Business address
  • Website address
  • Short business description
  • Long business description
  • Contact email address
  • Google account email address
  • Business phone
  • Contact phone
  • Mobile phone
  • Business photos
  • Business offers
  • Serving customers radius from the business
  • Days/ hours of operation

Google Ads Setup

Once you have secured the information listed above you can set up your Google Ads account. The following is the high-level setup; we will go through more detail later in this document

  • Setup Google Ads Account
  • Setup Billing Contact information
  • Fund Google account with the credit card on file
  • Set daily budget
  • Set max CPC default

Create Ads campaign(s)

  • Define target networks (I recommend ‘search only’ for most users)
  • Select ‘all features’
  • Create ad extensions
  • Setup conversion tracking (if possible)
  • Setup mobile preferences
  • Define location preferences
  • Define language preferences
  • Set schedules ads to run

Search network campaign setup

  • Setup ad groups
  • Write ad content and set up ads
  • Setup keyword in the campaign
  • Define negative keyword
  • Identify landing page(s) URL(s)
  • Manage exact/ snippets/ breadcrumbs

Monitor results

  • Remove ‘low search volume’ keywords
  • Adjust pricing for 1st-page keywords
  • Adjust pricing for top of page keywords
  • Modify site links as required
  • Setup and manage negative keywords

Google integration/ optimization

Google is like a giant spider web, there are multiple Google properties such as Ads, analytics, webmaster tools, my business (Google+) and others.

One of the ways to improve your ad campaign result is to have the Google properties integrated together and optimized.

The following are various types of information Google need to have available

Google my business

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  • Complete process to mail postcard
  • Upload photos
  • Verify pin number in + local amount
  • Link to website
  • Verify contact info local address
  • Local cover image
  • Local business description
  • Local business radius
  • Local business hours of operation

Google Ads integration

  • Connect Ads accounts to MCC ( if applicable)
  • Setup Google forwarding numbers
  •  Setup weekly reports

Google analytics

  • Install tracking code on the website
  • Link Google Ads account to analytics

Daily Ads PPC Tasks

Now let’s look at some of the Ads tasks that you should be doing each day to best manage your PPC campaigns.

Check Keyword Bids and Daily Budget:

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  • Watch your budget every day.
  •  If you are constantly getting ‘Limited by Budget’ messages you want to consider by raising the daily budget because this message implicitly means you are losing clicks.
  • If you are not using up your complete daily budget that means you can raise bids, expand your keyword lists or take other actions to get more ad rotations to and drive more clicks.
  • If you have a keyword that is getting strong performance, consider raising your bids.
  • Likewise, if there are keywords that are deleting your budget with low or no ROI you might want to consider lowering the bid.
  • Remember, you can always pause various aspects of the PPC campaign – you can pause the campaigns, ad groups, ads or even specific keywords if they have a low ROI or low-quality source.

Keyword Research

  • Remember, keyword research never stops.
  • Find the add new keywords to continue expanding your campaign and expanding your reach into the target market.
  • Use the keyword search details report to identify negative keywords that produce ‘bad’ or wasteful clicks.
  • Experiments with different keywords match types (broad, phrase, exact, broad modify, etc.) to see which provides the best results.

Optimize Ad text

  • Build out new ad content on a continual basis.
  • Always try to have a minimum of three ads running for each ad group.
  • Over time you can weed out the least performing ad and replace with another ad
  • Remove the worst performing ad and replace with two best performing ads
  • Wash, rinse, repeat

When writing a new ad content try different things to test, for example

  • Change the headlines
  • Create a different call to action
  • Use features like dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) to improve the score

Improve campaign relevance

  • Don’t lump all keywords and ads into one ad group and let Google figure out the best match
  • Setup and use different ad group into smaller, more targeted groups with specific keywords that are targeted for each ad group
  • Write highly relevant ads that are targeted to the specific keywords in that ad group
  • Make sure your landing page is targeted to the additional content and targeted keywords

Look at your Ads reports

  • Compare your daily budget to make sure your ad spend and expected revenue is in alignment
  • Compare your daily ad spend to conversions (leads, calls, sales, etc) to make sure your visitors are taking actions that you want them to take
  • Watch the important metrics on a daily basis to make sure that clicks, impressions, average CPC, average position and other data are consistent each day
  • In short, make sure your Ads campaigns are returning value every day

Weekly PPC tasks

Monitor your campaign performance and adjust accordingly

Your weekly tasks should focus on improving project performance. There are a number of activities to examine and modify to help reach that goal

Ad campaign performance

  • Make note of your performance to see if you are achieving or falling short of your project goals
  • Adjust your campaign details (Max CPC, ad content, landing page content, etc) as needed
  • There are many metrics you can observe but two that you should provide focus on our ad spend and # of conversions ( if you are using conversion optimization)
  • Adjust your daily budget and keywords max CPC bids (up or down) as needed to control ad spend
  • If your campaigns are over-performing then reallocate daily budgets to the highest converting campaigns or ad groups
  • If your campaigns are underperforming pause specific ad groups, ad or keywords that are not converting or having low CTR
  • ALWAYS focus on ways that you can improve your campaign quality score
  • Campaign budget management
  • Use the detailed reporting capabilities in the Ads dashboard to find the keyword that has low CTR or are not providing conversions; adjust bids as necessary
  • Use the Keyword Search Term Details report and the Opportunities tab to find and add new keywords to the campaign
  • Always be looking for ways to mine new targeted keywords from anywhere possible
  • Keep an eye on keyword bids and adjust Max. CPC up or down for best results
  • Monitor your competition —are they encroaching on your keywords, have they made changes to outbid or outrank you, are there new opportunities because competitors pulled back, etc.

Focus on the performance of your keywords, consider the following:

  • Pause keywords that aren’t performing
  • Continue to find and add new negative keywords to your account
  • Monitor your competitors with analysis tools to add new keywords, adjust bid strategies or modify the ad content
  • Use the Impression Share Report to see how you are ranking against your competition; use this data to modify the daily budget, Max. CPC bids, change match types, etc. to most effectively reach your target audience

Ad Review

You should be testing out more than one ad per ad group at a time, if not more, in order to see which ads are performing well, and which ads are underperforming. You will want to check to see how your keywords are performing, your impressions, and also your ad copy.

Bi-Weekly Tasks

Negative Keyword Additions

  • Reduce ‘bad’ or wasteful non-targeted by identifying non-relevant keywords and add them to your negative keyword list
  • Use the Search Terms Detail report to discover what search terms are actually being used by visitors
  • Decrease your ad spend and increase CTR by preventing non-targeted keywords from triggering your ads to be shown

Continue Expanding Targeted Keywords

  • Discover what your competition is doing
  • Think outside the box and get creative with seed keywords
  • Use various keyword research tools to dig deep and wide
  • Use the Search Term Details report to find actual search terms being used and add appropriate keywords to your targeted list

Ad Review

  • Always have at least three ads running in any ad group
  • Pause or remove the most underperforming ad
  • Write new ads to replace the ads that are paused or removed
  • You will need to make sure that you have enough data (# of impressions, clicks, etc.) to best evaluate ad performance
  • Think outside the box, get creative on the ad content
  • Don’t let ads run forever without changing content from time to time to reduce the amount of ‘ad fatigue’ which is caused when the same ad runs for too long
  • Substitute headline content or change the call to action
  • Use dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) where applicable to get ads that match the search terms that were entered
  • Do competitive research to see what your competitors are doing
  • Keep your ads fresh and try things to make your ad content unique against the competition

Impression Share Report

  • Keep an eye on the impression share report to see how you stack up against the competition
  • Monthly Tasks
  • Check your campaign settings to make sure they are current
  • Validate that the correct locations, languages, networks, devices, and schedules are still correct
  • Compare your landing page content against your competition — what are they doing that you can emulate
  • Split test your campaigns with new or revised landing pages to see if you can create better campaign results
  • Monitor your keywords to find any changes that you might need to make
  • Check quality score on your top and bottom performing keywords to see where / who you can make improvements
  • Continue to review how your ads and ad copy is performing, and make changes as necessary
  • Review your ad group optimization to make sure that your keywords are targeted for the theme of each ad group
  • Make new ad groups to fine-tune the campaigns at an even more granular level
  • Review the keyword match types to make sure your CTR and conversion are getting the best results

Test the impact of using different keyword match types in your campaigns

  • Analyze the information provided by the Google Ads Opportunities tab to find new areas that might improve the campaign
  • Continue to ALWAYS be doing new keyword research
  • Focus on quality score across all your keywords
  • Use the Ads Dimensions and Segment reports to understand when your ad peak performance times are and possibly use Enhanced CPC bidding to target those times
  • Use the same reports to determine what types of devices are used by people searching for your keywords and optimize for mobile if necessary
  • Review the same reports to check how your ads are performing across the various geographical areas that you are targeting
  • Continue to review campaign settings to fine-tune areas of opportunity

Other data to be checked regularly.

  • Impression share
  • Lost impression share
  • Outranking Share

Review all reports on a monthly basis

  • Historical performance

Stay updated on Google Ads policies and pay per click industry trends

Keywords Checklist

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  • Make sure all the keywords are housed in the correct ad group.
  • Be sure you’re utilizing appropriate match types and are only using one type of keyword match type within any one ad group (some exceptions to this are ok)
  • Get rid of any duplicate keywords across multiple ad groups or campaigns
  • Review Search Term Details report making that sure your negative keywords are always updated
  • Make sure there are no negative keywords that are conflicting with your targeted keyword
  • Weed out underperforming keywords and keep the number of keywords in any one ad group as small as possible
  • Utilize all the Google tools to measure your keyword effectiveness (Ads, Analytics, Webmaster Tools, etc.)

Google Ads Checklist

  • Ad content should include relevant headline and text
  • Use keywords where possible in your display URLs
  • Mobile searches now account for nearly 50% of all searches; utilize ‘Call only Ads’ to get best results from mobile searches
  • Have a strong call to action in your ad content — call now, learn more, etc.
  • Split test ads by adding new ads and weeding out underperforming ads
  • Make your ad content highly relevant to targeted search terms and to your landing pages
  • Track all data at the ad level — which ads are getting served most often, which ads are getting most clicks, which ads are converting better, etc.
  • Keep ad content unique for the ad group you are targeting
  • Ad content should be very relevant to the keywords in the ad group

Ad Groups Checklist

  • Focus the keywords in the ad group so that they are highly relevant to the ads and the keywords that you are targeting
  • Keep the ad group default bid consistent with the daily budget and Max. CPC you are bidding across the targeted keywords

Campaign Checklist

  • For best results to get targeted traffic with PPC use ‘Search Network’ only and select ‘All Features’
  • Also, make sure ‘Include Search Partners’ is enabled to get broader reach for your ads
  • If you want to have your ads running for a specific time period make sure you have an end date selected on the ad schedule
  • Set your daily budget so that it meets the goals of how much you want to spend each month; remember the maximum you will spend is your daily budget * 30.4 days in Google’s definition of a month
  • Double-check the location settings to make sure you are targeting the right locations
  • Verify the language settings are consistent with your page content
  • Decide if one campaign or multiple campaigns are best to meet your goals
  • Check the ‘Ad Rotation’ settings to either show ads evenly or as fast as possible throughout
  • If you do not have a mobile responsive website make sure you don’t show the ads on mobile devices

Ad Extensions Checklist

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  • Take advantage of the ad extensions to get the most value for your ad campaign, these include:
  • Location extensions
  • Sitelinks extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Review extensions
  • Social extensions

Landing Pages Checklist

  • Make sure your landing content is useful and also keyword relevant to the search terms you are targeting
  • Include multiple strong calls to action for the business or offer you are providing
  • Include the targeted keywords in the meta tags (header and description), and in the page, content to improve your ad quality score
  • Keep the landing page simple so that it loads fast and provides the information that the visitor is seeking to find based on the information they want to find
  • Keep the landing page simple and remove all other navigation links to other pages
  • Make sure you include links to active Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Disclaimer pages

Budgets and Bids

  • Your daily should be set to meet your overall monthly ad spend goals
  • If you want to adjust bids for mobile devices please set rules accordingly
  • Always choose manual bids vs. having Google suggest your bids for you — remember, you want to be in control and not leave it up to Google to set your bids
  • Determine the value of a click to your website — if you are selling a $10 item and the clicks are costing you $1 each, then you can get 10 clicks and break-even; make sure you do the math
  • A CTR of 1% is considered good, but strive to 2%+ to get better campaign results
  • Watch your activity on a consistent basis and adjust individual keyword bids to get the results you want with your campaign
  • Remember— the purpose of doing Ads is to get targeted clicks to your website; don’t set the bids so low that your ads are never showing up high enough in the rotation
  • Set flexible bid strategies to optimize for clicks, conversions, etc.

Conversion Tracking & Goals

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Image source: klientboost
  • Conversion tracking is the best way to measure the effectiveness of your ad campaign
  • Track conversions based on what is most important for your business— that could be the # of sales, or the # of leads, or the # of downloads or whatever is most important for your business
  • Link your Ads account to Google Analytics and set goals to track your campaign activities