A growing threat
According to several search industry research reports, search advertising and search engine optimization activity has grown more than 250 percent in the last five years and is slated to increase $16 billion by the end of this year. The budgets for search advertising and marketing are robust for the most part because these programs pay for themselves and are efficient and fully trackable.
However, the strong growth in search marketing is also feeding the growth of PPC advertising and SEO scams by counterfeiters and unscrupulous competitors. Based on analysis of data from Direct Magazine, 14 percent of branded searches never arrive at the brand's site. While some of the traffic arrives at the sites of legitimate resellers, a significant portion does not. For luxury products, these statistics get worse. A recent audit for five luxury brands found that traffic to sites selling suspected counterfeit goods amounted to more than 45 percent of the search traffic generated by the official brand sites.
As these statistics demonstrate, search marketers must be vigilant to ensure their search strategies are not marred by the activities of the ever-growing league of online scammers. The following article will discuss some of the leading search marketing scams that PPC advertising practitioners and their SEO counterparts should track. We'll also discuss how to combat these common schemes.