Don’t Get Clicked Off

Understanding the Risks of Buying Pay-per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising is a method of bringing targeted traffic to your Web site through search engines. It works by setting up a link to your Web site in the “Sponsored Links” section of search engines. Sponsored links listings are free, and you only pay when someone clicks on the link to your site. PPC advertising is seemingly desirable as it allows you to be found when someone types in your keywords.

So what could be wrong with a program that is free, generates targeted traffic to your site and only charges you when someone clicks on your link?

Plenty.

Mainly, it is important to be aware that there are several people who stand to profit by clicking on your site. When people click on your PPC advertisement with malicious intent, it is considered fraud as it costs you money and can significantly reduce the return on your investment.

A dishonest service can inflate your fee by clicking on your link innumerable times. PPC services make revenue off your ad each time someone clicks on it. These companies will even solicit people around the world to click on these links, offering individuals a small commission each time the ad is clicked. This makes it difficult to catch dishonest companies as they are well versed in covering their tracks. While unethical, there are PPC services out there that will take advantage of the PPC model to profit from your purchase of “magic beans.”

Not only do dishonest PPC services stand to profit from PPC fraud, but your competitors stand to profit as well. How can competitors profit from PPC fraud? Well, the cost of purchasing keywords for PPC advertisements is largely determined by the popularity of the keywords you wish to buy. When keywords are popular, they tend to be competed for. This drives the cost of those keywords even higher as bidding wars take place over highly sought after keywords.

If you secure the number one listing for a competitive PPC keyword, your competition may click on your ad until you run out of money to continue supporting the advertisement. They essentially click you off the paid rankings. By clicking you off the listing, your competition now has the opportunity to secure the top ranking for popular keyword searches and eliminate your ability to compete with them.

Choosing to incorporate PPC advertising into your online marketing campaign is especially risky if that is all that you are relying on to generate potential clients. If you use PPC advertising, it is essential that you meticulously track where your clicks are coming from. This includes tracking the IP addresses of every computer that clicks on your ad. If you notice a large number of clicks coming from one IP address, this is an indicator that you are a victim of click fraud. You should also regularly examine the amount of money that you spend each month on PPC advertising and be on the lookout for spikes in spending.

Even with careful monitoring of your ad’s performance, it is difficult to detect click fraud. For example, some servers (such as AOL and NetZero) do not have static IP addresses. This makes it very difficult to track who is clicking on your ad and how many times they are clicking on it. Essentially, this makes the process of uncovering click fraud extremely difficult, if not impossible.

While search engines have their vulnerabilities that can be exploited by anyone out to make a buck, there are ways that you can secure a stronger return on your investment without the fear of click fraud. The main way to secure a solid online presence and reach potential clients is to optimize your Web site to rank at the top of search engine’s organic (free) listings. This process is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and offers long-term results and little risk (see Helping Spiders Crawl Through your Web Site: What You Need to Know about Search Engine Optimization).

At SonicSEO.com, our team of experts will guide you through the maze of online marketing strategies to help you develop an Internet marketing campaign with measurable results. We focus on getting your site to the top of the organic listings on the major search engines like Google, MSN and Yahoo using carefully applied information science tailored to the unique needs of your business.

Let’s face it, without search engines, your site would only be accessible to those already aware of its existence. And the scope of your online marketing efforts would be severely limited without the aid of search engines to drive new clients to your site. Developing strategies to be found online by your targeted audience should be an integral component of any online marketing campaign. But being aware of the possibility for fraudulent activity to impact your marketing efforts is also essential as you seek to secure a significant online presence.

Contact SonicSEO.com today, at 888-437-3737 to discuss the ways we can drive targeted traffic to your site with a strong return on your Internet marketing investment.

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