Click Fraud: How to Know If You’re Paying for Fraudulent Clicks
Most small PPC (pay-per-click) advertisers rely on Google Analytics to tell them whether they received the same number of visits that Google AdWords reports. Both programs are owned by the same company. Might there be a conflict of interest here?
Without casting aspersions on Google’s integrity, I have long believed it’s better to verify clicks (and everything else) using your own server logs.
Your logs are private, independent, and incorruptible. They’ll give you unbiased, objective data straight from the horse’s mouth.
Unfortunately most website owners these days do not know that they have an alternative to Google Analytics. But their website’s server records every visit, and with some inexpensive software to analyze the logs, it’s quite easy to make sense of the numbers.
Your clickthrough numbers may be the same in your server logs as in your Google Analytics program, but you won’t know for sure if you never check!
If you hire me as your PPC manager, the first thing we’ll do is ask your web host for your server logs. Not all hosts have them set up properly. The majority have them available but delete them daily to conserve space. Yet computer storage is cheap nowadays, and logs can be compressed to save space, so this practice makes no sense.
You can also hire me just to analyze your server logs to find out whether there is click fraud happening with your AdWords PPC campaign.
Or you can continue to trust the wolf you hired to guard the hen house. It’s your call!