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 a ‘Sara Wilson’ (I don’t normally put family names in for privacy, but I’m 100% sure this is fake and ‘Wilson’ seems to be a VERY common fake family name for SEO spammers…) who was using a gmail.com email address with a bunch of random numbers and letters in it. The email came into the account for my business site.
The subject of the spam was “Aw: Still Interested ?”. ‘Aw’ is the German version of ‘Re’. I’ve had a few SEO spammer use the trick of adding ‘Re’ at the front of subjects to try and make it look like they’ve been in contact before, but this was the first time I’ve seen it with the German prefix! The spam went:
Hi, James Cooper
Hope you are doing well,
Could you please let me know if you want to increase organic traffic on your website https://jpc-design.com/ www.whychristmas.com?
We are a digital marketing company we deal in SEO/SMO and PPC.
We can bring your website to the first page of Google.
We Have a Discount of $50 on all the packages. Our starting rates are $150, which will cost you $100, with no contractual obligations. You will be getting the same quality service at the discounted price.
May I send you Quote? If interested.
I am waiting your reply.
Thanks in Advance!
Note: If you are not interested, I Please inform me I Will Remove you from our mail List.
So, what site are the talking about, my business or my Christmas site?! That doesn’t seem like a good start… So I replied asking what’s wrong with them:
That sounds interesting. What’s wrong with my sites?
The next day I got an email from a ‘Paul Smith’ who was using [email protected] email address. It went:
Pleasure connecting with you through my colleague.
Allow me to introduce myself; My Name is Paul Smith, Business Development Manager from ADM, a leading web Digital Marketing Company. We are a more than 12 years old web Digital Marketing Company based in Noida, India. This email is in regard to expressing my wish for working together on your web project.
Regarding the website: Please find the attached ideas that will help to get some more traffic to the website.
MY STRATEGIES & APPROACHES:
Phase 1: Site Assessment
- Full Website Audit
- Website Content Audit
- Web Analytics Audit / Checking
Phase 2: Technical SEO Aspects
- Technical Issues/Errors Fixes
Phase 3: Discovery & Research
- Keyword Research
- Keyword URL Mapping
- Competitor Research and Analysis
- Improvement Recommendations / Suggestions
Phase 4: On-Page SEO Aspects
- Meta Tag Optimization (Title, Keyword, Description)
- Image Optimization (Alt Tag)
- Page Copy Optimization (Stuffing)
- Linking Strategy (Authority, Link Quality)
- Header Tags Optimization (H1, H2, and H3)
- Google My Business/Google Business Listing Creation or Optimization
- Plugin Optimization
- Permalink Optimization (URL Optimization)
- Google Search Console & Analytics Setup
- Indexability Optimization
- Schema Markup for Google Rich Snippets
- Canonical Links
- SSL Certificate (HTTPS) Enforceability
- XML Sitemap
- 404 & Redirection
- Crawlability & Indexability
- Hyperlink and anchor text optimization
- Check the website for device friendly
- Schema HTML tags
Phase 5: Off-Site SEO and SMO (Backlinking/Post Sharing)
Phase 6: Reporting
- Alternate days’ work report
- Weekly work Report
- Monthly work report along with rank report and traffic report
For this, we will need the following details:
- Website URL
- Competitors’ URLs
- Keywords if any in mind
We will be awaiting your response!
Always Digital Marketing
Wow, now that’s a lot of things…! They also say they want my url and keywords, but then they also sent an Excel file with loads of (bad) keyword suggestions. Erm, yeah. (More on this later.)
So I replied and asked Paul some questions…
If you’re saying the site needs a full audit, why did you send me suggestions that were basically ALL WRONG.
For the page about Candy Canes, you use the keywords ‘candy cane’ and ‘christmas candy’. But that page isn’t targeting words like that. I’m targeting ‘the history of candy canes’ or ‘candy canes history’ (as that’s what the page is about). For ‘the history of candy canes’ and ‘candy canes history’ the page is #8 on Google – pretty good!
For the page about the 25th December, you have ‘when is christmas’ but I’m targeting ‘why is christmas celebrated’ – where it’s #2!
And for the page about Christmas in Mexico, you think I’m targeting the word ‘navidad’ (Spanish for Christmas). Erm, no. However a search for ‘christmas in mexico’ has my site at #2!
And some of your backlink suggestions are just bizarre. For the page about The Christmas Story, you say I should get a backlink from a site which is about American Football history. WHY!?!?!?!?
And for my online Advent Calendar, one of the suggested backlinks in an ‘adult’ VR site – WHAT?!?!?
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.
Please can you tell me why your company thinks it’s ok to spam people, from random email accounts, to get business?
is your company happy breaching multiple international laws like CAN-SPAM, PECR, CASL, ASA?
It’s been over a month an I’ve heard nothing back from Paul… I’ll update this if I ever do (I doubt I will).
Their Report & Recommendations
As I said above, attached to the email was an XLSX file (a spreadsheet) with a list of pages they think need improving. But for nearly all of them, they’re using keywords that I’m not targeting (general having ones which are too generic).
Like for the page about Candy Canes, they’re using the keywords ‘candy cane’ and ‘christmas candy’. But that page isn’t targeting words like that. I’m targeting ‘the history of candy canes’ or ‘candy canes history’ (as that’s what the page is about). For ‘the history of candy canes’ and ‘candy canes history’ the page is #8 on Google – pretty good!
For the page about the 25th December, they’re targeting ‘when is christmas’ (where my site is #21) but I’m targeting ‘why is christmas celebrated’ – where it’s #2! BUT if you search for ‘when is christmas celebrated’ my site is #1! (amazing what one work can make…)
And for the page about Christmas in Mexico, they think I’m targeting the word ‘navidad’ (Spanish for Christmas). Erm, no. However a search for ‘christmas in mexico’ has my site at #2!
They also have recommendations of where I should get backlinks from. Many of these are, erm, odd. For the page about The Christmas Story, they say I should get a backlink from a site which is about American Football history. WHY!?!?!?!?
And for my online Advent Calendar, one of the suggested backlinks in an ‘adult’ VR site – WHAT?!?!?
I also ways find it strange when spammy SEO companies make a load of suggestions, when they actually seem to have NO IDEA what the site is actually trying to target… (And while they actually sent you an email saying you need to tell them!)
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 site is at alwaysdigitalmarketing.com which was registered in July 2020. (Although Paul said they were ‘more than 12 years old’ – not on that domain they’re not!)
Their site has 114 HTML errors. That’s not good! My site has none.
Using the WAVE Accessibility checking tool, their site has 26 errors and 10 contrast errors. That’s not very good. My site has none.
Using the Google Lighthouse speed test tool their site gets:
Best Practices: 92
My site gets:
Best Practices: 100
So my site is ‘better’ (well perfect!) across the board, and especially in ‘Performance’. And also the theme is really controlling the last three items – the only one they really ‘responsible’ for is ‘Performance’!
It’s December 2022 and the copyright on their site still says 2021. Their LinkedIn profile says they were founded in 2011. That still doesn’t add up to ‘more than 12 years old’ as ‘Paul Smith’ claims. Their Linked In profile also says they have 0 employees so, erm yeah.
A search on the Wayback machine shows nothing earlier that March 2021, so hmmmmm.
There are Privacy and Cookie and Terms & Conditions links in their footer. Only they don’t do anything…
Their about page is two paragraphs of meaningless marketing speak. It doesn’t actually tell you anything about the company. And the text on the page is also on another about page of an SEO company in India (but the other one has much more text on it)!
There’s a blog on the site. It’s supposedly got posts dating back to 2010. But you can easily change the dates of things in WordPress. Quite a few of the posts are spammy “We’re the best SEO company in [insert country here]” type ones.
On the contact page, there’s a form – it’s all over the place. The labels crash into the input boxes meaning you can’t actually use them! There’s also an email link – only it’s not a link – so that’s basically useless as well.
There are three video testimonials on the home page. One says it’s from a ‘Marisa’ but the person in the video introduces themselves as ‘Alia’. This and other video look and read like someone who’s reading a script provided by Always Digital Market. There is NOTHING about their company, what ADM did for them… Another looks more genuine, but it still seems like a scripting being read. They all mention ‘Sonu’ as their contact.
There’s a photo of a man in the ‘Team’ bit on the home page. And the file name is ‘Sonu-UP.jpg’. On the home page it says “We began as a one-man operation have grown into a full-fledged creative and digital marketing firm.” But I can’t only find a Sonu associated with the company!
Sonu might be great at SEO, but from the email and Excel file he sent and from the quality of his own site, shall I say I’m yet to be convinced.
And there’s the whole sending loads of spam making all sorts of claims. On claims, remember that in the initial spam it said “We can bring your website to the first page of Google.”? Well, Google says not to trust companies that make claims like that…
Beware of SEO companies that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google.from Google’s “Do you need an SEO?”
Always Digital Marketing are SEO spammers.
They send out spam from a random gmail accounts with fake names – which is dodgy in itself.
They make claims which Google says not to trust.
Their keyword suggestions were basically useless and their own site seems somewhat to be desired.
They’ve not bothered to reply to my email asking the most basic of questions.
If Always Digital Marketing, the delete button might be a good idea.
But, as ever, the choice is yours…