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When inheriting a PPC AdWords account, it often happens that the account has a unique structure that is only understood by its creator. If you find yourself in such a situation, you face a challenging task of navigating through the existing account without a full understanding of the background and why the structure is the way it is, which comes with many pitfalls.

In such situations, it is helpful to conduct a comprehensive audit of the paid media account that has come into your possession. Below is a Google Ads audit checklist of 7 criteria to prioritize for the initial review.


Carelessness in tracking conversions is the most obvious but very common mistake. Without accurate conversion data, it is impossible to determine whether your efforts are paying off.

According to international reports, of all the audited accounts, just over half had connected at least one type of conversion. Even worse, within this fraction, half of the conversions were tracked with errors. As a result, only 3 out of 10 accounts participating in the study accurately tracked conversions.

Make sure that your new-old account is not in this group. Check the connected conversions for signs of incorrect tracking:

The number of clicks with conversions is in the same range as the total number of clicks. In this case, either you offer exceptionally popular products/services, or your conversion tracking code is on the homepage, not the page that appears after order confirmation.

Extremely high conversion rate with low actual sales. Perhaps conversion tracking, in this case, occurs on the product description page, not the order confirmation page.

Suspiciously low conversion rate, raising suspicions that conversions are getting lost somewhere. Perhaps the previous account owner did not add phone call conversions or forgot to add tracking code to new pages.

If conversion tracking is not connected at all, it should be added and configured as soon as possible.


Setting up the targeting for an advertising campaign is a straightforward process that takes no more than 5 minutes. However, a small error in configuration can cost you dearly in the long run. Carefully review each campaign for the correctness of targeting settings. Conduct a check based on the following points:

Display settings in different networks: Goals and expectations from ads in the search network significantly differ from ads in the content or display network.

Bid adjustments for mobile devices: Do you want your ads to appear only on mobile devices? Check if your current bid adjustments are sufficient to ensure visibility on mobile devices for users. If you are not ready to deal with mobile traffic yet, set a -100% adjustment until you optimize the mobile version of your website. Given the steady increase in the percentage of search queries from mobile devices, working on website adaptability should have high priority.

Geotargeting settings: Ensure that the account is configured to show ads only in locations where your company can provide services. Then check the performance based on geographical data. Some territories may show excellent results, while others may lag. Use this data to prioritize geotargeting.


An empirical rule states that an ad group should not contain more than 15-20 keywords. Search for ad groups in the account containing more than 20 keywords. Most likely, these groups need cleaning.

Why does the number of keywords matter? In essence, the number of keywords itself does not significantly impact campaign effectiveness. However, keep in mind that ads with the same settings are configured for each keyword. The more keywords in an ad group, the higher the probability that they cover different topics, leading to reduced relevance.

Your goal is to select keywords with similar semantics for each group. This allows you to create highly relevant ads that precisely address user queries.


If each search group in the account has only one active ad, it seems the previous account owner lacked creativity in testing new ad variations, limiting account optimization opportunities.

The opposite situation is also possible: search groups are packed with ads, and the previous owner either did not complete testing or did not even start it. This negatively impacts the account.

The golden mean to strive for is two or three different ads per group. This number allows for comfortable testing. Once the best option is found, you can pause the others and set up several new variations.


If your ads in the account do not have configured extensions, it’s an excellent opportunity to set them up. Extensions are a convenient tool for increasing the informativeness of ads, and their usage also affects the ad rating.

Ensure that the extensions used are suitable for your business. For example, if you add a call extension, be ready to handle incoming calls. If you cannot take calls throughout the day, set ad display only during business hours. If your business is not tied to a specific location, check if ad display in Google Maps is disabled.

In general, the information provided by extensions should be maximally representative and not excessively repetitive.


By default, all keywords are assigned broad match type, leading to a lot of traffic but significantly impacting conversions. Visitors may come to your site through search queries only loosely related to your theme.

However, if you see that different match types are configured for the account, it’s not a reason to relax. The presence of a well-thought-out strategy is not a guarantee of its effectiveness.


Negative keywords are the best defense against non-targeted traffic. If the previous account owner did not use them, this responsibility falls on your shoulders. You can choose negative keywords in two ways:

Proactive: You add negative keywords anticipating which queries could, but should not trigger your ads.

Reactive: “Error correction.” Review the search queries triggering your ads and add to the negative keyword list those that you find unsuitable for displaying ads.

If the negative keyword list was already added by the previous owner, go through it and ensure that all negative keywords are relevant and do not cut off part of the target traffic. It’s also appropriate to check the match types of the keywords—approach this task thoughtfully, and the effectiveness of the negative keyword list will increase significantly.


We have outlined seven steps to take first when inheriting a PPC AdWords account or conducting an audit of an external account. These actions will help address the most common mistakes and shortcomings, evaluate the overall account structure, and understand its strategy. Wishing you successful progress!

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