Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords Setup Checklist 2017

Ultimate Google AdWords Setup Checklists consists the actions that you need to take to create successful Google AdWords Campaigns. This Google AdWords Guide for Beginners is beneficial to use when you are starting any new AdWords campaigns for clients. This guide can also help AdWords Experts to check on all points covered when settings up AdWords campaigns. I personally use Google AdWords Step by Step Guide when I setup new AdWords Campaign to make sure I am not missing any point.

It’s a long read, Have a cup of coffee and some free time to read this guide.” I have given the link at the end, in case you would like to download or print the pdf of Google AdWords Setup Checklists 2017.

Following are the Google AdWords Step by Step Guide that you need to consider before you start Advertising AdWords campaigns:

  1. Learn Basics Terminology
  2. Plan & Strategize For successful Campaign
  3. Competitor Research
  4. Keyword Research
  5. Create Compelling Offer
  6. Write Impactful Ad copy
  7. Choose Relevant Landing Page
  8. Track Performance by Setting up Conversion Tracking
  9. Recommended Campaign Settings

Step1: Learning (Google AdWords Guide for Beginners)

Before you start with the AdWords Campaigns, you need to learn basic Google AdWords. Google AdWords is a complex platform and it takes years of experience to fully understand it. To get started with AdWords, you should be familiar with following basic terms:

  • Keywords: Keywords are key phrases that user search on Google search engine page for which your ad appear. While setting up your first campaign, you need to select keywords which you think is relevant to user searches. Prepare a list of keywords which people can type in Google to search for product and services you are advertising.
  • Bid: In AdWords, you pay when someone clicks on your ad. You need to decide maximum amount you are willing to pay for each click on your ad. CPC (cost per click) is what you actually pay when the user clicks on your ad.
  • Quality Score: Quality Score determines relevancy between keyword, user searches, ad copy and landing page. The Higher quality score helps lower your CPC and good ad rank in Google SERP.
  • Ad Rank: Ad Rank is determined using “Maximum CPC multiplied by Quality Score” and some other factors. On the basis of Ad Rank, Google decides where your ad will appear compared to other ads.
  • Conversion: Conversion is the action you want the user to take when after clicking an ad, they land on your page. Conversion can be sign ups, form submission, purchase, call and more.

Step 2. Plan & Strategize Successful AdWords Campaign

Once you understand basic terms of Google AdWords you need to plan and prepare an initial strategy for your AdWords Campaigns. Before you spend any money on AdWords, Prepare PLAN & Strategy! This helps make successful campaign and minimize risk and maximize profitability.

Planning & Strategizing involves following:

  • Prepare list of products and services you want to advertise
  • Determine Customer acquisition cost (CPA) / Cost per conversion.
  • Estimate your maximum cost per click. You can use the formula:
    • Max CPC = (profit per customer) x (sales conversion rate) x (1 – profit margin)
  • Determine your Advertising budget. You can use the formula:
    • local monthly searches * estimated CTR * estimated CPC
  • Plan your audience – Geo locations, language, and devices.
  • Prepare a list of the all to action you would like to use in ad copy that should match with your landing page.

Step3: Competitor Research:

Competitor research is important when you starting up any business. Here also before you start your campaign, you need to do proper competitor research. Make a list of competitors who are running AdWords campaigns and see what they are offering. This helps you prepare a strategy or offer which helps you stand out. This is often missed by new advertisers but remember it is one of very important step to follow.

Step 4. Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation on which AdWords Search Campaign works. Now that you have already planned a budget, bids, geo etc. You now need to do keyword research. Prepare a list of keywords which you find relevant for your products and services.

Search Campaign Google AdWords Step by Step Guide for Targeting:

  • With the help of Google Keyword Planner, build your initial keyword lists. http://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner/Home)
  • When you are making a list of positive keywords to target, also make a list of negative keywords. Identify both keywords you are target and keywords you want to block from showing your ad.
  • You already have a list of competitors, now find out keywords that your competitors are using. Many tools are available for competitor keyword research such as SEMrush etc.
  • Now is the time to create ad groups. Now bifurcate keywords and group them into the theme. Create tightly themed ad groups. Example below

Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords Setup Checklist 2017

  • When you are sorting keywords, remember to look for duplicates, close variants, reordering of words etc. You do not need to add these initially.

Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords Setup Checklist 2017

  • Identify your targeted audience demographics if required (gender, age, parental status etc.)

Display Campaign Google AdWords Step by Step Guide for Targeting:

  • Contextual Targeting: You can use same keywords as you are using for the search to target Display campaigns.
  • Identify your target customer demographics (gender, age ranges, parental status, income level)
  • With the help of Google Display Planner: https://adwords.google.com/da/DisplayPlanner/Home )
    • Identify Relevant Topics
    • Find out Interest category for Behavioral Targeting
    • Select Placements (web pages) where you want to display your ads.
  • Identify Categories where you don’t want to show ads. Select and Exclude Site Category options

Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords Setup Checklist 2017Note: You can click on +Options and exclude categories where you do not want to show ads.

Step 5. Create a Compelling Offer

We have done competitor research and now we know what they are offering, to be successful with advertising you need amazing offer to attract the customer. Analyzing competitors offers and consider offers that you can give which makes you stand out.

Example Offers:

  • Free Sample Guide
  • 100% Guarantee
  • Free Demo
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • 24*7 Support
  • Free Trial For x Days
  • Complimentary Gifts
  • Free Shipping
  • Pricing
  • Special Discounts
  • & More

Step 6. Ads

The customer doesn’t have any idea what’s going behind in the campaigns, what all they see is your ad copy. Your ad copy should be catchy enough to get more people click on your ads.

  • Always add relevant keyword in your ad copy for search campaigns and match ad copy to interests, placements, and topics you’re targeting in display campaigns
  • Try to add benefits, offers, pricing in your ad copy.
  • Add a call to action. You already have a list of the all to action to use in ad copy, just test multiple variations.
  • Don’t just stick with one ad copy, add more than one ad copy. Three ad set is good to start with.
  • Include all relevant ad extensions to appear with the ad. Also, helps improve CTR. Types of AdWords Ad Extensions

Step 7. Landing Pages

Once the user makes a search on Google, clicks on your ad, Lands on your landing page. Your landing page should be able to convert users, otherwise, all your efforts will be failed and you will end up wasting budget. You can bring the potential user to your Landing page with the help of AdWords, but the ultimate goal is to get the conversion on your landing page.

  • Send user to relevant pages, do not send them to homepage or all categories page. Be as specific as you can when selecting landing page of ads.
  • The headline on your landing page should attract customer attention.
  • Easy, user-friendly Navigation. Don’t give too many options that can create distractions.
  • Call to Action. It’s better to have call to action that matches with the ad copy call to action.
  • All important information including call to action should be “above the fold”
  • Give user Irresistible Offer
  • Add information that shows your credibility such as media coverage, testimonials etc.
  • For AdWords Purpose, the privacy policy is the MUST have page.

Step 8. Tracking performance

Now that, you are done with learning, planning, strategizing, research, landing pages, ad copy next important step is to set up conversion tracking. If you are not tracking your performance, you will not get to know how campaigns are performing and what measures you require to take in order to improve the performance. To setup conversion tracking:

  • Go to Tools Dropdown > Select Conversions > Click + Conversion > Select Source of conversion > Website > Pull conversion code.
  • Add Conversion code on the page where user redirects after completing the conversion action such as purchase, sign-up, form submission etc. Mostly it is called “thank-you” page. The conversion code snippet will be placed between <body> tags on the thank-you page.

Note: Adding so many codes on the website, slow down the page load. Consider using Google Tag Manager. How does Google Tag Manager Works?

 Step 9. Campaign Settings

Now you are ready with all the required data such as ad group and its associated keywords, ad copies, landing pages and also done with conversion tracking. Next step is to create a campaign. We recommend creating separate campaigns for search and display network. Intent, behavior, and targeting of both network are different so you are required to setup and manage both networks separately. Search network is strong for direct advertising and Display network is strong for branding. Most beginners make the mistake of going by default campaign settings, In this Google AdWords Guide for Beginners, we have mentioned recommended settings.

Make sure the campaign settings are correct so you don’t regret later:

  • To create search campaign, select Search Network Only campaign and to create display select, display network only.
  • Common Campaign Settings For Both Campaigns:
    • Locations: Choose appropriate location and language.
    • Expand Locations Advanced (options) and select if you have a specific requirement such as if you only want to show ads to a user who is physically located in your targeted location or people who are searching for your targeting location. Understand Advanced Location Options.
    • Bid Strategy: By default, it is set to Automated: Maximize Conversions. Select Manual CPC. When you select Manual CPC, “Enable Enhanced CPC” is automatically checked. Uncheck “Enable Enhanced CPC”. Read more on Enhance CPC New Changes.
    • Schedule: If you have any specific requirement for your start date, end date and if you want to schedule ads for certain time of the day, hours or days, you can choose.
  • Search Network only
    • Sub campaign type is by default selected to Standard. Change it and select “All features”. This will unlock additional features such as ad scheduling, ad delivery and more.
    • Networks: You can choose if you want to show ads on Search Partners or not. By default search partners are checked, if you don’t want to show ads on search partners uncheck this option. For new advertisers, it is recommended to run ads on search partners as well, once you gain stats, if you see stats are not good for search partners, you can anytime go and uncheck this option.
    • Ad Rotation: For search campaign, by default, it is selected as Optimize for clicks. To start with select Rotate evenly: Show ads more evenly for at least 90 days, then optimize.
  • Display Network Only
    • Ad Rotation: By default it is selected as optimize for conversions, select Rotate Evenly for at least 90 days and then optimize.
    • Frequency Capping: You can limit the number of an impression of your ad to the same user per day, week or month for the ad, ad group or even entire campaign.
    • Digital content Label: This helps you decide to show and stop ads on certain categories such as error pages, parked domains etc. These settings can be also be done under campaign “Site Category options”.
    • Target device types, specific devices, and device connection types: Here you can select if you want to show ads on specific device types, connection etc.


  • Always add negative keywords for search campaigns
  • Add “Site Category Exclusion” for display campaigns
  • Don’t forget to split keywords into tightly themed ad groups
  • Don’t forget to utilize match types. Guide to AdWords Keyword Match Types
  • Get Initial bids ideas from Keyword Planner
  • If you have monthly budget, to calculate daily budget divide it by 30.4
  • Test more than one ad in each ad group.
  • Not recommended to add many keywords in individual ad group
  • Keep bids high for exact match keywords, little less for phrase match and least for BMM.
  • Use bid adjustment for devices under settings.
  • Target Brand and competitor keywords.

As a result, AdWords campaign setup is important also continuous optimization is essential for improvement.

Let me know any comments, recommendations or changes required in this checklists. All kinds of feedback are welcome. This Google AdWords Setup Checklists is highly recommended for Google AdWords Beginners.

PDF To Download: Google AdWords Setup Checklist 2017

About Neha Gupta

I am Neha Gupta, SEM Expert – Paid Advertisement Consultant | Google AdWords Top Contributor| Google AdWords Trainer! I am Independent Paid Search Consultant and Google AdWords Trainer in Delhi. I currently reside in Delhi, India, and love traveling.

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