Did you know that your ROI might be at stake if you don’t control your clicks’ sources? Click fraud is real and you need to shield your law firm and protect your PPC investment.

Imagine seeing your budget depleted in a day without getting any genuine interest from the clicks, and of course, no valid conversions. That’d be a disheartening experience, leaving you wondering what went wrong and if, at the end of the day, Google Ads are profitable for your law firm. Fraud in PPC is not uncommon, and in some cases, it costs thousands of lost marketing dollars, but there are ways to protect yourself and your law firm from malicious activities. In this article, we will explore the sources of click fraud and ways to prepare your strategy.  

  • What do we consider click fraud?

In simple words, click fraud is an interaction coming from sources without genuine interest in your ad. There are cases of accidental clicks, but today we concentrate on deliberate cases like botnets or competitors.

  • Click Fraud originating from bots.

Around 40% of internet traffic is coming from bot activity. Some of these bots are designed to commit click fraud. These bots can drastically reduce your budget and also rig your stats by giving you fake CTRs and bounce rates.

  • Competitors.

That’s an unethical and unfortunate practice, yet we’ve seen it happen. The reasoning behind this is simple; they aim to reduce your ad spending power and profit by showing their ads, potentially at a lower CPC (cost per click). Imagine, for example, that you are a Personal Injury Attorney located in Los Angeles, California. Some of your high intent keywords might cost over $250. If a competitor clicks on this ad ten times in a given month, you might end up spending $2500 on clicks of no actual interest. 

  • Click Farms.

Click farms are groups of workers, hired to click on ads, and mimic the behavior of a typical searcher/visitor. After clicking the Ad, they browse the website, and they might even fill some details, such as subscribing to a newsletter. As you might suspect, this is the most difficult type of click fraud to be identified.

  • What does Google do about it?

The internet giant tries to minimize fraudulent activity, taking any invalid clicks seriously. In its effort to spot and eliminate bad traffic, Google uses complex algorithms and machine learning that understand fraud as they happen. Additionally, they conduct manual reviews whenever needed, but for this to happen, they have to receive a report of suspected fraud first. And this relies on you, and your digital marketing partners.  

  • What can you do to minimize the risk of click fraud?

1. Conduct your initial research on known IPs and add them to your blocked list. This will help your law firm avoid the hassle of getting clicks from easily avoidable sources. You can add the exclusions simply by jumping on your Google Ads settings page and moving to the IP Exclusions subcategory.  You can use services like https://whatismyipaddress.com/.

2. If you are running Google Display Ads, make sure that you select the most relevant and trustworthy partners to display your Ads. Additionally, you can set your goals for remarketing and retargeting, making your ads visible to a specific selection of searchers who either visited your website before or were physically present in certain locations around your area.

3. Add strict geotargeting and exclude certain locations. Fraudulent activity from click farms is often coming from locations with lower labor rates. You can look for the most common known regions and exclude them from your campaigns.

4. Monitor your analytics, reports, and metrics. You might be able to identify patterns on some of the clicks you are getting that lead you to spot a competitor who’s clicking on your ads. If, for example, you find a specific IP performing very similar actions without converting to a signed case, you can add it to your list of exclusions. 

5. If you see a CTR (click-through rate) that is close or over 100%, then this is a red flag. In other words, something is wrong if your clicks are higher than your impressions. You should immediately trace these clicks and report them to Google, to hopefully get a refund.

Tip: If you monitor suspicious activity, you can report it to Google. It’s always helpful to come up with supporting evidence, so be as prepared as possible.

We understand that this is a complicated matter, and it could be time and energy-consuming. Therefore, we offer this extra protective layer to all law firms partnering with us. How do we do it? First of all, we track and monitor all activity on your account. We keep an eye open for unusual activity, and we take immediate action whenever necessary. Additionally, we use sophisticated safeguarding software such as Clickguard, that detect threats, eliminate waste, and boost your growth. We care for your law firm’s success with PPC, and we take all measures to make sure that your clicks matter. Finally, if needed, we collect all supporting materials and file for refund claims. Our goal is to stop any fraudulent activity, so you can focus on real clients that boost your conversions and profits.

Below you will find real-life examples of how your Ad metrics would look before and after disputing fraudulent activity:

It’s time for our key takeaways:

  • Click fraud is not rare, and it can be particularly harmful to your legal digital marketing efforts. It can originate from different sources (bots, click farms, competitors), and can deplete your budget.
  • Your law firm needs to be prepared, having a click fraud prevention strategy in place. Keeping track of your analytics and using best practices can help you minimize the risks.
  • If you have concerns or questions about your law firm’s PPC strategy, feel free to contact us. Our team of bilingual PPC experts will guide you through the steps you need to take to maximize your ROI and increase your caseload.