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:
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.
To which I got a very polite reply.
can you post here article ..
i have uniqe article seo related
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:
Please see attached one article and publish here.
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)……
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:
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?
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.’
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!
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?
Are you post here my article.
i am waiting your reply.
can you post my article on your blog page…
how much time will you post my article on your blog page.
i am waiting your reply.
not find my article here….
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!
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
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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
Press release creation and submission
RSS feed 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! 😉
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
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!