As someone who employs the support of PPC experts, you need to know they are auditing your account regularly, to ensure they are maximising your budgets and ultimately increasing your ROI. But if you’re busy overseeing all marketing campaigns across your brand – where do you start when it comes to ensuring your PPC agency is doing a good job with your account?

Use our checklist below to ensure you’re armed with some key information needed to help assess your current PPC agency and ensure they’re making the most of your account.

Is your current PPC agency…

  1. Regularly auditing your Google AdWords account?

Things change. Your paid search priorities change. Your competitors’ tactics change. Google changes its guidelines and releases new features. Technology develops and advances. You’ll only stay competitive and relevant if you audit your AdWords account on a regular basis.

Ask your agency: When was the last time you audited the account?

The frequency at which you should audit your account will vary depending on the size of your account. But at the very least, a full scale audit should be conducted once a year. And for the very best results, you should expect your PPC agency to conduct checks much more regularly to identify missing opportunities.

  1. Structuring your AdWords account according to best practice?

Google offers best practice guidelines for a reason. The structure of your account affects how simply and successfully you can optimise activity, control your budget, and report on results. In short, a broken-down, easy-to-follow structure can make your life easier and ensure your paid search tactics are more likely to succeed.

Ask your agency: How has the account been structured, and why have you structured it in this way?

Get to know the way in which your agency has structured the account and how granular their approach is. The more granular the approach, the more likely it is that you will be able to broaden your targeting options. With a more granular structure, it’s easier to push the keywords which are doing well, and reign in the underperformers.

  1. Targeting the right keywords for your brand and your budget?

Creating a ‘quality’ keyword list doesn’t necessarily mean creating a lengthy list. Strong, relevant keywords should take precedence over generic keywords with high search volumes.  Relevant keywords bring in relevant clicks, which ultimately mean more conversions – and less money wasted.

Ask your agency: Have you considered search volume as well as CPCs when finalising the keywords we’re targeting?

That way, you can be sure you can afford to bid on all the keywords you’ve chosen. Strong, relevant keywords should take precedence over generic keywords with high search volumes. Consider using competitor review tools to analyse how rival businesses are bidding on keywords – and uncover new keyword opportunities.

  1. Considering match types and keyword targeting?

Auditing and optimising your match types is crucial. Without control of your keyword targeting, you won’t have control of your budget. This is because clicks that come from irrelevant, non-targeted search queries are less likely to convert. Each different match type affords a greater degree of control over targeting (and therefore budget). Exact match offers the most control, followed by phrase match, modified broad match and broad match.

BidCops’ free AdWords audits provide instant, in-depth insights into your match type efficiency.  At a glance you can see your spend, clicks and CPA efficiency, broken down by match type.  Sign up to BidCops for free.

Ask your agency: Are you using an equal balance of exact and phrase match or even broad match modifier to help us reach our customers?

An equal measure will ensure you’re capturing all traffic. Using the Search Terms Report, you can regularly identify opportunities for keyword or negative expansion using the search queries that have come through on phrase to ensure spend is being maximised

  1. Reviewing the relevancy of keywords and ad texts against your landing pages?

Your landing pages need to be relevant to your ads, and your keywords. Otherwise, you’re essentially promising something to your customers that you can’t deliver.  Customers who click on your ad and land on an irrelevant page are likely to leave your website (bounce). To make matters worse, you’re paying for each visitor who clicks on your ad. That’s bad news for your bottom line.

What’s more, irrelevant landing pages can negatively impact your Quality Score. And a low Quality Score means higher CPCs.

Ask your agency: Have you used our landing page content to mirror keywords and calls to action in ad text? And have you taken action to improve bounce rates?

A good PPC strategy should have creatives that are built around highly relevant keywords, and messaging that clearly reflects that of the current site. If your ad text promises a specific product or service, your customer will expect it to be on the corresponding landing page they reach when they click through. If they don’t, why would they stick around?

  1. Looking into ways to improve Quality Score?

Quality Score is a metric applied by Google to keywords. As the name suggests, the score applied is representative of a keyword’s quality. Quality Score affects Ad Rank and the amount you spend. Ad Rank is, nowadays, a complicated secret formula known only to Google itself. The only way to improve your Ad Rank is to increase your bid, or improve your quality score.

Obviously, improving Quality Score is the cheaper option in the long run – Google rewards good Quality Scores by offering higher ad positions for cheaper clicks.

Ask your agency: Have you created a strategy for improving Quality Score across our account?

Ads and keywords need to be highly targeted to one another to maximise relevancy. This, in turn, helps increase Quality Score and reduce costs. For this reason, it’s important to think about relevancy from the beginning of your account auditing/setup process, and to continue to identify ways to improve Quality Score.

These six questions are just the starting point when it comes to getting the most out of your Google AdWords account, so if you ask your PPC agency these fundamental questions and don’t get solid responses from them in good time, you may need to reassess if they’re the right agency for you.

Get under the skin of your current PPC agency to assess if they really are doing the most they can for your current PPC activity. Arm yourself with the fundamental PPC tools you require to assess your current PPC performance with our FREE AdWords Audit eBook. Here, you’ll find expert advice on best practice guidelines and how to make the most of your account, plus best practice tips from our team of PPC experts.

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About the author:

Lisa Coghlan is a digital and content coordinator at ClickThrough Marketing. She writes SEO content for many of the company’s larger clients, and assists in the implementation of content strategy. She writes live gig reviews and has a mild obsession with finding new documentary podcasts.