SEO Email: Charleston Digital Firm / Skylite Web (again…)

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…


Previously, Charleston Digital Firm/Skylite Web said my Easter site really needed some help (it didn’t…). Now they seem to think that my Christmas site REALLY needs some help… (it also doesn’t, but please read on!).

This email came from a Lawrence who was using an @charlestondigitalfirm.com email, although a subsequent reply came from Luis from Skylite Web. (charlestondigitalfirm.com isn’t a real site and is just used a front for their spamming activities).

Hey whychristmas.com Team,

Hope you are doing good !

Your website “whychristmas.com” communicates in many different manners to the visitor. I see your competitors ranked on 1st page whereas I am unable to see your website anywhere on the 1st page of Google, Yahoo and Bing. 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.

Wanna to give us a chance to promote your website?

Love to share our credentials.

Kinds Regards,

lawrence Roy
Sr, Managerr

It’s a short email, but manages two spelling/grammar mistakes – not a good start. So I replied to Lawrence and got a reply from Luis. This SEO spam was for my big Christmas information site (www.whychristmas.com). During each December it gets millions and millions of visits and is #1 on the whole of Google for a huge number of Christmas searches – so any SEO advice about the site is always ‘interesting’…


Their Report & Recommendations

The report/audit I received from them was in the form an email, which is shown below.

Hi James,

I had a look over the website whychristmas.com.

Please go through some of the errors mentioned below:

You have a title tag, but ideally it should be shortened to between 10 and 70 characters.

Your page is not making effective use of header tags. HTML header tags are an important way of signaling to search engines the important content topics of your page and subsequently the keyword it should rank for.

your page’s main keyword are not distributed well accross the important HTML tags.

Your page has a low volume of text content which search engines can interpret as thin content. It has been well researched that higher text content volumes are related to better ranking ability in general.

There are broken links present in your website.

We couldn’t detect any analytics tool installed on your page. Website analytics tool like Google Analytics assist you in measuring, analyzing and ultimately improving traffic to your page.

Some of the links or buttons on your page may be too small for a user to easily tap on a touchscreen. Consider makng these tap targets larger to provide a better user experience.

You appear to have a weak social presence or level of social activity (or we may just not be able to see your profiles!). Social activity is important for customer communication, brand awareness and as a marketing channel to bring visitors to your website. We recommend that you list all of your profiles on your page for visibility, and begin to build a following on those networks.

Along with the above mentioned errors, we will fix all other issues present in your website and help you drive traffic to your website.

Once you start the work, we will provide you a detailed report of errors and issues in your website. And at the end of each month we will provide you a progress report along with the traffic and sales details.

I will suggest you to go with $175/month plan for now. Once you start getting more business, you can upgrade to higher plans in future.

I look forward to your reply.

Regards,
Luis Jackson
Sales Head
Skylite Web LLC

Again, this email also has several spelling/grammar problems – not very professional for a company that wants me to spend at least $175 a month with them!

So let’s look, in some more details, at the ‘errors’ they say the site has… (Interestingly, lots of the ‘errors’ are the same that they said my Easter site had – but actually didn’t!)

You have a title tag, but ideally it should be shortened to between 10 and 70 characters.
Well, yes and no. The current title tag is 126 characters long. The recommendation from Google is that about 80 is about as long as you should go. However, the length shown [on search engines] is now normally based on the size of the screen (maxing out on 600px with Google) so I’m actually happy with what I’ve got and this error isn’t actually applicable to my site (and being longer won’t actually hurt you, it’s just that not all of it will be displayed)…

Your page is not making effective use of header tags. HTML header tags are an important way of signaling to search engines the important content topics of your page and subsequently the keyword it should rank for.
The home page of my Christmas site is a landing page. It doesn’t have many HTML heading tags – it doesn’t need them. All the pages on the site use HTML heading tags as appropriate. So basically this is WRONG.

your page’s main keyword are not distributed well accross the important HTML tags.
I’m not sure what ‘important’ HTML tags are…?! But considering the site is about Christmas and the word Christmas is on the page 15+ times, I think that’s pretty good. (And interestingly, this ‘error’ is identical in its rather odd wording to one used by ‘Digitally Ahead Team/The SEO Company USA’ who are also repeat SEO spammer who claim to be based in the USA when they’re based in India, just like Skylite Web – more on that later…) So basically this is WRONG.

Your page has a low volume of text content which search engines can interpret as thin content. It has been well researched that higher text content volumes are related to better ranking ability in general.
Although it’s the home page of the site, it’s actually one of the least entered pages via search engines. The site has lots of pages about all things Christmas, and that’s how most people actually enter the site using search engines – like going straight into the page about The Christmas Story (Which is #1 on all of Google for ‘the christmas story’ out of over a BILLION results!!!). So basically this is WRONG.

There are broken links present in your website.
If you use a link checker tool, there is a SINGLE ‘broken link’. I know about that. It’s the sharing link for sharing a page of the site over WhatsApp. It’s hidden on Desktops/Laptops and it won’t actually work on desktops as you can only share to WhatsApp in mobile browsers!!! (So it doesn’t matter…)

We couldn’t detect any analytics tool installed on your page. Website analytics tool like Google Analytics assist you in measuring, analyzing and ultimately improving traffic to your page.
This is WRONG. There is analytics on the site. If they’d viewed the source code, they would have easily seen the analytics code. It’s not Google Analytics. I used to use that, but I now use a different service that doesn’t use cookies or track users.

Some of the links or buttons on your page may be too small for a user to easily tap on a touchscreen. Consider makng these tap targets larger to provide a better user experience.
This is WRONG. The site passes mobile usability tests with flying colours.

You appear to have a weak social presence or level of social activity (or we may just not be able to see your profiles!). Social activity is important for customer communication, brand awareness and as a marketing channel to bring visitors to your website. We recommend that you list all of your profiles on your page for visibility, and begin to build a following on those networks.
Well, there are big images/links to the site’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts in the footer on every page. So I’ll be generous and say they didn’t look very hard. But basically this is WRONG!

So out of their eight main recommendations, six are simply completely wrong or basically wrong as they haven’t viewed the whole site. Of the other two, one is irrelevant and one could make sense, but it’s not actually having an SEO impact.


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: https://www.skyliteweb.com/ the last time I looked it, I was NOT impressed. And sadly, nothing is any better. It still has the same HTML errors, accessibility errors and the same terrible code and optimisation issues.

They still clearly have fake stock photos of their ‘team’ on their About and Contact pages. They seem to have just left the default photos in the site template (a quick reverse image search shows that they are stock ‘people’ photos which come in several different web templates…); the give away is that they have very odd names for people. I know that some people have gender neutral or non gender conforming names. However, I find it hard to believe when I see a photo of a bearded man is called ‘Felicity BNovak’ along with an asian women with the name “Luke Feldeman”.

They also still lie on their site about being based in Los Angeles, when they are clearly based in India (their domain was registered in India and the times that they sent me the emails would have been in the middle of the night in the USA, but normal working hours in India…) Also on their About page are lots of logos of various Indian government agencies, but funnily enough there are no USA based ones!

They also have the ISO 9001 logo on their site. ISO 9001 is an international Quality Assurance standard (my Dad was a quality assurance engineer and was also an ISO 9001 Certified Quality Assurance Auditor, so I know about these things…). With my experience of ISO 9001 type things, spamming people and lying on your site is not a good look for a company claiming to be ISO 9001 Certified (and if they’re claiming that and they are not actually certified, that is a big deal…).


Conclusion

So yet again, the report from Skylite Web is basically worthless. They still spamming hiding behind a different domain and still lie on their site about being based in the USA.

Their own site is still full of basic HTML and accessibility errors (real ones, not the ones like in their report!). If there’s a site that is ‘sick’, it’s their own one!

So yet again I wouldn’t use their rather expensive services!

But the choice, as ever, is yours.

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