PPC Complete Checklist

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1. Create different campaigns for your products and services

  • PPC campaigns need to be separated into multiple campaigns for your products and services. This is to prevent higher demand and volume keywords from eating away at your budget. This also leads to more challenging campaign management. Having all of your products and services in a single campaign will cause issues whenever you use smart bidding.
  • Having only one campaign also prevents high campaign relevance to ads, ad groups, and landing pages. They also don’t allow for budget and targeting management or quality score optimization.
  • Each of your services should have its own campaign dedicated to it. In short, every top-level service should have a separate campaign.
  • 2. Separate your campaigns into single keyword ad groups

  • After you break your products and services into separate PPC campaigns, the next step is to focus your attention on certain adgroups. As you divide your adgroups further, you increase the chances for higher relevancy for your keywords and ads. As a result, your adgroups will have a better overall quality score.
  • Once you have your adgroups, you’ll include the relevant keywords. This will improve your ad copy’s relevancy and provide higher scoring. In the end, your campaign will produce cheaper ad traffic.
  • Single Keyword Ad Groups (or SKAGS) means that instead of developing adgroups by themselves, each and every keyword for your campaign receives a dedicated adgroup. This campaign strategy works off of the fact that ads and keywords are highly relevant to each other. This leads to high-quality scores and inexpensive clicks. However, in some cases, this process can be very time-consuming with no real gain. That’s why it’s important to gauge the cost-effectiveness of SKAGS.
  • 3. Only use Google Search Network for your ad campaigns

    Tips when setting up your campaign:

    • Uncheck Search Network
    • Uncheck Display Network (ads you might see on websites that are display ads, we only want to target search keywords)
    • Make sure you set your location to the United States, or whatever country your products or services apply to


    When setting up a campaign, you only want to target the Google Search Network. The partner networks affiliated with Google Search are not as profitable as Google. You want to ensure that your ads appear on high-quality sites to get accurate traffic and conversion rates.

    In the event that your PPC campaign is maximized and needs more volume for increasing your conversion rate, then try partner networks. While they may come at a higher cost, you’ll still find additional sales and leads. As long as the cost per conversion is still set at an acceptable amount, then enabling search partners may be worth it.

    4. Do not use AdWords Express or Smart Campaigns

  • One thing to remember when setting up your Google Ads campaign is to not use AdWords Express. Similarly, you should not run a Smart Campaign either because neither will produce the results that you need.
  • What is AdWords Express?

  • AdWords Express is a product that underperforms compared to Google Ads. Its basic and underwhelming interface makes it difficult to improve on your PPC traffic. Google Ads is a much more reliable and complete package that provides the results that you need for your business. With AdWords Express, there are no menu options for keyword alterations, significant settings, ad extensions, and much more.
  • Meanwhile, Google Ads provides all of these options and more for all of its users. Anyone with an AdWords Express campaign can convert it to their Google Ads campaign to preserve all of their information as well with the help of Google Ads Support.
  • What is a Smart Campaign?

  • Much like AdWords Express, Smart campaigns are a very minimal version of Google Ads. It lacks the many features that Google Ads provides and offers no real way to enhance your ad campaign.
  • These campaigns are developed within the Google Ads’ main product but exclude essential features that you can only get from the full product. To replace your smart campaign on Google Ads, all you have to do is just create a search campaign as a substitute.
  • 5. Opt-out of search and display networks

  • You want to make sure that you opt-out of the display network to avoid poor quality traffic. The display network shows you millions of blogs and websites that have available advertising spaces. Although it expands your reach, you need to ensure that your ads are appearing to relevant customers to target those actively seeking your product.
  • By doing so, it will avoid low-quality traffic and focus your Google Ads campaign to only Google Search Network results. You will also avoid passive browsers and receive more accurate conversions. You can select this option under your campaign ‘Settings’ > ‘Networks’.
  • Effective Advertisement

    6. Use multiple ad variations

  • When starting your Google Ads campaign, it is important to have at least 2 variations of ads in each adgroup. By focusing on 2 to 3, you will be able to test click-through rate and conversions to have a clear understanding of which ad performs better.
  • When you remove the underperforming ad, it is recommended that you create a new ad to put against the winning ad. This will allow you to continue to experiment, improve your ads, and ensure that you’re spending money on the highest performing ad variations.
  • Eventually, you may have a campaign that generates over 50+ clicks per day per adgroup. When this happens, you can start testing these ads 3 at a time. Once you determine which ads have the lowest CTR, pause them, and replace them to test new content.
  • 7. Use your headlines to test your ads

  • Your ad copy needs to be tested to ensure that it is optimal for Google and your audience. To test the performance of your adgroup, you’ll have to focus on two different ad variations: Headlines and descriptions.
  • Headline Testing

  • The most significant and clickable aspect of your text ads will be the headlines. To accurately test them, you need to focus on the selling points of the ad. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself questions like:
    • How competitive are my prices?
    • Do we provide better add-ons and services than our competition?
    • Do we have any awards to our name?
    • How highly-rated are we in our field?
    • Do we offer anything such as free delivery?
  • The answer to these questions will help you determine what your major selling points are. Once you know what they are, you can use them in your headlines to test their optimization.
  • Another element to keep in mind is to include your target keyword in the headlines as well. This assists the user and Google with ad to keyword relevancy. Your first headline should include a keyword-rich description to help the user find what they’re looking for. Your second and third headlines will then contain your selling points and benefits of your service or product.
  • 8. Use your descriptions to test your ads

    Description Testing

  • With the help of descriptions, users will be able to get a better understanding of your selling points. These descriptions can specify things like how many or which awards your business has earned. They can also include your business rating or why its services are better than others.
  • Your descriptions should interest and convince your users to click your ad and learn more. To help your audience find these ads, it’s essential to include keyword relevance in the description as well.
  • With a combination of exceptional writing and keyword relevancy, your description will come off as authentic and legitimate. Otherwise, your ad will seem spammy, hard to read, or keyword stuffed.
  • Make sure to try out different combinations of headlines and descriptions to find the right pairing for your ads.
  • 9. Test out expanded text ads vs. responsive search ads

    Expanded Text Ads:

    • Allows you to show 1-3 headlines at any time
    • Allows you to show 1-2 descriptions, depending on where the ad shows
    • The most important information should be placed on the first two lines to ensure that it fits properly in the ad space

    Responsive Search Ads:

    • Automatically pulls in a list of headlines and descriptions from your existing ads
    • Instead of having only 3 headlines, it allows you to add multiple headlines (as many as you need)
    • Google also tests for the best combination of headlines and considers factors like time of day and the device of choice

    It is beneficial to test out both formats to see which ad variation performs best for your campaigns.

    10. How to determine when to halt your ad campaigns and why

  • At this point, you should have developed A/B testing for your text ads. When you test two of your ads against each other, one of them is bound to do better than the other. There are two ways to measure how well your ads are doing: Through their conversion rate and Click Through Rate (CTR).
  • If one ad is performing less than the other, then it’s important to halt the lesser ad and replace the necessary copy. This will allow you to test out a new copy and determine what would be better for your ad.
  • So the question remains: Should you pause your ads because of its conversion rate or CTR? The answer is not a simple one, as it depends on the campaign itself.
  • For instance, if the conversion rate is the same but the CTR is lower in one than the other, then you should halt the lesser CTR ad. However, if the conversion rate is higher on the lesser CTR ad than the first ad, then you need to make a decision.
  • At this point, it’s essential that you determine whether traffic is more important or if overall conversions matter more. Either way, you should strive to improve your text ads to provide positive CTR and conversion rates.
  • Average CTR

    11. Determine the need for dynamic search ads

  • Your website will create ads called Dynamic Search Ads. Dynamic Search Ads are based on website content and target users looking for your specific product or service. Your website content helps target your ads and fill in gaps in your keyword-focused campaigns.
  • With auto-generated content from your site, Dynamic Search Ads remain relevant and is a huge time saver. After the ad is made, all you have to do is add a relevant and creative description for it. If you choose not to use Dynamic Search Ads, then you risk missing relevant searches, lose track of what’s available on advertisers’ websites, and or experience delays when you need ads written for new products.
  • Should I Use Dynamic Search Ads?

  • Dynamic Search Ads are perfect for when you have a large list of products or services. It helps create ads and campaigns for all of your items across your website. In the end, Dynamic Search Ads save you time and prevent the need to make an individual ad for every product or service.
  • However, there is a situation where using Dynamic Search Ads is not recommended. For example, if your products are services are few, then it’s easier to maintain control over the content. More control over the content leads to more efficient optimization for your ads.
  • Search Ads

    12. Develop 3 different Callout Extensions

  • Callouts can be added at the account, campaign, or adgroup level and you are then able to schedule when they appear. Callout extensions highlight your business offerings and promote popular aspects of your business. There is no additional cost for callout extensions, but you will still be charged as usual for clicks on your ads. You want to be specific and keep the text short because the callout text is limited to 25 characters.

  • You can create callout extensions by signing into Google Ads and selecting ‘Ads & extensions’ > ‘Extensions’ > ‘+’ > ‘Callout extension’ > ‘Add’ > ‘Select campaign level’ > ‘Callout text’ > ‘Save’.
  • 13. Try out different Callouts and how they affect conversion rates and CTR

  • Click-through rate (CTR) is an essential metric you should monitor when applying paid customer acquisition. A high CTR indicates to Google that you are relevant to users searching for particular keywords or phrases.
  • Trying different callouts and displaying relevant ads in order to improve conversion rates will benefit your campaign in the long run.
  • 17. Develop a Structured Snippet Extension that is relevant

  • To give your customers a better idea of what products and services your business provides, you should set up a Structured Snippet Extension. This ad extension gives you the ability to list your products and services so that customers can identify your products and services’ benefits easily. The extra information provided on your ad also increases its click-through rate and relevance.
  • This customizable extension gives you even further control over your ad campaign and adgroups. First, you decide where you want to add the snippets and determine what information you want your potential customers to find.
  • One of the best ways to use these structured snippets is to give your customer enough information to go off. You’ll want to provide 4 values per header at the minimum. It’s important to also optimize your ads for mobile users. The shorter the snippets, the more appealing it is for those on their phones.
  • To increase your options, we recommend having multiple structured snippets. More than one snippet improves the chances that your ad will show with a relevant extension. It also means that you have more options for your ad.
  • Depending on your niche, your business may fall into the following categories:

    • Amenities
    • Brands
    • Courses
    • Degree programs
    • Destinations
    • Featured hotels
    • Insurance cover
    • Models
    • Areas
    • Service catalog
    • Shows
    • Styles
    • Types
  • If your business doesn’t fall under any of the above categories, then you should use “Types” instead.
  • 19. If you get inbound leads through phone calls, set up a call extension

  • If your business gets inbound leads from phone calls, then you’ll need to add a call extension to your ad campaign. A call extension will allow your users to call you directly from the ad and mobile users can tap the number to call.
  • It also lets you track the phone calls as conversions if you choose to use a tracking number. You will also be able to establish operating hours to ensure that your ad only shows the phone number during business hours.
  • 20. If you get leads through text messages, create a message extension

  • For a business that can receive inbound leads via SMS text messages, then we highly recommend a message extension. With this extension, you can create leads from users that need a quote fast without going to the website, filling out a form, or calling you.
  • With a message extension, your customers can request a quote or more information with a single text message. It should be said that message extensions are designed to only work for users with mobile devices that can send and receive text messages. This also means that your business phone must also have these capabilities.
  • 21. Avoid Broad Match keywords

  • You want to avoid using broad match keywords for your campaigns. Use exact match, phrase match, and broad match modifier in order to target an audience in search of your product or service. Broad match keywords will drive a wide range of traffic that may not be related to your business.
  • You want to avoid using broad match keywords because your ads could activate for the wrong audience. Broad Match Modifier will match words that Google thinks will share the same meaning as the keyword. Google suggests users consider starting with broad match in order to find negative match keywords. You can then exclude searches that aren’t related to your business.
  • 22. Should you bid on your brand?

  • If a customer is trying to search for your business and a competitor’s ad appears instead, chances are they bid on your brand name. Bidding on your own brand will protect you from your competitors.
  • You should bid on your brand name in order to appear at the top of the listing in the Google Search results page. It’s a good thing for you when your customers find your brand appears on both the organic and paid listings.
  • And by bidding on your own brand, you can advertise special promotions with a stronger call to actions on your paid listing.
  • 23. Should you bid on your competitor’s brand?

  • For extra converting traffic, you can bid on your competitors. Competitor bidding is a great way to compete against larger businesses if you are a small business. The larger competition can have much more search volume, which can be converted to your business to improve your traffic.
  • It is important to remember that if you decide to bid on your competitor’s brands that you do not include their name in any text ads. This can result in a breach of trademark law.
  • The biggest deciding factor is how you feel about bidding on your competition. You also have to determine how you would feel if your competition bid on your brand’s name. If you’re comfortable with either scenario, then we suggest developing a trial campaign to see if bidding on your competitors’ brands leads to success.
  • 24. All keywords should be from modified broad match, phrase match, or exact match

  • Google suggests users only consider broad match in order to find negative match keywords to exclude on searches that aren’t related to your business. Broad match modifiers give you more control than broad match, and phrase match gives you more flexibility than exact match.
  • If your intent is to reach a wider audience, then broad match is useful. However, if you know what audience you want your ad to trigger to, exact match will be more beneficial. Creating campaigns that include a mix of all 3 will ensure that your traffic is relevant.

    • “Phrase”- Combination of keywords
    • [Exact]- Must be the exact keyword phrase
    • Broad- Any relevant term
    • +Broad+Match+Modifiers- Includes words you’ve marked with a plus sign

    25. Make sure that all of your keywords are appropriate for your ads

  • When it comes to your adgroups, it’s essential that they include keywords that are highly relevant to the ad. In other words, your keywords should be clearly in the headline, description, and possibly the display URL as well.
  • Google focuses on finding the most relevant results for a search. With more relevant ads, your business is bound to appear on the first page of your desired searches.
  • Your CTR also improves when people searching your keyword sees your ad is relevant to what they searched for. You should also make an effort to distinguish your ad from others by making it unique.
  • Your competitors will also use your keyword in their headlines and descriptions, so you’ll have to utilize your selling points to stay ahead of the game.
  • In some cases, many businesses will use SKAGS to make sure that their adgroups are focused on boosting relevancy.
  • 26. Conduct negative keyword research

  • To stop irrelevant searches from activating your ad and to improve traffic quality, you should add negative keywords. If you want to prevent irrelevant search terms from triggering your ad, you’ll have to go to your campaign and erase irrelevant searches.
  • During this time, we recommend that you also try to predict possible irrelevant terms for the future. This will prevent you from having to pay for irrelevant clicks before any unwanted terms appear in your search term report.
  • How You Should Perform Negative Keyword Research

  • There are many tools that can help you identify negative keywords and search terms. One of these tools includes one called “Answer the Public”. This tool lets you search your target keyword and find all the searches that overlap with it.
  • Once you have every possible search that crosses over your keyword, you can mark them as negative keywords. After you do that, your ad will avoid appearing in those searches.
  • 27. Identify negative keywords by checking the search term report

  • Once your ad campaign has been live for long enough, you’ll begin to look over your search term report. Your search term report will allow you to view what terms users typed in and which of the keywords they matched with. Once you see this data, you can decide if the searches are relevant to your ad or not.
  • How to Handle Irrelevant Traffic
  • If you see a negative keyword on the search term report, then you can simply mark it as such. From there, you can add that search term to your campaign or adgroup as an exact match negative keyword.
  • In some cases, you may find that negative terms keep appearing in your search term report. While you can these terms to your list of negative keywords one by one, there is another way to prevent further results.
  • If there is a common word in each negative keyword that does not relate to your ad, like “jobs”, then include the word as a negative keyword to prevent future searches associated with it.
  • 28. Review and record historical quality scores

  • Google gives a 1-10 Quality Score for each keyword that is based on past performance data. The score will be based on how the keyword has performed in past campaigns.
  • It is important to track the progress of Quality Scores in order to optimize your campaigns. According to Google, there are 3 factors that determine your Quality Score:
    1. Expected click-through rate (CTR)
    2. Ad relevance
    3. Landing page experience

    29. Freeze lower performing keywords

  • Once you have conducted your research, there will be keywords that do not hold up to your needs and need to be frozen. You want to make sure you have allowed the keyword a chance to perform before pausing it.
  • Checking your search terms report will give you some insight into what consumers are searching for on Google. If keywords do not lead to conversions once you’ve ensured that the quality of your ads and landing pages are relevant to your product or service, it’s okay to pause them.
  • 30. Pause keywords with low conversions and high CPA

  • Cost Per Action (CPA) is a metric that measures the amount your business pays in order to attain a conversion.
  • CPA is able to measure the number of ad clicks done before the customer converts. By boosting your conversion rate, CPA will go down which can benefit your budget over time. We highly recommend that you allow keywords at least a month to perform. If the CPA is still too high after 30 days, then you should pause the keyword.
  • Average Cost Per Action

    31. Improve your search campaigns by adding In-Market audiences

  • In-Market audiences give you topics, demographics, and affinities. They are groups of people that Google has identified as trying to buy something. These will be the more expensive audiences, but they will be the easiest tones to test since they are already considering your product or service.
  • You want to focus on 3-5 in-market audiences per campaign to observe how they perform and adjust accordingly. This data will be very useful across all aspects of your campaign.
  • 32. Adjust bids to align for In-Market audiences

  • It is recommended that you adjust your bids to align with your in-market audience. By targeting an audience that already has an interest in your product or service, you improve your campaign results.
  • These likely buyers will lead to better conversion rates and higher performance. Optimizing and adjusting your bids based on the data of in-market audiences will allow you to reach consumers who are on the brink of purchasing.
  • 33. Determine your audience and remarket your campaign accordingly

  • Google states that display ads are seen across Google Displays Network’s 2 million websites and apps. Google Ads provides users with several ways to create display ads, such as responsive display ads and uploaded display ads.
  • There are many other ad formats available depending on your campaign. Once you have decided who it is you’d like to remarket to, you can create banners that fit and target your campaign type.
  • Display Ads

    34. Evaluate remarketing lists for search ads

  • Remarketing List for Search Ads (RSLA) allows you to adjust bids for ads to target your past site visitors, as they do follow up searches on Google. A strong signal of intent comes from someone who has previously visited your site.
  • You can optimize bids in order to target those who have interacted with your brand, which has a higher possibility to convert into a sale. Strategically positioning your ads to those who have visited your page but not converted can remind the consumer of your brand and drive sales activity.
  • 35. Create Google Analytics account

  • Google Analytics is a plugin that allows you to track and analyze your website traffic. This tool is essential for growing your website contains valuable data for your ad campaign.
  • Once you install the plugin, you will receive a unique code that will be embedded into your website to help with tracking. Google Analytics will allow you to see things like:
    • Age
    • Gender
    • City/Country
    • Total visitors
    • Most viewed page
    • Time spent on your site
    • Which page visitors are bouncing off to
    • Which platform your visitors are coming from

    36. Connect your Google Analytics account to Google Ads

  • You will get important data from linking your Google Analytics account to Google Ads. This information will be essential to the success of your ad campaigns and business. Google Analytics conversion tracking in Google ads will allow you to track all of the key performance indicators on your website.
    • You will be able to connect your accounts and start tracking analytics by going to your Google Ads account and selecting ‘Tools & Settings’ > ‘Linked Accounts’ > ‘Google Analytics’ > ‘Details’ > ‘Link URL’.
  • Once it is properly set up you can begin to create goals and import them into your Google Ads account.
  • 37. Verify that keywords are relevant to your landing page

  • Landing pages are specifically designed and optimized to create conversions through keywords and calls to actions. You want to ensure that your targeted keywords are relevant to your landing page so that Google gives you a high experience score.
  • Once you have created a page targeted to specific keywords, Google Ads’ will measure how well your site gives users what they are looking for. Google suggests that you:
    1. Offer relevant, useful and original content
    2. Promote transparency
    3. Make mobile and computer navigating user-friendly
    4. Create a landing page with quick loading times

    38. Perform CRO audit on your website

  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is known as a website review that can highlight areas that need improvement. The audit will lead to the most effective improvements to your landing page or website that is based on customer behaviors like the length of the visit, bounce rates, and purchase history that affect conversion rates.
  • 39. Phone-tracking as needed

  • If your business generates leads through phone calls, it is essential you track calls with Google Ads campaign. Using phone call conversion tracking will show you how effective your ads are at converting.
  • Google states that you can use dynamically-generated Google forwarding numbers that replace your business number on your site, without any cost to you. As a result, you can see which specific keywords, ads, adgroups, and campaigns are leading to call conversions.
  • 40. Track all relevant conversions

  • There are many ways to track conversions, but linking Google Analytics conversion tracking in Google Ads is one of the top options.
  • Conversion tracking provides information like which keywords are the best driving activity and what happens after a visitor interacts with your ads. It can track if the visitor:
    • Purchased a product
    • Enrolled for your newsletter
    • Called your business
    • Downloaded your app

    41. Set-up a bidding strategy for your brand

  • There are many campaign strategies based on different goals, but there are two main types of bidding strategies. ROI strategies are money-based and will focus on growing your revenue based on paid search.
  • The other is strategy is based on vanity metrics, which will focus on visibility and maximizing target impression. Manual CPC will cover both strategies and allow you to manually optimize your bids.
  • Average CPC

    42. Alter bids based on device-level performance

  • You want to make informed optimizations when it comes to managing your bid adjustments. Device-level bid adjustments can be set at an adgroup level.
  • When you adjust your bids you can change the frequency of your ads, as well as the time of day they are seen. Google Display campaigns can target:
    • Device types
    • Operating systems
    • Device models
    • Time of day
    • Wireless network

    43. Alter bids based on location-level performance

  • It is recommended that you analyze location, geographic, and distance reports to get some insights into the performance of your campaigns.
  • Even if your campaign is only targeting a single location, you are still able to analyze performance at a state level with Google Analytics. You can also adjust bids by location-based performance in order to target the best-performing regions.
  • 44. Modify bids to reach acceptable CPA range

  • Target CPA is the average amount you would like to pay for a conversion. You should set a maximum acceptable CPA for your campaign and then adjust your bids for keywords based on performance.
  • You’ll need to be sure to allow for enough time for your keywords to perform in order to gather enough data. Once the data is collected, you can decrease bids on the keywords that are exceeding your target maximum CPA.
  • 45. Modify bids based on time of day

  • Time plays a huge factor when it comes to your bid’s performance. It’s essential that you take note of which times have the highest and lowest conversions.
  • You will also want to reduce your bids during times in which conversions are lower to reduce your risks. If you have set hours of operations, then we highly encourage that you schedule your ads around them.
  • You can schedule ads by signing in to Google Ads and selecting ‘Page menu’ > ‘Ad schedule’ > ‘Click on the Edit icon’ > ‘Campaign’ > ‘Save’.
  • 46. Determine if you need to schedule ads

  • If you create an ad schedule, you can specify the days and times you want your ad to be shown. It is good practice to optimize your bids by the time of day in order to maximize your traffic.
  • Data like the best-performing time of day or day of the week can be seen on Google Analytics. You also want to lower or even halt your bids during times of the day that conversions are low to reduce your risks.
  • You can edit your ad schedule in Google Ads by selecting ‘Menu’ > ‘Ad schedule’ > ‘Campaign’ > ‘Click on the Edit icon’ > ‘Select times and dates’ > ‘Add’ > ‘Save’.
  • 47. Adjust bidding strategy based on volume

  • Google defines Smart Bidding as a subset of automated bid strategies that optimize for conversions or conversion value. This machine learning tool quickly analyzes millions of signals and sets real-time adjustments.
  • If you are using smart bidding and find that traffic volume has declined, you will need to give Google a chance to generate conversions. You can do this by making your smart bidding strategy less restrictive.
  • 48. Keep a record of your progress

  • You can consistently track the success of your campaigns by creating weekly and monthly PPC reports. By doing so, you can view the impact of the modifications you’ve made to your campaigns to help improve future ones.
  • It is beneficial for your ad campaign and business if you get comfortable using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. This tool makes reporting and tracking data more efficient and convenient.


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