Google Ads Account – Audit Checklist

The best way to overcome a messy Google Ads account is to do perform an audit anytime you take on an existing. Here is an audit checklist of the first things I look at when asked to look at audit motivated seller accounts.

You can use this as an audit template for all future account audits.

Google Ads Audit Step #1: Be Sure Conversions Are Being Tracked (Properly)

One of the biggest mistakes we see is neglecting to track conversions. Without lead data, it’s virtually impossible to understand whether your keywords are paying off! This should be one of the very first tasks completed after setting up an account.

To learn more about conversion tracking and installing it on your Carrot website, check out… How to Tell If My Real Estate PPC Campaign Is Working – Setting Up Conversion Tracking

Google Ads Audit Step #2: Review Targeting Settings

Dialing in your campaign targeting settings is a pretty simple activity that only takes minutes, but any missteps can impact the performance of your account. You don’t want to learn the hard way, so dive into each of these points to ensure they make sense for your needs:

  • Network Settings: The goals, expectations and overall performance of ads on the Search Network are significantly different than those running on the Display network. We recommend you stick with Search and wait for Display when you can trigger your retargeting campaigns.
  • Mobile Bid Adjustments: You NEED to show on mobile devices. Make sure that your bid modifiers are high enough to have consistent visibility for mobile searches. If you find your mobile traffic is slow, you can set the bids to an increased %, to achieve stronger ad positions. I recommend prioritizing this. There is an ever-growing percentage of searches occurring on mobile devices.
  • Target Locations: You don’t want to be wasting money on clicks from outside of your target areas. Check to ensure your ads are serving the areas that you want to show ads to. Then, after you get traffic, take this a step further and start reviewing your geo-reports (this a bit more of a veteran move).

Google Ads Audit Step #3: Assess Ad Groups

Our general rule of thumb is that an ad group shouldn’t contain more than 15-20 keywords. In a really, really dialed in account, Ad Groups, should be driven from the keyword. This type of structure makes learning, optimizing, and data easier to control.

Also, if your Ad Groups are keyword-driven, you can create better, hyper-specific, ad copy that speaks to your audience.

Google Ads Audit Step #4: Review Keyword Match Type Settings

A well-rounded Google Ads account usually includes keywords from various match types. Each serves a purpose, but you need to be aware of the differences.

The most dangerous keywords can be “broad” keywords. Broad match can yield plenty of traffic and tons of impressions but are too loosely related to the real estate investment industry. This results in disastrous click-through rates, poor conversion rates, lower Quality Scores and wasted spend.

Take the time to learn Google’s various keyword match types, but we recommend starting with phrase and exact match. On some occasions, where it fits in your business, also adding in the modified broad match for a little more reach.

For more information about keywords, check out… Guide To Google AdWords for Real Estate Investors

Google Ads Audit Step #5: Check Number of Ads Enabled Per Ad Group

As a rule-of-thumb, we recommend having at least three ads per ad group. Create some ads with the keyword in the headline and possibly another ad that is more outside-the-box. Testing three ads will give you the much-needed data to make better account decisions.

Ad copy needs enough time. We say changing ad copy once every 1-3 months depending on how much traffic your account receives.

Google Ads Audit Step #6: Check Ad Extensions

If you’re new to managing a Google Ads account you might not be familiar with ad extensions. They’ve become a must-have for creating competitive ad copy.

So, what ad extensions? They’re the extra pieces to your ads to build credibility, offer a USP, make your ads stand out in the search results, and achieve higher click-through-rates.

Here’s a look at how we utilize ad extensions for motivated seller accounts…

Ad Extensions:

  • Call (Phone number)
  • Location (Link to your Google+ profile)
  • Sitelinks (Clickable links that can drive traffic to different pages on your site, such as your “About” page, “Testimonials” page, and “How We Buy Houses” page)
adwords for real estate investors sitelinks

Sitelinks

  • Call-Outs (Non-Clickable points. Great for Calls-to-Action)
  • Structured Snippets (Real estate investors don’t get many options with this one, but can use the “Types” option and list out what types of houses you buy)
real estate investor adwords structured snippets

Google Ads Audit Step #7: QA Your Negative Keyword Lists

Adding negative keywords to your account is the best way to defend against impressions and clicks by unqualified searchers.

If you’re not utilizing negatives, you’re more than likely wasting money. You can proactively set negatives by adding keywords that don’t fit within the real estate investment industry. Phrases like, “full price” “buy a home” “houses sold in my area” should be added.

Each week head to your search terms report to understand exactly what terms have been triggering your ads. Be on the lookout for terms that you do not want to continue showing for and set them as negatives.

For more information about negative keywords, check out… Guide to Negative Keywords for Real Estate PPC

Google Ads Audit Step #8: Create Your Game Plan

Now that you’ve done all of the leg work, you know exactly what you need to do to keep your Google Ads account into prime shape. Time to start optimizing your account. Once you have it dialed in, the real fun begins… Generating Leads and Deals!