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Are you paying too much for pay per click advertising?

The cost for pay per click advertising is on the rise. According to Jupiter Research, the average click price will jump from US$0.29 in 2003 to US$0.26 in 2004 and US$0.47 in 2009. And that's only the price for an average keyword.

The price for the top spot on for "data recovery" is currently US$4.30 per click. Google displays an average cost pay click of US$9,10 for that keyword. That's quite a lot for a single click. But do you get what you're paying for?

US$10 million for consumers that do not exist

Click fraud is the practice of skewing pay-per-click advertising data by generating illegitimate hits. Some statistics claim that as much as 50 percent of pay per click advertising in some competitive categories could be the product of bogus clickers.

"John Squire, vice president for product marketing for Coremetrics, which provides consulting and Web analysis for online merchants like Eddie Bauer, OfficeMax and CompUSA, estimated that the company's clients were spending about US$10 million a year on fraudulent clicks. That is, they are spending about US$10 million on consumers that do not exist."

Click fraud is done by traffic affiliate partners of PPC search engines who make a commission on paid clicks generated by their web site visitors and by competitors who want to decrease the effectiveness of your pay per click campaign.

Some of them hire human clickers or use automated programs that click the paid listings for them. More information about click fraud and the different methods can be found in these articles:

What does this mean to you?

Pay per click advertising can be a good way to quickly get visitors to your web site. However, pay per click advertising should only supplement your normal search engine optimization activities.

It should not be your main way of getting search engine traffic. Track the return on investment for your pay per click campaigns to make sure that pay per click advertising really works for you.

A Consumer WebWatch study showed that web surfers prefer non-paid search engine listings. For this reason, it's better to get high rankings in the normal search engine results. High rankings in search engines will bring your web site targeted visitors without paying for every single click.

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October 2004 search engine articles