Just as injuries are a part of sports, click fraud is an unfortunate part of the PPC game. You can take all the precautions to eliminate the issue, but click fraud happens. The question is — how bad is the issue? There has been some press about this lately, and I believe there is some overreaction.
According to Click Forensics, a company that specializes in monitoring and preventing internet crime, click fraud rates are at a two-year high. The industry click fraud rate for the last quarter of 2008 was 17.1% versus 16.6% a year earlier. At first glance, these numbers do seem alarming. What isnt factored into that 17.1% are the invalid clicks that are discounted by most search engines.
Google, Yahoo, and MSN have safeguards in place to indentify and filter out invalid clicks, and have recently stepped up their efforts to control click fraud. For instance with Google, in most cases these fraudulent clicks are filtered out before they are even reported in the AdWords interface to advertisers. Google utilizes 4 layers of click fraud filters, and claims that their click fraud rate is on average less than 2%. Yahoo has stated that on average between 12-15% of clicks are filtered out due to being fraudulent or invalid.
Bottom line: It’s important to be aware that click fraud is a reality, but as advertisers you can feel confident that the search engines are taking the issue seriously and doing a good job identifying and filtering out these invalid clicks.
More often than not, clients (especially those brand new to MoreVisibility) ask which search engine they should allocate their online marketing dollars toward. Right out of the gate, many will say they want to focus solely on Google. This is understandable given that Google holds anywhere from 65 to 70% of the market share; depending on which publication you read. Although no one can argue that Google is most widely used, there are a myriad of other channels worth considering.
So how do you know which engine is the right fit for you? It’s all about testing, testing and yes, more testing. Some clients perform better in Yahoo versus Google. Others experience a much higher ROI in MSN and a large majority of Ecommerce websites tend to do quite well in shopping portals like Amazon, Biz Rate and Shopzilla. It is advisable not to limit your online marketing initiatives to just one channel. Every search engine offers certain advantages, based on factors such as age, gender, demographics, etc. When creating a search engine marketing campaign, the preferred strategy is to take certain steps to achieve a more favorable result. These steps include, but are not limited to the following:
Budget – Determine an approximate monthly budget you wish to target. Keep in mind that this figure can change based on your results. Once you have the ability to gauge your progress (hint hint, I am referring to testing again), it will be much easier to choose which engine to spend the majority of your budget.
Bidding Strategy — Not all search engines are created equal; bid prices can vary depending on engine, industry and overall competition.
Keyword Research – It is mission critical to take the time to research keywords for trends, competitiveness and volume. Certain keywords perform better in some engines than others. One word phrases are too generic and therefore, not often recommended. The more targeted the phrase, the more targeted the searcher.
Testing — I am not trying to beat a dead horse, but you must analyze your results. Otherwise, you could be spending good money on top of bad money. Every dollar counts, specifically in today’s tough economy. Utilizing an Analytics Tool is essential and will afford you the ability to make educated decisions with respect to your online efforts. MoreVisibility utilizes Google Analytics (GA) and continues to source GA on behalf of our clients.
The morale of this blog? Expand your (online) horizons. Just because Google is dominating the market does not mean that your site will not also perform well in other engines. Get your hands dirty! Test out a few engines and take advantage of how robust and comprehensive analytics tools are today. You will find the right potion for your site; you just need to figure out the right ingredients!
With the Online Marketing Arena growing every single day, it had become increasingly important to not only market your website efficiently and effectively, but also to keep your visitors as engaged as possible once they have reached your site. Amidst a tough economic climate, every dollar counts and competition is fierce. This is true for all types of sites: Lead Generation, E-Commerce, etc. Whether you are doing SEM in the main search engines: Google, Yahoo, MSN, and/or SEO, where you have spent the time, money and energy to garner a coveted organic piece of real estate, you ought to do everything in your power to keep your visitor long enough to see what you’re about. Even better, to complete an action item (i.e. request a brochure, fill out a form, make a purchase, etc).
You might be asking yourself the question, “Well, how do I get them to stay on my site???” Here are a few helpful tips:
Offer clear action items at no cost or commitment: Newsletter Signups, Whitepaper Downloads, Brochure Requests, Online Forms to receive coupons, discounts, special offers, etc.
Have fresh and unique content. Visitors will be more likely to remain on your site if they are reading verbiage they have never read before. A blog is a great tool to deliver updated, relevant content on your website. Press Releases are extremely beneficial, as well.
SEO, SEO and yes, more SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a critical piece of the puzzle for any website. If you optimize your site correctly for the keywords and phrases you are seeking positions on, you have a much better chance of generating organic traction in the engines. It will not happen overnight, but the sooner you get started, the sooner you will reap the benefits.
KISS. Keep it simple stupid. 🙂 Make it seamless for your visitors to navigate and enjoy their experience. I cannot tell you how many sites take forever to load, have broken images, it’s virtually impossible to request a brochure; the phone number might as well be invisible, etc.
Get Social! By this, I am referring to Social Media. If you are not utilizing Social Media, you should be. Organically, the internet is a social platform, which is just one of the many reasons why online marketing is so effective. Encouraging participation on your site will allow your visitors to stay longer and also help boost your organic results.
Having Site Analytics is not an option; it is a must. Implementing analytics will afford you the ability to see what your visitors are doing once they reach your site. Are they staying long enough to download a whitepaper or request more information? Or, are they bouncing off the site without even seeing more than one page?
Being seen is not enough. Your website must “speak” to your audience; give them a reason to stay AND more importantly, COME BACK.