I believe that top 10 is a bit of too much of a request. Maybe top 3 would do it better.
No special order, except that negative keywords deserve high placement for sure:
1. Negative keywords - Use search terms report to find out keywords that are making impressions without clicks or clicks that do not convert and add them to negative keywords list. Also use the keywords tool to find if there are any that you would pout on your negative list.
2. Negative locations - if there are locations you know you can't serve, exclude them.
3. Keyword level tracking - if possible, track your conversions on a keyword level. The best would be to have a system that connects cost and earnings in a single report, so you can see right away (without export/import/calculate) how your keywords are doing.
4. Ad CTR - check CTR of your ads. Over the time, you may learn how various situations affect your CTR (specific ad text, competition, time of the year, month, week, etc.).
5. AdWords Preview Tool - This may help you see what's happening in certain locations, with various language settings and G domain extensions (countries).
6. Report offenders to Google - depending on the industry, there may be intruders that do something against policies. Report them.
7. Use some sort of analytical software - Most use GA, but you may use something like Piwik as well, if you're not willing to give more data to G than you have to. Setup PPC links properly so you can distinguish PPC from other traffic.
8. AdWords Editor - Super duper AdWords tool.
9. Distinguish mobile from regular campaigns - Well, this will change when we all get forced to use Enhanced Campaigns. Still, I believe it will be possible to "kill" mobile with low bids if what you offer is not going well with mobile based visitors.
Anyone know how Google handles IP-to-geolocation when it comes to serving ads? Not too long ago, my Miami ATT DSL connection was showing up as an Atlanta physical location. A buddy works at a Miami car dealership and his IP is showing up in Jacksonville, 600 miles away. ?
I would add to # 1 above - expect to build a MASSIVELY LARGE database of negative keywords.
and at the bottom, I would add the following:
# 10 - Practice continuous improvement based on statistical significance of your best performers
# 11 - Budget a small percentage of your time and spend to continually evaluate new keywords, segments, systems (content advertising / remarketing etc). Make sure you do not leave out the opportunity to slowly add more to your short list of top performers.
Hard not to agree with smallcompany's list and chewy's suggestions. To #11 I would add that you should periodically look at your successful keywords and try to come up with new variations.
Maybe it does not apply if you do a lot of brand/product specific campaigns (I do lead generation with a lot of generic terms), but as an example let's say I have a successful keyword in [beautiful dresses].
I've had kind of weird variations like [beautiful com] and [beaufitul net] produce leads, running with the same ad as [beautiful dresses]. Never be afraid to test weird (and often very cheap) keywords!
These things I would do after you have the basics done and considering you have proper conversion tracking implemented.
1. Day and Time of Day bid scheduling based upon conversion rates.
2. Location bid settings by State, City and zip code based upon order size and conversion rates. You will get a huge amount of data here to work with. Run multiple campaigns with the variations to get the cleanest data.
3. Location bid settings by average yearly income of residents per state,region city or zip code. You will begin to understand your client base on an intimate level. Once again run multiple campaigns with the variations to get the cleanest data.
4. Daily monitoring: Set tight daily budgets with conversion rate goals. If the campaign is at a high risk of not meeting the goal, lower the budget. If the campaign is surpassing the goal, raise the budget.
Done right you can see a 30/30 return. 30% decline in conversion rates, and 30% added sales.
Accelerated delivery method - You control when your bid are running. Just look at your conversion paths in GA to see how often people use more than one ppc click before they buy. If you don't use accelerated delivery you may not show up that second time they are searching.
Learn Pivot Tables - Google has made many pivot tables obsolete with segmenting and dimensions but there are still quite a few reports that Google does not provide for you. Pivot graphs are helpful too.
Monitor your ad a/b tests - Don't create two ads and just forget about them. Start a test and end a test and repeat forever.
Look at statistics for Location of interest and Physical location - You might want to create a campaign for each of they convert differently.
Call tracking - if you have a phone number on your site.