Using Google Adwords for your law firm? You might notice that you’re paying for unwanted clicks that are increasing your cost per action (CPA). Fortunately, Adwords allows you to prevent your ads from showing certain internet neighborhoods by excluding IP addresses.

Why would I want to exclude IP addresses in Adwords?

Believe it or not, not everyone likes you. Your competitors are clicking on your ads. Former employers are clicking on your ads. Disgruntled clients are clicking on your ads.

But not all invalid clicks are malicious. People at your firm are likely to check your search results. Friends, family and colleagues will also search for you. As many people still don’t know the difference between organic and paid search results, this often leads to inadvertent clicks.

Furthermore, as The Wordstream Blog suggests:

Competitive Intelligence – You might consider blocking a competitor’s IP so they can’t see your ads, particularly if you’re bidding on their brand terms.

These are just a few examples of why you might want to exclude an IP address from your Adwords campaigns. And while Adwords has measures for detecting invalid clicks, click fraud remains a serious issue.

How do I exclude IP address from my Adwords campaigns?

Before you can block IP addresses in Adwords, you have to figure out which IP addresses you should be blocking. Blocking IPs from family and co-workers who share the same networks and/or internet connections is pretty straightforward. Just go to WhatIsMyIpAddress.com from a machine that shares the connection. If you’re not sure how your machines connect, you can visit the site from each individual machine to be safe.

Warning: Some large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) assign the same IP address to a large number of computers. If you exclude such an IP address, you could block many legitimate potential clients from seeing your ads.

This can be of particular concern to firms running local search marketing and advertising campaigns.

Getting IPs of competitors takes a bit more savvy. You can try to locate the source IP address of an email based on the email headers (Where did the email come from). Alternatively, you can try a reverse IP lookup.

Jack Martin at Portent provides 5 simple steps to block IP addresses from Adwords:

1. Open your AdWords account and navigate to the Campaigns tab at the top of the page.
2. Click on the Display Network tab in Campaigns.
3. Open up the Exclusions option in Display Network.
4. At the bottom right of the page, click on “Manage IP address exclusions (advanced).”
5. A simple form will pop up. Select a campaign and add the IP address(es) you would like to exclude and select Save. You’ll have to do this separately for each campaign, saving after each.

How else can I avoid unwanted clicks?

There are a variety of other ways to avoid unwanted clicks. Tweaking your keyword bidding strategy, qualifying via ad copy and modifying the locations where your ads are being served can also be used to prevent unwanted clicks.

Due to the risk of missing out on valid clicks, blocking IP addresses from your Adwords account should be done as a last resort when you have compelling evidence that you’re receiving invalid clicks.