PPC Optimization Checklist

September 04, 2012

Collective Measures
Go through this PPC optimization checklist once a week to keep your account optimized.

Sometimes as busy little PPCers we can lose sight of the simple account optimizations once we have been working on an account for a long time… or when we are busy building out new campaigns… or while we are implementing the latest beta. For those of you who are like me and need physical reminders to go into each account and do the general optimizations often—behold, the weekly PPC optimization checklist (credit due to my mentor, Rachel Price, who gave me my first weekly PPC checklist).

  • Project performance: Compare your performance week-over-week, month-over-month and year-over-year to determine if you reaching your goals. For smaller campaigns, you might want to skip the week-over-week performance check as you might not have enough data to make a solid conclusion.
  • Budgets: Are any of your campaigns limited by budget? Are any of your campaigns not reaching their budget? Maybe you want to allocate some budget from one of your poorer performing campaigns to a campaign that performs better. Check your budgets to make sure you are making good use of your or more importantly, your client’s money.
  • Bids: First filter your keywords to make sure none of them are below the first page bid. Then go through your keywords and make sure the ones that are costing you the most money are driving users to your goals. While you’re considering your bids; when was the last time you went into Analytics and ran a positions report? You might find that you have higher conversion rates or better clickthrough rates in a position above or below what you’re bidding. Adjust accordingly.
  • Negative keywords: Pull a search query report and weed through the results to find any search queries that are coming up that aren’t relevant to your product/service. Also, try to watch for trends. Maybe different variations or “cheap” and “affordable” are coming up. Pull your keywords into an excel doc and filter for these keywords. You might decide that while you think your product/service may be affordable, it isn’t what visitors are looking for and you should add these keywords as negatives.
  • Keyword expansion: While you’re in the search query report, don’t forget to look for new keyword opportunities. If you see a trend in a keyword, consider using the keyword tool to find more like it and test it in your campaign.
  • Pause underperforming keywords: If you’ve adjusted your bids and added negative keywords to your campaigns and ad groups and still aren’t getting any bang for your buck on this keyword, it’s time to pause it.
  • Ad Review: If you’re running an ad test, check the status of test. It’s also good to go in and click on a few ads to make sure the landing page URLs are still correct. If you’re waiting for ads to be approved, continue to check their status until day three. If they haven’t been approved by then, submit the form for rushed approval (it normally only takes a couple hours after filling out this form for your ads to be approved).
  • Conversion reporting: Go into the conversion tab, make sure your conversation status is reporting.

Generally those are the optimizations I do on a week-to-week basis. Other bi-weekly optimizations and checks I make on my accounts include looking at impression share reporting, geo-targeting trends and day-parting. Even though these aren’t always the most fun tasks, it’s kinda like giving your car an oil change. It keeps things running smoothly and serves as a preventive measure against future damage.