Search Marketing

How To Make Enemies And Dissuade Leads With Broken Tracking

If you’re a PPC agency, you do not want to be making this mistake. It can really tick off clients.

1. Let your tracking/redirect subdomain get indexed. This means that your “ppc clicks” may be random longtail crap clicks. Or else nasty competitors, breaking your analytics with fake traffic.

2. Carelessly run the subdomain off your main domain. In other words, tell the world (and clients’ competitors) that your clients have ‘hired guns’ running their campaigns. Motivate competitors to take this seriously, why don’t you?!

3. Call the subdomain something obvious. That way, people will be encouraged to try site:”track.*.com” searches, click all the links (throwing off your total clicks and CTR numbers) and find out who your various clients are.

The right way to do this and not anger folks is to make this look like one of hundreds of generic tracking URLs, such that a simple “site:” search won’t reveal them all. E.g. y.abc.campaign1.example.com .

Spotted: Twice this month, being done by two major agencies. Major means the type with flashy booths, full colour print ads and juicy speaking and writing engagements. The situation was their work for clients in some of the most competitive verticals in search marketing. What’s competitive? How about $15 – $23 estimated CPC for top 3 positions? (Per Google’s AdWords tool.)

Matter of fact: Make that a third firm – yours truly! That said, my subdomain wasn’t as obvious, the redirects weren’t for clients, and I’ve already edited the robots.txt .

That said, I’m not going to out either, because one agency’s founder scored karma points with my at SMX Advanced and I don’t need to pre-burn bridges with the others. Relationships matter!

My point: 1) You may want to double check this for your agency. 2) You heard it here first!

(Hat tips SEO 4 Firefox and the SEO Toolbar for help with the research… you gotta love Aaron Wall’s generosity creating these things!)

If you liked this post on PPC and analytics, why don’t you check out my advanced search marketing blog, which features stuff like how to find competitors’ keywords (free!) or brand building for SEOs?

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7 thoughts on “How To Make Enemies And Dissuade Leads With Broken Tracking

  1. I’m talking about big PPC agencies screwing up their tracking. What context do you mean? I’m not going to tell you the SERP I saw this on, nor who made the boo-boo. I’ve added a short intro, if that helps.

  2. The education vertical is full of these examples. I doubt Vantage Media is even shy about saying they are sub domain junkies.

    No matter who is doing it, I would guess clients gotta know this before they hire a firm.

    Speaking of SMX advanced, today is the last day to get the reduced rate for 2009.