The powers of observation do not come naturally to everyone. In many industries attention to detail is a low priority, overtaken by the need to count beyond the amount of fingers and toes you have, remembering to breathe in and out continually all day long, or to not physically assault a customer as the 3rd strike law is swift and cruel on the subject of felonies.

Now, in my line of work I have to be on top of every single detail. Minute details like bids, click through rates, conversion rates, and other such numbers that sound impressive when put into a power point document and force fed it to a client. Sometimes it is easy to get lost in the data. Often, I get so caught up in manipulating these details that I skim the basic building blocks of PPC. As a reminder to myself, and other PPC nerds who need a gentle kick in the pants every now and then, here is a list of things to keep an eye on regularly:

Search terms/Negative keywords

Months into a campaign, when things are running smoothly, its easy to forget to check your search terms. Remember to peek in there every week or so to find keyword opportunities and negative keywords. No matter how well a campaign might be doing, it can always do better. Better to know than for a client to ask you why you don’t know.

Quality Scores/Landing Page Scores

Google is always trying to tell you something, whether you are paying attention or not. Its easy to forget that what you are paying for every click is determined by other factors than the bids you are setting. Regularly review your quality scores and landing page scores to identify keywords that are bringing down your average. Maybe its time for a little landing page conversion rate optimization. Maybe its time to freshen up that ad text and get those click through rates up. Set it and forget it is never an option.

Google & Bing Updates

Unlike the world of SEO, PPC updates in Google and Bing are a bit less “shout from the rooftops” and a bit more “grumble in a hallway.” Every now and again it pays to go back through your settings at the campaign level to see what they may have added. This helps you avoid spending 11 hours copying your Google campaigns into Bing, only to realize that Bing updated their import functions without you realizing it, and it would have only taken you five minutes. FML.

After years and years of doing PPC, you take for granted the simple details it takes to keep a campaign running smoothly. Keep yourself motivated by relearning the basics every few months. You will find your morale and your customer service (and the happiness of your clients) picks up dramatically.