Google Adwords – Mischief and Mayhem by Interlopers

I’ve been using Google AdWords PPC (pay per click) since last spring with mixed results. As with any new thing, there is always a learning curve – and AdWords PPC was no different. At first, there was very little in the way of hits until I figured out how to really target what I wanted and leave the rest behind!  There are so many different pay per click keywords that one can shoot for, and so many that are just a bunch of fluff due to low search volumes.

I ended up finding the PPC words that I actually wanted and got everything finally in place. At that point, my cost per click (CPC) was actually very minimal – usually 20 cents or thereabout. Somewhere in the middle of September, my clicks went to zilch.  Business was good and I didn’t actually worry about it. Actually the reason that my clicks went to zilch was because my impressions went to zilch – nothing else had changed as far as I knew.

Last week, I went into it for whatever reason and decided it was time to solve the problem. Business is still great by the way, but was sick of seeing a flatline on my AdWords campaign! Thought maybe somehow the configs had gotten messed up and it was time to revisit it. Nope, the settings were all right – but the prices had jumped from 20 cents to 2 DOLLARS in some cases.  What?!?

PPC Competitors with Deep Pockets

So why the jump? I was not really sure – until I did some digging. It appears that, after looking over the companies ON the top of the list, they really don’t operate in this area.  Maybe that’s the whole thing – if you don’t have enough web presence (or physical presence) to get yourself organically to the top of the heap in a particular area, the only way to do it is via AdWords. Seems like it would just be more simple to do it via careful SEO on your website – but that comes from a web developer that CAN do his own site. For others, it might be cost prohibitive – but probably not if you have a good and reasonable webmaster/SEO person on your side (hint hint).

I see one company highly visible on my local areas of Clayton and Knightdale AdWords results in particular. This company, and it’s sister company, will remain nameless in this blog posting. Both of these companies seem to be bidding on a lot of keywords. Consequently, they are regularly coming up very high on the AdWords lists. These companies operate well out of my target areas – probably 30 to 45 minutes away from here.  You have to really question why they are putting so much effort into advertising that far from home.

As a possible explanation as to why these companies might be paying such a high CPC, a family friend DID have a laptop computer fixed at one of the stores a few months back. His laptop was returned to him with a used motherboard from a lesser machine (about HALF the speed as the one originally in the computer). The “new used” motherboard didn’t even support all of the features of his machine.

Adding further insult to injury, this same company actually put on some butchered version of OS called “XP Extreme” or something along those lines onto his laptop. A little searching turned up that it is a hack version with all grades of mods to it – standard P2P hackware type stuff. The OS can be installed and will defeat Microsoft’s authenticity checks allowing someone to run an unlicensed version of the OS. That seems to be the primary goal of this pirate OS.  Thus – free.

Now I AM all about free, but it’s one thing for a little backroom hacker wannabe to install this on his own machine, but for a supposedly legitimate computer repair company to RETURN a customer computer with this crap on it? Particularly when the laptop was already licensed to USE a legitimate copy? What are these people thinking?  And is that why NOW, they are bidding high dollar on any and everything via AdWords? Did they run off enough people in the community that they are in so that they now have to prey on people outside of their area? The high CPC they are willing to pay is now starting to make sense.

Running in the gray area at times is one thing, but to be that firmly in the black side? Well, that is another altogether. I’m hoping that this is possibly their last gasp of breath after ruining their reputation in their home turf, and maybe they’re on their way out the door for good. Companies like this give everyone in the industry a bad rap. My friend actually went to the attorney general’s office about this company – and it turned out to NOT be the first time that they have heard the company’s name mentioned in a complaint.

So, two points:

  • ANYBODY can advertise via Google AdWords. It doesn’t mean that they are good, legit, or even scrupulous just because you see their name in a Google paid ad spot. Based on my observations, it might even be completely the opposite in some cases.
  • True word of mouth advertising is STILL the best advertising there is – and the most reliable judge of a company. No matter how good a company, there will ALWAYS be someone somewhere that is not happy with them, but, by and large, the good ones will rise to the top supported by many satisfied users.

And tying it all back together… The current AdWords pay per click PPC pricing in my target areas is getting out of hand because of some of these companies. One of my keywords is now at $5 CPC. But you know what?  I come up organically on the top of the heap in standard search results every time. People will STILL see my name when searching on any of the engines coming up at the top of the heap and NOT just in a PPC ad – just pure organic search results. Hopefully my ads WILL appear at least occasionally in the AdWords column, but it should almost always be supported with a true results hit as well.

Every time I raise my price to get to the first page, so do these companies. So, it results in me NOT getting the impressions that I want, but it DOES force them to go higher and higher to try to operate here in my house. Even if I never get a click, at least if they DO, I know they’re paying a lot more than they’d like – LOL.

At least I’m making it pricier for them to rip off customers in my neck of the woods.

Author: Eric Erickson

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