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"SEO Spam" - What to expect and how to address it

Monday, 18 April 2016, Written by  Chris Hood

It's frequent, annoying, and often impossible for Spam Filters to stop. "SEO spam" is on the rise, and the best way to tackle it right now is to be able to recognise it, so you can just delete it and move on. It can often arrive by phone too, performed by big directory companies. This guide identifies what's SEO spam, and what's not.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Spam takes the form of an email or phone call, designed to generate SEO business for the sender/caller, using a bombardment method.

Email SEO Spam

Email SEO Spam is sent en-mass (often to millions of email addresses), using a mail merge system to insert your site's address into the Subject and Body. It's often sent from web-based email account such as Gmail (making it difficult to block) and usually never from the same email address twice, as the first campaign will get the address blacklisted by most hosting providers.

These emails usually accuse 'your website' of underperforming, not attracting any traffic or having coding issues. This is, of course, the same email sent to a vast number of addresses, hoping for a few responses from thousands of attempts.

For example, this website (vibewebsites.co.uk) holds it's own on Google's Page 1 and generates a healthy amount of traffic,  enough to keep a continially growing team of web developers very busy, and is festidiously coded. Yet here's an excerpt from an email we received this morning from ****@gmail.com:

"Hello vibewebsites.co.uk Team,

*Some bumf*

  • Your website seems to be attracting traffic, but this traffic is almost Stagnant and limited, which affects potential sales as you move forward.
  • Your website doesn’t feature in Google's first search page for some of the major keywords in your niche, which affects visibility.
  • Your website has been diagnosed with coding issues, which affects ranking.
  • Your back links profile is not efficient enough to help your search engine visibility.
  • Your website is currently not being properly promoted online, which is affecting your marketing strategy and goals.
  • Your presence in social media platform (Face book, Twitter, etc.) is minimal. This is depriving you of a huge market of prospective referral clients.

*More bumf - FREE WEBSITE AUDIT REPORT - further bumf*

With Best Regards,

SEO Expert

We don't need to elaborate on the above, other than that all are false (apart from the Social Media point - we operate quite privately by choice).

How to address these emails

Some of these emails actually arrive with an unsubscribe button, which is a legal requirement for mass-marketing emails. While it's a sure-fire givaway that this email is mass-mailed (thereby showing its complete falsehood), it could be handy - if the sender's email address was ever used twice. Unfortunately, it probably won't be, so unsubscribing to these might be futile. 

We wish there was more constructive advice to give at this point, but the most effective action to take at the moment is to ignore these emails and don't reply to them, even to turn their offer down - doing so could put you on a so-called 'suckers list' of addresses likely to reply, and the email bombardment may accelerate. Soon, spam filters will be intelligent enough to filter these emails before they ever reach you.


Phone SEO Spam

Phone SEO Spam takes a different, more personal form. It's often undertaken by big directory companies, and the biggest culprit is the biggest, brightly coloured one (we won't name names). They do offer a legitimate service, but not one that has a good reputation for success online, and they get their customers in quite a predatory fashion.

When the random call (planned to cover all businesses in a certain sector) connects to you, the operator will quickly be shown your domain and some figures about its search engine position. From there it's that saleman's job to fish out anything that can be improved, and sell you SEO. In web, the sky is the limit, and there is always more you can do, so they'll always be able to find something to make money on.

Quite often these phone calls come very soon after you register a directory entry with the company, which often coincides with a brand new website and/or domain, so your search engine position will be very low because Google is still indexing and establishing your website. Ctiricising a site's Search Engine position at this time is very unfair, and this will give the salesman plenty to worry you about - but fear not, your website is doing what it needs to do.

How to address these phone calls

In this situation, the saleman will be prepared with a response to just about any comeback; so it may be best to tell them your SEO is in hand, and turn them down with your favoured telephone manner.


Concerned about your site's performance?

We certainly don't wish to discourage anyone from taking SEO. Whether it's with us, or one of our competitors, SEO can be a great help to your business (and we can reccomend good SEO companies if you would like to place your eggs in different baskets). However, a legitimate SEO company will never target you with spam accusing your site of underperforming. Email and phone marketing has its place, but that place is in presenting your service and its benefits; not scaring businesses into taking them.

To talk to us about SEO and your site's performance, please feel free to email us at any time at info@vibewebsites.co.uk.


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