Pay-Per-Click Fraud – SEO Can Help

Written on May 26, 2007 – 12:48 pm | by Shell Harris |

click fraudAh, here I am working another Saturday; such is the life of a business owner, especially a business like SEO where the Internet never sleeps. As I was re-reading my sale’s call list from yesterday I looked at a note that I had written concerning a potential client and her overspending on Google’s Adwords. I had related a story to her about click fraud, (BusinessWeek wrote a article about click fraud), that happened to a client of ours and thought I’d share it again with my blog readers.

Her story started like so many other calls I receive.

“I’m spending thousands per month with pay-per-click and I can’t afford to keep doing it. A lot of money is being spent with little return, but I don’t know what else to do.”

Of course running a successful PPC campaign involves many factors. Big Oak SEO does not have any PPC clients as we realize this is its own beast and requires time and skills we don’t want to invest in at this point. I feel it is a conflict of interest, but that discussion is for another day. So let us assume this person could be doing better to increase her return on her ads. Let’s also assume she can only do so much and she will be a victim of click fraud, as will anyone who uses pay-per-click. It is inevitable.

My response to her was simple. With organic rankings you will see more traffic, better conversions and less ad spending. If the SEO campaign is done correctly these three things will always happen. I believe this and have seen it proved over and over. We have a client that was spending $30,000 per month with PPC. They have at least cut this number in half. Some weeks they turn off PPC advertising and haven’t dropped the number of leads or sales because of it. If only for the PPC savings, SEO is a good ROI.

As I related this to her I also mentioned the story about click fraud with an older client. While I can’t prove any specific numbers on click fraud or how it may differ by industry, I can verify that this story is accurate. The client in question went to a very large industry trade show. All of the big name competitors were also in attendance as well as many smaller competitors. The trade show was from Monday to Wednesday. The biggest surprise came when the client returned on Thursday to check his PPC figures. During the the time he and most of his competitors were at the trade show his PPC costs dropped in half.

Of course this could all be coincidence, but I think it speaks to the large problem of click fraud. I’m pleased to say none of our clients rely on PPC and it is because of the organic rankings they enjoy. But it wasn’t always the case and weaning a client from the PPC habit can be difficult, but in the long run everyone is glad they have less reliance on PPC. SEO can help reduce the need for PPC, but sometimes it helps to keep running the PPC campaign, at a reduced expense – here is an artilce on with some helpful tips on how to keep click fraud to a minimum.

Shell Harris co-founded Big Oak on January 1, 2004. In a previous career he was a print & web designer and often developed the sites he designed before focusing on his current passion for search engine optimization and Internet marketing. He is an avid researcher, SEO specialist, company mouthpiece and is always looking for the next big thing in Internet Marketing.

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  1. 3 Responses to “Pay-Per-Click Fraud – SEO Can Help”

  2. By Boris Mordkovich on May 31, 2007 | Reply


    It’s a very good post.

    However, I wonder if PPC can be dismissed to easily just because of the potential click fraud?

    Just like SEO, PPC requires a lot of work and maintenance to go into it in order to build a successful campaign. And the work never stops – you always have to finetune your listings and ads because new competitors come onboard on a regular basis. However, the potential is there – people are searching for products and services, they do click on paid ads, and many are willing to spend the money.

    Being the Director of Operations at a firm that specializes in click fraud detection and prevention, I certainly agree that click fraud is an issue. And we are usually able to detect enough of it to save our clients a good 10-15%. However, it’s just marginal savings – it won’t turn an unsuccessful campaign into a successful one. So, click fraud alone is probably not what caused your client to be disappointed in her results.

    Boris Mordkovich

  3. By Shell Harris on May 31, 2007 | Reply

    Hi, Boris.
    I didn’t mean to insinuate that PPC wasn’t useful. I agree that it is, especially for more esoteric terms, specific products, new initiatives and, of course, until SEO efforts start to pay off. You’ll notice the client I mention still uses PPC and probably always will. As a piece of the marketing puzzle, both SEO and PPC can be useful.

    Vigilance and experience will always help any campaign, whether it is PPC or SEO.

    Thanks for your thoughts they are always appreciated.

  4. By Business Blogger on Jun 10, 2007 | Reply

    It sounds like your clients are happy with the return they get on their investments. SEO is extremely important factor for traffic generation. The day you can turn a profit on PPC is when it becomes a good investment.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

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This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

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