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The Envy Way of Auditing Google Search Campaigns: Checklist

The rapid speed of change in new products, features and pesky algorithms on paid channels means that keeping up is an almost mission impossible.

When it comes to Google Search, whether you are a novice or a veteran with years of performance tucked under your belt, how do you know you are getting the most out of your marketing Dollars? This is where an external review of your campaigns can come in handy…. And Envy has coined theirs, “The Envy Way”. 

What is a Google Search Campaign Audit

Much like a performance review - it's where you take a deep dive into what's working, what's floundering, and the sneaky little details you might miss during the daily grind. 

It includes checking your keywords, your ads and landing page set up and performance. It also includes deciding on the key metrics that are important to you and perhaps changing some. The results should lead to an understanding of whether you need further optimizations or whether you’re good to continue as you are.

Why do You Need a Google Search Audit

Ideally, you’ll want to check on your accounts and ad performance on a daily or weekly basis. This will allow you to quickly spot if something isn’t working and optimize before the problem grows. But every now and then, there comes a time for a more extensive check-up that’ll help assess the general health of your Google search campaign performance.

That’s why at Envy, we recommend auditing your processes and workflows once every 3 months, at least. This ensures you’re attracting the right people with the right messaging for the right CPC. And if you’re not auditing regularly, here are some signs telling you that now may be the right time:

  • You’ve stepped into a new role and can’t understand what the heck is going in your Search campaigns,
  • You’ve changed product focus and need a new approach;
  • Folks are checking out your landing page but not converting;
  • You quality score is below 5;
  • You’re generating a fair amount of leads, but they’re not from your target ICP;
  • Your cost per SQL is much higher than your industry’s benchmarks;
  • You keep increasing your budget to bring better results, but the performance lays flat.

If any of the above sound too familiar, keep on reading to see what changes you can implement to improve your paid game.

Your B2B Google Search Audit Checklist

Start off by reviewing the below:

Organize your ads data

First things first, data should never be that monster in the closet. Tame this creature by organizing your dashboards so that you’ve everything you might need (aka the KPIs that help you determine the success of your campaign) at hand. This means removing or hiding any reports or elements you don’t need to see, making sure you’re using agreed on and logical naming conventions (which should make your life easier instead of harder when it comes to finding all elements) and ensuring that your dashboard, Google and your website/landing pages are all in sync.

Check Key metrics

These are the basic metrics that help determine the performance of your PPC campaigns. Look at yours and compare them against the industry’s benchmarks, general recommendations and your own results from the past:

  • CPC (Cost Per Click)
  • CTR (Click Through Rate)
  • CPA (Cost Per Action)
  • ROAS (Return On Ad Spend)
  • Conversion rate

Analyze what’s underperforming and what’s doing just fine (or better!) in terms of keywords, ad copy, landing page visits etc. in order to assess what needs to be improved in your campaign. Highlight not only the bad stuff (like high CPA or low CTR) but also the good (ad quality score, ad strength, high ROAS, stellar CTRs) to know what to bid more on.

Check your keywords

Bidding on the right keywords helps your audience find you and here’s how to achieve the best results:

  • Don’t be afraid to use long tail keywords and experiment mixing them with exact match keywords;
  • Make sure the keywords are relevant to your campaign and its goal;
  • Review negative keywords regularly to minimize irrelevant traffic and avoid overspending (they MIGHT be showing huge volumes, but what’s the point if they’re not related to your industry or product?);
  • Look at your Google Search Console – check keywords that are driving organic traffic and conversions;
  • Check your search terms to see which keywords are performing and which not necessarily, or to see if there are any new opportunities you previously didn’t include;
  • Check the intent of the keywords you’re using to look for opportunities (psst, commercial intent keywords might be costing you some buck to rank for, but it might be worth the effort and the spend).

Check your competitors’ ads

There’s a bunch of paid tools, Semrush being just one of them, that allow you to see your competitors’ ads and their performance. But there are other ways to check for what not only your direct competitors, but also companies within your industry are doing; Google’s Ads Transparency Center is also a great example. Use them to:

  • See what your competitors are doing differently that might work in your favor;
  • Check the keywords they’re ranking for, any gaps where you could potentially gain advantage easily;
  • Evaluate whether it is worth your while competing head to head on all keywords or focusing only on certain ones;
  • Important thing to check: are they bidding on your brand name and stealing your traffic?

Check your ads

We’ve said it multiple times now, but we’re gonna do it again: there’s no PPC campaigns without inbound content. Review the copy of your ads and landing pages to verify:

  • What is your ad quality score? Aim for 6 or higher to lower costs and gain better ad placements;
  • How clearly are your ads conveying your USP? Use plain language to make sure everyone understands what makes you stand out;
  • Are you utilizing ad extensions enough? Things like site link extensions, callout extensions and structured snippet extensions ultimately give you more space to better explain what you offer and become more relevant;
  • How strong and clear is the CTA appearing? Just like the name suggests, it should a) call directly in simple words, b) call to a specific action users should take; 
  • You can pinpoint your most important message to avoid steering away from what you want to convey. 

Check your landing pages

Your ads are not the only place you want to review - your website and landing pages are equally important. See if:

  • The ads and landing pages are speaking the same language and contain the same keywords, the same offering. If your landing page isn’t converting, that might be a sign something’s off;
  • The text on your page is exactly that – written text. Google won’t be able to read anything written on images you upload, including keywords you might be trying to rank for;
  • Your page’s loading speed isn’t effectively scaring your visitors off. Your ads might be great and attract plenty of traffic, but if your page is taking ages to load, very few of them will patiently wait;
  • Your page is mobile friendly. Responsive design is a must to make sure people can access your website no matter the device they’re on;
  • The bounce rate isn’t just a little bit too high (a high bounce rate would indicate your visitors don’t have any intent to engage with you any further).

Also, don’t be afraid to A/B test your ads and landing pages, and push what’s working better. You can test headlines, description, CTAs and landing pages to see what your target audience finds more appealing.

Check your settings

These are the little (and large) things that can make or break your campaign’s success and these are:

  • Performance based on device type (mobile, desktop, tablet) will suggest which ads to bid more on. If the majority of your leads is on desktop, invest more in ads appearing on desktop as opposed to the other types;
  • Same goes for your audience’s characteristics and locations. You can exclude certain geographies and company sizes if they’re the audience you’re trying to target, or push those that perform best even more;
  • Don’t forget to plan your campaigns based on the timezones in countries you want to target. If you’re launching one campaign that includes both US and Europe, you don’t want to overspend by scheduling ads during night when half of your audience won’t see them;
  • Adjust your strategy to your budget. You can make use of Google’s automated bidding strategies like Target CPA or Target ROAS, which - as their names suggest - bid more on ads that perform better if your budget allows. But you can also focus on other things, like maximizing conversions within the budget you have. This will help you optimize the costs while achieving your campaign goals. 

The Envy Way of Auditing your Google Search Campaigns

With your strategies refined and your tactics honed, the leads should be flying your way any time now (and converting!) But if you still feel something’s off or not as good as it should be, there’s an Envy Way of doing things, namely auditing your PPC campaigns. 

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