Pay per click is like Wall Street except the PPC exchanges (Google AdWords and Yahoo!/Microsoft adCenter) never sleep. There are certain campaign checks that I perform several times per day (almost excessively). These checks can truly make or break your PPC program. Today, I’m thrilled to highlight my top six checks. If you operate PPC campaigns, I highly recommend performing these checks around the clock.
My Favorite Pay Per Click Checks
Check one is easy: Just go to Google.com, type in your most important keyword, and then observe the results. Do you show up? Do you show up in the right position? You’d be surprised, this simple tip is quite effective at detecting problems. When your credit cards fail on Google (both primary and backup) this check is often the easiest way to understand a problem exists.
Check two: Perform check one again but this time on Yahoo! and Bing. Yahoo! and Bing are getting huge and it’s critical to ensure your ads are delivering correctly 24/7.
Check three: Perform check one again but leverage the ad preview tool on Google. Check your top keyword in a variety of different geos. Look for anything strange. This check is essential for the simple fact that you can observe geos different than your current location. Want to perform the same check on Yahoo? Here’s a cool hack: Go to Yahoo! weather and set your default location to the geo you’re interested in checking. Then, go and search for your test keyword.
Check four: Go to Yahoo.com and look at the “Trending Now” terms. Are any of them terms I’m buying? If so, I click the trending now term and observe the search results. It really depends on your vertical but if you rank well on a trending now term, you want to be ready for a lot of traffic (and a lot of spend). There are verticals where you will embrace the flood of traffic and others where it makes sense to pause your account until the term is no longer trending.
Check five: Search for your trademark terms on all major search engines and click your ads. Make sure your tracking URL looks correct and has the correct affiliate id. Since trademarks terms are end of funnel, they are ultra profitable and will often get abused by others (including your own affiliates). Sure, you’ll rack up some spend but it’s worth it if you drive a lot of conversions on your trademark terms.
Check six: Perform check one again but on Ask.com and AOL Search. These Google search syndication partners are huge and comprise a good amount of Google’s search volume.
So there you have it, my six favorite checks. I perform these consistently myself without automated tools. Since these can make or break an entire program, its essential to perform the checks yourself. I have caught hundreds of bugs over the years with these checks and sincerely hope they help you!