The Structure of SEO Scams
If you’re an ecommerce store owner, you have definitely received the unsolicited SEO email pitch! You’ve gotten them more than you probably more than you can count on your hands.
If you are the lucky few who haven’t, its because your new to the game, and there’s a big chance that you will get on a list somewhere.
Scam SEO agencies use highly random methods of mining for email addresses and shop domains. As any SEO strategist can tell you, they see a lot of this. Clients often forward an email with an attached message and wonder what to do with it. This is why these kinds of spam like emails are so dangerous.
They are designed to trick business owners into thinking that their site if an organic disaster. Of course, they are the only ones who can fix it by hiring the sponsor of the email.
However; when you look at these emails, you can see red flags. We will go over some of the glaring red flags so that unsuspecting business owners can be more astute in preventing these types of scams.
Red Flag 1: Poor Grammar
Tell Tale Sign
If you are able to spot grammatical error, you should immediately be on guard. Typos occur, and not everyone has perfect grammar. But the syntax oddities that you are reading in the first paragraph or in phrases should not contain certain alarming messages.
How about the “Recommended to fix the error” message. This moves beyond the occasional grammar faux pas and into the realm of someone who’s used to the linguistic rules of an entirely different language. Simply put, this isn’t a native English speaker.
Now, just because a SEO strategist isn’t a native English speaker doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust them. We are absolutely not saying that. In fact, being able to speak multiple languages is an asset. A huge asset in a field where you are at least able to speak English and have a code.
But a large portion of SEO is content-related. It is the ability to thrive in the wide-reaching field of SEO. It is playing to your strengths.
This means a writer is going to get her technical work double-checked by a technician. And the technician will get his/her content double-checked by a writer.
A sales pitch that doesn’t display mastery of English is an example of a team that can’t play to its strengths.
Red Flag 2: A Lack of Specificity
If you notice in the email, that ten points are highlighted that could apply to any business, that’s a red flag. It means they have sent this same email to every business out there.
But you may think that maybe your social media presence is poor or how else would they have known that if they didn’t do research on your Facebook page. That’s when they know they got you. Because “poor” is relative. They’re very good at what they do!!!
They’re literally using the astrology method of closing a sale. They’re making sure all feedback stays vague so that you’ll read into it exactly what you want to read into it. No offense to astrology fans.
It gets confusing when they give you specific numbers. They may say things like, “you’re missing 92 H1s” or “you have 300 missing/duplicate meta descriptions.” This is just the vague disguised as the specific. It means they just ran your site through an automated tool that is capable of pulling those numbers instantly.
This information isn’t helpful on its own because it’s completely void of context. Just like data. Data has no meaning, it’s simply numbers or statistics.
It takes people, like an analyst, giving the data meaning. You may have some missing meta data, but if the missing information is on deep internal pages and you are nailing it most of the time, that probably doesn’t even matter.
You’re not going to find everything that is going wrong. That isn’t what SEO is about. SEO is about putting that information into perspective and building a strategy based on that information. This takes us to the next red flag.
Red Flag 3: A Focus on the Negative
Mayday! Mayday! The skies are falling. These are the types of messages you will get in the email to stress the urgency of a reply. So if the email reads like your website is on the fringe of exploding, this is probably a scam.
As a sales tactic, fear works. It’s a cheap sales tactic, but very effective. Remember, just like anything else in life, if it makes you feel fear or instant concern, this calls for some critical scrutiny.
Red Flag 4: Any Mention of Page One
It’s with certainty that your website is on the first page of Google for something, unless it is unindexed. It may take some time coping and pasting sentences directly from you site, but I guarantee you that we will find something.
Page one, in and of itself, is a meaningless metric. Still spammy SEO emails lean hard on this mention because they know it is likely that your knowledge of SEO do not extend much further than, “Something something something get to page one.”
What To For Look for Instead
Now this doesn’t mean that all unsolicited emails are necessarily SEO scams. It is a cautionary tale. Remeber that some good scams simply slip through the cracks. Be sure to look for a positive tone and a genuine connection to your site.
An example would be “I love your promise to donate a bar of soap for every bar sold. And it would be an honor to work with a mission-driven business”. You see this doesn’t promise anything.
Conversely, the positive tone will continue when discussing possible results. Instead, it focuses on success that the company has ad with similar websites in the past.
Up-Front Money Matters To Scammers
So unless you are a high-revenue business which makes you a possible windfall account for an agency, they won’t be able to put in a lot of free work up front.
Earlier we mentioned specifics, but the fact of the matter is, that is isn’t good use of the agency’s resources to get so specific up-front. That’s like giving away work for free. Also, they won’t, and this important, pretend to be specific.
Any reputable agency will not pretend to be anything because they will be able to rely on their past results and your site’s awesome potential.
Look for Reputable Companies For SEO Help
You can always rely on number one and do your own research. If you really think you need SEO help, just Google around for reputable SEO services and get a proposal. We’ll give you a clue where to start, Volusions’ in-house team is awesome and top notch!
There’s one thing you can never get back, and that’s time. Time and money are valuable. Don’t waste either into a scammy SEO agency.