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Having an Optimization Checklist

“Can you optimize my account?”

“Can you take a look at my account?”

“I just wanted a second pair of eyes.”

“Any suggestions you have”



Working in Services at Google is pretty cool. People call, email, and chat in to us expecting Googley customer support. Which is why it’s especially awesome that the most requested help I’ve encountered is to help optimize their accounts. With great honor, I always oblige. I’m glad I can comfortably deliver.


There’s a lot of nuances to it, but I always have a checklist that runs through my head with any campaign.


Here it is:

  • What are the key metrics to determine the campaign’s success? For most people, it’s probably Click-through Rate (CTR), as it should. CTR implies how effectively your ad captures the interests of others. The best metric, in my opinion, however, is conversion rate. Afterall, conversions are what you explicitly deemed valuable. This leads to my next question.
  • Is the account tracking conversions? If not, set it up.
  • Is the campaign making use of bid adjustments (location, device, ad schedule)? If not, do it, in accordance to the best locations, devices, and times. You can decide this based on your knowledge of the business or key metrics.
  • Does the ad group have more than 1 ad? If not, it should. How else will you ever know if you can have greater metrics?
  • What are the best performing ads? What are the best performing keywords?
    • The best performing ads and keywords often reveal a great deal about your users and what they respond to, so really do think about the implications. 
  • Analyze the search term report. There are tons of great insights in this report. Take notice of all the good search terms and consider adding them or a similar variations into Keywords as phrase matches. Take notice of all the bad search terms, too. The Search Terms Report is often the greatest source of inspiration for negative keywords.
  • Analyze all the reports in the “Dimensions”. Let me be clear: This the biggest treasure trove of actionable insights. Embrace it.
  • Is the campaign making use of all relevant extensions?
    • Does the campaign use a Google Forwarding number with the call extension? If not, please do, so we can provide call information, such as duration. Google can intelligently use little information like that for your bid strategy (Enhanced CPC, Target, CPA, etc., mind you.)
  • Make sure to have at least 4 sitelink extensions and 2 callout extensions. Those are the recommended numbers that AdWords recommends.
  • In general, extensions are almost always a good thing, if used correctly. After all, we only show it if we think it provides a better user experience. Those little increments can up to mean showing up more times, having higher CTR, and maybe even cheaper clicks.


Really hopes this helps. Let us know what’s on your checklist or what’d you do differently.

Nikki M
September 2016

Thanks for the information! And I agree that conversion rates are extremely important. I look at them hand-in-hand with CTR to see how to adjust ads when necessary.

Honoree Tigrett
September 2016

Thanks I do a Google for Nonprofit account witch allows us 10,000 in free text ads. Thankfully they allow us to use Adwords Express, but I'll definitely download your checklist.