Bob and I are both Army veterans and one of the things they drill into your head starting in Basic Training and continuing on through the rest of your career is how to evaluate a casualty (FM 21-11 if you were curious). As I was evaluating a new account that had a fair amount of history I realized the same steps applied to an Adwords account.
Remember with your accounts, much like a casualty; don’t do too much until you figure out what is actually wrong!
Responsiveness – Are you generating impressions? Are people seeing your ads?
If your account doesn’t have a pulse start looking for problems with your bids, are they too low? Or maybe your keywords are too obscure. Also check your geographic settings maybe they’re too tight.
Breathing- Are you getting clicks?
Ok so you’re getting impressions but no clicks. Check your ad copy, is it any good? Are you running a price ad that is higher than the prices offered by your competition? What position are you coming in? If you’re not even on the front page you need to reevaluate your bidding.
Bleeding- Are you hemorrhaging money?
Are you getting too much traffic that isn’t converting? Do you have a rogue keyword spending all your money and not converting? Has the Content Network gone out of control? Does your landing page just suck? Figure out what the problem is and stop the fiscal blood flow while you regroup and re-strategize.
Shock- “I spent how much for one order!?!”
At the end of the day ROI is what matters most. Make sure you track your orders and your ad spend to make sure that you’re making your business money and not just helping Google’s stock prices. If your shock problem is of a more electrical nature, stop putting USB cords in your mouth… it’s bad for you.
Fractures- Are your links broken?
Getting clicks but no visits? We’ve seen this before on a site run on a content management system. The CMS went through an upgrade and changed the naming conventions for all of this client’s URLs. Once that goes into effect basically every link in your Adwords account is broken! They had no idea this change had happened, we were the ones that caught the error! Make sure your links work on a regular basis, especially if there has been recent site changes or upgrades.
Burns- Are you getting a disproportionate number of clicks from one area or ISP?
We don’t see this too often, but click fraud does happen. Google is smart enough to catch most of this stuff, but if your account takes a major turn for the worse that can’t be explained by the steps above you might be getting burned by a competitor or Adsense fraudster. Start investigating and looking for suspicious trends.
Head Injury- Is running a PPC campaign beyond your general mental capacity?
It’s ok and nothing to be ashamed of. There’s a reason Adwords Experts exist, and it’s that not everybody should manage an Adwords account… much like I shouldn’t wear spandex, change my own oil or sing in public.
Apply these steps to see what condition your Adwords are in, and if you’re stuck give us a call. We can rebuild it, we have the technology
*Just to point out the coincidence, in writing this article we realized that we both had essentially the same picture of ourselves in uniform even though they are 32 years apart. Bob and I are about the same age, same name on the uniform, the same rank, in the same pose with the same weapon… hell for all we know it might be the same serial number!