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May 17, 2018

How Click Fraud Could Be Impacting Your Business

In a highly competitive online scape, businesses are doing everything they can to get ahead and maintain or build a strong brand image through search engines and advertisements. 

With competition come some nasty tactics and many businesses sabotaging others in order to get ahead of the game and best benefit themselves through the destruction of their competitors. Now how exactly do they do this? 

Well Google AdWords is a an incredibly popular method for businesses to “rank” higher in the search engine results pages by paying money to appear at the top or next to the search results when a search is conducted. However, many businesses are engaging in AdWords click fraud to negate the positive impacts that these advertisements have for companies. 

What is AdWords

Google AdWords is a way for marketers to push their website higher up the rankings through advertisements, although it doesn’t impact their organic ranking. Marketers determine the keywords that they identify as crucial to their product, service or brand and bid on these within a set budget.

The keywords are grouped in categories and when the auction time comes Google enters the most relevant keyword using the maximum bid that you have specified. The business with the highest bid wins the auction and their ad appears in the search engine.

Where your ad appears is determined by the bid used in the auction and also the quality of the ad. Quality is made up of a number of factors including the URL, relevance and the user experience. Ultimately this means that it isn’t all about the money that you put into it since the Quality Score has a big impact on how your ad ranks.  

The company then gets their ad displayed a certain number of times dependent on the budget that they set and the number of clicks they receive. 

How competitors eliminate your AdWords budget

AdWords click fraud has become an issue with the rising popularity around search engine rankings and online advertising and/or marketing in general. It is a technique used by businesses to sabotage other businesses marketing efforts so that they can stay ahead of their competition.

A company will employ people to repeatedly click on a given competitor’s ad so that their daily budget runs out very quickly and is not given the chance to appear to genuine consumers. This ultimately leads to a waste in marketing dollars for the business that paid for AdWords and results in little exposure to potential customers. 

This tactic has been shown to work and companies will see their daily budget run down very quickly and their ads will no longer appear until the next day.

How digital marketing agencies deal with nasty competitors

The click fraud problem is real and agencies are constantly seeking ways to prevent it. SEO Shark, the Australian digital media agency, has over 500 clients and had a major problem with click fraud as many of their clients’ budgets were being run down by competitors as a result of click fraud. 

Last year, Lucas Bikowski, the head and managing director of SEO Shark developed new software that ensures click fraud does not occur on its clients’ AdWords campaigns which ultimately makes their PPC campaigns much more effective. There are multiple stages to the new software including the detection and prevention of click fraud on clients’ AdWords campaigns as developed by SEO Shark. 

The first stage involves the monitoring of all campaigns and the collection of data to understand how the ads are being interacted with. It tracks every click on the ad and finds out the source and what the subsequent steps were following the click.

The second stage is about detecting who the real customers are and who are the fake customers. The algorithm developed in the software distinguishes between real and fake or fraud clicks. 

The last stage conducted by the software is the blocking of these fraud clicks. If the algorithm detects that the click is fraudulent, then the ad is no longer shown to that specific individual which in turn stops them from being able to conduct click fraud and eliminate the ad. 

The best part is that the individual conducting the fraudulent clicks does not know, thinking that they have successfully removed the ad despite its ongoing appearance to other users. 

With click fraud being a common problem in today’s rapidly growing digital landscape, having a solution or some way to fight against it is critical. Google AdWords is a necessary practice to ensure that clients are receiving the exposure they need and deserve in order to improve their reach and customer base. 

Staying ahead of your competition is important and innovation and creativity are sure fire ways of doing so in an ever-evolving landscape. Eliminating competitor fraud from the picture keeps your company’s engine running smoothly.


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Mike Smith - An independent web publisher of popular websites and an executive editor at Best in Australia with over 15 years in journalism. Covering issues related to digital marketing and branding.

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