Something that frustrates me is the onslaught of SPAM SEO emails from companies and individuals phishing for your information. I often receive forwards from clients sending me these emails asking me to look into the claims, or suggesting that we must be missing something in our campaign if these other companies are pointing out deficiencies.
This SPAM paints a bad picture of the SEO Industry, but keep in mind the vast majority of these emails are NOT from SEO Companies but rather from scammers attempting to get something out of you. The small percentage of these emails that actually come form SEO companies also represent an even smaller percentage of of the industry as a whole. Think about Lawyers. Sometimes viewed as “ambulance chasers” – have you ever actually seen a lawyer chase an ambulance? All the lawyers I have ever met were actually really good people (and I am not just saying that because many of them were clients!)
The reality is, in more than 15 years of doing SEO, I have never seen a single one of these SEO Cold-Emails that was legitimate, and I have literally seen hundreds of them. I receive them not only to my professional email address, but also to emails I have that are not connected to any website in any way. For a seasoned SEO spotting these scams is easy, but for a business owner with little SEO or Internet savvy this may not always be the case.
The signs are often very obvious that these emails should go directly to your trash folder. Here are a few common signs you’ll see in nearly every one of these emails:
- No Company Name.
- No Company Contact info.
- No Website Address.
- Claims that your site can not be found in search engines when you know for a fact that you are.
- The Sender name in email header does not match name signed at bottom of the email.
- Return email address uses a generic free service: @gmail, @hotmail, @outlook, etc.
- Unprofessional return email like “brob1997ad@….” (Real life example)
- Multiple SPAM SEO emails appearing in short intervals, all identical but from different senders.
- Very bad grammar, broken English and regular miss-spellings.
- No researched information – generic messages without detailed specifics about your website.
- Use of fear tactics – trying to scare you into responding
- They may mention the importance of depreciated techniques such as Meta Keywords.
Typically the message will include a generic notice along the lines of “I was surfing through your website and found you are not ranking on any of the search engines” but yet they fail to give a single example of where you are falling short. I also have to wonder, if you are not ranking anywhere how did they find you in the first place?
One example is a client of ours who ranks exceptionally well with numerous #1 listings and almost countless top 10’s. Their primary targets are easy to identify when viewing the site, and they rank in the first position for them. Any SEO would be able to easily see that the site is performing well – yet they received one of these emails noting that they did not rank anywhere.
Someone approaching me like this immediately loses my interest. Even in the very off chance that they are a legit SEO, they are then either incompetent or lazy. Either they didn’t check, or they don’t know how to check. But lets face it, in reality it is just a boilerplate SPAM sent out to countless targets.
Here is a Real Life Example of an actual email received:
I was surfing through your website and realized that despite having a great design; it was not ranking on any of the search engines (Google, AOL and Bing) for most of the keywords relating to your business.
Are you looking for SEO service to rank your Website organically in Top 3 positions of Google page 1?
If Yes, Kindly revert back with your website address, keywords which you would like to target, then we can send you more details about Package/Action, Past Work, Portfolio with special Offer
Hope to hear from you soon
Online Marketing Consultant
Services: – SEO, SMO, PPC etc.
And another example:
Hope you are fine.
I am Marketing Manager for an international marketing company. While studying your website couldn’t help noticing it lacked any significant ranking in Google – for any of your keywords. As you already suspect, this means your site is virtually invisible to potential customers searching for a supplier in your field. It’s as though you’d made an expensive TV ad and then forgotten to buy any airtime for people to see it!
We also excited to get to work on your new mobile app, and we want to make sure you’re satisfied with our proposal and have a full understanding of what to expect in this lengthy process. Creating a mobile app is exciting, and our expert team is fully capable of giving you something unique that will help grow your business.
100% top 10 ranking guaranty on Google, Yahoo, and Bing we can provide you our client Work details.
My company can solve this problem for you. We are an Indian based Company, with over 8 years experience in the field of (SEO)Search Engine Optimization, ORM, SMO & mobile app developers as well.
We have the expertise to send hundreds, or even thousands, of customers to your website.
Make your website visible to Search Engines!!
Improve your business website ranking!!
If you’d like to know this information, you’re welcome to write back and ask for your contact details. I look forward to hearing from you.
Online Marketing Manager
In these two examples the first thing that really jumps out is the complete lack of details indicating they have actually looked at the targets website. (and yes, if you receive one of these, you are not their potential customer, you are their target). I have responded to these for fun in the past, without giving any details. I have simply asked for a quote, and the first thing they always ask for is my website address. I then have responded saying, “its the one you reviewed when you were surfing through my website”. Nobody has ever responded back after that.
How do you spot the scammers? Well, if you ever receive an email that is in any way similar to the two examples above, it is most likely a scammer and you should stay far away. While there may be legitimate SEO’s out there sending cold-emails in search of business, they will most certainly take their time to put together a professional and researched email to you noting specifics that you can easily cross-check and confirm. They will also come across as professional and include full contact details so if you are actually interested you can do your research on them before you reach back.
Even if it is a legitimate company, if their email is not researched and professional do you really want to hire them anyways?