Google Ads Search Campaign Checklist

Advertisers should conduct a thorough check before establishing a new search campaign. It helps in preventing mistakes that can lead to wasted ad spend.

Before you push your campaign live, please review the things on the checklist below. The full checklist is available for download by clicking here.

When building a campaign, you should already:

  1. Understand the campaign objective 
  2. Understand the audience targeting
  3. Understand the next best action for each audience
  4. Understand your target demographic
  5. Have performed keyword/audience research
Google Ads Search Campaign Checklist

Campaign Settings

There are some campaign settings that are automatically selected; see if these settings make sense for your campaign, and change them if not. These settings determine how and where your advertisement will be displayed, so choose carefully.

Here are a few of the main ideas in more detail:

Search Network Partners – The search partners are automatically chosen. Generally, it’s a good idea to opt-out of this. However, I have seen it perform well for Branded campaigns. If your budget is tight, opt out since “Google Search Network” already sends relevant traffic your way.

Ad Scheduling – By default, the Ad is set to run indefinitely. However, if you are running a campaign or promotion before the holidays, you must set a date by which it is to end. If you forget to pause the campaign, it merely prevents unwanted clicks on your advertisement.

Location Settings – Your location settings are by default set to the country from which you are running your advertisement. If your company is larger and has a national reach, it would make sense. Running advertisements for local businesses in locations where they are not active is a waste of money, though.

Advanced Location Targeting – The default setting will show you ads to anyone searching online for your product or service, regardless of whether they are in your target location. Despite being the recommended option, this may not be the target market for your advertisements. To reach a real audience, choose “People in, or regularly in your targeted location.”


The keywords in a search campaign serve as the primary targeting strategy. Choosing your target and negative keywords wisely will assist in directing qualified traffic to your website. The checklist above provides a concise summary of all the options to consider when choosing keywords.

Here are a few of the main ideas in more detail:

Including negative keywords will prevent your budget from being wasted on unqualified traffic.

Re-evaluate the keyword match types assigned to your target keywords to make sure they are still appropriate. For instance, if you want traffic for the keyword “buy cat food” rather than terms like “what food a cat eats” or “how to cook cat food,” add informational queries such as “how” and “what” as negative keywords.

Take Care When Using Broad Match Keywords – A wide match opens the door to numerous search terms. Therefore, be careful. Broad match-type keywords in an ad group will cause your ad to be served for meaningless terms.

Check your Quality Score and make the appropriate changes to low-QS and high-QS keywords by removing or improving them, as well as moving the latter to a separate ad group.

Add 5–10 keywords. Although there is no upper limit, adding more keywords may cause the search term to become disconnected from your ad. Thus, check that the keywords added are pertinent to the purpose of the advertisement. The best practice is 20 keywords per ad group.

Organize branded and non-branded keyword ad groups separately. Ensure that related terms live in the same ad group. For example, PPC agency will be one ad group, and terms such as PPC company, SEM agency can live in that ad group since they belong to the same theme.

Budgeting & Bidding

What bidding strategy you choose will depend on the outcomes you want, and choosing a competitive budget will help your ad outperform your rivals in search engine results.

Here are a few of the main ideas in more detail:

Use the right bidding strategy to achieve your campaign’s goal. Your choice of bidding strategy should be appropriate. Decide wisely when making your selection from the many options offered, especially under Smart Bidding:

  • Target CPA
  • Target ROAS
  • Enhanced CPC
  • Maximized Conversions

Utilize bid adjustments – You can change your bids to have your advertisement appear more or less frequently for a particular subject, location, time, device, etc. This makes it easier to control your bidding and display it more or less frequently depending on the option you want. For instance, you can increase the bid adjustment for mobile and decrease it for tablet and desktop if you want to focus your campaign on mobile users.

Establish a competitive budget to ensure that your ad is triggered at the most appropriate times and to give your rivals some competition. Additionally, you can stop your budget from running out by adding negative keywords and modifying your bids according to the device, time and day of the week, location, etc.


Double-checking your ad messaging is necessary to ensure that it is appropriate and free of spelling mistakes. 

Here are a few of the main ideas in more detail:

Check the functionality, load speed and relevance of the landing page your ad directs users to, as well as whether it is relevant to the keywords you are bidding on. Similarly, check the Display URL to see if the proper keyword combination was used there.

Make sure the advertising guidelines are followed – Make sure you follow Google’s guidelines when writing your ad copy to avoid breaking any rules.

Use a keyword in the ad copy – This is a good practice because it helps the user relate more to what your advertisement is promising to say.

Make sure your ads are spell checked if you don’t want potential customers to ignore them. Make sure your advertisements are well-written and appropriately phrased.

Add a call to action. Your messaging has a significant impact on how people will perceive your brand, so make sure your advertisement is compelling and includes a pertinent call to action.


Your campaign’s performance will determine whether you should keep running it or make some changes. Performance can be monitored by making sure the tracking is set up and providing you with information to guide future decisions.

Here are a few of the main ideas in more detail:

The addition of an AdWords conversion tracking tag to your website – Enabling the conversion tracking code is yet another crucial step to remember when tracking your AdWords conversion actions. If the tag has been successfully installed and is operating, you must verify it.

Make sure your remarketing list and code are accurate. Verify that the remarketing tag has been correctly installed at the appropriate location on your website and that the remarketing list has begun to accumulate any visitors. This is to ensure that the remarketing tag used on your website is error-free. Consequently, keep track of how your list has changed since it was created.

Ad Extensions

They serve as an extension of your advertisement and allow you to convey particular messages that an advertisement might not be able to. Your ad’s rank and CTR can increase if you choose appropriate ad extensions and have at least a few active extensions.

For your ad extensions, look for the following:

  • Are your call extensions planned for hours when businesses are open?
  • Check to see if at least 4 sitelink extensions have been added if you have been using sitelink extensions.

Once again click here to download the Search Campaign Checklist. You can make a copy of this checklist in your drive.

Conversely, let me help you with your campaign build. Contact me.