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How to Spot an Adwords Hustle

This is the second time in as many months that we have come across this kind of activity. So we decided to post about it, just to forewarn visitors of this kind of activity.

The Hustle

Card Trick‘Search Marketing Agency X’ contacts you and says to you that they can get you ‘top of Google’ for only £100 a month.

They tell you that if you spend this with them, then they will guarantee that you will be top for a select number of relevant keywords.

However, if you stop paying them, then your positions will be removed.

If you commit to working with them, usually on 6 months plus of contract so they tie you in, then they will send you a list of keywords and you will indeed be on the first page of Google for those keywords from the start of the contract.

And all this for less than you’d pay most search marketing agencies to run a campaign for you: sounds great, doesn’t it?

The Trick

You may have been told by the agency in question any one of these reasons:

  • They have a special relationship with Google
  • They have a specific technology which gives them this advantage
  • They are just very good at what they do…

And only the last of these is true – yes, they are very good at what they do – hustling you! They also will rarely talk about these being the paid adverts on Google, as they want to blur the boundaries between Search Engine Optimisation (listings appearing in the main part of the page) and Pay Per Click (Google Advertising), and also because they don’t want you to become too informed.

The Sleight of Hand

So, if it is a trick, how does it work?After all, they will seem to deliver on their promises…

Let’s say you’re a security business based in Luton, they send you a list of keyword phrases, for example:

CCTV Luton, Alarms Luton, Locksmiths Luton, Locksmith Luton, CCTV installation Luton, CCTV Bedford, Alarms Bedford, Locksmiths Bedford, Locksmith Bedford, CCTV installation Bedford, Security systems Luton, Home security Luton, Security systems Bedford, Home security Bedford, Security systems in Luton

Very specific keyword phrases which all look good, but deliberately chosen to be low volume in terms of traffic – in laymans terms: not searched for much, and this is the key to the con.

The Numbers

Exact matches on the keyword list above will receive, in all likelihood, fewer than 2,500 impressions in a month. Of those matches, about a maximum of 1% will actually click on the advert. And a rough estimate of the cost to be on the first page of Google for that advert will be about 20p per click.

Therefore the total estimated cost to you will be:

Impressions * conversion rate * cost per click… which is:

2,500 * 0.01 * 0.20 = £5.00

Making their profit on the deal: 2,000%

Making your estimated cost per click (25 clicks): £4.00 (paying c. 20 times more than the competition)

So, you can see why this ‘great’ offer is not so brilliant after the numbers are done. Two recommendations for you:

Google Keyword Tool – gives you the estimated number of monthly searches for a phrase

Google Analytics – so you can actually measure the amount of traffic being generated for you

With both of these in use, then you can be sure you’re really getting value. If you want any more tips, then get in touch with us…

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