This is probably the question we get asked the most from our PPC clients. Yes, there is click fraud. In fact, in certain industries, click fraud can make up a large portion of click traffic. So, how do you detect and fight against it?
The first part is detecting the click fraud. There are several third party softwares that can help such as improvely.com and adwatcher.com. However, these do cost money. The goal is to find a balance where you are saving more money than you are spending in order to detect the fraud. I’ve also seen many clients monitor every visitor to their site in order to identify the clickfraud. This is a time consuming and mind numbing process that will drive you nuts. A lot of times a high bounce rate or low time-on-site isn’t necessarily click fraud. It could be poor landing page quality or server load time.
If you wanted to try and avoid click fraud all-together, the best method we’ve found is going after long tail keywords and being very specific with negative keywords. You do this by selecting keywords that are much longer than the general keyword. For instance: if you are targeting wheels for cars then you wouldn’t target the keyword “wheels for cars” but rather go after keywords such as “wheels for 1997 chevy malibu”. Most fraudsters aren’t going after the long tail keywords. It’s much easier for them to target the broad keyword. Therefore, if you stay away from the broad keywords, you should be in the clear for the majority of click fraud.
What some people think is click fraud is actually real users clicking on your ad erroneously. As an example: if you are selling skin care products and you are targeting the keyword “skin cream” and don’t input any negative keywords, you’ll be getting a lot of long tail search terms that include the keyword “skin cream”. So, if a customer is searching for the term “what are the dangers of an exfoliating skin cream”. Your ad will come up in first place, the client clicks on your ad, and is taken directly to your sales page. The client then realizes that a sales page for a skin cream does very little for actually answering their question. So they immediately bounce away from the page and spend very little time on site. This isn’t click fraud. This is you not taking advantage of negative keywords.
Spend some time filling out your negative keyword profiles and ensure that the traffic that’s coming to your site is as specific as possible.
By taking these steps you can greatly cut down on click fraud and other visitors that appear to be click fraud, but are not.