SEO Spam Email: Grey Git

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.

Read some simple explanations of some of the SEO terms used on this post…


This time the email came in from a ‘Roger Wilson’ who was using a gmail.com email address with his name and a shortened version of ‘marketing’ in it. The email came into the account for my big Christmas site. (I don’t normally add the family name of spammer for privacy, but 100% sure it’s a fake name. Wilson seems to be a favourite fake family name for SEO spammers…)

The subject of the spam was “Requesting Free Quote – Get Professional, User-friendly, Readable & Search Engine Friendly Website at a Affordable Price” and went:

Hello

How are you?

I have been checking your website and found that your website has many errors and not even professionally designed compared with your competitors. If you want to rank top on Google and other search engines then you should optimize your website professionaly and make sure the website is user friendly, readable and search engine friendly website.

That is why we have come to you. If you are interested then please get back to us for a free quatation and a professional photoshop design mockup. If you like our work, then proceed next…

Our design will be more SEO friendly and the User experience will be much better for traffic conversion.

Features of the Design……

Properly Architect
High-Quality Graphic Design
Error Free Coding
Call to Action button
Totally Responsive Web Design (Mobile, Tab, Laptop, Desktop & Giant Screen friendly)
Proper Mobile Optimization
Professional Content Writing Support
Cross-Device Checking
Cross-Browser Checking
Onsite SEO Support
6 Month FREE Website Maintenance
All pages different design structure
Blog Page, Privacy & Terms Page, Testimonial page, Get quote page Create
Social Media account Integrate
Website Loading Speed Optimization (As much as possible)
All Images Optimization
Accessible to All Users
Browser Consistency
Good Error Handling
Image Alt Tag Optimization
Robots.txt Optimization
XML sitemap Optimization
Custom 404 page design
Google Analytics & Webmaster Tool Setup and more….

We build AMAZING sites. If you interested to check out our portfolio then please let us know…

We have expertise in following areas:-

HTML 5, (X) HTML/CSS/CSS3 web pages
PHP, My SQL
CMS (Joomla, WordPress, Magneto, Drupal, Shopify )
Ecommerce websites
Framework [Php , codeigniter]

Is it possible to communicate using WhatsApp or Skype? So let’s talk about more at your suitable time.

We are looking forward to working with you for a long-term business relationship.

Looking forward

Thanks & Regards
GREYGIT

[contacts removed for privacy]

Well, they really think they can do a lot for me huh? So I replied!

Hi Roger,

This sounds interesting. Can you tell me more about what’s wrong with my site? What are the errors?

Thanks.

I must admit I thought that was it. Then – OVER A MONTH LATER – I got a reply! It had the subject ‘Website Optimization of whychristmas.com’ and went:

Hello,

We Checked Properly whychristmas.com

Title: The Most Christmas Information on the Web – WhyChristmas.com

**Need each page Unique Title & Use most Important keywords
**For Internal Pages start your title tags with your most important keywords.

Meta description: Christmas Traditions, Christmas Customs, Christmas History. Christmas Around the World in different countries. The Christmas Story. Christmas Fun!

** Length: 146 character(s)

** Keep it short and to the point; the ideal meta description should contain between 180 and 200 characters (spaces included).

**Ensure that each of your web pages have a unique, straightforward meta description that contains the most important keywords. These keywords are especially important because they appear in bold when they match the user’s search query (See the Google Preview below).

Alt Tag: Alt Attribute We found so many images without an alt tag.

Example:
https://www.whychristmas.com/i/top-customs.svg
https://www.whychristmas.com/i/top-story.svg

Keyword Consistency:
*** Not Good

HTags Errors (Headings Tags Tag): We did not find HTML headings (h1 to h5) on this page.Need to Target Proper keywordsCopy Content: We found copy content from your website. PLease check bellow
EX:

[There was a screenshot of a report showing how much shared copy there is between pages.]

Deadlink Checker: Error 5

[There was a screenshot from a dead link checker site]

Structured Data Markup:
**No Structured Data Markup has been detected

Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/whychristmas
**Need attractive cover photo
**Need more Fb notes
**Need post more better picture and quality content with #tag

Twitter™ Account:
https://twitter.com/whychristmas
**Need attractive Twitter cover picture
**Need more tweets use #tag
**Need more re tweets

Blog: Not found a Blog on this website.
**There are no posts in this category

Note: If you want to solve this problem then we can help you at an affordable price. If you give us a chance then we can prove ourselves to you. Please let me know. After your confirmation we will start the work.

[contacts removed for privacy]

Looking forward to hearing something from you soon…

Thanks & Regards
GREYGIT

[more contacts removed for privacy]

Also attached to the email was an excel file – more on that below.

Well, I replied to Roger, with some information about the ‘errors’ he said my site had, and also asked him some questions:

Hi Roger,

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.

Let’s have a look at the ‘errors’ you say my site has got…

> <title>The Most Christmas Information on the Web – WhyChristmas.com</title>
 **Need each page Unique Title & Use most Important keywords
**For Internal Pages start your title tags with your most important keywords.

They do. 

For that page I’m targeting ‘Christmas Information’. My site is #6 on Google out of 3 BILLION results. I’d say that’s pretty good.

> <meta name=”description” content=”Christmas Traditions, Christmas Customs, Christmas History. Christmas Around the World in different countries. The Christmas Story. Christmas Fun!” />
 ** Length: 146 character(s)
 ** Keep it short and to the point; the ideal meta description should contain between 180 and 200 characters (spaces included).

Actually, best practise for meta descriptions is between 140 and 160 characters. So that’s just fine.

  **Ensure that each of your web pages have a unique, straightforward meta description that contains the most important keywords. These keywords are especially important because they appear in bold when they match the user’s search query (See the Google Preview below).

Erm, they do. There was also no Google Preview – oops.

> Alt Tag: Alt Attribute We found so many images without an alt tag.
Example:
https://www.whychristmas.com/i/top-customs.svg
https://www.whychristmas.com/i/top-story.svg

That is WRONG. ALL the images on my site have alt tags. Some might be ‘empty’ but that can be perfectly fine accessibility wise. And that’s just the case with those two images. They part of the navigations and the links they’re in have real text, so also have alt text would actually be a problem.

If you’d spent 10 seconds looking at the code, you would have seen that.

> Keyword Consistency:
*** Not Good

Total rubbish. You also give NO EXAMPLES.

> HTags Errors (Headings Tags Tag): We did not find HTML headings (<H1> to <H5>) on this page.

Again, nonsense. You DO NOT NEED headings 1-5 ON EVERY PAGE. HTML pages should be used where appropriate, like I have.

> Need to Target Proper keywords

I DO.

> Copy Content: We found copy content from your website. PLease check bellow

[There was a screenshot showing a list of pages and how much ‘copy text’ is meant to be between them.]

My site is about Christmas. The word Christmas is on the A LOT. Of course there will be some overlap. My site ranks just fine. Google has no issues with the kind of ‘copy content’ I have.

> Deadlink Checker: Error 5

[There was a screenshot from a dead link checker showing 5 ‘broken links’]

Have you actually visited those links? If you had, you’ve have found that they actually all DO WORK. It’s just some auto checkers get bad ‘pings’ when links are redirects or when site block sites like these checkers!

So this is WRONG.

> Structured Data Markup: 
 **No Structured Data Markup has been detected

WRONG! My site has ‘WebSite’ and ‘Organization’ schema markup on the home page. It also has ‘Article’ schema where appropriate.

> Facebook Page:
**Need attractive cover photo
**Need more Fb notes
**Need post more better picture and quality content with #tag

> Twitter™ Account: 
**Need attractive Twitter cover picture
**Need more tweets use #tag
**Need more re tweets

I’ll take these together. They’re both WRONG. Both accounts have cover photos. They have plenty of time repeated posts on them. More social engagements is always nice – but my accounts do fine.

You might want to look at your social media accounts. They haven’t been used for months!

> Blog: Not found a Blog on this website.
**There are no posts in this category

You’re actually correct! There is no blog. This is because I don’t want or need one on this site. I blog elsewhere.

So out of all of these ‘errors’. They’re all wrong – apart from one – and that’s not actually a problem.

Thanks for the Excel file. But that’s pretty much all wrong or not applicable either.

If you’d actually asked me about my site before spamming me with ‘errors’, you might have realised that…

I have also have some questions for you…

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?

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 (where your site says you’re based), 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-combattrelepourriel.ised-isde.canada.ca/site/canada-anti-spam-legislation/en/getting-consent-send-email (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.

Four days after I sent ‘Roger’ that email I got an email back. It was one line. It went:

I know you are spammer

Ah, the old “I’m a spammer but I’ll call you a spammer” thing… Not the first time I’ve seen this reaction from SEO spammers when they’ve been called out!

I replied asking a rather good question:

Hi,

Please can you tell me how I’m the spammer, when you’re the one which sent me unsolicited emails – which is the definition of spam?

Thanks.

It’s been over a week an I’ve heard nothing back from that… Funny how spammers don’t like answering why they’re spammers…


Their Report & Recommendations

I explained the ‘errors’ in my reply to ‘Roger’ (they were all basically wrong). There was also an Excel file attached with several different sheets with supposed ‘errors’.

Let’s have a look at that!

Sheet 1: 98 issues with unminified JavaScript and CSS files

It’s saying that there are pages with un-minified CSS and/or JavaScript files. Minifiying these files can help them load faster (not that Grey Git tell you that or why these might be a problem…)

This sheet is WRONG. Running the site through Google’s ‘PageSpeed’ tool, one of its checks is for file minification. My site passes this. Oh, but there one DOES NOT…

Sheet 2: 16 pages have a low word count

Well, yes they do. They’re also pages where it’s FINE for them to have low word counts. They’re mostly pages with games on them – where you just wouldn’t want or need lots of test. So this is NOT APPLICABLE.

Sheet 3: 6 pages have low text-HTML ratio

See above. Some pages do have a low html to text ratio. Again, this is fine. Again, this is NOT APPLICABLE.

Sheet 4: 1 page has duplicate H1 and title tags

Yes it does. It’s the page where people can link to site. It’s fine. It’s NOT APPLICABLE.

Sheet 5: 293 outgoing external links contain nofollow attributes

Also correct. HOWEVER, these are the ‘sharing links’ at the bottom of the page. This is the CORRECT way to code them. So calling these ‘errors’ is WRONG.

Sheet 6: 33 resources are formatted as page link

Auto SEO tools (like the ones they’ve used) can give this ‘error’ if a link takes to something like a larger version of a image file. And guess what, that’s what’s happening in these cases AND THAT IS WHAT I WANT TO HAPPEN. So guess what, it’s NOT APPLICABLE.

Sheet 7: 6 links on this page have no anchor text

This is WRONG. These links DO have anchor text, they’re just the same as the link. This can be not so good for SEO. However in the way I’ve using them (like links to YouTube, etc.) it’s fine. It’s also NOT APPLICABLE.

Sheet 8: 1 page is blocked from crawling

Yep, it is. Becuase it’s the search results page (which of course changes depending on what’s being searched). So it’s actually best practice NOT to have it indexed. So both WRONG and NOT APPLICABLE.

Sheet 9: 1 page has only one incoming internal link

Well this one is just stupid and if a real person had spent more that five seconds looking at it, they’d know that.

Firstly, the ‘page’ in question is a PDF (of the Christmas Story) so not a real ‘page’. And then they’re saying it’s bad becuase it’s only linked to on one page. Erm, yeah. The Christmas Story page that it’s a PDF version of…

So again both WRONG and NOT APPLICABLE.

So just like the ‘errors’ on the email from ‘Roger’. The Excel file is also basically worthless, with everything being either WRONG and/or NOT APPLICABLE. Also, if I were reviewing a site, I’d at least TALK TO THE SITE OWNER about how their site works before saying that any ‘errors’ like this were any kind of issue…!


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 greygit.com which was registered in May 2021.

Their site has 18 HTML errors. That’s not too bad for SEO spammers! But my site has none.

Using the WAVE Accessibility checking tool, their site has 31 errors and 31 contrast errors. That’s not very good. My site has none.

Using the Google Lighthouse speed test tool their site gets:

Performance: 35
Accessibility: 94
Best Practices: 83
SEO: 86

My site gets:

Performance: 100
Accessibility: 100
Best Practices: 100
SEO: 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’!

The alt text on their logo is ‘greygit digital marketing company logo’. That’s a bit wordy ‘greygit digital marketing’ would do just fine.

There are social media links in the footer. They don’t link to anything. That’s not very helpful.

On their site (and some of their social media accounts), they use the name ‘Greygit USA’. But there’s no address given on the site and the two phone numbers on the site are both in India. Hmmmm. Their domain was also registered in West Bengal, India! Double Hmmmm.

Looking at their domain records, they have NO email services set-up on their domain! That’a a HUGE red flag right there.

On their site, they say they’ve been ‘serving in the USA for years’, yet their domain was registered in May 2021 (so just over 18 months ago) and they have no corporate email accounts. That doesn’t exactly scream ‘professional’ to me…

They do have a Privacy Policy (or ‘pravice-policy’ as it is on their url of the page…). Only the content on it is basically useless. They also claim to be in ‘accordance with the data protection act 1998’. Only that’s a piece of UK law which was superseded by a 2018 version of the act. So if they’re in UK, that would ‘sort of’ make sense (although be out of date). However, they claim to be in the USA, where that legislation HAS NO MEANING WHATSOEVER. (It would also have no meaning in India…) This is also not the first time we’ve seen SEO spammer claiming to be (wrongly) under this law…

There’s also a next to useless ‘Terms & Conditions’ page. This says that they’re under USA laws – but not which ones!

A Google of this domain turns up VERY few results. I’d have really expected more from ‘one of the leading Digital Marketing Agencies in the USA’. (Or of course they could be claiming to be that but it’s not true…)

There are two Twitter accounts using it. One created in June 2021 (with 2 tweets) and one in Feb 2022 (with 23 tweets). Both say they’re in the USA… There’s a Facebook page, it was also created in Feb 2022. There’s a Tumblr account, with five posts from July and August 2021. There’s a wordpress.com account with one post from May 2022. There’s a blogspot.com account with a few posts from early 2022.

And there’s another SEO site at saffrondots.com. It uses a VERY similar layout to the Greygit site, only with some different colours. (It even had an identical ‘pravice-policy’ page.) This domain was registered in Feb 2022, in Punjab, India.


Conclusion

GreyGit are SEO spammers.

They send out spam from a gmail account – and don’t actually seem to have ‘real’ company email accounts – a BIG red flag.

All the ‘errors’ they said I had on my site were WRONG.

When asked the most basic of questions of why they send out spam, their response is to reply that I’m the spammer (which is very not professional…).

If Grey Git spam you, hitting the delete button might be a good idea.

But, as ever, the choice is yours…

Leave a comment