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Managing Large Accounts? Don't Waste Clicks - Check URLs Regularly

Hello all,


Today I'd like to share with you some techniques that I use to check the status of Destination URLs when managing accounts with a large number of adverts.


If you're not checking your URLs already then you're probably familiar with the typical 'Disapproved' advert status one receives when the page at the destination URL is removed or relocated without redirection.


The problem with this is that the Google AdWords system doesn't immediately detect that the page is returning a 404 status and this means users will be clicking on your ads, costing you money and landing on 404 pages. Not only is this a waste of money but it's also bad for the user's experience of both Google Ads and your website.


This week I inherited an AdWords account from another agency. The client had a change in URL structure about 2 weeks beforehand and URLs were not redirected. Although some of the effected adverts were disapproved others in the account had continued to serve with an approved status for over 2 weeks, despite the URL correctly returning a 404 status.


Why does this happen? Well, I don't think the Google AdWords system can be expected to check the http status of every single advert running, everywhere in the world, every single day - There must be hundreds of millions, or even billions, of adverts running at any one time and it would require an unbelievable amount of computing power to send all those http requests.


It's also not Google responsibility to maintain the accuracy of an advert's settings, it's the responsibility of the advertisers that created them.


Destination URLs that redirect to another URL should also be updated as this slows down the loading time of pages for users clicking the adverts, plus it may well have been redirected to an irrelevant page - If the client does this you'll have no knowledge of it because the advert won't be disapproved. You could be serving traffic for a specific product query directly to your homepage!


So how do you check thousands of destination URLs are working every single day?


Here's a couple of tools I use:


1. Seo Tools for Excel: http://nielsbosma.se/projects/seotools/ (Handy for PPC too - It can scrape product data for Google Merchant Center feeds!)

This nifty little plugin for excel has a function called "httpstatus" that will tell you the exact status code of a URL and if it's redirecting to another page it will tell you the URL it's redirecting to as well. Simply export the whole account into an excel spreadsheet via Google AdWords editor and select the destination URL column as the URL for the plugin to request a status from. Drag the column down and wait for it to finish - It can take several minutes to complete all the requests so this is a great time to go and put the kettle on!


2. "Link Checker" AdWords script: 

Single account: https://developers.google.com/adwords/scripts/docs/solutions/link-checker

MCC: https://developers.google.com/adwords/scripts/docs/solutions/link-checker#mccapp

This handy script will go through every URL of the keywords and adverts in your account to ensure there are no 404 errors. The script keeps the results in a spreadsheet, all the URLs checked and their statuses. It sends you an email whenever it completes a check so you can quickly take action on any findings.



If you're not checking your URLs at the moment then I urge you to adopt this as a best practice as I'm sure you will be pleased with the results! Smiley Happy


- Happy PPC'ing!



Owner @ClickAhead | Google AdWords Expert | Paid Search Fanatic! I've been an AdWords user for around 7 years now. I love to help others solve problems so signing up to the AdWords Community seemed like an obvious choice. I now operate through my own agency ClickAhead. We're an innovative agency with a passion for helping small businesses to achieve great results from digital marketing.

Adrian B
March 2015

Nice. As a result of your advice I will start using the MCC link checker. I always postponed this task but your article was a wake up call. Thank you Spike Patching. 

loker i
March 2015

ok, thx.

Barry P
March 2015

Excellent Colum and Advice!

Ishara Shehan
April 2015
Great article, thanks.
Aravindhu Ch
April 2015

Hi Spike,


We are doing a project on the same issue, This article is like a Light house for us.


Thank you Somuch for sahring a great article..