As an internet marketing consultant for small and mid-sized businesses, I often recommend that companies invest in Pay Per Click Ad campaigns. These online marketing opportunities present effective and affordable opportunities for under-optimized businesses to recruit quality leads directly to their websites.

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The nature of PPC recruitment almost guarantees an engaged and active visitor. Users type keywords into a search engine because they are looking for something. They are already actively searching out and pursuing information toward a (more often than not) specific end. By spending a few cents to a few dollars per click, the savvy small business can meet them at the top of the search results page, the time and place where they are most receptive to valuable and pertinent information.

So it just makes sense for small businesses to divest their marketing capital away from push ads – like the typical print ad – and invest it in recruitment ads, like search engine PPC.

By paying per click, though, every business is necessarily susceptible to Click Fraud. Malicious and unscrupulous competitors can click, click, click away the limited marketing resources of many small companies. How, then, should a small business reap the rewards of search engine PPC Ads without making themselves too vulnerable to predatory online competitors?

The following four recommendations will help.

  1. Set a daily budget for specific ads and campaigns
    By limiting the exposure of your most expensive ads, they are less likely become victim to click fraud campaigns. By setting a daily budget, small business are also able to limit – to the penny – the amount that they have available for PPC marketing.
  2. Develop quality landing pages
    By designing quality landing pages for their PPC ads, small and mid-sized companies can reduce the Bounce Rate of their PPC campaigns. If a web user is recruited to your website from a PPC Ad, and they find exactly what they were looking for during their search, they are less likely to immediately leave the page. If an optimized PPC ad and landing page have arrestingly high Bounce Rates, it might be an indication of foul play. Internet marketers can then, when appropriate, identify and block the IP address of the offending party, and protect the campaign’s ROI.
  3. Limit the Geographic Placement of an Ad
    If your business operates in a particular state, limit your ad exposure to that state. If your business operates across the US, limit your ad exposure to the US. By protecting your ad from unnecessary exposure, you might also protect it from Click Fraud.
  4. Purchase Click Fraud Reporting Tools
    I rarely recommend that my clients purchase software that does automatically what I can do personally. And this is not just self-interest. If I am doing my job as an internet marketer, I will notice unusual spikes in CTR or Bounce rates through the analytics process. So the purchase of automatic software to do this, to me, seems like superfluous spending. But if your company invests in thousands of PPC Ads, keeping a vigilant eye on them each week can be more than even the dedicated internet marketer can handle. In this case, it might be worth investing in some software to back-up your marketer’s analytic eye. Check out these three options:
    Click Auditor
    Click Tracks