Is Your Google Ads Underperforming? Use Our 10-Step PPC Audit Checklist to Diagnose Hidden Issues

Table of Contents

In the fast-paced world of online advertising, Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) remains a go-to platform for businesses looking to increase their online visibility, drive traffic, and boost conversions. Yet, even the most carefully planned PPC campaigns can lose their effectiveness over time.

Conducting a comprehensive audit is indispensable to ensure that your PPC efforts consistently deliver optimal results. In this article, we will guide you through our Google Ads PPC Audit Checklist, meticulously designed to help you uncover hidden issues and optimize your advertising endeavors.

Whether you are a seasoned PPC expert or just starting with Google Ads, this checklist, coupled with the provided PPC audit tools, will be your roadmap to achieving the best results from your campaigns.

What is a Google Ads PPC Audit?

Before delving into our 10-Step Google Ads PPC Audit Checklist, let's first clarify what a PPC audit is and why it's a vital component of your online advertising strategy.

A PPC audit is a comprehensive review and analysis of your ad campaigns, ad groups, and ads to identify areas that need improvement and optimization. Conducting a PPC account audit ensures that your ad group and campaigns are well-structured, relevant, and aligned with your goals. But why is it so essential conduct a ppc audit?

A PPC audits offer several key benefits:

  • Cost Efficiency: It helps identify areas where your budget may be wasted on underperforming keywords or ads, allowing you to allocate resources more effectively.
  • Improved ROI: By optimizing campaigns based on the audit findings, you can increase your return on investment.
  • Enhanced Quality Score: A well-structured, relevant campaign improves your Quality Score, which can lead to lower costs per click (CPC) and improved ad placements.
  • Relevance to Your Audience: A PPC audit helps ensure that your ads perform based on your goals, reaching the right audience, which increases the chances of conversions.

Common Signs of Underperforming Google Ads

It is also essential to recognize the common signs that your ads campaigns may be underperforming. Identifying these indicators can prompt you to conduct a PPC audit to diagnose and resolve hidden issues. Some common signs include:

  • High CPC with limited results.
  • Low click-through rates (CTR) and poor ad relevance.
  • A decrease in conversions or conversion rates.
  • Frequent budget overruns without corresponding success.
  • A drop in your ad position on search engine results pages.
  • Ineffective use of budget with high impression counts but low conversion rates.

If you observe any of these signs in your Google Ads campaigns, it's time to consider using our Checklist to get your advertising strategy back on track.

Learn more: 8 Common Google Ads Mistakes to Avoid

10-Step Google Ads PPC Audit Checklist

This 10-Step Checklist is your comprehensive toolkit for uncovering issues and optimizing your Google Ads PPC campaigns. Each step of the checklist addresses a critical aspect of your campaigns, ensuring that you leave no stone unturned. Let's explore each step in detail:

Step 1: Review Your Google Ads Account Structure

A well-structured Google Ads account is the foundation of a successful campaign. This step involves a thorough examination of your PPC account's architecture, ad groups, and keyword match types to ensure its efficiency and relevance.

  • Consolidate Ad Groups: Begin by consolidating ad groups with closely related keywords and match types. Grouping related keywords together improves the relevance of your ads to user search terms.
  • Keyword Organization: Reorganize keywords into themes that align with ad groups and create keyword match types that work best for your goals. This results in better ad relevance and higher Quality Scores.
  • Eliminate Irrelevance: Identify and eliminate redundant or irrelevant campaigns and ad groups that may siphon your budget without delivering value.

By streamlining your account structure, consolidating ad groups, and enhancing keyword organization, you're not only improving the efficiency of your campaigns but also boosting their overall performance. The benefits encompass cost savings, higher Quality Scores, and more relevance to your audience.

Step 2: Examine Keyword Relevance

Keyword relevancy is at the core of any successful PPC campaign. This step focuses on keyword research and analysis, and evaluating the alignment between your selected keywords and your business objectives.

  • Eliminate Irrelevant Keywords: Identify and remove irrelevant keywords that might be consuming your budget while attracting unqualified clicks.
  • Negative Keyword List: Incorporate negative keywords to filter out irrelevant traffic and ensure your ads are shown to the right audience. Maintaining a negative keywords list is essential to exclude irrelevant search queries.
  • Keyword Expansion: Continuously refine and expand your keyword list to capture untapped opportunities and reach a broader audience.

By weeding out irrelevant keywords and utilizing negative keywords, you are steering your campaign toward a more targeted audience, resulting in improved click-through rates and ad relevance. Furthermore, ongoing expansion of keyword research and refinement of your keyword list enable you to tap into unexplored opportunities while leveraging various keyword match types.

Step 3: Assess Ad Copy and Creatives

The quality of your ad copy and creatives significantly influences ad rank, click-through-rates (CTR) and conversions. This step focuses on fine-tuning your ad messaging to capture your audience's attention.

  • A/B Testing: Regularly conduct A/B tests to identify the most effective ad message and creative elements. This fine-tunes your messaging for higher performance.
  • Ad Extensions: Incorporate extensions to provide additional information and enhance the visibility of your ads.
  • Continuous Refinement: Keep your ad creatives fresh and relevant by continuously refining and updating them to maintain their effectiveness.

By conducting A/B tests regularly, you're able to pinpoint the most effective ad copy and creative elements, resulting in a more finely-tuned and high-performing messaging strategy. The incorporation of ad extensions further enriches your ad content and visibility. The commitment to continuous refinement and updates across separate campaigns ensures that your ad creatives remain fresh and relevant, avoid generic ad copy, and consistently maintaining their effectiveness.

Step 4: Landing Page Quality

Your landing page plays a pivotal role in turning ad clicks into meaningful actions. This step is all about ensuring the quality and effectiveness of your landing page, which is essential for optimizing your ads.

  • Alignment with Ad Messaging: Match the content on your landing pages with the messaging in your ad content to provide a seamless user experience.
  • Optimize Loading Times: Optimize landing page loading times to ensure a smooth and speedy user experience, reducing bounce rates.
  • Effective Calls to Action: Implement clear and compelling calls to action on your landing pages to encourage visitors to take the desired actions.

By aligning the content on your landing page with the messaging in your ads, you offer a seamless user experience to your website visitors. Optimizing loading time also ensures a smooth and fast user journey, reducing bounce rates and improving engagement. Effective calls to action on your landing pages encourage visitors to take the desired actions, ultimately enhancing conversions.

Step 5: Analyze Ad Extensions

Ad extensions can enhance the visibility and appeal of text ads in your search and mobile ads. In this step, you'll learn how to make the most of ad extensions and how they perform.

  • Utilize All Available Extensions: Use all the available ad extensions, such as sitelinks, callouts, and structured snippets, to provide additional information and encourage clicks.
  • Highlight Key Features: Use structured snippets to highlight specific features or benefits of your products or services in your ppc campaigns.
  • Regular Monitoring: Continuously monitor the performance of your ad extensions and make necessary adjustments to maximize their impact.

By utilizing all available extensions, you provide additional information when delivering ads that encourages clicks and engages your audience more effectively. The strategic use of structured snippets to highlight specific features or benefits of your products or services can make your ads even more compelling.

Regular monitoring of the performance of these ad extensions ensures they remain optimized and continue to maximize their impact.

Step 6: Bid Management

Effective bid management is crucial for optimizing campaign performance. This step focuses on adjusting your bids for maximum efficiency.

  • Bid Adjustments: Adjust your bids based on keyword performance and competition to ensure your ads appear in the most relevant positions.
  • Automated Bidding: Utilize automated bidding strategies provided by Google Ads to take advantage of machine learning for bid optimization.
  • Ongoing Monitoring: Regularly monitor bid changes and their impact on your campaign's results, making adjustments as needed.

Effective bid management is crucial to ensure your ads are prominently positioned for maximum efficiency. This involves bid adjustments based on keyword performance and competition, tailoring your bidding strategy, whether through manual bidding or smart bidding, to secure the most relevant ad placement.

Additionally, automated bids also allows you to harness machine learning for bid optimization. Ongoing monitoring of bid changes and their impact on your campaign's results ensures adaptability and cost-effectiveness.

Step 7: Budget Allocation

Efficient budget allocation ensures you get the most out of your PPC campaigns. This step explains how to allocate your resources wisely.

  • Identify Top-Performing Campaigns: Identify top-performing campaigns and allocate more budget to them to capitalize on their success.
  • Budget Caps: Set daily or monthly budget caps to control your spending and prevent budget overruns.
  • Periodic Reallocation: Periodically reallocate your budget based on performance trends to ensure your resources are allocated to the most effective areas.

By identifying top-performing campaigns and strategic allocation of your ad budget, you can capitalize on their success and drive even better results. The implementation of budget caps, whether on a daily or monthly basis, ensures that your spending remains under control, preventing wasted ad spend.

By engaging in periodic reallocation based on performance trends, you ensure that your resources are consistently directed towards the most effective areas.

Step 8: Review Demographic and Location Targeting

Refining your audience targeting is essential for better campaign performance. This step focuses on the geographic and demographic aspects of your campaigns.

  • Data Analysis: Analyze demographic and geographic data to identify high-performing areas and audience segments for your campaigns.
  • Bid Modifiers: Adjust bid modifiers or targeting options to prioritize specific regions or demographics that align with your audience.
  • Exclusions: Exclude locations or demographics that do not align with your target audience to prevent budget wastage.

Through thorough data analysis, you can pinpoint high-performing areas and audience segments within search network that align with your ad campaign goals. Implementing bid modifiers and targeting adjustments allows you to prioritize specific regions or demographics that are most in line with your target audience, optimizing the relevance and impact of your location targeting. Equally important is the exclusion of locations or demographics that do not align with your target audience to prevent wasted ad spend.

Step 9: Track Conversions and Goals

Conversion tracking is essential for measuring the success of your PPC campaigns. This step explores the process of tracking conversions effectively.

  • Implement Tracking Codes: Implement conversion tracking codes on relevant pages to capture data on desired actions, such as form submissions or purchases.
  • Micro-Conversions: Define and track micro-conversions, such as newsletter sign-ups or brochure downloads, to gain insight into user behavior.
  • Quality Assessment: Continuously assess the quality of tracked conversions to ensure they align with your campaign goals and provide valuable insights.

By effectively implementing your conversion tracking code on relevant pages, you capture essential data regarding desired actions and gain valuable insight on your ads performance.

Micro-conversions also provides a comprehensive understanding of user behavior and engagement. A continuous quality assessment of tracked conversions ensures that they consistently align with your campaign objectives, delivering valuable insights for ongoing optimization.

Step 10: Performance Analysis

Thoroughly analyzing your PPC campaign's performance data is essential for identifying trends and areas that require improvement. This step delves into the critical aspects of performance analysis.

  • Key Metrics: Examine key performance metrics, such as CTR, conversion rates, and return on investment, to gauge the overall performance of your campaigns and ad groups.
  • Identify Underperformers: Identify underperforming keywords, ad groups, and ad campaigns that may require adjustments or elimination.
  • Regular Reviews: Conduct regular performance reviews to stay proactive in campaign optimization and ensure ongoing success.

By delving into key performance metrics like CTR, conversion rate, and return on investment, you gain a comprehensive view of how your PPC ads, ad groups, and ad campaign are performing. This data enables you to pinpoint underperforming elements that may require adjustments or elimination, ensuring that your resources are allocated more effectively.

Top PPC Audit Tools

Before wrapping up, it's worth mentioning some top PPC audit tools that can streamline and enhance your auditing process. These tools can help automate data collection, provide valuable insights, and save you time. Some of these top PPC audit tools include:

Google Ads Editor

Google Ads Editor's bulk editing capabilities streamline changes across campaigns, while its performance data access allows for insights into key metrics. Quality Score analysis identifies underperforming keywords, and keyword management aids in targeting optimization.

The tool also facilitates budget and bidding adjustments and offers historical data for trend analysis. It's a robust solution for impactful, efficient PPC campaign management and optimization during audits.


SEMrush offers features like competitive research, which allows you to benchmark your campaigns against competitors and identify areas for improvement. SEMrush provides a detailed analysis of ad performance, including ad copy, keywords, and landing pages.

It helps in identifying underperforming keywords and ad groups, as well as uncovering opportunities for expansion. The tool also offers a thorough audit of negative keywords and provides recommendations for refining your targeting.


WordStream offers a comprehensive audit score, highlighting areas that need immediate attention and improvement. WordStream helps in identifying negative keywords and optimizing your keyword lists for better targeting. It also facilitates ad group and campaign organization, ensuring that your account structure is in line with best practices.

The platform's performance analysis tools help evaluate key metrics, such as Quality Score and click-through rates, to pinpoint areas for enhancement. WordStream's ad management capabilities also simplify the process of creating, testing, and optimizing ad copy for better engagement and conversions. Its reporting and monitoring features make it easier to track and measure the impact of your campaigns over time.


Optymzr offers automated audits and alerts that continuously monitor your campaigns for issues, ensuring that you stay proactive in optimization. Optymzr provides in-depth insights into key performance metrics, highlighting areas that require immediate attention, and it offers actionable recommendations for improvements.

The platform simplifies bid management by automating bid adjustment based on performance data, helping to optimize campaign efficiency and reduce costs. Optymzr's ad testing and optimization tools aid in improving ad copy and landing page relevance, which is crucial for boosting click-through rates and conversions.


Adalysis provides automated audits and recommendations that continually assess your campaigns' performance, allowing you to identify and address issues promptly. Adalysis excels in ad testing and optimization, making it easy to create and refine ad copy, resulting in better click-through rates and conversions.

It simplifies A/B testing and ad rotation, ensuring that you have the most effective ads running. With its focus on automation and optimization, Adalysis significantly streamlines the PPC audit process, making it easier to uncover insights and drive better results in your paid advertising campaigns.

Conduct a PPC Audit Report Now

In the dynamic world of PPC management, a structured approach is essential to maintain campaign success. Our 10-Step Google Ads Audit Checklist, coupled with the provided PPC audit tools, is your toolkit for diagnosing hidden issues and optimizing your Google Ads campaigns, ad groups, and PPC ads.

By following these step-by-step guidelines and utilizing top PPC audit tools, you can revitalize your PPC performance and ensure they consistently deliver the results you desire. Don't let underperformance drain your budget—take control of your PPC strategy today and watch your business flourish.

No Credit Card Needed!
Detect Invalid Clicks for Free