November 2017 SEMPO Cities Presentation

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the third annual SEMPO Cities event at Lifted Spirits in Kansas City. It was great to catch up with the local digital marketing community at large as well as share ideas on how to improve both organic and paid search performance. While my topic is only deemed essential under terse pretexts, I was able to lighten the mood with Kimmy Schmidt gifs and dad jokes!

Here are the presentation slides:

When accounts aren’t performing as expected, finding areas for improvement can be a daunting task. This presentation details 7 places to check, along with some helpful questions to ask. Before you start, remember to get in and out of the audit process. Instead of making changes on the fly, note what you’re seeing and use those findings to get big picture. Then build out a post audit plan!

Step 1: Review Goals

  • What are your conversion goals for the company?
  • What are the conversion goals in AdWords?
  • Can you track performance beyond AdWords?

Step 2: Review Account Structure

  • Is the account structured around clear business goals?
  • Is a hierarchy set to provide meaningful roll-up reporting?
  • Are campaigns easily comparable?
  • Is balancing budgets across the account easy?

Step 3: Check Account & Campaign Settings

  • Is the geographic targeting appropriate and accurate?
  • Do you see any countries or regions in the “locations” tab that you don’t want to target?
  • Is device targeting appropriate
  • Are the bid strategy, budget, and ad delivery method as you desire?
  • Do you have the right dayparting in place

Step 4: Ad Groups Setup

  • Do my ad groups have approximately 10 keywords or less?
  • Are the ad group level max CPCs set at an optimal level?
  • Are my best ad groups receiving enough of the budget?

Step 5: Keyword Review

  • Are negative keywords in use?
  • Does the search query report show any keywords that are off topic for the subject matter and conversion goals?
  • Are there terms that have zero conversions yet have high impressions, clicks, and/or spend?
  • Are there keywords that have low-quality scores?
  • Are there keywords that have a status of “no” for showing right now? If so, are there negative match or other conflicts when you want them to be running?
  • Are the keyword specific max CPCs set at an optimal level?
  • Are there any terms that are out of line with expected or desired CPC, CTR, conversion, or conversion rate targets?

Step 6: Ads Review

  • Is the account A/B testing ads?
  • Is dynamic keyword insertion being used?
  • Are there calls to action in headlines, are they effective?
  • Are there ads with mid- to low-quality scores?

Step 7: Landing Page Layout

  • Is there a good headline and clear call to action on the page?
  • Do the forms work?
  • Is there a dedicated call tracking number?
  • Does the form submit to a thank you message or page that contains the conversion tracking code?
  • Are the quality scores of ads linking to each respective landing page mid to high?
  • Does it make sense to add more landing pages or condense into less based on performance of ads and pages?

Bonus Step: Action Plan

Don’t forget to put your findings to good use!

  • Documents each item, importance, status, anything to be addressed
  • Prioritizes list of updates that need to be made based on importance and impact
  • Assignments for who is to do the follow up work
  • Timing of implementation
  • Anticipated impact of the updates

My Voltage colleague Corey Morris has written on this topic as well on Search Engine Journal as we believe in how powerful a well-executed audit can be.