With the true nature of search account management we can all agree that there is a lot of room for error. Even the best of account managers can overlook settings, bids and simple campaign optimizations with so many moving parts during the account management process. I truly believe in the importance of taking a step back from your day to day optimizations and efforts and ensure everything is properly set up and fully intentional.

The Audit Checklist

On a quarterly basis, I make it a habit to run through an audit list I’ve created, which I’d love to share with you. Even better is if you can get a new perspective from someone who isn’t involved with the account on a daily basis to do the audit for you – this will provide a fresh set of eyes and can actually end up catching items that you typically over look.

Want a copy you can print out? Download the PDF below.

Account Settings:

  • Ad rotation consistent (optimized for conversions)
  • Ad delivery settings consistent (accelerated)
  • Are there any campaigns that are hitting the daily budget that are performing well?
  • Make sure only targeting search network (and no display)
  • Only targeting one country per campaign


  • Are there any keywords that belong in a better ad group?
  • Ensure that all branded keywords belong in the branded ad group
  • Make sure all match types are in their proper campaign (and campaign names are correct)


  • Look at mobile performance and see if there are areas we can improve mobile bid modifiers
  • Re-pull time-of-day and day-of-week performance reporting and ensure that bidding reflects properly
  • GEO performance report – are there any states that we should be bidding more / less aggressively
  • Are bids properly tiered at the individual keyword level across all match types
  • Ensure that there are no branded or top performing exact keywords that have fallen below first page bid

SQR & Negatives:

  • Are there any negative keywords that are conflicting or causing your current set of keywords not to show?
  • SQR from the last year AND last quarter
    • Are there any negatives that we should add that we didn’t catch prior?
    • Are there any keywords that have driven a conversion that aren’t in our current keyword set?
  • Strategic negatives – are there areas that our keywords are being mis-triggered? Finding areas to add strategic negatives so we ensure everything is being properly bucketed

Ad Copy:

  • Does each ad group have at least one active ad running? Recommended at least 3 ads running
  • Are there any ads that are disapproved or under review?

Site Links and Ad Extensions:

  • Are ad extensions across all campaigns and not just some?
  • Are site link URLs accurate?
    • Make sure not going to incorrect pages
    • Make sure params properly in place
  • Ensure all site links are enhanced with description lines 1 and 2 and not over the character limit
  • Ensure that all site links are in the proper category and the best fit for each campaign name


  • Ensure that there are no URLs going to 404 error pages
  • Ensure that the proper tracking parameters in the URLs are accurate
  • The destination URLs are going to the proper and most appropriate of landing pages

Expansion and Opportunities Check:

  • Are there keywords that are paused or have a very low bid that never really got a chance to show?
  • Top performing keywords on exact – make sure they are also live on BMM
  • Identify top performing keywords and ad groups and see if there is any room for expansion or additional opportunities


  • Search partner analysis – look at the campaign level and see if it makes sense to turn off search partners in any area
  • Quality score analysis – identify keywords that have low quality score and see if there are areas this can be improved
  • Do top performing campaigns and keywords have strong impression share

While this might take some time to walk through the checklist, I can guarantee that you’ll find something that you overlooked in your account. Set some time aside (calendar blocking is a tactic that helps me) and start auditing your account today – you’ll be glad you did!

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