Click fraud is a way of life for the search engine marketer, but its impact can be minimized at the expense of the search engines. Here are some helpful tools to submit claims to the various click quality departments. It can be time consuming, but every dollar you get in credit is a dollar you’re not spending, which goes directly to the bottom line.
In the past I always had to submit a claim via my rep at the customer service number. However I recently discovered a specific page buried within Google’s support section that allows you to submit a claim directly to the ad click quality team. It should be done on an ad group basis, but in some cases it is definately worth the time involved.
Check all the boxes that you think may be signs of click fraud. Once you hit the continue button you’ll see links to the help section that might contain articles that explain what you’re seeing. At the bottom you’ll see a question with radial buttons asking if the articles answered your questions. Even if your question was partially answered, click no. Doing so will expand the window to include a submission form. Now it’s time to get down to business:
Fill out all the applicable areas and click submit. You’ll get an automated confirmation from the click quality team and a response several days after their investigation.
Don’t expect a full 100% credit for the clicks in that ad group. Google will more than likely say that a percentage of the traffic didn’t meet their expectations, and give you that percentage as a credit, or possibly even a portion of the percentage as a credit.
Keep in mind that Google will only investigate claims that are filed for traffic received in the last 60 days. Put a reminder in your calendar to do this task every two months to get the maximum benefit and decrease your billable clicks.
Yahoo offers online data to learn about click fraud and how to navigate it via their Traffic Quality Resource Center. To file a claim you need to log in to your account and click on the customer service link at the upper right hand of the window. A new window will open up that will allow you to write a message. Be sure to click on the drop down box underneath the type of inquiry request and select “Traffic Quality”.
It also gives you the ability to add attachments like spreadsheets or log files to back up your claim. What I like about the Yahoo system over the Google system is that the response email tells you when you can expect a time frame to have your case reviewed and completed.
To combat future inadvertent traffic–whether it be from click fraud or other unqualified traffic–you can request to receive a raw query search report every 30 days to look at the raw search queries that are producing the impressions for your ads (yes, I’m still talking about Yahoo, not the Google report). Look this over and see what terms you don’t think should be there. Add those terms as excluded words at the ad group or campaign level and let your money be spent on better quality traffic.
So even though there aren’t daily articles on click-fraud anymore, know that it’s out there, and chances are you’re affected by it. Fight it, because every dollar saved is one extra dollar towards your next conversion.