Pay-per-click (PPC) ads can be used to promote your website to be picked up by a search engine, but here’s one super important thing you need to know: how to protect your business from click fraud.
The most common perpetrator behind clickfraud is your competitor, who is often ranked higher in a sponsored listing, who will scour for your PPC keywords. Your competitor will click your ads since they are pay-per-click and Google will stop displaying them once the maximum daily amount has been attained. At this point, you run the risk for rising costs for that search term and each time someone else clicks on those ads, your competitor will push you even further out of the market to replace your business. This kind of action is also known as manual click fraud which is done by people who are often hired to physically click through your ads. These people will also use a special kind of software designed to click on your ads automatically.
Read on for 3 ways to prevent clickfraud and avoid ruining your business financially.
Watch for Unusual Patterns in Your PPC Analytics
You might not suspect click fraud if you’re getting a few more clicks than usual, but you’re also not getting any increase in conversions. But if each of these clicks averages to $10 and your daily ad campaign is $100, there goes your ad campaign – gone. Take the time to protect yourself and your business from click fraud.
Measure True Visitor Engagement
It is almost impossible to understand how Google’s click quality team operates and monitors click fraud. Their three tiered system deals with the threat by analyzing invalid clicks, anomalies or investigating your own analysis. But let’s say that visitor behavior actually represents engagement with the site. In this case, the click fraud problem is still an issue because Google does not measure the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of a company’s website. In reality, Google cannot detect click fraud at a local, manual level which is impossible.
In order to detect all click fraud traffic, you must measure visitor engagement. Trigger key performance indicators. Implement specific software to trigger key performance indicators of your website template so you can track and compare the data between real engagement and the kind of engagement which can often be suspicious.
Report Your Findings to the Search Engines
If after detecting a pattern such as a drop in page views or a higher bounce rate (people quickly going back to the search results page) that may indicate click fraud, as a first step, report your findings to the search engine running your PPC. This will at least, give you some kind of report where Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing or whatever search engine running your ads, can at least identify fraud behavior and credit your account for those clicks. However, this step alone is not reliable enough and you need to also gather enough data and evidence that measures true visitor engagement.
In today’s digital world, being a victim to click fraud is very easy and in most cases, the chances are you may not even realize there is click fraud happening in your campaign. Small advertisers and local businesses cannot really quantify the amount they are spending for competitors to click on their ads. The most responsible thing you can do to protect your business is to check your PPC advertising costs and start monitoring your ad campaigns on a regular basis.