seo-scams Archives - SEO Derby

Outsourcing SEO abroad – It May Just Cost You Your Business

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As an SEO and PPC company we still get sent spam emails on a regular basis offering us higher positions in search engines and telling us that they can help us to rank better. Still we’re in good company, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of web spam, has said recently that even Google regularly gets emails saying they don’t rank high enough in Google and these companies can help them!

I thought I’d write a quick blog post today talking about outsourcing SEO abroad to places like India or the Philippines. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some good SEO’s in such places, and those good SEO’s definitely won’t be sending you spam emails. Jason Acidre comes to mind as an excellent SEO in a country well known for offering, shall we say, the lower end of SEO services.

SEO spam is definitely not limited to far flung places. I’ve sat it in as a client at an SEO pitch before from a UK SEO company, and what I saw was shocking! The point of this post I guess is that this crap has to stop and as SEO’s we’re not educating people enough about our industry.

I wondered after reading Matt Cutts email post – what exactly do you get when you reply to these spammers offering to rank me (and Google) higher in search engines. So I replied to a few to see what kind of SEO they offer, and how they deal with potential clients. So, here’s a few email interactions and what happened.

 

The first one is the lovely Cathrine. She was very pleasant, not very demanding at all, and very knowledgeable about SEO – i say in jest…….

Her initial email:

 

Hey there,

We have been reading the articles on your website and are very impressed with the quality of your information.

We have a team of copywriters who specialize in writing articles on various topics and would like to write an original article for you to use on your website – this article will not be used anywhere else on the Internet.

In exchange all we ask is that we can have one or two links within the body of the article back to one of our sites.

If you are interested in having us write an article for your website please just let me know and we would be more than happy to have one written for you within a week.

 

You can see quite quickly that she’s obviously been learning (little) about outreach as her communication skills are terrible. My name is plastered all over my website, so it’s not hard to contact me by name. Of course there’s no personalisation and it’s a flat out spam request. Her conversion rate must be terrible, but obviously some idiotic webmasters do agree to this rubbish otherwise she’d be out of a job.

So I replied in a way which should make sure that she knows my intentions.

I said…..

Outreach FAIL

 

To which I got a very polite reply.

 

can you post here article ..

i have uniqe article seo related

http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

 

Well seeing as she can’t uniquely spell unique, she made a huge effort to communicate with me after I told her that her outreach was a FAIL, and that she hadn’t even understood my 2 word response, I thought that I should see what she has to offer. So I replied:

 

Sure – what kind of content will you send?

 

and got this reply in 2 minutes – obviously it had not exactly been written with my audience in mind:

 

Hello,

Please see attached one article and publish here.

http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

Thanks,

 

Oh great – She’s sent me this wonderful content which is going to help my SEO, and all I need to do is post it on my blog. I won’t post the full article, but below is a short excerpt. Don’t forget that this is an article about SEO (apparently) which is going to go on an SEO’s website. God only knows the kind of people who actually post such rubbish thinking it helps them. This post is entitled – SEO tips that take 20 minutes or less – a clearly riveting title and premise:

 

While the continuous efforts toward SEO will pay you something big, but there are some of the SEO tips which are the quick tasks and that tips can turn your needle. There are many webmasters who desire for the success in SEO, but they have never achieved because of the resourced time or the budget of SEO vendor.

To some extent, it is true that SEO campaign involves lot of activities like SEO designs, information architecture, link building activities, creation or development of quality content and many more. All these tasks take lot of time and the thought of this insist the companies to throw SEO in dustbin.

For those who fit into this group, read this article or post about the quick tips for SEO which will help you gain organic traffic to your site in search result.

 

Now really….. as if I’m going to post this on my site! It is unique (I checked) but it’s of course total rubbish. It’s not even proper English, the advice itself it poor, it adds no value, and the entire thing is a waste of time. This crap ‘aint going to fool Google!

As I’ve said it amazes me that people must actually agree to this stuff. These people would be out of business if they couldn’t ever find anybody to accept their crappy articles.

So after reading this low quality article (that I wouldn’t have posted anyway) I didn’t reply to Cathrine initially, and she was keen to talk…..

 

I am waiting your reply.

 

And then (would you believe it)……

 

hello
please don’t post my article your site DA low.

 

Now excuse me…. But now she’s decided that MY site isn’t good enough for her utter bottom of the barrel content and she doesn’t want me to post it. She must be so busy posting her crap around the internet that she can afford to refuse links from good quality relevant sites from SEO companies no less that have natural organic link profiles. I did bite at that point, I must admit!

 

Oh, what do you mean?

 

And she sends me this:

 

friend your site Domain Authority low.

 

Now I REALLY want this amazing article on my low quality site:

 

Hey Cathrine

So what’s the deal?

I was going to post the article as I learned a lot from it, and thought it was excellent.

Shall I post it now?

 

No,  sorry please don’t post my article on your site friend you have other site

 

But I don’t understand!

Why can’t I post your article?

Will it be bad if I do?

Also, what other site?

 

Hello,

can you connect my article on your home page then post my article on your site friend.

 

Oh so now my site is OK for her, but only if I link to her crap from my homepage. LOL.

 

Well I’m not sure I could do that Cathrine, but maybe.

I don’t understand why you sent me your great article and then told me you don’t want me to post it because of the DA.

Can you explain what DA it should be and why my site isn’t high enough for you?

 

relevance and quality content and will benefit the website.

and please post my article on your site and connect my article on your home page.’

http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

 

I’m very glad of course to be getting an SEO schooling here. I never knew that relevance and quality benefit a website, and what was offered was indeed that!

 

I reply

 

Ah I see.

So the more of your articles I post on my low DA site, the better my DA will be, right?

Can you send me more to post on my site?

 

And she replies

 

first post this article,…

SEO tips that take approx 20 min or less

 

Oooh so now I have the promise of more amazing free content.I’m getting such a good deal, if only I can persuade her to write me more amazing articles!

At this point I get bored with it and ignore the requests over the next few days (she must have changed her mind about the quality of my site at this point).

 

ok post my article

how much time will you post my article?

Then

Are you post here my article.

http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

i am waiting your reply.

Then

can you post my article on your blog page…
http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

Then

how much time will you post my article on your blog page.

i am waiting your reply.

Finally

not find my article here….
http://www.seo-derby.co.uk/blog/

 

So the lesson here is a very simple one, and that’s you should never deal with these spammers. I understand the tough economics of life in such places and I don’t personally have any animosity towards these spammers, but it only makes life harder for all of us by offering such low quality versions of what SEO’s do – which is excellent outreach.

As SEO’s we have much lower conversion rates on our outreach because people’s email inboxes are full of this stuff – and our efforts are ruined because we’re perceived to be in the same camp as the full on Spammers. Perhaps its our own fault, and we don’t market our industry, and what it’s really about, well enough.

I’ll finish with one more quick example.

 

This time a company looking to do SEO for me! They don’t want me to post their crappy spun article, they want to go and SEO my site. Great! That will save me some hassle as I don’t know anything about SEO….. So… what would I get with these guys….

 

This was the initial email – which actually has Bruce Clay in the email address who is an excellent well known SEO from the US, and not these guys!

 

Hello Sir/Madam,

 

I want to remind you that had you got  our previous sent mail so Please let me know if you are interested our services so that we can move ahead.

 

Hope you are doing well

Wondering why your search engine rankings have dipped suddenly?

 

Watch out! You may still be unaware of the latest version of Google update named “Penguin” & Panda Series update!

Each year, Google changes its search algorithms innumerable times. While most of these changes are minor, every few months Google rules out a ‘major’ algorithmic update that affects search results in significant ways.

 

In short:

Old Link Building strategies are passé. To stay ahead in the game, you need to be in tune with these ever changing prerequisites.

If you thought your website could get away with:

 

• Links from pages having no content

• Poor quality links from irrelevant sites

• Links from sites crammed with advertisements

• Same content for multiple submissions

• Absence of SMO in the overall SEO plan

• Content farming with low value articles and blogs for Google/users

• No site moderation

 

Your rankings will suffer!

At Curix, we keep a track of all these unpredictable Google updates for you and cannot just explain but also tackle these changes before they start to hit your rankings and organic website traffic.

 

Our SEO Service strategies are attuned to the latest Google Panda update and include:

• Incorporating links only from sites that have good quality content, good traffic and social sharing

• More relevant and thematic linking with high-quality content and sites

• Steering clear of deceptive, ad-heavy sites

• Using unique and top quality, content, every single time

• Incorporating SMO as the best way to genmosaic123erate traffic

• Focusing on local search that helps local business listings

 

Doesn’t Let the Panda Devour Your Rankings! Come to Us!

Contact us today, to know more.

 

Thanks & Regards

Arvind *****

 

Now I never emailed these guys, but I thought I’d ask what I can get!

I got a quick reply which I won’t repeat here as it’s long and boring with an attachment telling me what they can do for me:

 

It was 4 pages long also and I won’t repeat it all – but here was the off page SEO section:

 

Off page SEO Services (Link building):-

Our off page SEO services to increase the link popularity include but are not limited to:

Article creation and submission

Directory submission

Forum posting

Press release creation and submission

Guest blogging

Blog commenting

Review posting

RSS feed submission

Video submission

PDF creation and submission

Social media optimization

 

Now that is a FAST track to a penguin penalty!

If I wanted to negative SEO someone (I would never do that of course as I have ethics) I’d do all of the services they offer to try and give someone a penalty and move my client above them.

It really is frustrating that people still buy this rubbish as it’s only going to harm them in a big way. Millions of businesses are destroyed by such practices.

So even these low quality SEO spammers must know that what they’re doing will harm their clients in the long run! I’ve spoken to lots of small business owners who have been burnt by this stuff – and it needs to stop. However as long as there will be buyers – there will be sellers of this crap!

So I say……

 

So you’ll submit my website to all the directories and search engines?

You’ll do blog commenting and article submissions and more, and do it all safely so we don’t lose our jobs and can still feed our kids?

 

I wondered if I told them that feeding our kids depended on not getting penalised by doing all these crappy submissions, maybe they’d back off…. Of course I was wrong….!

 

We will submit your website  in your related business  directories!!  and also submit  in major search engine.

We will do all submission through Google guide line and white hat SEO. also doing blog commenting all work! you never loose your job! You are in safe hand don’t get worry about it!

 

I reply (happily realising that they will submit my site to Google no less!)

 

You will submit to Google right?

And duck duck go of course!

 

Got to rank well in Duck Duck Go! Otherwise why bother lol! 😉

 

Yes ..sure!!

 

How much does it cost?

 

$250/ Month for 10 keyword!!

 

Then I finally get the money shot of the pricing – with an incredible looking list of completely worthless looking services for between $250 and $550 per month

 

SPAM SEO

 

Our minimum charge is around £300-400 per month, and whilst this is a very small budget we can do some quality stuff for small clients. Clients won’t get a lot of links (or citations) for that money but they will be – genuine authentic links given on merit (after a bit of pushing).

 

So if you’re thinking of using these kind of services – please think again. You’ll be paying an SEO company to remove their links in the future – and it will cost you more to get them removed than you paid to get them. That’s the best case scenario. More likely you’ll no longer be able to use your website and you’ll have to close your business and sack your staff. So do think of the true price of cheap SEO. It’s VERY expensive potentially!

 

You can’t outsource giving a shit – and I hope this article shows that. If you want to do SEO, then use people who understand how to actually do it!

SEO Ketchup

Pitching SEO to an SEO

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SEO Scams, Snake Oil Salesmen, and Tomato Ketchup

I had an interesting opportunity today to sit in on a pitch from an SEO company as a client rather than as an SEO. I’m good friends with the owner of the business being pitched to and they wanted my opinion. To be honest at first I refused to do it as I felt it to be a little unethical. However I was finally talked into going along, and I guess professional curiosity got the better of me. I was VERY interested to see how other SEO companies pitch their services to potential clients.SEO Ketchup

Of course as a professional SEO I had already not only checked out the SEO company’s website and their own SEO (which was virtually non-existent), but also many of their clients sites. So, going into the meeting I already knew what methods (or lack of!) they used. Checking out their client sites was a revelation. I have no idea how these clients can be happy with the service provided. I guess perhaps the company offers no trackable metrics where the client can actually understand how successful (or not) the campaign has been. Without clear defined SEO goals which are stated before the work begins, how can the success of a campaign be judged?

So what kind of guaranteed SEO was offered?

The usual type of guaranteed SEO was offered. We’ll get you on the first page of Google guaranteed or you get your money back!Guaranteed SEO

Well that’s fantastic and we offer the same service here at SEO Derby as well as adwords management. However, the first question to ask is, get you on page 1 for what keywords? Secondly, will ranking for these keywords add to my business bottom line? As a business owner you don’t want rankings, you want extra profit.

Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. Searches in Google are searches of keywords, and search engines rank web pages (NOT websites) for keywords. Thus, choosing the right keywords is absolutely critical. Any moron with half a clue can get you on page 1 of Google for a keyword hardly anybody searches for. It’s not difficult. The difficulty is ranking for commercial keywords with high commercial intent that you can make money from. That’s the bottom line.

You don’t care about rankings, or page 1’s, or even numbers of visitors to your website, or at least you shouldn’t.  You should care about getting the right kind of visitors to your website, put simply, the ones that already have their wallets out and are ready to do business with you. You should care about conversion rate optimisation.

You want to get the best quality lead to your website and you want to convert the highest possible number of those leads. Say your ‘goal’ is to get a visitor to fill out a form to request a call back, and 3% of visitors currently ask you to call them back about your services. What’s going to be easier? Is it easier to test and test to increase the conversion rate to 9% or to triple the amount of visitors coming to your website.  Both of these options would generate the same increase in business. Obviously if you can do both that’s great, but these are the things that good SEO’s work on. Definable metrics so the client knows exactly what he can and can’t expect. Clear goals, not vague promises are what you should expect.

The page 1 guarantee

So the company offered a guarantee to get the client on page 1 of Google. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

WRONG.

Frankly, for most local keywords that’s not exactly difficult if you know what you are doing. It’s getting to the top 3 positions that is critically important, because the top 3 organic and top 3 paid adverts on the page get about 70-80% of all the clicks combined. Being at the bottom of page 1 isn’t actually that valuable. You’ll pick up some clicks if the keyword has lots of people searching for it, but for many searches Page 1 is almost worthless!

Nobody can offer a page 1 and number 1 guarantee, that’s obvious, and if a SEO firm did offer this the chances are that they are a scam company. However it should be one of the long term SEO goals. Nothing was mentioned in this pitch about getting in the top 3 spots, as (I believe) they wouldn’t be prepared to do the work to achieve it! It’s far easier to take a monthly retainer for doing next to no work than actually putting in the very hard work required to really rank a website well. Google Page 1

The way to offer the scam page 1 guarantee is this. You guarantee the client to be on page 1 of Google, but for keywords that have very little traffic (and are easy for you to rank). You use the Google Adwords keyword Tool to show the client the amount of searches the keyword has, but you leave it on ‘broad match’ rather than ‘exact match’. It’s beyond the scope of this blog post to explain fully the difference between the 2, but suffice to say that the keyword (yes they only talked about 1 keyword) they discussed had over 3000 broad match searches per month, but the exact searches were way less than 100! Of course they didn’t show the client that part. Big difference, hey?

The Secret Sauce

Oh yes, did you know SEO was about sauce? What kind of sauce? Well I can’t tell you that, it’s a secret!

When asked by the client how they could guarantee a page 1 listing and how exactly they did it, this was the answer they got. It’s a secret recipe apparently, and nobody else in the world does it like them. Yeah, right……. secret sauce

Well…… I’d make 2 points:

  • I’ve already reverse engineered their client’s sites, and I haven’t seen one with many more than 50 backlinks, mostly from directories, a few blog comments, and a couple of paid links from low quality Pagerank 0 sites. Hardly earth shattering! No secret sauce there, I can assure you!
  •  This contract could potentially have been for around £5,000 GBP per month if the client had agreed to buy in for all of the websites in his portfolio. If I was buying something for £5,000 a month or £60,000 a year, I’d want to know EXACTLY what I’m buying and what I’m going to get for my money! I certainly wouldn’t want to be told it was a secret, but don’t worry you can have a worthless guarantee!

 

So if you ever hear about secret sauce (or something similar) from an SEO company, much as you may love tomato ketchup, please RUN A MILE!

Demand definable goals from your SEO Company and ask them exactly how they are going to achieve them and track them so you will know how successful they have been.  That way, if they don’t achieve their goals you can get rid of them and find someone who can do a proper job for you! Obviously the SEO Company can’t and won’t tell you absolutely everything they do, but you should be given a clear idea of what service they will perform for the fee. Would a mechanic offer you a secret car repair service? I don’t think so!

 

Ethical link building is the real (not so secret) SEO sauce

So building 100 backlinks to a clients site over 6 months is pretty worthless. A few directories, blog comments, and low quality paid links is not difficult to do. I could do that for you in a couple of hours (not that I would) rather than charge you a lot of money to do this over a 6 month period! They may even give you a small rankings boost for EASY KEYWORDS.

If I’m truly honest I’ve done that kind of SEO in the past. I’ve built blog comments, paid links, and other spam in my early SEO days because I didn’t know any better! I learned from my mistakes and strived to offer a better product.  These strategies might work in the short term, but in the longer term they’re much less likely to work. It’s sad to think that many/most SEO companies use these tactics for their clients.

Real SEOThe way to build real links that work and pass the test of time is to reach out to those in your industry or related fields and make connections. Generate some buzz about your product and communicate with people to encourage them to link to you. Get involved with social media SEO and hang out where your customers hang out online by being on Facebook or YouTube for example.  Create real relationships and get creative. The sky is the limit because your website and business is the best damn website in the world!

Why not add a blog to your website and write some interesting engaging content that adds real value for the reader? High quality content will attract links and social mentions because it’s so good that people will want to share it with others. This website was only launched 6 weeks ago and nobody yet really knows about it, but I’d bet that this very article you are reading will get people linking to it eventually because I’ve tried to write a great article that adds to the overall quality of the internet. I’ve tried to add value for you the reader and spend my time giving you something worthwhile.

Here’s an idea, why not link out to people you respect in your industry. If it provides value to your readers then why not! You may even find that you start to connect with others and get some great links back yourself. Who knows what may come of it! I don’t know any other SEO’s in Derby in person, but I’ve checked out all of the local SEO websites. The two that seem the best to me are Dave Cain and Andy Morley. So I’ve linked out to them, and maybe they’ll see i’ve done this and if they like the content I write and think their readers may appreciate it, perhaps they will link back to me. I don’t know these guys at all, but hopefully you can see what I’ve done. I’ve linked out to peoples sites who provide quality content, purely because I’ve appreciated reading their blogs. Good content naturally attracts links. If you fancy reading some more SEO info, take a look at Dave and Andy’s blogs! Are they any good at SEO? I have no idea, but I’d bet they’d be much better than the other SEO firms ranking for local keywords here in Derby, because at least I know they put out quality content.

As this is such a new site it will probably take some time to get the organic links, but I’d be willing to bet that over the months and years I’ll get new clients as well as links to this article, and it will repay my investment of a couple of hours writing this many times over!

So, thanks for listening. If you like what you’ve read, why not get in touch or share this article on Facebook or other social media sites using the buttons below!

If you have a blog and think your readers would enjoy reading this article, then please link to it. I really would appreciate it! See you next time!

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