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 time the email came in from an ‘Arya’ who was using an @iconicwebzone.com email address. That domain has no site and it was registered 8 days before they spammed me using it…
The subject of the spam was “Re: whyeaster.com : Promote Your Website on Google!!” (using the ‘re’ at the front to make it seem like we’d been in contact before – a common SEO spammer tactic) and went:
Hi whyeaster.com Team
I am a Digital Marketing Consultant and while working on an online project I came across your website whyeaster.com first of all congrats for having such a beautiful layout of your website but while analyzing it a bit I found certain errors in it. They are the following mentioned below:
A couple of onsite issues on your website.
Your website is not completely mobile responsive.
The SEO of your website is not to the optimum level and that is directly affecting the traffic, rank and sales that you deserve to get from your website.
My team can fix all those issues, make your website mobile optimized and bring it to the TOP PAGE of Google so that you will get enough traffic to your website and in return your quantity of new sales or new business rate will increase.
If you are interested I can show you the package price and past work details.
Thank you in advance.
Arya [name removed for privacy although I’m sure it’s fake]| Web Consultant
Note: – Our next conversation will be on my corporate Email ID. If this is something you are interested, please respond to this email. If this is not your interest, don’t worry, we will not email you again.
Ah the old “Our next conversation will be on my corporate Email ID” excuse. Spammers do love that one… Anyway, I replied:
That sounds interesting. What’s wrong with my site and how can you help?
I then got a reply from an ‘Ahmed’ who was using an @rankgators.digital email address. This is yet another domain without a site. It was registered about four months ago…
The reply went:
Hope you’re doing well.
Thank you for your email; it’s a pleasure to hear from you.
This is in reference to your previous communication with my colleague Arya. This is Ahmed Ali, a Digital Marketing Consultant from Rankgators PVT LTD. Since its inception 7 years ago, Rankgators has transformed its technological journey to become a veteran player in the industry due to its well-integrated team of devoted individuals. Having worked with more than 200 clients all over the globe in a diverse range of industry verticals including franchise, real estate, travel, business, lifestyle & beauty, business coaching, healthcare, astrology, retail, event management, and technology to name a few; our an immense working experience and an extensive customer base makes us the most sought-after digital solution providers. For more info, you can visit our website https://www.rankgators.com.
Meanwhile, Do go through some of the Recent Projects that we have worked on: [removed for privacy]
As well as our client reviews for you https://www.rankgators.com/testimonials.php
I have added a proposal for your website please go through it.
It will be great if we can discuss this more in detail over a meeting or a call so that I can understand your exact requirements and proceed further. Please schedule accordingly at your convenience.
Looking forward to your positive response.
Ahmed [name removed for privacy] |Digital Marketing Consultant
RANKGATORS PVT LTD
[Contacts removed for privacy]
There was a Word .docx file attached of the ‘report’. Shall we say I wasn’t impressed with the report, as we’ll see in my reply to Ahmed…
It was time to ask Ahmed some questions and point out some shortcomings in the report:
I’ve been a web designer and developer for 20 over years. I like to reply to SEO spammers to see what ‘services’ they offer and the things they say and use to get clients.
I have some questions.
Please can you tell me why you think it’s ok to spam people, from random email accounts, to get business?
Are you happy breaching multiple international laws?
Your initial email was IN BREACH OF ALL the pieces of anti-spam legislation listed below (and many others from around the world).
For the UK (where I live) you are not allowed to sent marketing emails to an individual without their permission – you did this: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/electronic-and-telephone-marketing/electronic-mail-marketing/ (Under UK law, I am an ‘individual’ as I’m a Sole Trader, not a Ltd Company.)
For the USA, you are breaking several aspects of CAN-SPAM compliance: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business
For CASL in Canada, you need consent to send electronic marketing – which you did not have: https://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/00008.html (You also need other business identifiers in the emails, which your emails do not have.)
The Anti Spam Act in Australia has similar conditions for consent and identity, which your emails also do not meet: https://www.acma.gov.au/avoid-sending-spam
In South Africa there is the Protection of Personal Information Act, which says you have to have consent to send people marketing emails, which you did not have: https://ispa.org.za/spam/
In France the Trust in the Digital Economy Act says that you have to have consent to send marketing emails, which you did not have: https://www.culture.gouv.fr/en/Thematiques/Industries-culturelles-et-creatives/Dossiers-thematiques/Le-spam/Le-cadre-juridique-La-legislation-francaise-en-matiere-de-spam
For The Netherlands, the Dutch Telecommunications Act says that you need consent to send people marketing emails, which you did not have. It also says that the true identity of the party should be disclosed up front, which you did not do. https://sherloc.unodc.org/cld/document/nld/1988/telecommunications_act_of_the_netherlands.html?
I look forward to getting your answers to my questions.
Let’s also look at the ‘Website Major Issues’ on your report…
Indexing status: We will Improve Google Indexing Status
But you don’t know how my site is ranking at the moment, as you don’t know what words I’m targeting!
Page loading speed: Bad. Mobile 100. Desktop 100.
100 IS THE BEST SPEED SCORE YOU CAN GET. How is that ‘bad’?!
HTML Errors are there
There are NO HTML errors, check here: http://validator.w3.org/check?verbose=1&uri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.whyeaster.com%2F
You linked to the CSS validator, not the HTML validator. Oops, yes there was one error. I’d missed off an ; . I’ve fixed it!
I’ve just checked your site and it’s got LOTS of HTML errors and several CSS errors. Oh dear…
Robots .txt file updated: Not Good
What’s wrong with it? It protects a directory and links to the XML sitemap. It’s doing what a basic robots.txt does…
Sitemap.xml updated: Good
If you’ve marked it as ‘good’, why is it still listed as a ‘Major Issue’?
Meta tags issues are not there
Erm so that’s good right?! No ‘Major Issue’ then?!
Header tags are defined properly
If they’re defined properly, they can’t be a ‘Major Issue’!
Keywords density issue found.
Hmmm, what keywords did you use? They all look good to me!
Canonical Tag present: Good, No Need to update it again.
Again, why if this is ‘good’ is it listed as a ‘Major Issue’?
Most of images Alt tag missing
No they’re not. All the images have appropriate alt tags.
GEO tag not added
My site doesn’t have a physical location. A geo tag would be completely pointless.
Internal linking missing
There are huge number of internal links on my site!
Rubbish. My site gets 100/100 on Google’s Mobile speed test and it passes all the mobile friendliness tests. What more do you want?!
So all but one of your ‘Website Major Issues’ are either wrong or pointless. Can you please explain that as well?!
It’s been well over a week now I’ve not heard back from them. I’ll post an update if I ever do get a reply (I doubt one will ever arrive).
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…
Although they use two different domains for their emails/spam, they’ve got one site for their business.
Their site is at: rankgators.com and it was registered in January 2016.
For HTML Validation, their site has 93 errors and 15 warnings. That’s not good.
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, their site has 26 errors and 77 contrast errors. More notgoodness.
Using the Google Lighthouse speed test tool their site gets:
Best Practices: 58
My Easter site has 0 HTML or Accessibility issues. It also scores 100 across the board on Google Lighthouse. (But apparently it’s my site that needs the help…)
The alt text on their logo is ‘logo’. That’s terrible. It should be ‘Rank Gators’.
There are Heading 2s before the Heading 1. You are ‘allowed’ to do that. But it’s not best practice.
There are social media icons in the site’s header and footer. These actually do link to their social media accounts. But one is to Google+ WHICH CLOSED YEARS AGO.
When you scroll the page, the header switches design. In this format, the navigation is so small that it’s very hard to read (the font size is 10px)!
There’s a ‘heart beat’ type of graphic on their home page showing how they operate. But with a browser resolution at anything less than about 1350px wide (which is wider than many smaller laptops) and that also includes basically ALL tablets and phones, it’s VERY broken. Text blocks bump into each other or drop out of order and also crash into the graphic, making that text hard to read. (The font also goes into ‘tiny’ mode below 1200px wide.)
In his email, Ahmed said that Rank Gators has been in business for over seven years. Yet their domain was registered less than seven years ago. Hmmmm. I might be splitting hairs, but still…
At the bottom of the home page are links to their three ‘latest’ blog posts. But the ‘latest’ is from July 2017 (you can tell from the URL of the page it’s on) but you can’t actually read any of the blog posts because they don’t seem to exist!
If you click any of the links – or go to the blog section (from a ‘view all’ link next to the blog posts) – it just loads the home page but is a VERY BROKEN format with no CSS files (so no design).
I think they might be left over from a previous site, as there’s no blog link in the main navigation, but anyway it’s a complete and utter mess.
There are video and text reviews on the site, so I think they have some happy customers. Although the first text review includes “Your job on my website brought some results and it was doing not bad for couple of years for now.” which doesn’t seem to be a very glowing review…!
But seeing the ‘quality’ of their site and SEO audit reports, I don’t think I’d trust Rank Gators with my site.
So we know that SEO Experts Company India / Visibility Gurus are SEO spammers.
They use generic gmail accounts to send out their spam, with the most amazingly fake name I’ve ever seen, breaking multiple international anti-spam laws.
When asked why they do this, they don’t answer. (It’s funny how spammers don’t like answering questions about why they send out spam…)
They’ve got a newly registered domain they’re using for sending out ’email leads’ (spam replies).
They’ve got two sites, both with, erm, ‘interesting things’…
So if SEO Experts Company India / Visibility Gurus say they can manage SEO things for you, the delete button might be a better option.
But, as ever, the choice is yours…