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I am often asked on my AdWords Courses whether Click Fraud is something they need to worry about.  It’s often spoken about and quoted as the main reason people fail when creating their own AdWords accounts – when actually the problem is due to the poor set up of their campaign!

Click Fraud worries small business advertisers, particularly due to the often small monthly budgets involved. They often worry that their competitors will click their sponsored listings repeatedly until the daily budget expires. This DOESN’T usually happen, and Google has tools to filter out most of these clicks.  I would recommend that to watch out for Click Fraud, keep an eye on your web logs and look for repeated visits from the same IP address or range of IP addresses.

it is possible to exclude IP addresses and ranges by going into the Tools option in AdWords (In the Opportunities Tab), and then choosing IP exclusion.

There are packages available to track Click Fraud for you automatically, one to try is AdWatcher. This is an excellent tool if you REALLY need a way of tracking Click Fraud, but I find that the disadvantages is the amount of time taken to set it up!  Each destination URL for every advert, must be entered to the AdWatcher to their system, and they will give you an alternative URL that must be entered to your Google AdWords ad.   Note this adding in their URL instead of your own, does NOT affect your quality score, or Google’s ability to detect the landing page.

Having fully tested AdWatcher, it can be noted that for one client’s campaigns, one particular competitor seemed to have nothing better to do than sit for hours each night typing in difficult keyword permutations and clicking the adverts. What is excellent news is that Google did not charge for a single one of these clicks. Their automated systems had in fact ALREADY identified this was a fraudulent IP address, and filtered every single click out.

Another advantage of using AdWatcher is the ability to redirect those who click more than a set number of times (try choosing 3 times in 48 hours) to a fraud tracking page. This explains that they are costing you money and if they are a genuine customer, could they please bookmark the page instead.  Be careful with your settings though,  to avoid alienating genuine potential customers who see a warning message!

Have questions about Click Fraud?  Post them on here!

Beth is a member of our SEO team and works as a Search Marketing Executive. Her role is to write creative copy and help clients optimise their website.

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