How to Stop SEM Theft: How to Spot & Stop SEO & SEM Waste & Fraud (PART 9)
TRANSCRIPT: Now, how do we stop this SEM theft? It’s very simple, very, very simple. Pay the search engines directly. Let me say that again. Pay the search engines directly. But, Steve, our SEM says we can’t do that, who won’t accept our credit card. Listen, Google will accept anyone’s credit card. Using your own credit card, means that you get to earn points or miles for those purchases. If your vendor tells you that you cannot pay your vendor directly, you need to run. You need to run as fast as you can the other way because that is the biggest area where I see theft. I see this almost every time I inspect a dealer’s pay per click. Now, when you pay by paper check or electronic funds transfer, EFT, you’re allowing unscrupulous companies to hide where the money is actually spent.
Now, not all SEM companies that want you to pay them instead of Google are unscrupulous, but again, if you ask your vendor if you can pay Google directly, and your vendor will not setup your credit card to pay the search engines directly, then you need to run. Also, once they have this setup for you, ensure that they properly link your Google AdWords to your Google Analytics. See, that’s their job, not your job to be the Google Analytics, Google AdWords expert.
Now, but here’s the deal, you see everything is not theft. Somethings are just incompetence. Another issue with bad SEM vendors is their inability or unwillingness to use the dealer’s existing Google Analytics account. We found one vendor at one dealership I was working with who made the dealer remove their own Google Analytics code from their website in favor of the vendor’s Google Analytics code. Let me say that again. What happened was is the dealer got sold on an SEM package from their OEM, and so they went with that vendor. That vendor was told to work with the internet manager, so they called the internet manager, and they said, hey, we need to you take down your Google Analytics code and put this up on the site. He didn’t know if that, he thought that, that was okay because the OEM said use this vendor. The dealer didn’t know that this happened.
Now, why would the vendor want to remove your Google Analytics code when the could have just added theirs if they wanted extra code on the site? Google doesn’t care. That’s a good question. See, the vendor told me that they do this in order to have admin access to Google Analytics in order to link the AdWords, and create goals and maximize the paid search campaigns. Okay. But, none of this requires a new Google Analytics account. And none of this means taking off the old Google Analytics account.
Now, here’s why they want to take off the old Google Analytics account, is because they don’t want any comparisons made to their spend and the last vendor who was in there. Now, why wouldn’t they want comparisons? Hm, maybe their not doing as good a job. Also, until I alerted this dealership, they had no idea that they had even lost access to their website’s Google Analytics because the internet manager never looked at it and never told the dealer principle, so he didn’t know. This went on for over a year. See, the vendor, after they put on their own Google Analytics code, they never even gave the dealership a login to the new Google Analytics. You might be saying, hey, Steve, this is rare, right? This doesn’t happen very often. Well, actually it happens quite often. This is a major provider who has OEM endorsements, okay? So, I want you to understand that I see this in about 90%. I see fraud or waste in about 90% of the dealership where I inspect their PPC. So, you do the math on that.
Now, this vendor assumed, I guess, that the dealership would have asked for their Google Analytics login at some point. Listen, a new Google Analytics account, I told you means you lose all your history, okay? It means you have no clarity into what’s working or whether it was working better or worse last year. When the the Google Analytics is the vendor’s and they couple this with the vendor’s AdWords account, as it was in this case, you have no idea about the PPC results or costs and no access to the history of key word performance should you change PPC providers.
Let me explain that again. So, they not only created their own AdWords account, and didn’t give the dealer access, and they created a new analytics account, and didn’t give the dealer access, they wiped out all of the dealers old accounts, so when the dealer made a switch after I showed him what was going on, and he made a switch to a new PPC provider, guess what? That PPC provider was in the dark because the vendor, the thieving vendor, left with their analytics and AdWords account. So, there was no history again. This is a problem. And when you cancel that vendor, see there, that’s what’s going to happen, everything, both accounts with them, so that your next vendor will have to start from scratch. Now, that’s a huge red flag.