Quickly Audit your Own Google Ads Keywords

Updated: August 30th 2023

Are you interested in conducting a swift audit of your Google Ads Keywords account to evaluate what your PPC consultant has been up to? 

Here’s a primer to that audit, designed to optimize your Google AdWords. Please note that although the interface may change with updates from Google, the principles behind these steps remain constant.

What are your keywords?

First, click “download CSV” for each level to get your keyword data. If you have MS Office installed, it should open in Excel like a charm.

Next, right-click on the tab of one .csv file and choose “Move or Copy.” Select one of the downloaded lists from the drop-down menu to move the tab there.

Do the same with the other standalone .csv file, and voilà! You can easily toggle between the tabs and compare your keyword lists.

So, what should you be looking for?

If things were set up correctly, you’ll notice a shorter list at the account level and progressively longer lists at the campaign and ad group levels.

Now, let’s examine the keyword list at the account level. How many keywords do you see? Are they a bunch of phrases and single words related to your company name (branded keywords) or product name? Or is it a longer list with a mix of company-related keywords and others that seem relevant to your market segments?

Remember, different keywords will attract different audiences, so it’s essential to keep them varied and relevant to reach your target market.

What does your keyword list consist of? Are they globally-used phrases or specific single words? Is your list dominated by your company or product name (branded keywords), or does it consist of a more varied mix that includes potentially relevant keywords for your market segments?

Inspecting your keyword list

A brief and obvious keyword list may prompt a query to your agency: “How did you derive this list?” Although a logical, data-driven process might produce such a list, and it might narrow over time, it’s unconventional. This could indicate a safe-of-failure setup, sidestepping the expense of testing.

Your keyword list should be comprehensive as your ad should ideally be seen by those most likely to convert, and it’s unlikely a narrow set of keywords can capture all such individuals. Different keyword lists should be observed at the campaign and ad-group levels to effectively target conversions using those assets and audience definitions.

Testing and Data

Testing is a critical part of PPC campaign effectiveness. As algorithms and SERP structure change, ongoing refinement of your campaigns is necessary. Remember, testing involves cost, and a PPC consultant should be able to justify this expense.

Decisions in PPC should be data-driven. Genuine data can only arise from your campaigns. While some assumptions can be made based on past campaigns for similar products or services, your results will shape your strategy.

Short and Long-tail Keywords

Your campaigns should include a mix of short and long-tail keywords. While long-tail keywords usually have less traffic, they reflect a more focused search intent than short-tail ones. You want to be visible at multiple points in the customer decision journey.

Experimentation in Online Advertising

Online advertising requires an experimental approach, particularly with keyword research and management for your Google AdWords PPC account. This entails more than just using a handful of popular keywords. An audit is a tool for asking the right questions rather than drawing conclusions. 

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