Are you running a PPC campaign? Do you smell something fishy on your paid search costs? Does your performance data contain inexplicable errors?

Then you probably have fallen victim into the hands of click fraud.

But what does click fraud exactly mean?

Understanding click fraud requires extensive knowledge in the pay-per-click advertising world. However, to make it simple, click fraud is basically a deceptive technique that involves malicious, hefty clicking of your PPC with the intention of acquiring profit for the host site or tapering off your revenue.

Who would commit such fraudulence to you?

While it may either be intentionally done or by accident, the most common perpetrators of click fraud are:

Your Competitors: They are likely the most conspicuous perpetrators when it comes to click fraud. Seeing that your business is ranked higher than theirs in sponsored listing, they will try to massively click on your ads in the hopes that eventually, you will stop running PPC ads upon receiving a sky-high advertising bill. And if this scheme turns out successful, your competitors can overtake or replace you in the sponsored listing.

Site Owners: To make their own website more appealing for ad placement, publishers themselves can click on their own site ads.

Customers: Instead of using a search or a bookmark, heedless customers may opt to click on search ads every time they want to access a site and by regularly doing it, they are accidentally committing click fraud.

How can you stop click fraud?

While it is impossible to completely reduce the risk of click fraud, you can weaken its chances of plundering your advertising budget through these steps.

Monitor Your Competitors

There is no better way to lessen click fraud than by keeping an eye on those who are competing with your keywords in the search engines, because more often than not, they are the best source of competitor click fraud.

You may try click tracking tools such as ClickForensics to gather relevant details pertaining to the number of clicks on your ads coming from your direct competition and other possible sources of fraud.

Supervise your Ad Campaigns

Keeping a track on your ad campaigns puts you in a better position in managing your PPC. Using Google’s AdWords program like Campaign Performance and Account Performance, you can observe the amount and rate of clicks that Google has categorised as invalid.

Target High-Value Sites for Your Ads

Do not just place your ads on any website you deemed relevant to your keywords. Limit your exposure by going for high-value sites only as most low-quality sites are popular hotbeds of click fraud.

Google and Yahoo! can provide you with certain tools, enabling you to set up ad campaigns that only run ads on the sites you specify. With this, you can prevent websites where malicious generating profit may happen.