This is one in a series of posts reviewing and looking at how some of the SEO companies which use bulk emails/spam with ‘we can help your terrible site’ type emails really can (and actually mostly can’t!) help your site.
This email came from a Richard who was using a @digitalmarketingservicesagency.com email, although a subsequent replies came from Richard from who was then using a @spiderinfoserve.com email address.
Here’s the initial email from Richard:
Would you be interested in a Website Design & Development OR Mobile App?
We emphasize on providing the best website design & development, Mobile apps, SEO to our clients. We offer a variety of services that can satisfy your needs at an affordable cost.
-New website builds / re-builds
-Website Repair and maintenance
-Wix/Prestashop/Magento/Shopify/WordPress issues and fixes
-Website design and development including Prestashop/Magento/Shopify/Word Press and e-commerce.
-Social Media, content writing, and blogging
-SEO and page one ranking
Do let me know if you are interested. I would be sharing you with more details about our past work details and price list.
I look forward to your reply.
Thanks & Regards
Richard Parker | (Web Solution Expert)
This was a bit different as the spam actually came into my Christmas site’s email account. Normally spam for it comes into a business email, which is associated with the domain’s registration… During each December my Christmas site gets millions and millions of visits and is #1 on the whole of Google for a huge number of Christmas searches – so any SEO advice about the site is always ‘interesting’…
Anyway, I replied to Richard and got the following response:
Thanks For your response.
Please find the attached file of analysis report on www.whychristmas.com.
What is your thought and plan or budget.
We are very much interested to work with you.
If start the work that would be really great.
If you start at this point then I can also help you in giving some discount for your better help.
We are always here to help you in any manner.
Look forward to start work with you soon.
Digital Marketing Team
Only there wasn’t an attachment! After another two attempts the attachment of their PDF SEO report finally arrived!
Their Report & Recommendations
The PDF SEO Report was clearly automatically generated as it still had the branding of the free tool that was used to create it on the PDF (a couple of other SEO spammers have also sent me reports using this tool, but at least they put their own logo on it…)!
So I’m not even sure that ‘Richard’ has even visited my site, he could well have just put the URL into this tool and see what it said about the site (which as we’ll see, isn’t always the best thing to do with automated tools)…
At the top of the report were several ‘scores’.
There’s an SEO Score (my site got 91/100 – pretty good!) and then scores for various ‘SEO Checks’ that have been run.
My site passed 43/48 of the checks, had 5 ‘failed’ checks and 0 warnings. So let’s look some more at the failed checks from this automated check.
SEO Friendly URL Test – Your webpage contains URLs that are not SEO friendly!
Yes, there are some underscores in some of the URLs on my site. It’s now thought that hyphens in URLs are better. But when I created the site back in 2000, the reverse was thought to be the correct thing to do! And anyway many of the pages with underscores in them are #1 on Google for their respective results out of several million results (or in the case of ‘the christmas story’ a couple of billion) so they can’t be hurting the SEO much… So I’ll say this is ‘Not Applicable’.
Google Analytics Test – A Google Analytics script is not detected on this page. While there are several tools available to monitor your site’s visitors and traffic sources, Google Analytics is a free, commonly recommended program to help diagnose potential SEO issues.
Yes, I don’t have Google Analytics on my site. I used to, but now I use a different, server based, analytics tools. There are a couple of reasons for this. The UK Government has updated its advice about how tracking cookies can be used on sites and this affects things like Google Analytics. I don’t want visitors to my site to have an annoying pop-up and I like privacy, so I’m happy to now use a non tracking system… And not having Google Analytics installed will not directly affect SEO on a site. So basically this is WRONG to be a ‘failed’ test.
Page Objects Test – Your page uses more than 20 http requests, which can slow down page loading and negatively impact user experience.
Again that’s a true statement. But again, it’s very misleading simply to say having more than 20 HTTP requests is a ‘failure’. My site has 37 requests but it also loads VERY VERY quickly. (And if we look at their own site it has 48 requests, more on this below…) So again we’ll say this is ‘Not Applicable’.
Page Cache Test (Server Side Caching) – It does not appear that you are caching your pages. Cached pages serve up static html and avoid potentially time consuming queries to your database. It also helps lower server load by up to 80%.
The rather odd thing about this (wrong) error is that my site IS static HTML! It’s also got TWO caching levels on it – one on the server and then I’m also using a service called ‘CloudFlare’ to help the site load faster and this also does extra caching! The automated test clearly can’t see this… (The auto PDF also suggests three caching plugins for WordPress, only my site isn’t using WordPress! More on this below as well.) So this is simply WRONG.
Structured Data Test – Your webpage doesn’t take the advantages of HTML Microdata specifications in order to markup structured data.
Structured/Micro Data can be really useful, in certain cases (like for contact details or an upcoming event, etc.). But my site simply doesn’t need any Structured Data. So we’ll say this is ‘Not Applicable’.
So out of the five ‘failed’ auto checks, two are ‘wrong’ and the other three are ‘not applicable’! So I’m guessing my site should really get a 100/100 SEO Score!!!
Looking at Their Site
With SEO spammers, I also like to look at their sites, to see if they practice what they preach (I mean would you trust a plumber who had leaking and rusty pipes all over their own house?!); and also to compare their site with a site they say they can help…
Their main site is: https://www.spiderinfoserve.com They also have digitalmarketingservicesagency.com – where the first spam email was sent from. The sites are basically identical just with different email addresses! The spiderinfoserve.com domain was registered in 2016; but the digitalmarketingservicesagency.com one was registered in April 2019. (I’ll look at spiderinfoserve.com as that’s their ‘main site)
For HTML Validation, my site has no errors. Their site has 30 errors and 20 warnings.
On Google Pagespeed their site gets:
Mobile: 44/100 (that is not good…)
My site gets:
Mobile: 99/100 – so both considerably better using Google’s own speed testing tool!
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 24 errors and 11 contrast errors. My site has no errors of either kind!
I did look at both of their sites – and they are so much the same that they’ve got identical HTML and accessibility errors! Having duplicate content like this can actually really hurt your SEO as Google doesn’t like duplicate content – so why is an SEO company doing that?!
As Spider Infoserve had used an automated tool on my site, I thought it would be interesting to use the same tool on their site! They had 11 ‘failed’ checks (so over double the number I had – and they want to help me with my site?!); but interestingly they failed three of the same checks as my site.
These were for ‘Page Objects Test’, ‘Page Cache Test’ (they also use CloudFlare on their site and they do use WordPress – but I can see that they don’t have a cache in place on WordPress) and ‘Structured Data Test’ (where it would be of use on their site as they’ve got lots of contact info).
But, those technical problems are just the start of my issues with Spider Infoserve (well apart from the whole spamming in the first place…)
Their ‘Meta Title’ is “Best Digital Marketing Company in USA, UK and INDIA – Spider Infoserve” but I’m not convinced they have much of a connection with the USA or UK.
They have a US address on the site, in Milpitas California (which is on the outskirts of San Jose). Looking on Google Maps, the address is for a lease/rental office complex. (There’s also a San Jose phone number but as this is an office lease company it could week just be a forwarding phone number.)
They also list two addresses in India, one in Bhubaneswar and one in Sundergarh (about 250km from each other).
Interestingly on their Facebook page (for Spider Infoserve) they say they’re an ‘Internet company in Bhubaneswar, India’ and have the Bhubaneswar address listed.
Their Twitter account (which has 0 followers!) says “Spider Infoserve is a leading SEO company in USA” but lists the address in Bhubaneswar, India for their ‘location’!
Similarly, their LinkedIn page also claims that they’re a US company, but then says their ‘primary location’ is ‘Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India’ and has their address in Bhubaneswar!
Also on their Linkedin page it lists the founder of Spider Infoserve and one of their ‘SEO Analysts’. The founder’s profile says that he went to college in Bhubaneswar and in one of his posts he clearly states that the company is based in India!
The ‘SEO Analyst’ has a female Indian sounding name. However, the profile photo for her is actually the actress Olivia Wilde (who was in ‘House’). I’m pretty sure that she’s not using a different name to work for a dodgy SEO company..!
On the ‘careers’ page on their site, they’ve got three jobs listed – ALL in Bhubaneswar!
The times that ‘Richard’ emailed me would have been at 5am in California but mid afternoon (normal office hours) in Bhubaneswar… And of course, both of their domains were registered in India.
Here again we have (yet another) spammy SEO company that appear not to know some of the basics of SEO and how to make a site fast; as well as being less than truthful about their location and who works for them…
Using an automated SEO tool and sending a PDF with no explanation really isn’t very helpful. But using photos of famous people for your ‘staff’ is a different level of bad.
So if you get an email from a @digitalmarketingservicesagency.com or @spiderinfoserve.com email address, the delete button might be the best option.
But the choice, as ever, is yours.
ps, I’ll be sending them a copy of the auto PDF report about their site, just in case it’s of any help…