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.
This email came from a Sam using an @gmail.com email, although a reply came from Mike via an devlimer.net email (although Devlimer’s site is actually at devlimer.com!). And interestingly, Mike and Sam also have the same surname…
Hope you are doing well.
I thought you might like to know some reasons why you are not getting enough Social Media and Organic search engine traffic for “whyeaster.com”
My name is Sam [surname removed for privacy, even though I’m sure it’s not his real name..!] and I am the SEO expert of a leading SEO service provider company. As per my analysis, your website is not performing well in the Google organic search. Also your traffic is poor from last couple of months due to some of the reasons.
Some of the aspects given below:
Due to poor Back links
Keywords are not in the first page of Google, Yahoo and Bing
Due to errors and issues present in website
Errors in the coding part of your website
Website content quality is not high standard.
Google updates, please visit:http://searchengineland.com/google-penalizes-mobile-sites-using-sneaky-redirects-248818?utm_campaign=socialflow&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social
Area of Improvement:
We will give you 1st page ranking on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Improve your sales and brand value.
100% satisfaction guarantee or your full money back.
Hummingbird recovers and secures your website from next Google updates.
Increase your traffic flow.Target your local market to increase business.
Note: We give guarantee on the improvement in your keyword ranking from the first month itself, if we fail to achieve then money back.
We will be optimizing your website in the major search engines like: Google, Yahoo & Bing which results in improvements in keyword ranking, traffic, link popularity, goal conversion, and ROI in the first month of our work.
For more details please reply. We have 24×7 supports, so you can contact any point of time with your website issues.
Sam [surname removed for privacy, even though I’m sure it’s not his real name..!] (Department Head – Web Analysis)
Note: If this email is not relevant to you or not interested on the same then please reply back with not interested. I will happy to update my database.
PSI: I am not spamming. I have studied your website and believe I can help with your business promotion. If you still want us not contact you, you can ignore this email or ask to remove and I will not contact again.
PS II: I found your site in 7th or 8th pages using keywords in Google searches. I recommend you to go with our SEO service to found your website in 1st page ranking..
I replied and got a reply from Mike. So let’s see what their report says about my Easter site!
Their Report & Recommendations
The report/plan I received from them was in the form of an email with a PDF attached of their ‘report’. Here’s the email, more on the report below.
Thanks for showing interest in our services.
My name is Mike [surname removed for privacy, even though I’m sure it’s not his real name..!] and I work with Devlimer LLC. We are a leading digital marketing company that offers innovative digital marketing solutions and creates custom strategies for each of our clients based on their requirements.
You can visit us online: https://devlimer.com/
My team has prepared an audit report for your website and this report will help you to know about all the technical issues and the areas of improvement. Please find the report in the attachment. If you want to fix these errors then it will cost $200 one time fee.
Please go through the details and let me know if you have any questions.
Looking forward to hearing back from you.
Thanks and Regards
Mike [surname removed for privacy, even though I’m sure it’s not his real name..!]
The PDF report clearly came from an automated report. There are a number of automated SEO analysers which produce reports with a ‘rank’. However, unless you know what the site is trying to target, the results they produce can be very misleading (as we’ll see below!).
The report gave the site a score of 79/100 (so not a bad start…) with their being 8 warnings and 9 errors. So let’s look, in some more details, at those errors and warnings and see if they really are errors and warnings!
Error: Title tag length
Well, yes and no. The current title tag is 100 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)…
Warning: Add a keyword to the title tag
This is WRONG – The main keyword for the site ‘Easter’ is in there three times!
Warning: Start the Title tag with a keyword
This is WRONG – It does!
Error: Add keyword in the Meta Description tag
This is WRONG – Again, the main keyword for the site ‘Easter’ is in there three times!
Warning: 5 missing Alt attributes
This is WRONG – All the images on the site have alt tags. Some are ’empty’ – which is the correct thing to do with visual elements are only adding ‘eye candy’ with no ‘meaning’ on the page.
Warning: Add the keyword to Alt attributes
This is WRONG – As above, this the image alts needed relevant keywords in them, they would have them. Simply ‘stuffing’ keywords into things like alts is bad for SEO and accessibility.
Error: Use unique images
This is a strange error which I can’t really understand. I think they’re trying to say that having different images (with I’m guessing different keywords) can help SEO. But they way they’re suggesting it would be keyword stuffing. So I’ll say this is WRONG!
Error: Content size
This is also known as ‘thin content’ with some SEO people. 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 Easter, and that’s how most people actually enter the site using search engines – like going straight into the page about The Easter Story (Which is #1 on all of Google for ‘the easter story’ out of several hundreds of million of results!!!).
Warning: Uniqueness rate
Again this is a bit of a strange one. What I think they’re saying is that having ‘duplicate content’ on sites can hurt your rankings. This is true. But the pages they’re listing are either directory sites, listing the site, or other sites about Easter. I can’t stop any of these sites existing and the top ‘non directory’ site is listed as having 28% the same content as my site – which is not unreasonable considering it’s another site about Easter traditions! So although it could have a point, overall, this is WRONG!
Error: Use the keyword in the content
This is WRONG – The site is about Easter. The word Easter is on the site A LOT!
Error: Use the keyword at the beginning of the content
Hmmmm, It wouldn’t actually really make sense having ‘Easter’ as the first word on the page – but it is the fourth – which makes good sense. Google’s main point on good SEO is having good content. But if your content isn’t useable it’s kind of pointless. So I’ll say this is WRONG.
Error: Keyword density
This is WRONG – The site is about Easter. The word Easter is on the site A LOT!
Error: Use the keyword in H1-H6 tags
This is WRONG – Where appropriate, the keywords are used in heading tags.
There’s then a ‘Keyword density’ table showing that most of their above ‘errors’ about keywords are actually pointless/meaningless (and WRONG)!
Warning: Uses efficient cache policy on static assets
There are two of these warnings – one for the desktop sites and one for the mobile site (which are the same!). Both are WRONG! The site has excellent caching (24 days).
Warning: Eliminate render-blocking resources
OK, this could be a potential issue. Having render-blocking content can slow sites down. However, they can also be VERY tricky to fix correctly. So I’ll give them this one (even though it would save the total of about 300ms in my site’s case!)
Error: Does not redirects HTTP traffic to HTTPS
This is WRONG – It does!
So out of their 8 ‘warnings’ 7 are wrong and one is a possible issue; And likewise out of the 9 ‘errors’ 8 are wrong and one is a possible issue!!! So I’m guessing my site’s scores should really be 99/100!!!
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.devlimer.com/
For HTML Validation, their site has: 15 Errors and 31 Warnings! (My site doesn’t have any…)
On Google Pagespeed their site gets:
Mobile: 20/100 (That’s really not very good – and they have A LOT of cache and render-blocking issues – oops!)
My site gets:
Mobile: 99/100 – so both considerably better using Google’s own speed testing tool!
On GTMetrix their site gets:
C (75%) / D (62%)
On GTMetrix my site gets:
A 94% / A (94%) – so my site is better!
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, my site has a clean bill of health – their site has 12 accessibility errors and 18 alerts
They still have a link to a Google+ account in their footer. Only Google+ closed over six months ago. You would have thought that a top SEO/web company would have known that…
Also, remember in Sam’s first email he said “We will give you 1st page ranking on Google”. Well…
Beware of SEO companies that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google.from Google’s “Do you need an SEO?”
Their initial spam also said “Hummingbird recovers and secures your website from next Google updates.” which is utter nonsense. Hummingbird was a Google algorithm change, which happened in 2013. So it can’t ‘recover or secure’ your site from anything!
Devlimer seem to based in Florida. Their phone number and address are both based there (the address on their site is for a very new housing development just outside Jacksonville – it’s so new that it’s still a building site on Google maps but there are houses on Bing maps!) They’ve got a page on their site implying they are also based in London. There’s a different phone number on there, one based in Puerto Rico! And there’s a different email on there as well. Rather than ‘[email protected]’ it’s ‘[email protected]’!
And on the site, all the testimonials/reviews are about ‘Ken and his team’. A quick Google of ‘Devlimer Ken’ gets the Twitter profile for a ‘Ken Lambert’ who’s in Mumbai, India! It also shows a business directory for Ken with him being the ‘Business Development Manager’ for Devlimer but with the website for The SEO Company USA – who are serial SEO spammers of the worse kind and who we’ve dealt with before – and more than once!
The SEO Company USA claim to be based in South Carolina, but are really based in India… Ken’s name is actually still on the site for The SEO Company USA!
UPDATE (25th Sept 2019): I had some more Gmail SEO spam for my Christmas site, and I replied to it (as I do…) and guess what, the actual Ken Lambert as the ‘Business Development Manager’ for The SEO Company USA replied! So it seems that Mr Ken Lambert is behind both The SEO Company USA AND Devlimer!!! And of course The SEO Company USA is also really based in Mumbai – just like Ken Lambert – what are the chances?!
Sadly this is yet another SEO company that spams with scare tactics and mis-information to try and get business. And hiding behind random Gmail accounts to do the spamming and then emailing from a different domain also doesn’t exactly inspire trust…
Their report was next to useless. It makes me wonder if they’d ever actually visited the site.
So if Devlimer or one of their people contact you, that delete button might be a good option.
But as ever, the choice is yours…